Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies on a Snow Day!

Thumbprint Butter Cookies

1 1/2 c gluten free flour mix
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
jam of your choice (I used rasberry)

Mix the  flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla just until the dough holds together Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about an hour. 
Preheat the oven to 350. Roll the cold dough into balls, press your finger into the middle to make an indent, and fill with jam. Bake 10-12 minutes, cool on cookie sheet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry Delights

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cranberry Delights 

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix 

1 tsp. baking soda
1/tsp. salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups gluten free oats
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with a mixer at medium speed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Gradually add the baking mix and cinnamon and mix on low until smooth.

Stir in the oats and cranberries until evenly distributed.
Drop in small teaspoons-full on a silpat or slightly greased cookie sheet. Allow plenty of room for them to spread during baking. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cooking times will vary according to the size of the cookie. Let cool before removing from the silpat or cookie sheet or they could crumble.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Apricot Jam cookies

Enjoy these nice, delicate cookies with a nice cup of tea or hot cocoa!

2 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup apricot jam, plus more for topping the cookies

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. Sift them into another bowl with a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside. Put the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and use the paddle attachment. (If you don't have a stand mixer, it's ok)  Beat the butter for about 30 seconds, and then add the sugar. Beat for only one minute. (When you over-cream the butter and sugar in gluten-free cookies, they spread out in a disappointing fashion.) Add the egg and beat for one minute more. Next, pour in the milk and vanilla. At this point, the batter will look lumpy, even curdled. Don't worry. Keep going.

On the lowest setting, spin the stand mixer and add in the jam. When it is incorporated into the dough, add the dry ingredients, 1/4 cup at a time. You will know you are done when the dough is thick, almost to the point that it resists being poked.

These cookies work best as small cookies, so spoon them onto the baking sheet with a teaspoon. Leave space between the cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through the baking process. The cookies are done when the tops are firmish. They will be pale -- if you keep baking them until they are browned, you will have horribly stiff cookies. You're just looking for browning around the edges.

Bring out the baking sheet from the oven. Make a small indentation in the top of each cookie with the back of a spoon. Carefully pat a dollop of jam into the indentation. Allow the cookies to cool for a few moments before removing them from the rack.

Eat and enjoy.

Makes about 18 cookies

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snickerdoodles Day!

 Credit goes to Irwin Lin of  Eat the Love  for this delicious recipe.
Gluten Free Girl  also has a blog post today about Irwin's Snickerdoodles ! 

This recipe is amazing! 

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp sugar
½ cup trans-free shortening
1 ½ cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp xantham gum
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 cup superfine white rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch
(I substitute my own gluten free baking mix for the flours, xantham gum and starches)

1. Take the butter out of the refrigerator and cut it into ½” chunks. Put the chunks into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer (outfitted with the paddle attachment).
2. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
3. Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with silpats or parchment paper
4. Combine the cinnamon and the 3 Tbls of granulated white sugar together in a shallow bowl. Put aside.
5. Put the shortening in the bowl with the butter and turn on the mixer to medium, beating them together until they are well blended.
6. Add the 1 ½ cups of sugar, and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
7. Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each addition and scraping down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg yolk and beat again. Add the vanilla and beat again.
8. Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and xantham gum into the butter mixture and beat well.
9. Add the flours and beat until smooth.
10. Roll 1 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1” balls into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on the baking sheets about 2” apart.
11. Bake for 12 minutes of until the tops of the cookies start to crack a little. Try not to over bake them, but don’t underbake them either. You want them them to crack on top, but not to look to dark brown. Let them cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then move them to a rack to cool.

Makes 48 cookies.

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas Day Cookies

The Second Week of Advent

Today is St. Nicholas Day!  Here is a recipe for St. Nicholas Purse Cookies!

Saint Nicholas Purse Cookies
Cookies on plate
Saint Nicholas Purse Cookies

1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups  Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
¼ cup corn starch
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
24 Hershey chocolate covered truffle Kisses
about 2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)
¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º.
In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together on low until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for 1 minute on low speed. Sift the flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt into the butter mixture. Mix on low speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture will look crumbly at first and then suddenly it will begin to blend together. When the dough forms into a ball it is ready. Lightly roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball, press a kiss into the ball and mold the dough up to shape a cookie that looks like a cinched bag (they settle during baking). Place the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350º oven until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit on pan for one minute before placing on a cookie rack to cool. When cookies are cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Cookie Recipe!

