12th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Cinnabun Cake

Merry Christmas Eve!  For as long as I can remember my family has had homemade cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa for a bedtime snack on Christmas Eve.  I've made gluten free cinnamon rolls and they are okay, but never as yummy as I hope they will be.  Several months ago I came across a recipe for Cinnabun Cake, named such because it taste like those deliciously gooey cinnamon rolls you buy at the mall.  I've been saving the recipe for tonight.  YUM!  YUM!  YUM!!!!  I don't think I will ever even try to make cinnamon rolls again!  This cake is moist and gooey and oh so delicious!  It even looks like a giant cinnamon roll.  I did use cream cheese frosting instead of the glaze they suggested.  After all, it is Christmas Eve!

Gluten Free Cinnabun Cake

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix
¾ teaspoon xanthum gum
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon gluten free flour mix
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze: (or use cream cheese frosting)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix the gluten free flour mix, xanthum gum, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in melted butter. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 19 square inch baking pan. (You can double the recipe for a 9x13 pan).

To make the streusel, mix the softened butter, brown sugar, gluten free flour mix, and cinnamon until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. Make the glaze (or use cream cheese frosting  like I did for a truly decadent experience!).  For glaze, place powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Delicious served warm, but even better for breakfast the next day!

Thanks for sharing the Cinnabun Cake recipe picky palate!

11th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Lemon Fruit Dip

Christmas in Arizona:  Where fresh fruit sounds better than a steaming cup of cocoa!  I'm still not sure about this warm Christmas thing, but since there's always some kind of fruit in season, here's a delicious dip from my friend Camille that's good no matter the temperature outside!  I usually make this with sugar free pudding and fat free or lite whipped topping.  Always check that your ingredients are gluten free!

Lemon Fruit Dip

1 small box instant lemon pudding
1 3/4 cup cold milk
8 ounce container whipped topping

Combined pudding and milk and whisk 2 minutes.  Stir in whipped topping and refrigerate until set (20-30 minutes).  Serve with your favorite fruits.

10th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Rocky Road Fudge

I found this recipe 7 years ago and have been using it exclusively ever since.  I've adjusted it to my taste and added marshmallows to make it rocky road.  This is a Christmas favorite!

Gluten Free Rocky Road Fudge

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/8 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 9x5 loaf pan with foil.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts, marshmallows and vanilla. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.  Cut into 4 logs, wrap in wax paper and share with someone you love.

9th Day of Christmas Treats: "Not Yet Perfect" Gluten Free Russian Tea Cakes

While these tasted good, they definitely aren't the cute little snowball cookies they were suppose to be.  Maybe I needed to use a little more flour.  I'll have to play around a bit with the recipe, but for the time being, this is what you get!

"Not Yet Perfect" Gluten Free Russian Tea Cakes

1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup gluten free flour mix
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
powdered sugar for the finished cookies

Preheat oven to 350  degrees Fahrenheit.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and vanilla until smooth.  Sift the 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and gluten free flour into the butter mixture and stir until just combined.  Mix in the walnuts.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake on an un-greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before rolling in powdered sugar to give them their snowy appearance.

8th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Amish Peanut Butter

I fell in love with Amish Peanut Butter in an Amish restaurant in Shipshiwana, Indiana.  Lucky for me it's a cinch to make and a great gift to share with others!  This is great on bread, poured over ice cream, or used as a fruit dip.

Amish Peanut Butter

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup marshmallow creme

Mix everything together until well combined.  Store in an air tight container.

7th Day of Christmas Treats: Red Velvet Gluten Free Whoopie Pies

I am totally in love with anything red velvet so when I saw this recipe on better homes and garden's website I knew I had to try it gluten free.  These are fantastically delicious!  I swapped out the flour for gluten free and added xanthum gum.  I also used cream cheese frosting instead of the filling they suggested.  With their bright red color these are perfect for bringing a little Christmas cheer to anyone who's lucky enough to get one!

