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Here's a great waffle recipe.  Waffles are so fun because you can get so creative with the toppings!  Anything goes -- you can even make them main dish with meat/gravy type toppings.  Plus you can make them into fun "cookies" with the addition of more sugar and some chocolate powder.  Let your imagination run wild!


1 Cup brown or white rice flour
1/2 Cup tapioca flour
1/2 Cup potato starch flour
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional -- see note below)
Whisk together in a bowl.

2 eggs
1/4 Cup oil
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup water
2-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Separate eggs.  Beat yolks, oil, milk, water, and vanilla together.  Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until blended.  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold gently into batter.  Bake on hot waffle iron.  Makes 6-8 waffles. 

Note:  If you like your waffles light and crisp, leave the xanthan gum out.  If you like them with more of a pancake texture, add the xanthan gum.

Do you know how to tell if your waffles are done without peeking?  Watch the steam -- there will be steam coming off of the edge of the waffle iron while they're cooking.  As soon as it stops, they're done.

In my Light As a Feather Pancake post, I suggested pureed peaches as a topping.  They work great on waffles too!  Here's how you do it:

Get out your blender and a quart of peaches.  Pour the peaches into the blender, put on the lid, hold it down, and puree.  If you want it even thicker, you can drain off the juice before putting the peaches into the blender.  Pour over waffles and serve.  Couldn't be simpler!  This can be done with any canned or fresh fruit.  Pick your favorite.  Much healthier for you than syrup, but hey, if you love syrup, knock yourself out!  Melted butter and syrup are a classic.  My personal favorite is fresh strawberries (or any kind of fresh berry or fresh peaches) and whipped cream.  Yum!

I made these waffles up at our cabin in the mountains and it was a very, very sunny morning and we have lots of windows -- hence the shadows and glare in all of the pictures.  Sorry about the poor quality, but the sun was wonderful and welcome.  Spring is at long last arriving up there!  These waffles really are great -- even your gluten eating friends will love them.


Italian Pork Chops

This is a recipe that my husband created!  By the way, you may have noticed the beautiful dishes in the pictures on this blog (if you haven't, you will now :).  They were all made by him -- he's a potter!  If you haven't ever used real handmade pottery in your kitchen, I would encourage you to buy a few pieces from your local artists and try it -- it's a wonderful experience.  Microwave safe, dishwasher safe, holds the heat or cold of whatever is on/in them, pleasantly tactile, lovely to look at, and unique!  What more can I say?  They're just awesome.  I'm completely spoiled.

Anyway, back to the food, this is one of his recipes.  He doesn't spend tons of time in the kitchen, but when he does you can be sure that it's going to be a creative experience!

Italian Pork Chops

Pork chops -- how ever many you want
For each one you'll need:
1 green onion, chopped
1-2 sliced mushrooms, depending on size of mushrooms and size of chops
1-2 slices tomato, depending on size of tomato and size of chops
1 thin slice cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
Italian seasoning
Be sure you have everything gathered and cut up before you start -- it goes pretty fast once you get started.

To assemble:
Fry pork chops (don't overcook them--it's easy to do!), seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.  While they're cooking, saute the mushrooms and green onions together briefly in a little butter.  Take them off the heat if the chops are taking too long, so they don't get overcooked.

When the chops are done, place a slice of tomato on top of each one, sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning, put a spoonful of the sauteed onions and mushrooms on each one, then top with a cheese slice, which should melt from the heat of everything.  Grind a little fresh pepper on top.  They should look about like this:

Serve immediately.

Incidentally, have you tried brining your pork chops before cooking them?  It makes them tender and moist.  Here's how I usually do it:  I buy pork chops in bulk packages and subdivide them at home into freezer bags, flat -- no chops bunched together or on top of one another.  That way I can quickly thaw them in a big bowl of water to which I add about a tablespoon of salt per chop.  Brining and thawing all in one operation!  It usually only takes about 30 minutes.  Also, chops that are darker in color will be more tender when you cook them.  The lighter ones usually look more appealing, but they are more likely to be tough.  Remember not to overcook them -- just until they're cooked through.  Also, if the chops are too thick when you buy them (like the ones Costco sells, which are lovely but sooo thick!), cut them in half horizontally before putting them in the freezer bags -- twice as many to use, and faster/easier to thaw and cook!  Such a deal!


Brown Rice Salad with Grilled Chicken

This is a recipe I got from my good friend Jill.  It is super nutritious and low calorie -- you'll feel virtuous just eating it!  Plus it's delicious -- a winning combo!

Brown Rice Salad with Grilled Chicken

3 Cups cooked brown rice
2 Cups cubed grilled chicken breast
2 medium tart apples, diced
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2/3 Cup chopped green onions
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Cup grapes, cut in half (I always put in 2 cups--they're my favorite part :)

In large bowl, combine all the above.  In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients and shake well.
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Pour over rice mixture and toss to coat.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Keeps well.  8-10 servings.

Isn't it pretty?  It tastes as good as it looks!

If there are types of food or recipes that you'd like to see on this blog, please leave a comment and let me know!  I'd be happy to try and help!


Super Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce for Chicken

This is a great recipe, one I've used often.  I've never met anyone who didn't like it and have given it out dozens of times.  I originally got the recipe from a women I worked with years ago.  There's only three ingredients:

Super Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce for Chicken

1 small bottle Russian salad dressing
1 pkg dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix
10 oz. apricot preserves

Mix together and pour over skinned chicken pieces (makes enough for 1 large chicken, cut up).  Bake at 350 for one hour. 

As far as I've been able to find in my supermarket, WishBone is the only company that makes Russian Dressing.  Because I know you read labels, you will notice that after the ingredient maltodextrin it has corn, wheat in parentheses.  I wondered about that, so I looked it up on the internet.  The source is Gluten Free Living Magazine's website if you want to check it out.  They publish information about many ingredients and here's what they say about maltodextrin:

"Maltodextrin is gluten free.  It can be made from a variety of starches, including corn, potato, rice or wheat.  However the source does not matter because maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient that the protein is removed, rendering it gluten free.  If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, "wheat" will appear on the label.  Even in this case, the maltodextrin would be gluten free."

Also, even though there is no wheat listed in the ingredients of the Lipton Onion Soup Mix, after the ingredients it says, "Made in a facility that processes milk, egg, soy, wheat, sesame and sulfites."

I wondered about that too, so I went to several sources, and couldn't find any conclusive evidence about the danger of contamination from the facility. did talk about the soup mix, though, and said that in their opinion it was gluten free and fine to use.'ll have to decide for yourself whether to use it or not. did offer some recipes for homemade onion soup mixes for those concerned about other ingredients in the Lipton mix that they were allergic to.

When I make this, I skin the chicken (except for the wings) and remove as much of the fat as I can before putting it in the pan, which I've sprayed with Pam to make clean-up easier.  Then I just pour the sauce over it, spooning the excess onto the chicken pieces before popping it into the oven.

After baking for an hour, it looks like this:

The sauce in the pan can be used over rice -- it's delicious.  If you've removed the skin and as much fat as you can find from the chicken pieces, there shouldn't be too much fat floating on top of the sweet and sour sauce.  Just remove the chicken pieces to a serving plate, pour off any excess fat that may be floating on top of the sauce, and then use a spatula to scrape all the yummy sauce into a gravy boat. 

It's spring -- fresh asparagus time!  Do you know this trick for keeping your asparagus nice and crisp for much longer in your refrigerator? 

Just find a container not too much bigger than the bunch you have, put about 1" of water in the bottom and put the asparagus in before placing in your refrigerator.  Easy!


French Bread from Pizza/French Bread Mix

I hope you've tried the pizza crust and are enjoying being able to eat pizza again.  This bread uses the same mix as the pizza crust.  It is not formulated for bread machines.  For the two loaves pictured, I made the large batch:

French Bread

Dry Ingredients:                                                   Small                         Large
Pizza/French Bread Mix                                  1-3/4 Cups               3-1/2 Cups
Dry milk powder or nondairy substitute           3 Tablespoons           6 Tablespoons
Salt                                                                1/2 teaspooon            1 teaspoon
Baking powder                                              1/2 teaspoon              1 teaspoon
Yeast                                                             1 Tablespoon            1 Tablespoon

Wet Ingredients:
Egg whites                                                     2 small                       3 large
Vinegar                                                         1/2 teaspoon              1 teaspoon
Vegetable oil                                                 1-1/2 Tablespoons     3 Tablespoons
Warm water                                                  2/3 Cup                     1-1/3 Cup

Prepare a French bread pan or cookie sheet by greasing and dusting with cornmeal (if desired).

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine the dry ingredients except for the yeast.  In a small bowl combine the yeast and the warm water.  Set aside until dissolved.  Add the egg whites, vinegar, and oil to the water and yeast and beat together.  Add these to the dry ingredients and beat on high for 3 minutes.  Check after the first few seconds of mixing to see if more water is needed.  The dough should be thick but not dry or forming a ball.  Spoon into the French bread pan or onto the cookie sheet in the shape of a French loaf.  Smooth the top with greased fingers.  Cover and let rise about 35 minutes for rapid-rising yeast, 60-75 minutes for regular yeast.  Make slash marks in top, if desired.

Bake in a preheated 425 oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.  Let cool briefly.  Remove from pan, slice and serve.

Bon Appetit!


Pizza/French Bread Mix and Pizza Crust

I cannot even tell you how long and frustrating my search has been for a good pizza crust.  Up until this one, everything had been totally inedible.  Then I decided to try the Pizza/French Bread Mix in "The Gluten-free Gourmet Bakes Bread" by Bette Hagman.  She said in the book that it was good, but so had all of the other recipes I had tried, so I didn't believe it.  But....success!  Tonight I served it to some friends, and they didn't even guess it was gluten free until they saw my husband eating it too.  Plus, it's so convenient to have the mix on hand -- it saves time and effort and when followed exactly, produces predictable results.  So here's the mix recipe:

Pizza/French Bread Mix -- 12 Cups

7 Cups white rice flour
5 Cups tapioca flour
1/4 Cup xanthan gum
4 (7-gram) packets unflavored gelatin
1/4 Cup egg replacer
1/2 Cup granulated sugar

Mix together well; store in container in your pantry.

And now for the good part:

Seasoned Pizza Crust

Dry Ingredients:                                                             1 Crust                      2 Crusts
Pizza/French Bread Mix                                             1-1/2 Cups                 3 Cups
Dry milk powder                                                        3 Tablespoons            1/3 Cup
Italian Pizza Seasoning                                                3/4 teaspoon              1-1/2 teaspoons
Salt                                                                            1/2 teaspoon              1 teaspoon
Dry yeast granules                                                      2-1/2 teaspoons         2-1/2 teaspoons

Wet Ingredients:
Egg whites                                                                 2                                4
Olive oil or vegetable oil                                             1-1/2 Tablespoons     3 Tablespoons
Vinegar                                                                      1/2 teaspoon              1 teaspoon
Warm water (more or less)                                         3/4 Cup                     1-1/2 Cups

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease 1 (2) cookie sheets or round, solid-bottom pizza pan(s).
Blend the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
Place the wet ingredients in the bowl of your heavy-duty mixer and blend.  (Reserve some of the water.)  Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mix.  Add more water if needed to get a firm dough that can still be spread.  Beat on high for 3-1/2 minutes.

Spoon the dough onto the prepared sheet(s) and spread in circle(s) about 12 inches in diameter, making sure the edges are raised to contain the sauce.  (I do this with a thin spatula, turning the pan and forcing the dough to thin out except at the edges.  It takes a while, so be patient!  Try to get the dough pretty evenly distributed so you don't have thick/thin places.)

Let rise about 10 minutes and then bake until crust just starts to brown.  Meanwhile, prepare your toppings.

Spread on your choice of pizza sauces, cheese, meats, and vegetables.  Bake again about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and outer crust is brown.

For this pizza I used a white sauce (garlic ranch--they sell it ready-made at my supermarket in the refrigerated section), about half a pound of mozzerella cheese shredded, 6 green onions chopped, canadian bacon to cover top, sliced fresh mushrooms to cover top, 1/4 lb medium cheddar cheese shredded, and a can of sliced olives.  Be creative -- use anything and everything you like.  See what a nice crisp bottom crust you get?  I just had to flip one over to show you :).

The next post will be French Bread made from this same mix.  Stay tuned!


Black Bean Salsa Dip and Texas Caviar

I recently ran across two awesome appetizer dips that are so good you'll want to skip dinner and eat them until they're gone.  The first I got from my daughter-in-law Julie.  It's mellower than the second one, but so delish!  Here's what you'll need:

Black Bean Salsa Dip

1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup canola oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white corn, drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2-3 tomatoes diced
2 avocados, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix vinegar, oil, beans and corn and let sit overnight if possible.  Add onions, tomatoes and avocados.  Mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill and serve. 

The second appetizer I ate at a party.  It was almost embarrassing -- I couldn't stay away from that bowl of yumminess!  This one is stronger, with more of a kick to it, depending on the salad dressing you use.  Be sure to read the ingredients on the salad dressing bottle to make sure it's wheat free.  The one in the picture is Bernstein's Cheese Fantastico, but on checking the bottle I found that it's not wheat free (apparently the "food starch" listed is wheat), so I had to go with another one, but had already taken the picture and chopped up the vegetables, so.....too late!  My bad!

Texas Caviar

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 short can shoe-peg corn, drained
1 green pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 12 oz bottle Italian dressing

Mix together, chill and serve.

A note about the black-eyed peas--I found them with the canned beans at my supermarket after looking in vain in the canned vegetables (peas) area.  Go figure!  Also, I'm not sure what the difference is between shoe-peg corn and white corn, but they don't taste that different to me, so you could probably substitute if you have canned white corn on hand.  And I learned a neat trick from Rick Bayless on The Food Network last weekend.  When you're using fresh, cut-up onions in a recipe and they seem too strong, you can take the "bite" out by rinsing them under running water, or if you want to mellow them out even more, pour vinegar over them before rinsing. 

Tostitos Scoops are the perfect chip to serve with both these dips--they hold a mouthful of the chopped ingredients and some of the sauce too!


Rich Glazed Poppy Seed Muffins and Featherlight Rice Flour Mix

I've been wanting to try another rice flour mix for awhile and finally got around to it.  It's from Bette Hagman's book "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread" and it's called Featherlight Rice Flour Mix.  I tried it with these muffins, and I think it's even better than the basic Gluten-free Flour Mix -- they were lighter than ever!  (OK, I can hear you asking, "Didn't we just do poppy seed muffins???"  Yes, but more about that in a minute.)  So here's the recipe for the new flour mix:

Featherlight Rice Flour Mix - 12 Cups
4 Cups rice flour
4 Cups tapioca flour
4 Cups cornstarch
4 Tbsp potato flour (this is potato flour, not potato starch)
Mix together and store in a container in your pantry.  Incidentally, since you're not using a lot of the potato flour, you won't have to buy much, but you do need to remember to store it in your freezer or refrigerator. 

I decided to do a "part two" on the muffins, because I wanted to share this particular recipe with you.  It takes more time than the muffins made with the Minute Muffin Mix, so you'll want to factor that in, but these muffins are sweeter, richer, glazed, and totally yummy.  They are wonderful with a main dish salad for a luncheon or dinner, or they could be offered with some fresh fruit for a delightful dessert!  Or just eaten all by themselves when you're craving a little sweet something :).  And there's always Mother's Day coming up -- they'd be great for brunch!

Rich Glazed Poppy Seed Muffins

3 Cups GF flour mix (try the Featherlight Mix!)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup poppy seeds
grated peel of one lemon
Mix together in a bowl and set aside.
1 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup butter
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp sour cream
Put in a large bowl and cream together.
3 eggs -- add one at a time to cream mixture, beating well after each addition.
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
Add to cream mixture, beating well.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Prepare muffin tins:  either grease tins well, or line with paper cups and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray.  Spoon batter (it's very thick) into prepared tins to a slightly rounded top in each cup.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick poked in center of muffin comes out clean.  While baking, prepare glaze:
Citrus Glaze for Poppy Seed Muffins
juice from one lemon
1/4 Cup orange juice
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1-1/2 Cups powdered sugar
Beat together.

When muffins are done, remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Remove muffins from tin and/or paper cups and place on wire rack over wax paper (for easy cleanup).  Spoon glaze over still warm muffins.  Let cool completely.  Makes about 16 muffins.

Mmmm-mmmm, good!  I would imagine that if you like this recipe you could substitute just about anything you wanted (i.e. blueberries, dried fruit, nuts, you get the picture) for the lemon peel, poppy seeds, and lemon juice and create your own favorite muffins.  If you didn't want a citrus glaze for your new ingredients, you could use a plain glaze of 1 Tbsp soft butter, 1/4 Cup milk or water, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1-1/2 Cups powdered sugar.  If you have any left over (yeah, right) you can put them in the microwave for 10 seconds to get them fresh-from-the-oven warm again, or freeze them for later use.


Minute Muffin Mix and 7 muffin recipes!

I've been thinking a lot about how strange this form of communication is.  It's so impersonal!  Every other day I share a part of my life and a recipe I love and then shoot it off into cyberspace, hoping someone out there in the great unknown will enjoy it too, but never really knowing where it lands.  My experience when I got the recipe, however, was just the opposite.  As I go through my recipes to decide which one to share, I realize that nearly all of them are from friends who at some point in time had prepared a dish they loved and then served it to me.  I don't always remember the occasion, but the fact that I have the recipe indicates that I, in turn, also loved the dish and subsequently asked for the recipe, which they graciously provided.  The whole process was completely personal, from the preparation of the food to the sharing of the recipe!  Whenever I get a recipe, I write the name of the person I got it from on the top of the recipe card.  Then, whenever I fix that dish, I also get to savor the fond memories and thoughts of that person along with the food.  And so somehow, even though cyberspace is such an impersonal place, I hope that you, whoever you are, will feel that personal connection through the food you prepare from these recipes.

I recently realized that I have not included any muffin recipes thus far, so here are some I hope you'll like.  They are from Bette Hagman's book "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread."  She provides a muffin mix that you can whip up and keep on hand to save you lots of time when you want muffins in a hurry.  She calls it Minute Muffin Mix.  For a 12-Cup batch of mix stir all these ingredients together and store in a container in your pantry:

Minute Muffin Mix -- 12 Cups

3 Cups garfava bean flour
1 Cup sorghum flour
4 Cups cornstarch
4 Cups tapioca flour
5 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp baking powder
4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp egg replacer
1-1/3 Cups sugar
2 rounded Tbsp powdered vanilla  (if you can't find this, just add 1 tsp. liquid vanilla to the recipe)

Muffin Recipes Using Minute Muffin Mix -- makes 12 muffins
Basic Recipe:
2 Cups Minute Muffin Mix
2 eggs plus 2 whites or 2/3 cup liquid egg substitute (I usually just use 3 eggs)
4 Tbsp oil or melted butter or margarine
1 Cup buttermilk, milk, nondairy liquid, fruit juice, or carbonated drink
1 tsp vanilla if you didn't add powdered vanilla to the mix

Grease muffin tins or line with paper cups and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray.  Preheat oven to 375.

Place the muffin mix in a bowl.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs (or the liquid egg substitute), oil (or melted butter or margarine), and the liquid (and liquid vanilla, if using).

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 12-15 minutes.

The amount in the bowl above is a double batch of the basic recipe.  I wanted several different varieties so that I could freeze some, so I divided the above into four bowls (about 1-1/4 cups of batter in each), and then added the ingredients to each bowl for the first four variations below.  That way I ended up with 6 each of 4 different kinds of muffins!

Clockwise from top:  Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins, Blueberry Muffins (I didn't have fresh blueberries, so I used frozen ones), Nut/Fruit Muffins (I used chopped pecans and snipped dried cherries), and Lemon Muffins.  How's that for fast and easy? 


Nut or fruit muffins:  Add 4 Tbsp raisins, nuts, mashed banana, kiwi, chopped dates, or fresh grated apple.

Lemon muffins:  Add 2 Tbsp lemon zest to the dry ingredients.  Use 3 Tbsp lemon juice as part of the liquid.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins:  Add 1 tsp lemon zest and 4 tsp poppy seeds to the dry ingredients.

Blueberry Muffins:  Add 4 Tbsp fresh blueberries to the dry ingredients.

Almond-Banana Muffins:  Add 2 Tbsp almond meal to the dry ingredients.  Use water for the liquid and, after the mix is beaten, fold in 1 banana, chopped.

Apple-Spice Muffins:  Add 1-1/2 tsp apple pie spice to the dry ingredients.  Use apple juice for the liquid, and after mixing, fold in 2 Tbsp chopped fresh apple.

Apple-Pecan Muffins:  Add 4 Tbsp almond meal and 4 Tbsp chopped pecans to the dry ingredients.  Use apple juice for the liquid.

One thing I've noticed about most of Bette Hagman's recipes is that she uses sugar sparingly.  These are not as sweet as commercial muffins, but are great when served warm with jams, jellies, or honey.


Strawberry Spinach Salad

Since strawberry season is here, I thought I'd give you another yummy recipe using strawberries.  I got this recipe from my friend Janice and it is so simple, but so delicious!  And it looks pretty too:

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1 bag spinach
1 quart (2 lbs) fresh strawberries, sliced

1 egg yolk
1/4 Cup sugar
6 Tbsp oil
juice of one lemon

Put dressing ingredients in small jar and shake well to blend.  Pour over salad, toss, and serve immediately (the spinach starts to wilt after its been in the dressing for awhile, so dress it right before you serve it).

The strawberry container in the picture is the 4 lb size, so you would need half of it for the recipe.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there anything that smells as good when it's baking (besides bread) as chocolate chip cookies?  It has to rank right up there in the top two or three delectable smells.  If you've been missing them big time since you went gluten free, wait no more.  Run, don't walk, to your kitchen and mix up a batch of these -- guaranteed to satisfy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 Cup butter (1 cube)
1/4 Cup shortening
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup brown sugar
Cream above together.
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat into sugar/butter mixture.
2-1/4 Cups rice powder GF flour mix (see Texas Sheet Cake for mix recipe)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Mix dry ingredients together.  Beat into above. 
Chocolate chips -- type and quantity of your choice
Stir into batter.  Roll into small balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 until golden.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Got cookies?


Main Course Salad

About once or twice a month we have a salad like this for dinner.  Each one is different, depending on what I have on hand, what's in season, and what sounds good.  Tonight's was especially tasty.  I hadn't anticipated using it for the blog, but my husband was so enthusiastic about it that I decided to go ahead.  I'll tell you what I used for one salad, then you can multiply it for however many people you're feeding.  Just pile up the ingredients on the plate as they're listed and you're done!

Main Dish Salad for One

1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large radish, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 baby carrots, julienned
1/4 apple, chopped
1/2 naval orange, peeled and chopped
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped

5 large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, cut into thirds (I use frozen ones that are already peeled and deveined, thaw them, remove the tails, and snip them into thirds with kitchen shears)
5 medium sized brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 large clove garlic, minced fine
Saute shrimp and mushrooms together in olive oil just until shrimp turn pink, adding garlic right at the last so it doesn't brown, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from pan; set aside.

1/2 chicken breast
In same pan, fry chicken breast in vegetable oil until cooked through and browned on the outside (5-7 minutes per side).  Season with Lawry's seasoning salt.  Remove from pan and let rest 5 minutes.  Cut into bite-size chunks.  

Sprinkle shrimp/mushroom mixture on salad.  Top with chicken.  Serve.  

If I prepare this for a party, I set out the ingredients in individual bowls like a salad bar, including a variety of salad dressings, and let everyone create their own salad.  My salad dressing of choice is Briannas Home Style Poppyseed Dressing -- it is particularly wonderful on salads that have fresh fruit in them.  My husband's favorite is Oak Hill Farms Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.  We have tried a number of different brands of Vidalia Onion Dressing, but Oak Hill Farms is by far the best.  If you have seen it and thought it sounded gross, you need to know that it is not overwhelming oniony tasting at all, like you might think from the label -- it's sweet/sour/spicy/yummy with just a hint of onion.  Costco has been carrying it lately or you can order it online from  We buy it 10 bottles at a time to tide us over when Costco doesn't have it -- it seems to be somewhat seasonal and we go through a lot of it.  Salad days are almost here -- my favorite time of year!