I will be posting cookie recipes every few days from now until Christmas. This is a recipe my friend Maureen gave me many years ago.  I have made it every Christmas since then.  These don't hang around my house very long!  I have to make them late at night so nobody opens the oven too soon and eats them!

Forgotten Cookies

2 egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8oz. oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate bits (mini chips work very well)
Preheat oven to 375°F
Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved.  Fold in chocolate.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking sheet. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls (or use piping bag) onto lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.
Place cookie sheet in oven and turn oven off. Leave cookies in oven (without opening the oven door!) for at least 4 hours or overnight.  This recipe is best made on a clear day when the air is nice and crisp.  Humidity is not good for these cookies, they will not dry out properly.  Store in a covered container.
Makes about 2 dozen.

Variation:  Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mixture after adding sugar. Beat well.
                Add 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds to mixture at the end.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Successes

I am joining Danielle Bean this week in her "Small Successes". 

My small successes for the week:
1.  Started writing out my Christmas Cards.
2.  Went for my Mammo.
3.  Now that I have figured out my other food allergy, I have managed to stay "corn free" for a whole week now.  

What have you done this week that was successful?  Click on this link to see Danielle's column.   Faith and Family Live "Small Successes"

It's so important to give ourselves credit for the things we do. Even little things make us feel good about ourselves!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surviving the Holidays on a Gluten Free Diet

The Holiday season has begun!  With it comes Christmas songs on the radio, movies on TV, and parties galore!  If you are new to gluten free living you may be wondering how you are going to get through this season without being "glutenized"!  In order to stay healthy during this busy party season, I usually scrutinize everything I eat by before putting it in my mouth. When in doubt,  SKIP IT.  If it doesn't grow in the ground or isn't butchered, assume it isn't safe. Better to be safe than sorry, right? Well meaning people may think that something is safe for you to eat, but unless you know every single ingredient used in preparation you are better off not eating it.  I usually bring something with me that I know I can have, that way I can enjoy the company of others and stay healthy too.  It's safer that way. Many gluten free cakes and cookies are available in health food stores, and there are many gluten free cake  mixes available.  As a gluten free baker, I am getting more orders from people who have learned about my products from friends and relatives.  If you would like information on how to order my products please email me at     Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Yesterday our family had a very peaceful Thanksgiving.  Hours of preparation can make us exhausted, but when we are all together at the dinner table on Thanksgiving we have so much to be thankful for.  Families gather and just  being able to be together is sometimes a miracle in itself.  This year our family was especially thankful for the expertise of doctors and surgeons.  God has plans for all of us, and this past year He has blessed our family abundantly with many gifts. I think this poem sums up everything:

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Here is a recipe for one of my favorite day after Thanksgiving lunches. I think you will chuckle when you read it!

1  large slice of turkey
cranberry sauce

Place turkey on plate. Top with cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy, in that order.  Heat in microwave till piping hot.  Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Baking/Cooking Countdown

I am following the lead of Danielle Bean tonight and tomorrow morning.   Here is my list of things I am cooking/baking.

Magic Cookie Bars
Pumpkin muffins
Sweet potato Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Custard
Yellow Rice for Parish Thanksgiving Dinner for the poor
Fried shallots 
Stuffing Muffins
GF Stuffing

As they go in the oven, I am crossing them off my list. 

What are you cooking/baking tonight and tomorrow?  : )

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Thanksgiving Recipes!

The preparations have begun!   Here are some more gluten free recipes for Thanksgiving.
 There is no need to miss the taste of traditional pie with these recipes!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pumpkin Custard

2 eggs
16 ounces pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup molasses

Whisk eggs, whisk in remaining ingredients. Spray ramekin with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour in mixture. Bake custard at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (not sweetened canned pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice 
  • 2 lightly beaten large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup rice, soy or almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in blender.  Pour into a Gluten free unbaked pie crust or into a ramekin sprayed with non stick cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Be sure not to overcook, as the top will crack. 

As a substitute for apple pie I make this Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Gluten Free Apple Crisp
4 Granny Smith apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons  white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free flour

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup Gluten free oats
1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice apples thinly (I don't peel mine).  Put into medium bowl and toss  with lemon juice.  Add sugars, flour and cinnamon. Pour into a baking dish.  Put softened butter or margarine into a small bowl.  Add sugar, flour and cinnamon. Blend together with pastry blender or your fingers until it is crumbly.  Sprinkle over apples in baking dish.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is browned. If topping is browning too quickly cover with foil for a bit, then remove for last 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!  They have been my Thanksgiving staples for quite a few years now.  If you have any recipes you would like to share, or have any questions please comment. Thank You everyone and happy baking!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cranberry Sauce and Gluten free Turkey

Cranberry sauce is naturally gluten free. At this time of year I love to make a lot so I can use it when I have any kind of poultry.  I have been making this recipe for more than 20 years.  I make 2 different varieties. They are basically the same, but one uses orange juice which gives the sauce a nice citrus flavor.  For those with citrus allergies, the plain one is great too!

Cranberry Sauce

3 cups cranberries
1 cup water or orange juice
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, heat on high till cranberries start to pop. Stir frequently.  Lower heat to medium and cook and stir until all cranberries are popped and sauce starts to thicken. This will happen rapidly!   

Enjoy with your gluten free turkey!  Speaking of gluten free turkeys, not all turkeys are gluten free!  Be careful when buying yours.  I stick with Shady Brook Farms, as it says "gluten free" right on the label. A fresh turkey would probably be gluten free, but ask your butcher just to be sure it isn't injected with anything that contains gluten.  I hope you are all enjoying this busy weekend before Thanksgiving!  Please feel free to post gluten free recipes that you are using this Thanksgiving in the comments section of my blog.

Gluten Free Stuffing

Gluten Free Stuffing Muffins

2 boxes (12 waffles) Van's or kinnikinnick  GF frozen waffles, toasted and cut into 1/2" cubes 

1 large onion chopped
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced crosswise 

2 apples chopped
About 1 tablespoon Bell's Poultry Seasoning (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (or margarine)
1-1/2 cups organic chicken stock  (May be more or less depending on consistency you like)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the frozen waffles until crispy but not burned. Let cool, then cut into 1/2" cubes. Set aside.
Cook onions, celery and herbs in butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, toss together bread cubes, vegetables,apples and stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spray a muffin pan with non stick spray. Scoop stuffing mixture into pan.  Bake, uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until muffins are heated through.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Hello friends!  It's been a long week.  I am going to share some gluten free recipes for Thanksgiving this weekend. Stay tuned...................

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning

It looks like it is going to be another beautiful day!  The sun is shining and the temperatures are supposed to reach the 60's again.  What are you making for breakfast today?   I'm going to start my day with some gluten free blueberry pancakes !  Bob's Red Mill Pancake Mix works well for me.  When making gluten free batters it is important to mix well.  Unlike regular wheat flour, which has gluten of course, it becomes a better pancake batter if you beat it with a mixer for a few minutes.  I had to change my mindset about that when I first started making gluten free baked goods.  I was used to "mix until just moistened".  The first couple of times I made muffins they were like lead balloons.  Now I know it is important to mix (I use a mixer for all gluten free baking)  well, and for a longer amount of time .  I'll be making some gluten free cupcakes today to bring to my Mom's.  Chocolate is my specialty.  For those of you who are vegan, my recipe contains no dairy or eggs.   They are the consistency of devil dogs and are especially good with mocha frosting. If you like devil dogs you can make them with a marshmallow cream frosting.  Yummmmmm.   If you would like to try some of my cupcakes send me an email at  .      Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's day!

Today we honor all Veteran's who have served our country with honor and bravery.  Thank You to all the Veteran's I know personally, especially the young men who are in Afghanistan and Iraq right now.  I pray that they all remain safe.  To my Dad, my uncles, cousins and friends who are Veteran's I say "Thank You for keeping us free and God Bless the USA!!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Managing a Budget while living Gluten Free

Tonight I will address Kimberlie's second question.   Kimberlie said :"The other advice I would like is how can it be affordable for a family of 6. All the products are 2-3 times more expensive than regular. It's not that we have to all be GF but it's easier for me to just make one meal as opposed to two."  
I personally do not buy a lot of "gluten free" products.  I realize that you do have younger children and you may want to buy pre-packaged products to make things easier for yourself.  Unfortunately as you have said gluten free products are a lot more expensive than the regular products. When my children were younger I used rice cakes for bread.  This may or may not appeal to your crew.  If you want to make pancakes or waffles, you can buy gluten free flour mixes and make your own.  They are a bit more expensive than regular flour but not as expensive as prepackaged items.  Make sure to buy one that has xanthan gum.  Just substitute the gluten free flour mix for regular wheat flour, and it should work in most cases.  Be sure that the batter is very well combined. Unlike regular flour you can't "overmix" the pancake and waffle batter. It needs to be well combined for good results.  Gluten free muffins work well for breakfast too!  If your kids like chocolate cupcakes, just google "gluten free vegan cupcakes".  You will find a great recipe!  Also, remember that plain potato chips, tortilla chips and corn chips are a good substitute for pretzels.  Be sure to check labels though. Some flavored potato chips have wheat in them.  I learned that the hard way. 
     Let's move on to dinner. Most nights I cook a meat, rice or potato and a vegetable.  That way everyone can eat the same food.  I bake or broil most meats and they are not only gluten free, but healthier too.  You can always use gluten free corn flakes to make "fried chicken" in the oven.  If you want to make regular fried chicken I found that rice flour is a great substitute for wheat flour.  It comes out really crispy and delicious!   If your crew cannot do without bread, I wish I had a suggestion for you, but right now I don't.  I have not come across any that I care for.  When making soup, use rice and everyone in the family can eat it.  If they like noodles, you can always use rice noodles.  The cellophane type Chinese noodles would work well. 
     Thanks for reading my blog !  I hope I have helped you with your family meal plans Kimberlie!  Let me know if I can make any further suggestions. 
Until next time, Joan Marie. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Back!

     I hope everyone enjoyed their extra hour of sleep last night, I know I did!   The family and I went to a wedding yesterday and I was very happy to find out that the chef would substitute gluten free pasta for  regular.  That was the first time this has happened. Usually I have to fore-go the pasta at special events. It was a pleasant surprise to me!   More and more, restaurants have become aware of the special dietary needs of their "gluten free" clientele.  Five years ago I had to be more careful of being "gluten contaminated" when I went out to eat.  Nowadays, 9 times out of 10, if I mention that I am on a "gluten free" diet, the waiter and chef know exactly what I am talking about. 
     One of my readers, Kimberlie, mentioned that her husbands doctor had difficulty determining if he was truly celiac.  I remember reading that the only surefire way to tell was through genetic testing.   If you have the genetic marker for celiac  it may be wise to go gluten free.  I say "If you feel better, then do it!" For many years I was on again/off again on the gluten free diet.  A few years ago I went totally gluten free, and have never felt better.  The pains in my joints have gotten better, and my gastrointestinal problems have pretty much dissappeared.  Every once in a while I am tempted to eat gluten, but am reminded by my previous violent reactions that this would not be a very wise decision.  The way  I work through my cravings is by substituting delicious gluten free recipes for the original ones.  My favorites are gluten free pumpkin muffins and chocolate cupcakes, which are not only gluten free but vegan.   I tend not to make as many baked things as I used to, but find that I enjoy them more now when I do bake.  So, my suggestion to Kimberlie is to find some really good recipes that you can substitute for the original ones. If anyone has any recipes they would like to share, please feel free to post them.  Kimberlie, if you could tell us what particular things your husband likes best, maybe we can share our gluten free recipes for those items here also!   Thanksgiving will be upon us shortly, and I'm sure that we can come up with some recipes to share here.  That's all I have time for today, and I will address some more questions tomorrow!  Have a Happy Gluten Free Evening !


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good Morning Gluten Free Friends!

My cupcakes and muffins will be available for sampling today at the St. Andrews Vintage Fair in Richmondtown, Staten Island, NY. My friend Marianne was kind enough to take some samples with her today and fliers are available for distribution.  Please stop by Marianne's table. She has a lovely array of religious articles from the Holy Land for sale at reasonable prices.  Her business is called Glory Glory! "The place where you will find unique Christian gifts at affordable prices."   Here is the link to her website.
Have a great day! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hi Everyone!

I've finally done it!  I have created my own blog!  Thanks to encouragement from a few very supportive people in my life, I have gotten up the gumption to start my own gluten free cupcake and muffin business. This blog is the place where I can share some thoughts and ideas about my gluten free way of living with you.  This journey began way back in 1992 when I found out my youngest daughter was allergic to wheat.  That was the beginning of a very adventurous and creative time for me. Over the years we weren't always consistent with wheat free eating.  Over the last 5 years I have become totally gluten free and have discovered that gluten free baking can be delicious and just as good as wheat based goodies.   That is all I am going to write for today, and am looking forward to sharing my many thoughts and ideas on a regular basis about my gluten free life.  Peace!