This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Well.~~Time to plan! Sarah’s birthday is Sunday and Dawn’s was yesterday, and of course Sunday is Father’s Day…so this weekend is all about celebrating! I will be making two gluten free cakes, so look for photos and complete recipes for those later on in the week. The weather is supposed to finally be decent, so we’ll be doing some grilling. Like last week, please email me or leave a comment below if you’d like the specific recipe (with measurements etc.) for anything I don’t post fully. I can leave recipes in the comments area or send them to your email addy! Here are my thoughts on meals for the week:

Saturday: Birthday Barbecue! The McDowells will be coming over to celebrate Sarah and Dawn’s birthdays. Sarah wants to roast hot dogs over the fire pit and play camping with all the kids, so they will be having hot dogs. Bar S brand is gluten free and cheap, Isaiah will probably just have his bun-free but Kinnikinnik has good gf buns. The grown ups will have grilled hamburgers, I make mine from scratch with a dash of Worcester sauce and some Lipton Onion Soup mix. I will make a huge batch of Pickle Potato Salad (recipe will be posted this week, this is one I get requests for all the time) and we will use half of it for Sunday’s family party. I will also make Cucumber and red onion salad with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. Now for the really fun part…Dessert!!! I am planning on making a vanilla Castle Cake. I am going to go out to the specialty store for gluten free ice cream cones, and we’ll have cake, ice cream and strawberries. The cake will use the gluten free cones as turrets, with cupcake baked in. Mmmmmmm! I will also…for the grownups of course…be making ZipFizz Margaritas. Regular margaritas, with a Zipfizz immune booster mixed in for a little tangy, fizzy zing.

Sunday: Father’s Day and Sarah’s Family Party! We will have 13 family members over, so that Sarah can celebrate with family and we can honor the dads. We’ll be having Bratwurst on the grill (our local supermarket makes them from scratch in the meat department…we’ll buy a variety of flavors. I checked and they’re gluten free!). I will provide gluten buns for everyone else, Isaiah and I will probably go without one because brats are tasty by themselves. We’ll use the second half of the Pickle Potato Salad, which will already be made. I will make a fruit salad in a watermelon basket, just fruit tossed with pineapple juice and poppy seeds. Others will be bringing appetizers, a Caesar salad, and some beer. I will be making Sangria…wine with seltzer water, oranges and lemons. It’s sort of a sweetened wine punch, pretty in a glass pitcher and served very cold. And for dessert….Sarah’s favorite cake, a black forest layer cake. Cherry pie filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting make this a real treat!

Monday: Leftovers. I’m NOT cooking anything that day!

Tuesday: Spaghetti and meat sauce. Tinkyada Pasta is an excellent gluten free pasta, also egg and soy free (pretty much rice, water and sea salt). I will sneak grated carrots and zucchini into the sauce as well as the hamburger meat.

Wednesday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches, tossed salad.

Thursday: Tacos! I throw a can of black beans and a can of corn into the meat to add fiber and make the hamburger go farther. The meat is seasoned with a taco seasoning mix (I use Western Family brand, which is gf), some garlic and a bit of salsa. I will serve these with simple guacamole (avocados and sea salt), salsa, lettuce, cheese, black olives, chopped red onion and sour cream. We will use brown rice tortillas (Food For Life brand).

Friday: Chicken and Sausage Paella. Cook some chopped chicken breast in a skillet until brown. Throw in a chopped Hilshire Farms Kielbasa sausage, cook until browned. Throw in some onions, peas, carrots, zucchini and garlic (other vegetables if we have them, too!) and cook in the same skillet. Mix rice and chicken stock in a deep dish, add in a pinch of saffron, a can of chopped tomatoes and mix it all together with the meat and vegetables in the skillet. Bake until the rice is done. Serve with steamed broccoli.

That should cover this week. If you’ve got questions or want more info on a recipe, leave a comment or email me. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake!  (with additional allergy substitutions)

Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake! (with additional allergy substitutions)

Mmmmmm, Pineapple upside down cake! The kids had some friends over this morning and we needed a project to do together to break the ice. The cake was just the trick! They did the measuring, the mixing, and even cracked the eggs. By the time the pineapples were in place they were all ready to run off and play together while the cake baked, and a good time was had by all! They did a fabulous job, too…it was a very yummy cake. This recipe is moist and flavorful, and holds together just like a regular gluten cake. The base is very similar to the Strawberry Birthday Cake, and both cakes get their moist texture from mayonnaise. It sounds really nasty, but you honestly don’t taste it at all! The recipe calls for a little less sugar, the pineapple juice makes up for it.

I have included suggestions for how to do it without dairy, soy and eggs. It’s naturally dairy and soy free, though. It’s a fun recipe to do with kids and it’s quick, just whip it up, bake it and dump it out. No need for layers or frosting!

You Need:
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
3/4 cups tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 eggs (or egg replacer for 4 eggs)
1 cup white sugar (we use fructose)
2/3 cup mayonnaise (Plamil plain mayo is egg, dairy and soy free. It does contain pea protein.)
1 cup Pineapple Juice (from can)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 can pineapple rings (12 rings)
6 maraschino cherries, halved

You Do:
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Grease one 9×13 inch cake pan or lasagna dish. Mix the dry ingredients except for the sugar in one bowl, mix eggs, sugar, lemon juice, mayo and sugar in a different bowl until well combined. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time, alternating with the pineapple juice. Stir until smooth.

On the greased pan, arrange the pineapple rings in evenly spaced rows. Place one half cherry in the center of each ring. Carefully pour the cake batter over the pineapples, scraping the bowl as you pour. Spread the batter evenly over the pineapples with a spatula if you need to.

Bake for 25 minutes our until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes. Place a cookie sheet over the top of the pan, then invert the cake onto the cookie sheet. Let the cake cool another 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy!

Make it dairy free: This cake is already dairy free. Just make sure your mayo is dairy free!

Make it soy free: This cake is already soy free, if your mayonnaise is soy free.

Make it egg free: Use egg replacer according to package directions instead of the eggs. Add 2/3 cup extra liquid, plus one teaspoon extra xanthan gum. Use egg, dairy and soy free mayonnaise.

This Week’s Gluten Free menu

I think I’ll start posting our menus for each week. It will help me out because often as not I end up losing the paper I wrote the menu on (usually the back of my shopping list). I remember what it was like when I was first trying to remove all gluten from our menu, figuring out what on earth to eat was just about a full time job! So if you’re interested, book mark me and come back each week for a new menu. It would have sure helped me to have had an idea of what we could eat, because for the first month gluten free I ate chicken and carrots and very little else! I will also post the gluten free brand names of the items I use where appropriate.

Just fyi, we also try and use as much organic and un-processed foods as possible. With all the GI issues going on here, it can’t hurt to know exactly what’s in everything we eat. We’re dealing with Celiac Disease, GERD, Lymphocytic Colitis, and allergies or intolerances to: Gluten, Dairy, Soy, raw tomatoes (cooked are OK) and tree nuts. None of us have all of these things, but as a family it’s pretty challenging to plan a menu!!

This is an unusual week…Andrew and I will be eating out Saturday to celebrate his taking a giant test for work (more on that later). And, Sunday we will be eating Gluten Free Pizza from a local pizza place. We almost *never* eat out because of the food issues and finances, and it’s gotten to the point where usually what we eat at home is better than what we’d get out, anyway. However, I feel a huge need to de-stress for the whole family. This weekend marks the end of about a year of studying and a few months of intense studying, so it’s worth celebrating!

THIS WEEK’S MENU (if you want a detailed recipe for anything below, email me and I’ll send it to you!)

