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!