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Tag Archives: Gluten-free diet

Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars…an old-fashioned favorite!

Time for a little sweetness in this blog! My college son is in the kitchen making some kind of cookie, so I’m inspired to add this recipe to my blog tonight. I remember eating these blondies when I was young – only then, my mother made them from a boxed mix. The boxed mix disappeared from grocery stores at some point, but I still love the flavor of these. They are a combination of butterscotch brownie and chocolate chip cookie – how can you go wrong with that?! Even though there is no butterscotch in the bar, I use dark amber agave syrup – it gives a similar taste. Otherwise, brown sugar is the preferred sweetener.

Easy recipe, simple ingredients and of course, my favorite gluten-free mix – Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix. Bake a little sweetness tonight! Enjoy!!

P.S. My son just brought me two warm cookies and a glass of cold milk! If I can get him to remember how he made the cookies (they are gluten-free!), I’ll write about them at some point! Yummy!!!

 

Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars

1 stick butter, softened
½ cup amber agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix
½ cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 X 8 inch baking pan. Combine butter and agave syrup in a medium bowl, mix until blended. Add vanilla extract and egg, mix until well blended. Add Pamela’s Mix and mix until smooth and creamy texture. Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. (** Optional: add chocolate chips to the batter and mix in.) Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and cut into bars. Makes 12 bars.

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Desserts

 

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Vegetable Leek Medley….fun homework assignment!

My apologies for the long delay since my last post. I had a couple family gatherings I had to attend out of town and a rather long written assignment for my nutrition course that was due around the same time. I felt a little overwhelmed and briefly wondered what I had gotten my self into by going back to school. But, I plodded along, keeping my head above water and now here I am, back at the keyboard.

I really do like my nutrition course so far – there’s some really great information and books to read! Plus, for one of my assignments, I got to cook – how cool is that?!! We have to do two practical activities for this first course and they give us eight to choose from. The one I chose was to use an ingredient or recipe that I was unfamiliar with. Even though I’ve made Leek soup before, I wanted to try using leeks another way.

This is a really simple recipe and I think it would be better if you added meat to it, like chicken or shrimp, and served it over rice or gluten-free pasta. Leeks are in the same family as onions and garlic, so I felt it was a little too strong alone as a side dish, but that’s my personal taste – you may enjoy it just fine as a side dish. Any of your favorite vegetables would go nicely with it, too. The leftovers can also be used in a soup or an omelet the next day – very versatile!

Leeks are a good source of vitamins A and K, manganese, vitamin C and folate. Check out the website “The World’s Healthiest Foods” for some great information and recipes. (This is a a required book for my nutrition coursework.) Enjoy!!

Vegetable Leek Medley 

1 large leek

2 medium carrots

1 yellow summer squash

1 large portobello mushroom

3 tablespoons butter

Salt/pepper to taste

Cut the green leaves and the end off of the leek. Slice down the middle and rinse well under cold water to remove dirt. Cut into ¼ inch slices and set aside. Cut the carrots into 2 inch julienne strips. Slice the outer skin portion of the summer squash away from the inner seeds and soft pulp. Cut the skin into 2 inch julienne strips. Save the seeds and pulp for another recipe. Remove excess dirt from the mushroom and slice. Melt the butter in a large saute’ pan and add the leeks and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the leeks are soft and translucent. Add the summer squash and mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 3-4 servings.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Side Dishes

 

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Tinkyada Pasta… a staple in our gluten-free kitchen!!

My husband is a pasta-lover! Sometimes I tell him he has spaghetti sauce running through his veins instead of blood. He could eat pasta with red sauce three meals a day for an entire week and not get bored with it. Now, I like a good Italian meal, but not to that extreme. Also, I want to clarify that we don’t really eat pasta all day, every day – because I do most of the cooking and I like variety!

When we had to switch our cooking style to gluten-free, we tried so many brands of rice pasta and corn pasta that we did eat it often. It was like being Goldilocks with the three bears – this one is too soft, this one is too hard. Then we found the Tinkyada brand. I’m not saying this will ever replace a fresh semolina wheat pasta dish from a really good Italian restaurant – but seeing as that would send my husband into days of illness, the Tinkyada brand has really been a great substitute.

I can purchase this brand in my local grocery store in their organic foods section. It comes in several different shapes and pasta-types – spaghetti, linguine, ziti, elbows, spirals, and probably more. Ask your grocer to stock it if you don’t see it – maybe they will.

I have also tried using it to make a cold pasta salad, which did not work as well as I’d hoped. It turned out too tough and chewy as a cold dish. So, my suggestion is keep it hot and covered with a yummy sauce of your choice. As with anything I suggest, your personal taste preferences are what matters the most. If you like it – great! If not, move onto the next product and keep trying to find the one you like best…

Enjoy!!

P.S. Some fun news from Gluten-Free Medley… I have just started a Masters of Science program in Holistic Nutrition! It’s an online course and it will take me about 2-3 years to complete. I’m very excited about this program and I hope to incorporate some of the information I will be learning into this blog, so stay tuned…

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Ingredients/Products

 

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Sea Grass Bistro in Yarmouth, Maine…phenomenal food and gluten-free!!

Photo courtesy of Sea Grass Bistro Facebook page.

Last night, my husband and I went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We usually go into the city of Portland and eat somewhere we’ve been before and know the menu has gluten-free options. We wanted something different this time, something special. I let my husband decide where we would go, because he’s the one with the diet restrictions and I wanted him to feel comfortable with a new restaurant. So, he did a general search for gluten-free menus in the Portland area. I’m not quite sure how he found this restaurant, but I’m very glad he did! It’s the Sea Grass Bistro and it’s located in the town of Yarmouth, Maine – about half way between Portland and Freeport (home to L.L. Bean‘s flagship store).

The majority of the menu items are gluten-free and they are clearly marked with a GF on the menu. We both enjoyed an appetizer – my husband had a creamy risotto with roasted red peppers and I had a small piece of grilled tuna with pea pods. We followed this with a very light and tasty salad of local mixed greens. Our entrees were melt-in-your-mouth delicious! My husband enjoyed a parmesan crumb-crusted pollack filet and I had the pan-seared breast of duck. According to our server, the menu changes every three weeks. All of my food items were gluten-free, too, and I let my husband taste each one. For dessert, he had a flour-less chocolate torte and I had home-made coconut ice cream.

Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally” and Meg Ryan did that scene in the diner? My husband thought his chocolate torte would qualify for that kind of scene!!

So, if you are ever in this area of Maine, make a visit to the L.L. Bean store and for dinner, head down Route 1 and eat at the Sea Grass Bistro. Maybe you’ll see us there – we will be going back, often!!!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Dining Out

 

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Avocado Lime Pie…really creamy!

Why would anyone put an avocado in a pie? Well, the first time I saw something similar to this was on the Food Network show “Chopped” a couple years ago. I decided to try it this week and see if I could make something gluten-free and delicious. I think it worked, but the true test is if someone else likes it too (my husband does, but he likes almost everything)! It has the consistency of pudding, with a mild lime flavor and not too sweet. I can’t taste the avocado myself, but I think it adds a wonderful creaminess to the pie. The walnut crust has a nice crunchy texture and I think pecans or almonds would work just as well.

It really has to be chilled well, so it’s firm enough to cut. The flecks you see are from the walnuts leftover in the food processor. I used the food processor for the crust first, then without cleaning it, added the filling ingredients and processed them. This saves me time and makes for less dish duty. Always a bonus in my kitchen!

Serve with fresh whipped cream – yum!

Avocado Lime Pie

Crust:

2½ cups shelled walnut pieces

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Filling:

1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned

1 container (7 oz.) 2% plain Greek yogurt (or 1 cup sour cream)

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate. For the crust, place the walnuts in a food processor and grind until crumbly. Add in the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Process until well blended. Press firmly into the greased pie plate. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown slightly. Let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Again using the food processor, add the filling ingredients and blend very well. Pour the batter on top of the walnut crust in the pie plate. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is set. Let cool, then chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Desserts

 

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Gluten-free Zucchini Bread…a touch of summer in February!

This recipe for Gluten-free Zucchini Bread makes two loaves – enjoy one and freeze the other to use when unexpected guests pop in, or give one to a friend to brighten their day. I realize zucchini may not be as fresh this time of year as it is during the harvest time in the summer, but it will add a little green to your day. It’s also a great way to add extra vegetables to your child’s plate in a sweet way.  I like to leave the skin on the zucchini for extra fiber and color, but I do remove the seeds in the center before I shred it. A food processor will make the shredding process so easy.

USDA summer squash

Image via Wikipedia

Next summer, when your garden may be giving you more zucchini than you can eat, shred it then, measure it out for this recipe and freeze it in a ready-to-use package. When you defrost it, don’t drain the water – it will add moistness to the bread. If you want to try using the yellow variety of summer squash, that will work too.

This is our favorite way to eat zucchini – we aren’t fond of the texture or flavor all by itself. For us, it needs to be dressed up or disguised. The added bonus is having a gluten-free bread to eat as a snack or with tea for breakfast. Enjoy!

Gluten-free Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3¼ cups Pamela’s Gluten-free Baking & Pancake Mix

1½ cups zucchini, seeds removed, shredded (skin left on)

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (using Pamela’s mix) two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in brown sugar and oil and beat well. Add cinnamon, cloves and Pamela’s mix to egg mixture and beat together to blend completely. Gently stir in shredded zucchini with a spatula. Add nuts, raisins and vanilla and stir until well mixed. Pour evenly into loaf pans. Bake for 60-65 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 2 loaves.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Quick Breads

 

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Gluten-free rolls, best texture so far…Schär!

My husband LOVES bread and sandwiches, so when he became intolerant of wheat gluten, it made him very sad…until very recently!

We’ve been experimenting with gluten-free breads and rolls for a few months now. We’ve tried buying them frozen at the local supermarket, fresh at Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s, in box mixes or making them from scratch – somehow they just never seem to taste quite good enough. Most of the products are crumbly and dry – which makes it difficult to use them for sandwiches. Gluten adds so much to the texture of breads and rolls, it’s hard to find a satisfactory substitute.

Just last week, I finally discovered a gluten-free roll that will hold up to making a deli sandwich, plus it tastes good. My husband rates it an A+! It’s made by a European company called Schär. (http://www.schar.com/us/)

The company has been around since 1922, but launched its first gluten-free line of products in 1981. Although its headquarters are in Italy, it began expanding into the United States in 2007, and then opened it first US production facility in 2011. They have an online store on their website, or you can order some of their products through Amazon.  My local grocery store stocks the “Classic White Rolls”, but I know I’ll be ordering more of their products soon to taste-test them. I’m especially interested in their Ladyfingers – we have a great recipe for Tiramisu. What better place to find gluten-free Ladyfingers than from an Italian company… I’ll keep you posted!

Enjoy!!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Ingredients/Products

 

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