Friday: Crock Pot BBQ Beef, broccoli, and carrots. I throw a roast or some cuts of beef in the crock pot and cover it with a whole bottle of Kraft Mesquite Smoke BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce is gluten, soy, dairy and egg free! I let the meat cook slowly all day, then pull it apart about an hour before dinner. Sometimes I add a little extra sauce to it when I pull it apart, if it looks like it needs it. I cut Rainbow Heirloom Carrots (red, yellow, orange and white carrots) into rounds and steam them for a few minutes, then add broccoli and steam them together for another 5 minutes or so. Then, toss them with a little Real Salt (mined salt) and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve the beef right on the plate, or on a gluten free bun (Kinnikinnik brand hamburger buns are the BEST!).

Saturday: Eat out. (probably at Outback Steakhouse, where they have a good GF menu). The kids will be eating gluten free frozen chicken nuggets and frozen fries with watermelon and carrot sticks.…Ian’s brand chicken nuggets are terrific and taste like ‘real’ chicken nuggets. In our area, we usually buy Western Family frozen fries. Cheap, and gluten free!

Sunday: Pizza from Pier 49 pizza (one location here has GF pizza crusts. YUMMY! Call your local franchise and bug them about getting the crusts…all the other ingredients are already gluten free.

Monday: Gluten Free Lasagna and a tossed salad. Tinkyada gluten free pastas makes GF lasagna noodles. I will use ground beef, spinach, sneak some grated carrot in, olives and mushrooms with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. I’m making a regular lasagna for a compassion project Saturday, so I’ll just make a GF one for next week while I’m at it. I make my tomato sauce from scratch rather than buying a pre-made spaghetti sauce, with lots of garlic and herbs. I will make one half of our lasagna with goat cheese products for Isaiah and I.

Tuesday: Corn Chowder, bread, salad. Canned corn, potatoes and onion in chicken broth (adding goat’s milk and about 1/3 of the soup to a blender and processing it until smooth gives it the ‘chowder’ feel) make this a really tasty and hearty soup. I use Pacific brand chicken broth…gluten free and organic. Costco has it, pretty reasonably priced. I haven’t decided what sort of bread to make yet…probably a biscuit or Irish soda bread.

Wednesday: Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, broccoli salad. I will rub the chicken with spices before I grill it. I will be grilling twice as much chicken as we need, because we’ll eat the rest of it the next night. The broccoli salad is lightly steamed broccoli (still crunchy), chopped red onion, bacon bits and mayo with salt and garlic powder (Hormel brand Real Bacon Bits is GF…check their website because they’ve got a great list of GF products! Kraft mayo is GF.)

Thursday: Mediterranean Wraps and fruit salad. Rice tortillas (Food For Life brown rice tortillas…yummy!), homemade hummus, lettuce, cucumber, red onions, yogurt dill sauce (with goat yogurt), feta cheese, and the leftover grilled chicken from the day before. I will make a lot of the hummus and save most of it for snacks with carrots or corn chips all week long! Served with a fruit salad…just a bunch of chopped fruit with a little pineapple juice tossed in.

Friday (next week): Chicken and Vegetable Satay Pasta: Tinkyada gluten free spaghetti noodles, tossed with boiled chicken breast, snow peas, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and whatever other vegetables happen to be in the fridge. The sauce is made with peanut butter (I use the organic type from Costco…ingredients: Peanuts, nothing else!), sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce (Tamari Organic brand is GF, watch out ’cause most brands are not!) and a bit of rice vinegar with some chili sauce mixed in. I will take a little of the sauce out for Isaiah before adding the soy. Serve with fresh green onions and ground peanuts on top!

Whew! This should get me caught up so that I can do meal planning next Saturday and be back on schedule. I’ll post a few pics and full recipes this week!

Gltuen Free Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cookies

Gltuen Free Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cookies

Well, the cake went fast (17 relatives + 1 cake = crumbs). So we decided to replace it with some chocolate peanut-butter cookies! As you can see, the kids enjoy them LOL. They turned out chewy and really good…I think these may be my most successful attempt at gluten free cookies so far! My friend Opal has some really exceptional cookie baking skills, and her gluten free cookies are better than most regular ones…so I’ll have to get some of her recipes and post them here.

At any rate, I found a recipe online for gluten free Passover cookies that looked good, and then I modified it. Here’s an off-topic question…if they’re Passover cookies, shouldn’t they have no leven? Or is leven just yeast, and baking powder doesn’t count? If anyone knows, please leave a comment and let me know. I can see where these cookies are Parve, but I’m not so sure about the leven. Not that it matters for me, particularly…I was just wondering!

Here’s the recipe:

1/4 cup dairy and soy free butter substitute
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups sugar (we use fructose)
3/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups gluten free flour mix (I use 1/2 rice flour 1/2 tapioca flour)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package peanut butter chips (check the package for gluten, dairy and soy, I used a GF off brand because we can tolerate a small amount of soy. You may need to do some hunting for soy free chips!)

Mix together peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanilla and cocoa. Add eggs one by one and blend until smooth. Add in dry ingredients, mix well. Add peanut butter chips last and mix until incorporated. Chill the dough for about an hour (or toss the bowl in the freezer for 1/2 hour like I did if you can’t wait). Preheat oven to 350 while the cookies chill. Roll the cold dough one tablespoon at a time into balls, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes (but watch them, it can vary from oven to oven). Take out and let cool before removing from the pan. Enjoy!!!

These are already dairy free! (but make sure to check the peanut butter chips)
These are already soy free! (but make sure to check the peanut butter chips)
Make it peanut free: Omit peanut butter and add 1/2 cup more dairy and soy free butter substitute. Omit peanut butter chips and replace with white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips.
Make it egg free: Hmmm, dunno if you can do it? Anyone with egg substitute experience, let me know if you can use the powdered egg substitute with this one.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Birthday Cake

Gluten-Free Strawberry Birthday Cake

It’s my nephew’s 11th birthday today, and he requested that I make a gluten free cake for his party so that Isaiah can eat it! I thought that was very sweet of him. Here it is….Gluten Free strawberry birthday cake! I have included directions on how to make this cake without dairy, soy and eggs as well, so if you have multiple allergies read on past the recipe. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups white rice flour
3/4 cups tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey’s Strawberry Milk Mix

2 boxes cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons gluten free vanilla

Filling and topping: Strawberries, raspberries, sparkling clear sugar crystal decorations, leaf garnish

The Cake: Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 round pans. Mix the dry ingredients except for the sugar in one bowl, mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, Strawberry milk mix and sugar in a different bowl until well combined. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time, alternating with the milk.

Pour mixture into pans, bake for 25 mintues our until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cakes cool, cut up strawberries. Do about 2 cups of strawberry chunks for the center of the cake, and then slice up some strawberries in thin slices for the decorations.

Frosting: Mix 2 boxes softened cream cheese well, add the sugar and vanilla and whip until fluffy.

Put it together: Place one cake layer on platter. Add a layer of frosting, and then a layer of cut berries over the frosting. Place second layer on top, and frost the top and sides of the cake. Starting in the center, place a whole berry in the middle and four cut berries at the sides like petals. Add cut berries around the center in a petal formation. Stick cut berries around the sides of the cake as shown in the photo. Add cut berries along the sides of the top of the cake at regular intervals and then place raspberries in between them as shown. Garnish with non-toxic leaves and sprinkle with crystal sugar….it’s ready for the candles!!!

And for anyone with other food allergies…….

MAKE IT GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE: Use rice milk instead of regular milk, and soy cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese.

MAKE IT GLUTEN, DAIRY AND SOY FREE: Follow above for dairy free, use a soy and dairy free frosting mix for frosting (find one at

MAKE IT GLUTEN, DAIRY, SOY AND EGG FREE: Follow all the above suggestions and use egg replacer according to directions instead of the eggs. Omit mayonnaise and add an extra 2/3 cup of rice milk plus 1 extra tsp. of xanthan gum. Hershey’s Strawberry Milk Mix is Soy, gluten, egg and dairy free!