Spaghetti Sauce

I got this recipe years ago from my friend Joan.  We got to know each other when our husbands were getting their graduate degrees at the same university and we lived near each other.  We have stayed in touch ever since, and she served this to us one time when we went to visit them.  Up until then, I had used one of those seasoning packets to make spaghetti sauce, which isn't too bad if you jazz it up a little with meat and veggies.  But this tasted so much better and she said it was easy, so I got the recipe and have used it ever since.  The original recipe calls for regular flour, of course, but rice flour works exactly the same.  It makes a little over 2 quarts of spaghetti sauce and freezes well, so if you have any left over, put what you need for a meal into a quart jar or tightly lidded container and freeze it for a quick and easy meal when you're pressed for time.  Also, you don't have to simmer it for an hour if you're in a hurry, but it tastes better if you do.   

Spaghetti Sauce

1-1/2 to 2 lbs lean hamburger
1 chopped onion
chopped celery, if desired
Brown together in large pan;  drain off fat.  Put meat mixture back into pan.

1 Tbsp rice flour for each lb of meat used -- stir into drained meat mixture.  Then add:

2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes or 1 quart home canned tomatoes
3 cans (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp catsup
sliced mushrooms (optional)
Simmer together for an hour.

Serve over prepared brown rice spaghetti pasta.  Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.

If you add the mushrooms, you can used canned ones if you like, or fresh ones sliced up.  If you use fresh mushrooms and they have soil clinging to them, just use a dry paper towel to rub it off before slicing.  If you put them in water to wash it off and leave them too long, they'll absorb the water and get soggy.  Yuck!  Some nice hot bread or biscuits goes well with this.  See March 6 post for biscuit recipe. 


Mom's Potato Salad

When I was growing up, there were some dishes at Easter dinner that were always the same, and some dishes that varied from year to year.  The standards were ham, fruit salad, and potato salad, and the other side dishes and desserts changed.  The potato salad was the most anticipated one of the year, because it was the first one of the year, and signaled the start of spring and summer meals featuring barbequed meats and salads galore.  My mom is a great cook and her potato salad is, I think, unique.  I've never tasted another one like it anywhere.  It's very simple, creamy, not vinegary, and has no pickles in it.  Its surprise ingredient, which people always have a hard time identifying, is fresh cucumber.  When I first started making this potato salad, it never tasted the same as my mom's!  It was so frustrating!  The first problem was that there wasn't an actual recipe -- mom rarely used recipes, preferring to just put things together.  Finally, one year my grandmother decided she wanted a written recipe, so she watched mom make it and wrote things down as they went along.  That helped, but mine still wasn't as good as hers.  Then, a couple years ago, mom happened to mention that red potatoes work best because they stay firmer when cooked, which was not noted in the recipe.  Also not noted was what size to cut the vegetables.  After watching mom make it about a year ago, I realized I'd been cutting mine much too big.  Just that change alone made a huge difference!  You'll note in the picture that there is a tool laying on the board.  It's a cutter for making french fries.  I've found it's the perfect tool for cutting up the cooked potatoes, at least for the first cut.  Then I just cut the long pieces shaped like french fries into little cubes.  Perfect!  And then there was the issue of the dressing -- again, no amounts were given, so it was experiment and take notes, over and over until the big day finally arrived:  potato salad that tasted just like mom's!  So, here it is, with all the details noted so you can have success your first time around.  Oh yeah, another note:  this tastes best if made the day before you want to serve it -- the flavors really meld and the salt mellows out.  If you're going to serve it shortly after making it, you'll need to cut back on the salt a little.  The potatoes seem to absorb quite a bit as it sits -- sometimes you even have to add a little the next day.  Be sure you taste test it before serving.

Mom's Potato Salad

6-8 large red potatoes, boiled whole in jackets, then peeled and cubed small when cool
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut small
1 medium onion, chopped very fine
3 single celery stalks, cubed small
1/2 large or 1 small cucumber, cubed small
3 Cups real mayonnaise
2 rounded Tbsp regular yellow mustard
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Cut up all vegetables and combine in large bowl.  Mix mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper together.  Pour over vegetables and mix well.  Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.  Makes about 10-11 cups of salad--enough for a crowd (12+)!

The onion I had was huge, so I just used half of it.  I also used half of an English cucumber, since they're sweeter and have tiny seeds compared to the cucumbers you can get at the store this time of year.  Later in the summer, the regular cucumbers get better, or best yet, you can get a perfect one out of your garden!

You can see how everything is cut up pretty small.

Here's what it looks like when it's done:  cool, creamy, yummy!  I sprinkled the top with some dried parsley for a little color.  Feel free to decorate it with whatever you'd like--be creative!  If you've made it the day before serving, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  Remember to taste it to adjust the salt before serving.  Enjoy! 


Easter Bunnies, Hot Cross Buns, Strawberry Shortcake

When my three youngest children were little, they attended a wonderful preschool.  Their teacher's name was Mrs. Erickson and the parents were expected to take turns helping in the classroom.  When Mrs. Erickson found out that I made homemade bread, she asked if there was a baking project that I could do with the kids at school.  I had been making these bunnies for my own kids at Easter time (the original ones were made with jazzed up dinner roll dough), and they loved helping to make them, so I decided to try it at preschool.  Luckily the class size was small and Mrs. Erickson helped with crowd control, so we were able to help the kids each make a bunny to take home.  It was such a hit after the first time we tried it that it became a yearly tradition, even the years I didn't have a child in the class!  Because Easter is coming, I have been thinking about the bunnies and wondering how I could make some wheat free ones, since any kind of bread/roll dough in wheat free land is actually a batter which you can't handle.  I decided to try modifying my biscuit recipe, which can be handled, and they turned out pretty cute, although the biscuit texture vs. dinner roll texture is completely different, of course.  If you make them with the GF mix using Rice Powder, the texture will be tender and almost cake-like.  So here's the recipe with the modifications and instructions on how to assemble them:

Easter Bunny Biscuits

2 Cups GF flour mix (2-1/4 Cups if using the Rice Powder Gluten Free mix)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
grated zest of one small orange or one lemon, depending on which flavor you like best
6 Tbsp butter
1 Cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients and citrus zest together.  Cut in butter.  Stir in buttermilk.  Knead lightly on floured surface.  Pat out 1/2" to 3/4" thick.  Using two different sizes of cutters, cut out bunny bodies and heads.  Cut out ears by using the edge of one of the cutters on the edge of one of the smaller circles (see picture).  Roll little leftover pieces between hands for bunny tail.  Use raisins for eyes.

Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.  Glaze while still slightly warm.


1 Tbsp soft butter
1 Tbsp citrus juice
1/2 Cup powdered sugar

Whisk together until smooth. 

Isn't this a dish anyone would love to see on Easter morning?  Bet they eat the ears first!

Did you have a tradition of Hot Cross Buns for Easter when you were a child?  You can use this same recipe to make them -- just cut out rounds and with a sharp knife make a cross on the top.  Bake, glaze and eat!

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberries are back!  I saw some in my supermarket this week for a not-too-terrible price and had to have them!  They are about my favorite fruit--right up there with fresh peaches.  Strawberry Shortcake has always seemed like the perfect dessert for Easter dinner, and you can use this same recipe again for the shortcakes!  If you use the GF flour mix with the rice powder, they will be more cake-like; with the GF flour mix with the rice flour, they will be more biscuit-like -- you choose your favorite.  Either way, the citrus is a nice addition to the flavor of the strawberries.  Be sure to prepare your strawberries several hours in advance -- cut them up, sprinkle with sugar and stir, then let them macerate in your refrigerator until they're shiny and juicy.  When making the shortcakes, you can go two ways -- either patted out a little thicker (3/4") and then cut with a 3" round or if you like a more rustic look, the batter can be spooned right from the bowl onto the cookie sheet into a 3" wide mound.

Sprinkle with sugar, bake and cool.  Split horizontally carefully.

Put bottom piece on plate,  spoon on strawberries, then whipped cream, place top on and repeat with strawberries and cream.  I used the cut out shortcake for this dessert.  Isn't this delectable looking?

Happy Easter!