Gluten Free 7 Layer Cookies

7layer cookies

When I posted this picture on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend, everyone kept asking me for the recipe. So I knew I couldn’t wait to publish just a single post with all of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes – I had to get this recipe out ASAP! So here it goes: a family tradition, Gluten Free Seven Layer Cookies.

Ingredients
– GF Graham Cracker Crumbs
– Butter
– Butterscotch Chips
– Chocolate Chips
– Coconut Flakes
– Sweetened Condensed Milk

Wondering what the 7th layer is? You and me both! My family has called these cookies 7 layer cookies since before I can remember – and somehow, we managed to overlook the fact that there are only 6 layers to these tasty treats. Either way, they’re delicious and I am more than willing to move past that minor naming oversight if you are 😉

How to put it all together:
Melt 1 stick of butter. Pour the butter into a greased baking pan. Pour a layer of graham cracker crumbs on top. If you don’t have any graham cracker crumbs (I have a hard time finding them in stores so I purchase mine online), try crushing some cookies and use those as your base layer. I like Annie’s GF Ginger Bunnies or GF Ginger snaps for crusts.

Once you have your bottom layer, sprinkle some coconut flakes, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips on top. Don’t be afraid to be generous with each topping! I promise, the more you layer on, the tastier the cookie! Then, pour a layer of Sweetened Condensed Milk on top.

7layer before

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Then enjoy!

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Eat Local, Jackson: A Giveway!

Are you looking for a quality local restaurant while you’re in Jackson? Wondering which local restaurants might be best for a romantic date night or a Southern Style meal? Look no further than Eat Jackson.

I first discovered Eat Jackson a few months after I moved to Mississippi. I was unfamiliar with the city, and definitely didn’t know which places were best to eat at, so I would constantly search online for new spots to try out. Luckily, I discovered Eat Jackson, a local’s dream guide to the latest and greatest dining options that Jackson, MS has to offer. With food directories by location, craving and meal type, this site makes finding food an absolute breeze!

Here’s what makes it even more awesome. You can purchase an EatJXN Card for just $20, which gives you discounts and freebies at tons of local places throughout the year! Some of my favorite deals include Free Cheese Dip with the purchase of an entree at Sombra Mexican Kitchen, Two-for-One Dessert at Bravo! Italian Restaurant (their GF peanut butter pie is to die for) and Bar and 10% off your order at Campbell’s Bakery (which features GF options daily!). For a complete list of card deals, click here.

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For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know how important that free cheese dip at Sombra is to me! And if you’ve read my post about Bravo!, you won’t want to miss out on that two-for-one dessert deal. So how can I help YOU benefit from this awesomeness?

One lucky reader will win a 2014 EatJXN card! That’s right, all of those awesome deals can be yours for an entire year. All you have to do is comment below and tell me what your favorite restaurant in Jackson is or which of these deals you’re most excited about. Tweet about the giveaway and “Like” Gluten Free Girl MS on Facebook to increase your chances to win!

One winner will be randomly selected on Friday, December 20th.

Good luck!

Margarita Madness: Day 4

And the madness continues… It seems my search for Jackson’s best margarita is never-ending – not that I’m complaining! This Saturday, I headed over to Jaco’s Tacos in Ridgeland for day four of my taste testing adventures. (The Ridgeland location is fairly new. Some of you may be more familiar with their State Street location downtown.) I have never had a margarita at Jaco’s Tacos before and I have to say, I was not disappointed!

First up: The Gold Margarita
This tasty blend of Jose Cuervo, Grand Marnier, and a splash of orange juice was every bit as delicious as it sounds. With a side order of chips and guacamole, my taste buds were definitely satisfied.

The Gold Margarita

The Gold Margarita

Next up: The “Original Margarita” – not on the menu.
When I started talking to our waiter about their best margarita options, he insisted he get me a specialty drink, hand-crafted by the owner himself. Who was I to refuse? This drink was not a traditional margarita like we are all used to. In fact, it was really just tequila. In a glass. With fresh lime juice. Think I’m kidding? The only ingredients in this baby were Don Julio Repasado and fresh California lime juice.

The "Original Margarita"

The “Original Margarita”

Word to the wise: Don’t drink this one on an empty stomach!