Red Velvet Gluten Free Whoopie Pies

2 cups gluten free flour mix
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
.5 ounces red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.  Sift together gluten free flour mix, cocoa powder, xanthum gum, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low while slowly adding the buttermilk. Stir in food coloring and mix on medium for 1 minute until well combined.

Drop cookie dough by tablespoons (a cookie scoop works best to keep them all the same size) onto the parchment paper and bake for 11 minutes or until tops are set.  Allow cookie to cool. Frost bottom side of cookie with cream cheese frosting and sandwich with the bottom of another cookie.  Store whoopie pies in the refrigerator.

**I had some leftover chocolate frosting from my husbands birthday so I used it in place of the cream cheese for some of the whoopie pies.  They were delicious and I'm really not sure which I like better!

6th Day of Christmas Treats: Christmas Guacamole

Every now and again it's nice to have a savory treat grace the table.  This guacamole with chunks of avocado and tomato looks just like Christmas!  Guacamole is a great appetizer to share at a holiday party but simple enough to throw together for a fun snack to munch during a college bowl game.

Christmas Guacamole

2 large ripe avocados removed from their skin and pits removed
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to taste (1/2-1 teaspoon)
tortilla chips for serving

Place avocados in a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the other ingredients.  Only add part of the salt at a time and taste before adding more.  Serve with tortilla chips.

5th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Chocolate Haystacks

I was planning on making butterscotch haystacks swapping out the chow mein noodles for rice chex. As I was opening the butterscotch chips I glanced at the ingredients and did a double take as I saw "barley protein" listed.  I jumped online and sure enough, butterscotch morsels are NOT listed on Nestle's gluten free product list.  Not to be deterred, I swapped out the butterscotch chips with semi-sweet and came out with yummy results.  Lesson learned - Aways double check your ingredients!!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Haystacks

1 cup gluten free chocolate chips (I used Nestle)
1/3 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice chex

Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir in peanut butter and microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir rice chex into chocolate mixtures and drop onto wax paper in golf ball size mounds.  Let haystacks set before eating.

4th Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Pretzels

 Okay, technically these are made from white morsels and not white chocolate, but since I'm not really a connoisseur of white chocolate, these taste good enough for me!  I followed the directions for melting the morsels found on the back of the package (I used Nestle, but any kind will do as long as they're gluten free).  3 for the neighbors, one for me...yum!

Chocolate covered Pretzels

1 cup chocolate chips or white morsels
1 teaspoon oil
40-50 glutino pretzels (or any brand you like)
sprinkles if desired

Place chips and oil in a microwave proof bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir mixture and if chips aren't melted microwave for 15 more seconds, stir, heat 15 more seconds, stir etc...until the mixture is smooth.  Place a sheet of wax paper on your work surface.  place a few pretzels in the bowl with your melted chocolate, coat both sides (I used a toothpick to help turn the pretzels around), let the excess chocolate drip off and then place the pretzels on the wax paper to set.  If you want to use sprinkles, add them before the chocolate sets so they will stick.   If your chocolate mixture starts to set up in the bowl before you're finished, place it back in the microwave for 15 seconds to re-melt it.

3rd Day of Christmas Treats: Arroz con Leche

Simple and delicious.  This is comfort food at it's best!  While serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my friend Concha taught me how this is made in her native country of Mexico.  Arroz con Leche is a thinner version of rice pudding.  While it does thicken, it will still have some milk that isn't completely incorporated into the mixture.  This is a great way to use up any leftover rice in your refrigerator or you can make up a new batch using 1 cup of uncooked rice.  Cook according to the package directions before continuing with the recipe below.

Arroz con Leche (rice with milk)

2 cups leftover rice
4 cups whole milk
1/2-3/4 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients into a 3 quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon stick.  The mixture will be the consistency of cream and will thicken as it cools.  This is best served warm.

