Friday, December 31, 2010

Great Friends, Great Food & Great Beer!

There is nothing like an evening with friends to share a great mexican meal and some gluten free beers. It is also a perfect night when your friends have children close in age to your own that play well together. I think we actually had about 30 or more minutes tonight of peace and quite to enjoy a bowl of steaming hot chicken South of the Border Tortilla Soup, a slice of my Hearty Cornbread and a plate of salad. The kids were busy playing upstairs without us. Thank you kids for giving us some adult time.

Naturally the night started out with some gluten free beer tasting while enjoying some chips and Cilantro Guacamole, recipe by Mom's Cook Gluten Free. It didn't even occur to me 3 years ago when we first moved to Germany that this would be the place if any to have the best gf beers. What took me so long????

The Three Beers:

  1. Riedenburger Gluten Frei. Bio. Brewed with millet malt.
  2. Neumarkter Lammsbraeu Gluten Frei.
  3. Schnitzer Braeu - German-Hirse-Lemon. Gluten Frei (Gluten Free). Bio (Organic). Brewed in the Black Forest with the finest Hirsemalz (millet malt).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Almond Blossoms Gluten Free Peanut Free & Mostly Sugar Free

I know I know... this is suppose to be a healthy blog and here I go again making another batch of cookies. Don't worry, I'm getting all the sweets out of my system over the holidays because I know this is the time of year that most people splurge a bit, I certainly do. Once we hit the new year please visit my blog for healthier dinner creations and snacks that will get us all back on track to losing those extra Holiday pounds.
Making more changes to an already great recipe. Finding alternatives... If you have a peanut allergy and want the same yummy taste as my Peanut Blossoms try this one with almond butter instead of peanut butter. I've also taken out the raw sugar and brown sugar and replaced it with agave syrup. These have to cook a little longer because of the moistness of the agave.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Molasses Cookies Gluten Free

Have you ever had those molasses cookies from Starbucks??? Oh my if you haven't and you don't have gluten issues you've got to try one on a cheat day. When my husband would grab one for a treat I would take maybe two small bites just to share in the yumminess. Then I set out on a mission to recreate it gluten free so that I could eat a WHOLE cookie. It took me quite awhile to make something that came remotely close to this cookie but boy did I have many bake failures. Too gushy, too strong on the molasses, too flat, too small... you name I did it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash... The Healthiest Pasta Alternative

Have you ever wandered around the vegetable section in the grocery store and came across a rather large yellow oval shaped squash and wondered what you could do with it? You probably had that thought for one second then kept on walking. Sometimes those veggies that are super big can be intimidating or look like too much work. But not this one! To most people's surprise this gem of a squash once baked looks like spaghetti and can replace multiple dishes that you normally use pasta in. Naturally it doesn't really taste like pasta however it has its own wonderful flavors and texture that I'm sure you will find pleasing!

About seven years ago my fiance, at the time, and I decided to cut all complex carbohydrates out of our normal diet in the evening hours. Our cut off time was around 4 pm which meant no more breads, pasta, potatoes or rice with dinner. This was hard at first but after you get into the swing of it you realize that your body processes food much more efficiently at night and you actually feel leaner the next morning, as long as you are getting enough protein and simple carbohydrates i.e. veggies. It also makes you crave more vegetables to feel satisfied at the end of your meal which in my mind is a huge bonus because I think we all know we never get enough veggies in our daily consumption.

Two of the best and my favorite recipes for spaghetti squash are:
  1. Red Snapper Fillet with Spaghetti Squash, Saffron, and Tomato Cream by Cooking Gluten Free, Karen Robinson. This recipe takes a little more time, serves 6 and is well worth it!
  2. Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Gluten Free) by ATX Gluten Free. This recipe is simple and delicious. My husband cooked this last night and it was awesome.
There are many more uses for spaghetti squash. This is just a start. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

40th Birthday Surprises!

The dust is finally settling after a whole week full of birthday surprises from my amazing husband. On our way back from a fun-filled Christmas party weekend in Garmisch our babysitter canceled for Monday night. This was a night that my husband had been planning to kick off my stream of birthday surprises. He told me that I had to find a babysitter or a friend that would go with me and he would stay and watch the kids. No matter what I was going. After many texts emails, phone calls and even a Facebook post we got a sitter! Our good friends Doris and Rich came to the rescue, thanks guys! The weather was crap and if it had kept snowing we might not have made it but luckily it turned to rain and we were able to drive to Munich that night. I had no clue where he was taking me until we walked into the O2 arena for the Kings of Leon concert. It was an amazing show!

The next day my CrossFit girlfriends treated me to a day at the Boeblingen Mineral Therm Spa where we had a delicious brunch followed by steam rooms, salt scrubs, hot and cold baths. Oh so relaxing! If you haven't been there it is a must. The food is fantastic and well anything with the word spa in it... heaven!

As the week continued I was anxiously awaiting Saturday night to be able to enjoy an evening with my husband in downtown Stuttgart. I received a call from our babysitter on Thursday and thought this cannot be good. She had to cancel on us again but for very a good reason. The calling frenzy began however this time I found a sitter rather quickly and she is great!! I didn't know what my husband was planning but figured it would involve a special dinner and maybe a show or some dancing. Nope... not my man. He seriously went all out. When I came home from work that day to meet the new babysitter I walked into our kitchen and my two best friends where sitting on the floor waiting to surprise me. All I could do was scream! OMG... how, when, what is going on???? This probably doesn't seem strange to anyone but they flew all the way from Rhode Island to Germany to be here for my 40th birthday! Now that is some serious friendship. At this point I'm floored and can not imagine anything more but when we got downtown we walked into a place called The Paris Club for our dinner and it was full of 50 of our closest friends all wishing me a happy birthday. I think I lost my stomach, dropped everything and almost fainted. An unbelievable night!! We had the whole place to ourselves and the owner ensured that I had a special spread of gluten free appetizers and dinner. Who would have thought a place like that would cater to my gluten allergies. And to top that off one of my friends brought in two bottles of local gluten free organic beer by Neumarkter Lammsbraeu. