A Gluten Free Christmas!

This Christmas was definitely my favorite one so far. No, it wasn’t just because of the amazing food (though I am going to get to that in just a second). This year my entire family came to town for their first Mississippi Christmas – which meant I got to spend the week surrounded by the ones I love. And my husband and I didn’t have to worry about splitting time between families. We had both of them with us all week!

Combining families at Christmas can be a challenge though. It involves more than just combining bodies; it means combining traditions as well – and that includes the food. In my family, we always do a big Christmas Eve dinner. And since four of us are gluten free (five if you count my husband), we make the entire meal Celiac-friendly. Though my husband’s family doesn’t share our gluten allergy, this year we wanted them to share our love of some delicious gluten free food so I volunteered to host Christmas Eve dinner at our house.

What was on our gluten free menu?
– Turkey
– Mashed Potatoes
– Homemade GF Gravy (my favorite!)
– Gluten Free Stuffing (thanks to Glutino for this mix!)
– GF Dinner Rolls (courtesy of Chebe Bread Mix)
– Cranberry Sauce (my sister’s favorite)
– Squash (because we thought we should include at least one vegetable)
– Gluten Free Pecan Pie (Pillsbury, your GF crust is a lifesaver!)
and last but most definitely not least
– A ridiculous amount of GF cookies and wine!

No meal is complete without Chebe Bread

No meal is complete without Chebe Bread

GF Stuffing, courtesy of Glutino!

GF Stuffing, courtesy of Glutino!

Though this year’s meal turned out surprisingly perfectly (we barely had any leftovers everyone loved it so much), the dinner itself was not my favorite part. After all, isn’t dessert what everyone looks forward to during the holidays?

My favorite Christmas cookie is the white chocolate covered oreo. I always use Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies white chocolate bark to melt for the coating. They could not be easier to make – and they are so so delicious!

Add some sprinkles to make them festive!

Add some sprinkles to make them festive!

Oreos are great, but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without cut-out cookies! This year, my sister and I decided to try out Chebe Bread’s sugar cookie recipe made with Chebe All-Purpose Mix. Combined with our homemade frosting, these cookies were incredible. And did I mention also incredibly cute?!

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I also love pecan pie, especially during the holidays. Because nothing tastes better for dessert (and breakfast!) than Pecan Pie. This year, we used fresh pecans from my grandmother’s pecan orchard and Pillsbury GF Pie Crust. You can find the recipe here.

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But more than anything else during Christmastime, I love a good Christmas morning breakfast. For my family, Christmas morning would not be complete without homemade cinnamon rolls. And since going gluten free, we’ve always used Chebe Bread Cinnamon Roll Mix to whip a batch up. It makes for a hassle free – and delicious – Christmas day treat!

What you’ll need to make your own:
– Chebe Bread Cinnamon Roll Mix
– Eggs
– Milk
– Butter
– Powdered Sugar
– Vanilla Extract

It’s easy! Just follow the instructions for the Chebe Mix on the box. Then, roll the dough out completely flat. Cover the dough in a layer of melted butter and powdered sugar. Cut into strips and roll into mini-buns. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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While your rolls are cooking, whip up some icing. Mix together powdered sugar, butter, milk and a dash of vanilla extract. Yes, I really wish I had exact measurements for the frosting, but unfortunately, we are not an exact measurement type of family. Next time I make some I’ll be sure to measure!

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When the rolls come out of the oven, pour some of your homemade icing over the top of them while they’re still hot. Serve warm with your favorite morning coffee and enjoy!

Hopefully each of you had a holiday week that was just as much fun, and as delicious, as mine was! 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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.

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

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

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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!

These are a few of my favorite things

When I first went gluten free, like most gf newbies, I had a hard time navigating the gluten free world. I never knew which items to choose at the grocery store. Would those crackers be good or would they taste like cardboard? Honestly, for years I just avoided most gluten free substitutes altogether and gave up things like bread, pasta, bagels and crackers. It wasn’t until I moved in with my husband and started cooking for two of us that I realized he wouldn’t stand for that way of living. And once he was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in March (aren’t we just made for each other?!), I really stepped up my game.

This is a list of a few of my favorite gluten free products. This list is in no way endorsed by any of these companies. And I am sure there are TONS of products out there that I still have yet to try. I’m sure this list will evolve over time, but for now, here are some of my faves:

Favorite Gluten Free Bread & Bread Mixes

Chebe Bread Mix – Chebe might be the one gluten free product I absolutely could not live without. From all purpose bread mix, to cheese bread to pizza crust and cinnamon rolls – all of their mixes are incredibly delicious and simple to make. Best of all, your non gluten free guests or family members will love everything you make just as much as you do! Just as my husband, who was addicted to my Buffalo Chicken Calzone with Chebe Cheese Bread LONG before he went gluten free himself. Chebe is hard to find in Mississippi, so I always order it online from Amazon or Vitacost.

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Schar Ciabatta Rolls – These are fantastic because you can keep them in your freezer and just pull a couple out at a time whenever you want to add dinner rolls to your meal! It saves you from having to make an entire mix (perfect for a household with only 2 people like ours) and saves prep time on busy evenings. Like Chebe, Schar is hard for me to find in Mississippi, so I always order it online.

Schar_Ciabatta

Udi’s Sandwich Bread – What can I say about Udi’s other than it is just delicious. Of all the gluten free breads I have tried, Udi’s is my absolute favorite when it comes to sandwiches. It holds up as you toast it, or add heaps of meat and cheese to it, and it tastes the most like gluten-filled bread (in my opinion). Udi’s has always been easy for me to find at my local grocery store.

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Favorite Gluten Free Flour

Cup4Cup – This flour is the rockstar of gluten free flours, in my opinion. It could not be easier to substitute gluten free flour for regular flour in any recipe whenever you use Cup4Cup. That being said, this awesomeness does come with a price tag. (Usually about $20/bag). I buy mine at Williams Sonoma.

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Bob’s Red Mill – When you’re not feeling the hefty price tag on Cup4Cup, Bob’s Red Mill is an awesome gluten free flour mix as well. And it’s usually pretty easy to find. I buy mine at Fresh Market.

bobsredmill

Favorite Gluten Free Pancake Mix

Ad-Hoc – I am obsessed with this pancake mix, as evident by this post from earlier this year. But, just like Cup4Cup flour, Ad-Hoc gluten free pancake mix comes at a price. So we usually save this mix just for special ocassions. I first discovered this mix at Williams Sonoma.

adhoc

Pamela’s Pancake Mix – When I am still craving delicious gluten free pancakes, but not loving the price tag on Ad-Hoc, check out Pamela’s. My husband is the ultimate pancake critic, and while he swears by Ad-Hoc, he really likes Pamela’s as well. Pamela’s is pretty easy to locate – you should be able to find it in your local grocery store or Fresh Market.

pamelas

Favorite Gluten Free Cookies

Tate’s Chocolate Chip – I hadn’t tried these cookies until recently, but boy am I glad that I did. These cookies are crunchy, which I normally don’t like in a cookie, but the flavor is INCREDIBLE. I found mine at Fresh Market.

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Glutino Chocolate Creme – This is my favorite gluten free “Oreo” substitute. As soon as a package of these makes it into our house, it is usually gone within a couple of days. They are just so hard to resist! I’ve always had an easy time finding these at the grocery store or Fresh Market.

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Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Making gluten free cookies usually takes time. Trust me, it’s usually worth it because they’re so fluffy and delicious when they come out of the oven, but there are times when I am just craving one or two cookies and don’t feel like making a whole batch. With Pillsbury’s new cookie dough, you can have freshly baked cookies anytime you’re craving them – in small or large batches! It makes life so so much easier! And it definitely doesn’t hurt that they taste so good. Plus, you can find it in your local grocery store!

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Try combining the Pillsbury Cookie Dough with the Glutino Chocolate Creme cookies… You end up with a heavenly combination that looks a little bit like this:

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Favorite Gluten Free Breakfast Items

Glutino Bagels – Oh my goodness, these bagels are heavenly. They are so good I could eat them every single day! My one pet peeve about these bagels is that they are not pre-cut. And since I keep mine in the freezer, I usually have to defrost one a little then, try to cut it before I can even toast it. When you’re running out the door on the way to work in the morning, that extra step for cutting can be super frustrating.

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Udi’s Blueberry Muffins – I think my husband is starting a fan club about these muffins. There’s really not much to say other than just try them. You won’t be disappointed. I haven’t tried the chocolate or lemon flavored muffins, but I am sure they are delicious as well! Udi’s products are typically pretty fantastic.

udisblueberrymuffins

Favorite Gluten Free Snacks

Goldfish Puffs – I am so grateful to Pepperidge Farm for this incredible gift to the gluten free world! Goldfish Puffs are SO delicious, you wouldn’t even know they were gluten free. In fact, if it weren’t for the tiny GLUTEN FREE label by the nutrition facts on the back of the package, you might not have known anyway. I’ve always been surprised that Goldfish doesn’t market this product better to the gluten free community.

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Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzels – That’s right, your favorite pretzel brand is now available in a gluten free version! And did I mention it is delicious?! We can’t find these pretzels in stores around here so I order them from Vitacost online.

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Glutino Bagel Chips – These little jokers are sneaky delicious. I mean it, I guarantee you can’t eat just one. Or twenty. It’s crazy how fast a bowl of these will disappear!