2nd Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies

This is a childhood favorite that tastes just as good gluten free!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies

1 cup shortening
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthum gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cream everything together except the flour.  Add the flour and stir until just combined.  Press dough into a 1/2 sheet pan (the really BIG cookie sheet) and bake for 12 - 15 minutes.  The brownies will be a very pale brown and might even look like they need more time, but DO NOT OVER BAKE!  They will go from a soft brownie to a crispy one in a minute or 2.  They'll still taste good, but the texture will not be brownie-like.  Allow to cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk

Place ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Frost cooled brownies.  This makes a thin layer and I usually double it because I'm a frosting girl!

1st Day of Christmas Treats: Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Sorry neighbors, this bread was so moist and delicious that I nibbled away the whole loaf and left none for you.  Next time I might cut the sugar to 3/4 cup, as it was a bit on the sweet side.  I'll be making this one again for sure!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine sugar, eggs, water, oil and pumpkin in a mixing bowl and blend well.  Sift remaining ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir until well blended.  Do not over beat.  Pour batter into a 4 x 8 inch loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  It's best if you can wait until the next day to eat it so the flavors have time to mingle.  Yum!

12 Days of Christmas Treats

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit with this one.  We moved from Illinois to Arizona 3 months ago and not a single one of our neighbors has come over to introduce themselves.  I know, I know, who's to say that it's their responsibility to make the first move.  But seriously, we're the new guys!  Okay.   I'm over it.  We want to meet our neighbors and since they're never outside when we are, I guess we're going to have to knock on a few doors.

Christmas (or any holiday) is a great excuse/opportunity to make up a plate of treats and stop by to say hello to a new friend.  For the next 12 days I'm going to try out some new gluten free recipes to share with our neighbors.  Good or bad, I'll post the recipes and results.  Wish me luck!

Gluten Free Stuffing

I was never a huge stuffing fan, but 2 years ago I decided to try making it gluten free and now it is one of my favorite foods for Thanksgiving.  This recipe comes from my mother-in-law and it is absolutely delicious.  I've adapted it to be gluten free.

Gluten Free Stuffing

1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
8 cups cubed gluten free bread (I use bread that's a few days old)
1/2 - 1 pound gluten free sausage (depending on your taste)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
chicken broth or water as needed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown and crumble sausage over medium heat.  When fully cooked, remove sausage from pan and add butter, onion and celery.  If there is a lot of grease from the sausage you can reduce the amount of butter.  Cook onions and celery until onion is transparent (about 10 minutes).  Mix in the remaining ingredients, including sausage and toss lightly.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  If stuffing is on the dry side, add chicken broth or water a few tablespoons at a time until it is to your liking.  You don't want it too wet as gluten free bread is prone to sogginess and easily disintegrates.  Place in greased 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle a couple more Tablespoons of liquid over the top.  Place lid or foil over the stuffing and bake for 45 minutes.

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles - Gluten Free

We welcomed in November with a yummy stack of pumpkin chocolate chip waffles.  They're easy since you use a gluten free baking mix as your base (I used Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix).  My husband isn't a pumpkin fan of any kind unless chocolate chips are added.  He was still a little skeptical when I set the plate of pumpkin containing waffles in front of him, but he changed his tune after the first bite and ate 5 or 6 waffle squares!  We ate these with a little butter and syrup, but they'd be great plain if you have to eat on the run.  For a special occasion (a birthday tradition at our house) serve the waffles with a scoop of ice cream on top.  YUM!

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

1 1/4 cups gluten free baking mix like Pamela's baking and pancake mix
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat waffle iron.  Mix together baking mix, sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and mix until almost smooth.  It's okay if there are some lumps.
Stir in the chocolate chips.  If the batter seems too thick, add a little milk or water to thin it.  Scoop batter into hot waffle iron and cook according to manufacturers directions.  Because of the pumpkin the waffles will be more dense and heavy than regular waffles.  This recipe makes about twelve 4 inch waffle squares.  If desired, serve with your favorite toppings.

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes - Happy Halloween!

 Happy Halloween!  I'm still trying to get used to baking in the hot state of Arizona (it's the end of October and we're still getting 90 degree temperatures!)  My ghost looks a little more like the Wicked Witch of the West, "I'm melting! I'm melting!" But the cupcakes were wickedly good to eat!