My favorite drink of the day was definitely the Jaco’s Margarita. One of the more popular options on the menu, this premium margarita is made with 1800 Tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and fresh squeezed limes. Delicious to the last drop, it definitely would satisfy any margarita-lover’s craving. The only downside? At $9.25 a pop it carries a pretty hefty price tag.

My favorite - The Jaco's Margarita

My favorite – The Jaco’s Margarita

So how does it stack up on the grading scale?
Freshness: B
Quality of ingredients: A-
Presentation: B+
Price: B
Happy Hour Specials: B+ (Swing by on Wednesday evenings for 2-for-1 margaritas!)

Another happy hour special at Jaco’s Tacos that rocks my socks is Saturday’s all-you-can-drink Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for just $10 (with the purchase of an entree)! I’ll definitely be back to enjoy that awesome deal another time!

Long story short: If you’re downtown or in Ridgeland, be sure to hit up Jaco’s Tacos for a margarita sometime – especially on a Wednesday during Happy Hour! You won’t be disappointed.

*Special shout out to Anthony at the Ridgeland location for taking such good care of us on Saturday!

My (Gluten-Free) Holiday Gift Guide

There’s always that one person on your list that is super hard to shop for. For me, it’s my grandmother. Ultimately, she has pretty much everything that she needs and she genuinely would rather give gifts than receive them. (Gotta love that woman). Maybe you have someone like that in your life. Maybe that person is gluten-free. Or maaayyybe not. But either way, check out ten of my most loved gifts for this holiday season:

1. Breville Juicer

juicer

Whether that special someone just loves to drink freshly squeezed orange juice or they’re looking to kick up their health a notch and try out juicing to get more of their daily fruits and vegetabls, I am loving this juicer from Breville. Durable and so fast, this baby makes juice like it’s nobody’s business.

2. Williams Sonomoa Goldtouch Non-Stick Pizza Pan

Honestly, I couldn’t be more obsessed with this pizza pan. Every single time I use it, my pizzas not only come out perfectly, but they are also the perfect size!

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For sharing of course. Did you think I ate that whole pizza on my own? 😉

3. Cup 4 Cup Flour

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While you’re at it, just grab the entire line of Cup 4 Cup mixes, because this stuff will rock your world. Substitute the gluten free flour for regular flour in ANY recipe and I promise you’ll be impressed with how delicious it is. Bonus: the pancake and brownie mix are amazing – and so easy – too.

5. Gluten is My Bitch

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Long story short: This book is hilarious. So is it’s author, April Peveteaux, the mastermind behind the Gluten is My Bitch Blog. The title alone says it all. Need I say more?

6. This basket of GF goodies from Tate’s Bake Shop

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One cookie is a great gift. A whole basket of treats though? That’s really showing someone that you love them.

7. A Subscription to TasteGuru

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I’ve been scoping out Taste Guru for a while now, but haven’t managed to bite the bullet and purchase a subscription of my own yet. But getting a box of gluten free goodies in the mail every single month… How amazing is that!?

8. Riedel Wine Glasses

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Because wine tastes better when it’s in an awesome glass.

9. This Talking Minion

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If you know me at all, you know I talking/dancing animals – and I often assume that everyone in the world should love them as much as I do. A talking minion though? That really takes things to the next level. Try Amazon for a good deal on one of these little guys!

10. A Waffle Maker

wafflemaker

Seriously, who doesn’t love waffles? Gluten free or not, this gift is fun AND functional! Include some gluten free pancake and waffle mix to really rock it. Bonus: This Chef’s Choice model will make your waffles heart-shaped! Nothing says “love” like a heart-shaped breakfast food!

Alright, now get out there and start shopping! Happy Holidays!

Margarita Madness: Day 3

As some of you may know, I started the search for Jackson’s best margarita a couple weeks back. After my first stop at Babalu Tacos and Tapas and my second stop at Sombra Mexican Kitchen, I wanted to visit a place that nobody would expect. So I started thinking of awesome local restaurants with good drink menus – and stumbled upon Georgia Blue. With locations in Madison, Hattiesburg and Flowood, you can visit a Georgia Blue no matter where you live in the Jackson area!

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Georgia Blue is most known for their Plate Lunches and delicious “Southern-Style” meals, but their delicious margaritas are a well-kept secret. I knew they were a must-try on my journey to find the very best.

First up: The Georgia Blue Margarita. A “Camarena Margarita with blue Curaçao that takes your blues away!”

Georgia Blue Margarita

Georgia Blue Margarita

This drink sure was pretty, but boy was there a lot of salt on it! If you don’t love salt with your margaritas (I personally do not) then be sure to ask for yours with no salt. A little bit sour, the Georgia Blue Margarita wasn’t my absolute favorite, but I still enjoyed it, as evident by my very empty glass at the end of the night. 😉

The next margarita I ordered was definitely my favorite of the two. The Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita features Camarena Tequila, Triple Sec, sweet & sour, blueberry & pomegranate juices, splash of simple syrup & a squeeze of lime.

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How cute is it with those blueberries floating in the drink?! (Yes, I just called an alcoholic beverage cute)

So how does it stack up on the grading scale?
Freshness: B
Quality of ingredients: B
Presentation: A-
Price: A- (this drink goes for $8 normally, but it was happy hour, so it was only $4!)
Happy Hour Specials: A (1/2 priced drinks, including top shelf liquor, from 4-6 pm everyday!)

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Long story short: Next time you’re at Georgia Blue and you’re not sure what drink to order, give the Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita a try. It won’t let you down!

Friendsgiving

I love hosting events at our house. My mother says I definitely inherited the “hosting gene”, which I have always been grateful for. So to me, Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to get together with friends – and of course, eat and drink. From this, the idea for our first annual Friendsgiving was born, which took place this past Saturday evening.

Hosting events when you have food allergies is no easy task – after all, you want to make sure the food you prepare is both gluten free (that’s the only allergy in our house, thankfully), easy to eat in a “party setting” and delicious for everybody. It is also difficult to ensure that guests who bring food will always bring gluten free items, so you have to be extra careful to keep utensils and dishes separated.

That being said, I knew I was up to the challenge – so I set out to prepare a menu that would be easy to make and extra delicious. The first item I prepared was a Bacon Cheddar Ranch dip. This is my go-to dip for parties, events and tailgates. First, because it is so ridiculously easy to prepare a toddler could do it. And second, because it is comprised of many of my favorite things – namely, bacon and cheese.

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip Ingredients
16 oz. sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing
3 oz. bacon bits (in the bag)
1 cup shredded cheddar

photo 5

See? I told you it was easy! All you have to do is stir those ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. The result? A tasty treat that everyone will enjoy. (I serve with Fritos scoops or Tostitos, but any corn tortilla chip or gluten free cracker will do)

Next up: Gluten Free Cornbread Muffins. I didn’t grow up a huge cornbread fan, but my husband definitely did. Cornbread is a staple of Southern meals and he had not eaten any since finding out he had a gluten allergy earlier this year. Since I am no cornbread expert, I stuck with the basics and whipped up a batch using Wegman’s Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix (which I picked up on a visit to Buffalo, NY in October).

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What could be easier than following the instructions on the back of a box? Pretty much nothing. And did I mention they were INSANELY DELICIOUS? They were completely gone by the end of the party – and I never even told anybody they were gluten free!

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I know Glutino also has a gluten free Cornbread mix, and we’re going to give that one a try this week – so we can compare results. But I’m sure that one will be tasty too 🙂

I knew I needed a dessert that would be easy to pick up and eat, but also one that nobody would suspect of being gluten free. So I stuck with the basics and opted for a batch of chocolate chip cookies, prepared with Domata Gluten Free Flour. (If you don’t remember my love for Domata, check out this post about the Peanut Butter cookies I made a few weeks back. To. Die. For.)

I followed the recipe from Domata’s website (no need to reinvent the wheel, right?) and they turned out incredibly well! Light and fluffy – they were gone before most people had even gotten to the turkey yet! So much for dinner before dessert… 😉

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Want to make your own? Here is what you will need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
Dash of GF vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Domata Recipe Ready Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup GF semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth – then adding egg and vanilla to the mix. Once those four ingredients are mixed together, add flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add chocolate chips. Place on greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Enjoy!

Many of our guests (who were awesome, by the way!) brought dips, appetizers and desserts with them. One of my favorites included some bacon wrapped dates – because who doesn’t love things wrapped in bacon?! Another favorite was this baked brie (prepared gluten free with Pillsbury pie crust) that one of our friends brought. It was so thoughtful of them to prep a gluten free item that we could enjoy (complete with gluten free Nut Thin crackers to boot!). I am definitely going to have to try to make one of these myself soon.

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Of course the night wouldn’t have been complete without some meat! Though I had a minor Turkey fiasco on Saturday, when I went to pick up my pre-ordered “cooked and ready to eat” turkey from Heavenly Ham – and instead received a FROZEN turkey, everything ended up working out perfectly. A local BBQ restaurant in Vicksburg, Goldie’s Express, put together some pulled turkey and pulled pork for us – which made for great leftovers too!

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Having a Friendsgiving event of your own? Give one of these recipes a try! I know I can’t wait to make those chocolate chip cookies again – ASAP!

Margarita Madness: Day 2

Keeping up with the madness of my search for Jackson’s Best Margarita? Well lucky you, because day two was this past Friday. Because who doesn’t love happy hour on Friday afternoon?! (If you are one of those people, then I’m sorry, but this post might not be for you..)

In case you don’t remember (maybe you’ve been drinking too many margaritas of your own… huh?), my first stop was a delicious visit to Babalu Tacos & Tapas. Stop #2 on my journey was an easy choice – Sombra Mexican Kitchen at the Township in Ridgeland, MS. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know about my obsession with Sombra’s menu. No joke, I average between 2-3 lunches here whenever I’m not traveling. I am seriously wondering why my name hasn’t been memorialized on a plaque at my favorite booth by now…

Sombra Mexican Kitchen

Sombra Mexican Kitchen

But that’s neither here nor there. This post isn’t about food. It’s about booze. Margaritas specifically. And one thing Sombra does not mess around with is their margarita menu. Because I knew I couldn’t handle so many margaritas on my own, I brought three of my trusted co-workers with me for this challenge. What did we learn?

There are five (5) standard margaritas on Sombra’s menu. The first choice, the House margarita is their least expensive option. With just a $6 price tag (or an awesome $3 during happy hour!), this drink won’t kill your budget. However, it is just a little bit tart for me. If you like a margarita that’s extra tart, this one’s for you! However, if you want something that goes down a little more smoothly, try stepping it up a notch and ordering the Sombra or the Township.

The Township margarita has been my go-to marg at Sombra since the restaurant opened. Featuring Exotico Reposado tequila, agave nectar, lime and Brazilian orange liqueur, this drink offers the freshness I crave in a good margarita, with a unique flavoring. Even better, it carries only an $8 price – or should I say $4 during happy hour?! 😉

I had never had a Sombra before Friday, but I was glad I tried it. Featuring El Charro anejo tequila, Grand Marnier, agave nectar and lime, this one goes down very smoothly. It would be easy to knock back 3 of these babies before you even realized what hit you!

Oh – and I almost forgot to mention they squeeze their own lime juice in house and their agave nectar is 100% organic, gluten and allergen free and made without any artificial sweeteners?! Bonus points for Sombra!

But what was my favorite of the margaritas offered at Sombra Mexican Kitchen? Without a doubt, it would have to be the St. Rita. Featuring Cazadores Anejo tequila, St-Germain, agave nectar and lime, it’s hard to tell you are even drinking a margarita! In fact, I don’t know if I have EVER tried a margarita that was so smooth. Everyone at the table took a taste for themselves and the opinion was unanimous – the St. Rita is a rockstar.

St. Rita Margarita

St. Rita Margarita

So how does it stack up on the grading scale?
Freshness: A
Quality of ingredients: A+
Presentation: B
Price: B- (with a $12 price tag, this baby is pricy! But come from 4-6 during happy hour and it can be yours for only $6!)
Happy Hour Specials: A (because I LOVE a half-price margarita!)

Long story short: next time 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re looking for a quick margarita, head over to Sombra Mexican Kitchen. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Next up on my search? That would have to be Jaco’s Tacos in downtown Jackson.