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Favorite Gluten Free Beers

Bard’s – I first tried this in Austin and I’ve been wishing I could get my hands on more of it ever since. Unfortunately, there’s no place in MS to get my hands on a bottle of this delicious goodness. But I keep an eye out for it whenever I travel!

Bards-Gluten-Free-Beer

Redbridge – Super easy to find, even in Mississippi, I’ve grown to love Redbridge. I usually purchase it at Fresh Market, but in bigger cities I’m sure you could find it all over the place.

redbridge

Omission – To be clear, Omission is a Gluten-Reduced Beer. Not Gluten Free. So if you have Celiac, I don’t recommend this beer for you. But I’ve tried it (and loved it!) and been fortunate enough to not have any reaction to it. Unfortunately, Omission is like Bard’s. Tough to find in Mississippi. But I’ve got my eyes open for it every time I hit the road!

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What do you love? Are any of these gluten free favorites on YOUR list?

Explosion of Gluten Free Goodness

That’s right. I said explosion of goodness. Maybe greatness. I am not even being dramatic about how good this recipe is. And I use the word recipe lightly because it is really the easiest thing you will ever make in your life.

What do you need to create this explosion? Only two things:

1. Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
2. Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies

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I told you this was going to be easy, didn’t I?

Here’s what you do. Take a cupcake/muffin pan and line it with cupcake wrappers. Spray them with cooking spray. Then, add a layer of cookie dough to the bottom of each wrapper. Easy, huh?

Next, add a single Glutino cookie on top of the cookie dough layer.

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Last, cover the cookie with cookie dough so it is completely surrounded by Pillsbury gluten-free goodness!

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Follow the instructions on the Pillsbury container and bake your cookie muffins as directed.

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Remove from the oven and enjoy. And when I say enjoy I mean try not to die from excitement over how incredibly amazing these are! Easiest and most delicious gluten free recipe ever? Possibly so. 😉

Easiest Cookies of All Time!

It’s no secret that I love to eat and that my husband and I both have a serious sweet tooth. But being gluten-free has its definite disadvantages when it comes to baking. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy spending time in the kitchen. But sometimes a girl just wants a freshly baked cookie without all the hassle!

So when I found this gluten free chocolate chunk cookie dough from Immaculate Baking Company, I had to try it! Back in my gluten days, I loved popping in some simple Pillsbury cookies from the packaged dough I bought at Kroger and knowing that I would be eating and my house would smell like freshly baked cookies within 10 minutes. I mean, how easy was that?! Immaculate Baking was promising the same thing!

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The cookies were simple to bake. I only made 6 of the 12 cookies. (The other 6 are in my refrigerator waiting to be baked at a later date. Ah, the joys of pre-prepared dough!) Once my oven was preheated, I popped them in the oven for about 12 minutes and soon I was enjoying one of the greatest gluten-free cookies I had tasted in some time.

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No joke, these cookies were PHENOMENAL. Both my husband and I could not eat them fast enough. They were the perfect texture and consistency and best of all – SO RIDICULOUSLY EASY!!! I will definitely be making these again. Hopefully soon!

Williams Sonoma Goes Gluten Free

This afternoon I headed over to Williams Sonoma to purchase a couple of things we needed for the kitchen. While browsing the bakeware, I noticed a gluten-free red velvet cake mix. Now I am not a big red velvet person myself (if you are, the ladies at the store said it’s amazing), but I was directed to a display with ALL kinds of awesome gluten-free mixes!

I have no idea when Williams Sonoma decided to play in the Gluten-Free big leagues, but let me tell you some of the stuff they carry. Gluten Free flour, Pancake/Waffle Mix, Red Velvet Cake Mix, Chocolate Cake Mix, Cupcake Mixes, Brownie Mixes, Corn Muffin Mixes, and even Pizza Crust Mixes…! This probably has been going on for awhile, but this was brand new information for me!

Which brings me to my story of the day…

I decided to purchase a Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. At $19.95 I figured this had to be the greatest cookie mix known to mankind. The lady at the store was a fantastic sales person and assured me it was delicious. (She’s probably never tasted it herself).

Of course, when I got home, I immediately had to make them. Who has time to cook dinner when you have a whole batch of gluten-free cookies waiting to be baked?! I followed the instructions (the mix only requires that you add an egg and some butter – I mean even the most challenged bakers could make these cookies!!!) and BAM – 30 minutes later, they were done.

And they. were. glorious.

No – seriously. I am not doing them justice. It is not often that you find gluten-free cookie mixes that taste as heavenly as this one. Which is why I just knew I had to write about them. Immediately. There may be crumbs on my keyboard as I am typing this…. 😉

Cookie mix by: Bouchon Bakery (Gluten-Free!)
Purchased at: Williams Sonoma
Price: $19.95