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes (makes 8)

2/3 cup plus 3 Tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (closer to 1/3 t)
 2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 ounce red food coloring
1/3 cup milk

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake papers or oil dusted with gf flour.  Sift gluten free flour mix, cocoa, xanthum gum, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.  Mix sugar and egg on medium for 1 minute. Add oil and mix another minute.  Add vanilla, salt and food coloring and mix until combined.  Gradually stir in flour mixtures and when it is just combined slowly stir in the milk.  Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes.  Scoop batter into cupcake pan filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes before frosting.  Refrigerate frosted cupcakes until ready to eat.

Not too Sweet Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Stir in Vanilla.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar.  Once combined, Beat on high for 1-2 minutes.

Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats!!!

I don't know how long these have been available, but I have been searching them out for years.  5 years, to be exact!  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago this month and quick cooking oats have been something at the top of my list that I really missed.  I checked at more than 8 stores in the Chicagoland area and after no luck I figured I'd just have to get by with regular gluten free oats.  Behold my joy when I found these at Sprouts within my first week of moving to Arizona.  Hallelujah!  I very nearly shouted for joy right in the cereal aisle!

Now regular oats are great for granola and most baked goods, but if you want to make fudgies (no bake cookies) or have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, it is my humble opinion that quick cooking oats taste best!

I love you quick cooking oats and yes, I made fudgies as soon as I got back from the store!  Maybe living in Arizona isn't such a bad thing.

Gluten Free Fudgies: Otherwise known as My Secret Indulgence when my husband's out of town...

Fudgies were introduced to me when I was 8 or 9 years old by our neighbor Shane Burns.  Most people know these cookies as no bake cookies (since you don't use an oven or "bake" them).  I've also heard them called boiled cookies and oatmeal snackies.  I've tried them with all sorts of add-ins including coconut, raisins, marshmallows and peanut butter.

By the time I was in high school I knew that I liked fudgies best with peanut butter.  On Saturday nights when our curfew dictated we return home from our various activities, my sister and I would sit in front of the TV watching SNL and Remington Steele while eating fudgies straight from the pan.

Gluten free fudgies taste best with quick cooking gluten free oats, a product that I have been searching for and finally found 5 years after going gluten free.  I've used the gluten free regular oats and they're just not as good with this recipe.

My husbands not big into fudgies, so I often find myself cutting the recipe down by 3rds and making a smaller portion.  Otherwise I would eat all of them myself.  And I would.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I've made these for my dinner when my husband's out of town.  So that I don't feel so guilty about this little indulgence I have reduced the fat and sugar in the single size portion.  They don't set up quite as well, but they do taste just as delicious.  I'm posting both recipes and you can pick for yourself.  I hope they bring back or create happy memories for you too!

Gluten Free Fudgies (regular batch)

1/2 cup butter (1 cube)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter (I like creamy but crunchy works in a pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick cooking gluten free oats

Combine butter, milk, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter.  Add gluten free oats and drop hot mixture by heaping tablespoons onto wax or parchment paper.  They will set up as they cool.  Makes about 18 cookies.

My "Not so Guilty Pleasure" Fudgies (single serving or 6 cookies)

1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup quick cooking gluten free oats

Combine butter, milk, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter.  Add gluten free oats and drop hot mixture by heaping tablespoons onto a plate or just eat from the pan (the mixture is really hot so let it cool a few minutes if you eat it this way).  They will set up as they cool but won't get as firm as the full fat/sugar version above.

Gluten Free Texas Sheet Cake

I love Texas sheet cake and have been making it gluten free for years.  If you're craving some moist sweet chocolaty goodness covered in a fudge-like icing, this will fit the bill! 

Gluten Free Texas Sheet Cake 

1 teaspoon xanthum gum
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 Tablespoons cocoa

Fudge Icing:
5 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sheet Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray  a 10x15 inch pan with cooking spray (please DON'T use the kind that has flour in it!) Combine the butter, water and 5 Tablespoons cocoa in a saucepan on medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat.  In a mixing bowl combine the flour, xanthum gum, sugar, baking soda and salt. On medium speed mix in the buttermilk and eggs after 1 minute add the cocoa mixture and mix until well combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, begin making the icing.

Fudge Icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 cup butter. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla mixing until blended. Spread icing over warm cake.

Gluten Free Blondies

After just one bite I knew that these would become a family favorite!  I tried a lot of blondie recipes in my gluten days.  They were good.  A chocolate chip cookie in a pan, right?  I always thought it was strange to call them blondies, until now.  I finally get it... it's about the texture.   A blondie is basically a brownie without the cocoa.  And oh how I love the texture of a good brownie!  Moist, slightly chewy and rich - not cakey and definitely not hard and crumbly.  Although blondies don't have cocoa they still fill that chocolate fix since they almost always have chocolate chips.  YUM!

I hope you try these and love them as much as we do!

Gluten Free Blondies

1/2 cup (1 cube) butter, melted
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups gluten free flour mix
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, mix melted butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add eggs and vanilla. Continue mixing another minute or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the rest of the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips and mix until just combined. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread batter into a greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the batter.  Bake 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Streusel Breakfast Cake

I've been in the mood for breakfast cake for a few months now, but have had a hard time finding a recipe that I liked.  I wanted something simple with cinnamon so that my kitchen would smell like fresh baked cinnamon rolls without the effort or disappointment I've had from trying to bake them gluten free.  I also wanted a recipe using ingredients that I always have on hand so that I could make breakfast cake whenever the craving came. I ended up adding and subtracting things from a few recipes to come up with the following.  This creates a moist and delicious breakfast cake that our entire family loves!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Struesel Cake
Cake Batter:
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Cinnamon Streusel: (double if you want to put a layer of streusel in the middle of the cake**)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

Combine the cake batter ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Combine the dry streusel ingredients with the melted butter.  Sprinkle over the batter.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Serve warm. 
**For a sweeter breakfast cake, double the streusel topping and layer as follows: Spread half of the cake batter into the pan.  The layer will be thin.  Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter and cover with the remaining batter.  Sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top.  Cook as directed above.

Gluten Free Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

There are a bazillion copy-cat Cafe Rio salad recipes out there - I've got at least 3 different variations in my recipe box. (Cafe Rio is a yummy fresh Mex restaurant out West).  In my humble opinion, they are all super delicious and really similar so it doesn't really matter which one you make!  This salad involves making 3 recipe (4 if you're making gluten free tortillas): Green Chili Rice, Creamy Tomatillo Dressing, and Seasoned Chicken.  

Cafe Rio chicken salad is served in layers.  First cheese is melted onto a flour tortilla (delicious with a gluten free tortilla, corn tortillas or no tortilla!) then it is filled with the green chili rice, black or pinto beans (we prefer black) and shredded chicken.  All of this yumminess is topped with the salad greens of your choice (they use romaine, but we use spinach because it's so good for you!), and if you're really ambitious you can add pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla strips before drizzling on the amazing Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.  Yum!  I'm already looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow!

Seasoned Chicken
5 pounds chicken breasts or tenders
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (always check ingredients for gluten!)
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
Place everything in the crockpot and stir to coat the chicken.  Cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-6 hours.  (If chicken is frozen, cook on high 4-5 hours) Shred chicken before serving.

Green Chili Rice
3 cups water
4 teaspoons gluten free chicken bullion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can mild diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cups rice (not instant)
1 Tablespoon butter
Combine ingredients in a rice cooker and cook per manufacturers directions or cook stove top following the directions on the rice package.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 medium tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
1 package dry ranch buttermilk dressing (double check ingredients for gluten)
1 cup gluten free mayonaisse
1/2 - 1 cup buttermilk (start with 1/2 and add more if dressing is too thick)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 -1 jalepeno (depending on how spicy you like it)
juice of 1 lime
Dump everything into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add more buttermilk if dressing is too thick.  Chill until ready to serve.  

Additonal ingredients for salad:
black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
gluten free tortillas
shredded cheese
salad greens

Optional Ingredients for salad:
Salsa (pico de gallo)
tortilla strips or chips
any other topping that sounds good to you!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are not only quick, easy, and delicious, but they also don't contain flour of any sort.  Since they don't have any special ingredients, this is a great recipe to share with friends or family when they want to make you a treat.  Make sure the peanut butter has not been contaminated with gluten!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 unwrapped Hershey kiss for each cookie

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Combine all ingredients (except chocolate) in a small mixing bowl and stir until blended. If adding chocolate chips, stir them into cookie dough just until combined.   Drop dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, using slightly rounded teaspoonfuls.  Do not flatten or crisscross with a fork as they will turn out too flat. Bake 9 minutes or until cookies are puffed and golden.  Cookies will be very soft so let them stand 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing. 

For Peanut Butter Blossoms put an unwrapped Hershey kiss on top of each cookie after they’ve cooked 8 minutes and then stick them back in the oven for the last minute.  

Gluten Free Chicken Divan

I've kind of been on a food blog hiatus ever since we put our house up for sale in February. It's hard to cook and keep a clean kitchen. I'm a bit messy when I cook and the stress of having our house ready to show ALL the time makes me a bit reluctant to start something in the kitchen! Posting recipes is something that makes me happy, and who couldn't use a bit more happiness? My food blog is going back on my list of priorities!

Chicken Divan is one of my favorite dinners in the world. This is what I've had for my birthday dinner almost every year of my life! I was reluctant to post this picture because it doesn't look half has good as it taste...casseroles are kind of like that, aren't they.

GlutenFree Chicken Divan

1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 gluten free chicken bouillon cubes
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 cups cheddar cheese, grated.
32 ounce bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 pound chicken, cooked and cut into 2 inch pieces (or use tenders)
salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice

Combine milk, cornstarch, pepper, and GF chicken bouillon cubes in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add butter. Cook and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. To this, add the mayonnaise, curry powder and lemon juice. Combine until the sauce is smooth (my mom usually double this sauce and puts half of it in a gravy boat to serve at the table for those who want extra).

In a greased 9x13 pan place broccoli followed by the cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce on evenly over the casserole. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes. Serve over warm rice.

Triple Chocolate Cookies - Gluten Free

My husband loves chocolate so to celebrate our anniversary I made him his all time favorite cookie: triple chocolate. The name says it all. These cookies have a decadent brownie like chocolaty base loaded with semisweet and white chocolate chips. YUM! Don't be surprised if they become your favorite too!

Mommy's little helper

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and creamy for about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 1-2 minutes. Sift together dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) and gradually add to the butter mixture. Mix until blended and stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy.

Valentine's Day

Beef and Broccoli
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Valentine's Day! Since it's also Chinese New Year, we'll be making one of our favorite Chinese entrees for dinner - Beef and Broccoli. And then, for the most important part of Valentine's Day, DESSERT! We're continuing our Valentine's dessert tradition and I've got my red velvet cake in the oven...I'm not sure if I can wait until tomorrow night to eat it! XOXO

Gluten Free PB & Honey Chex Treat

I used to make this peanut butter cereal candy that had sugar, corn syrup , peanut butter, and cereal. It's really yummy, but is so unhealthy that I stopped making it. The other day I was craving the flavor of this recipe so I did a little experimenting and came up with a healthier alternative. It's so easy to make, takes about 5 minutes, and tastes great! I made up the recipe on the fly, so if you read it and have seen something like it somewhere else, I promise I didn't steal it! Enjoy!

Gluten Free PB & Honey Chex Treat
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
5 cups gluten free corn or rice chex

Combine peanut butter and honey in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and add 5 cups of chex or other gluten free cereal to the peanut butter and honey and stir until cereal is covered. Pour onto parchment paper and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars - Daring Bakers January 2010

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca. I loved this challenge! I have been missing graham crackers and since they are an ingredient in this recipe, I got to make them gluten free. They turned out pretty yummy and I was excited to have a graham cracker peanut butter sandwich for a snack today!!
The nanaimo bar (pronounced nah-nye-mo) are delicious blend of chocolate, coconut, almonds and pretty easy to make (especially if you have graham crackers on hand. We'll be making them again. Since we're trying to be a little more helthy this year, I cut the butter in half for the base and instead of the vanilla frosting layer I used some sugar-free vanilla pudding (shame on me) made with 1 cup of milk instead of two so that it was really thick. We were able to enjoy these without the guilt and they didn't seem overly sweet like some people have claimed.

Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See below for recipe)
1/2 cup Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer 1oz box sugar free vanilla pudding mix 1 cup skim milk

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Whisk pudding mix a milk for 2 minutes until pudding is nice and thick. Spread over bottom layer and refrigerate.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers
(adapted from Rebecca Reilly's recipe)

2/3 cup bean flour

2/3 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup corn starch

¼ cups sweet rice flour plus more for dusting rolling pin

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons cold water

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix together gluten-free flour mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

2. Using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients.

3. Stir in 3 tablespoons cold water, honey and vanilla. If dough is too dry, add a little more cold water, a teaspoon at a time.

4. Gather dough into a soft ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.

6. Roll out half the dough on a silicone mat to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 x 3-inch pieces and prick lightly all over with a fork. Place mat on a cookie sheet to bake.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. If cookies spread and bake together, re-cut while still warm and loosen them. Let cookies cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.

Pasta Rosa with Spinach - Gluten Free

Last night I was craving pasta with some kind of cheesey sauce. I also wanted something fast because we were hungry 30 minutes ago. Looking in my pantry I saw a jar of Classico brand Creamy Alfredo pasta sauce (I love that it says gluten free right on the jar). Not a bad start, but we're trying to eat more vegetables so I did a little experimenting and came up with this simple yet delicious rosa sauce with spinach that we are already planning to make again.

Pasta Rosa with Spinach
--serves 6-8
16 oz jar gluten free creamy Alfredo sauce (I used Classico brand)
14 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups baby spinach, washed
16 oz gluten free pasta (I used Trader Joe's brown rice pasta fusilli)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Prepare pasta as directed on package. While pasta is cooking, combine tomatoes and spinach in a sauce pan on medium heat with the lid on. Remove lid when spinach begins to wilt (about 3-4 minutes). Add jar of creamy Alfredo sauce, red pepper flakes and dried basil to you tomato spinach mixture. Stir well and cook until heated through. Place the heat on low until the pasta is ready. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain the water and place the pasta back into the pan. Add the Rosa Sauce and gently stir until the sauce is distributed evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve immediately.

OOH LA LA! Gluten Free Crepes

We love crepes at our house! My husband served an LDS mission in Paris, France and brought this recipe home with him. When crepes are on the menu, we call it Crepe Fest and go all out! We love using all kinds of toppings from nutella to meat and cheese, fruit and pudding or lemon juice and powder sugar. Any way you top them, they are a fun change up to your menu and always delicious! It was pretty easy to make this recipe gluten free and I think the gluten free version tastes exactly the same as the original.

Shane's Famous Crepes

2 cups gluten free flour mix
6 eggs
4 cups milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon xanthum gum

Combine flour, eggs, sugar and xanthum gum in a mixing bowl. With the mixer on meduium, gradually add the milk. Continue mixing on medium high for 4 minutes. Allow batter to rest 5-10 minutes. While batter is resting, heat your crepe pans or skillet to medium heat. Give batter a stir before making each crepe. Place a small amout of crepe batter on a hot crepe pan that has been lightly greased or buttered and swirl to just coat the bottom of the pan. I use about 1/4 cup for my 10 inch pan. After about 1 minute, loosen the crepe and flip it over. Cook for another minute or until crepe is a light golden brown color. Remove from heat and top with your favorite toppings. Roll or fold into a triangle and enjoy! These refrigerate well. Reheat in the microwave or enjoy cold. Makes about 20 10 inch crepes.

Yum! Turkey and Cheese crepe!

We bought our crepe pans in France. The shallow rim makes for easy flipping. A skillet will work just as well if you don't own a crepe pan.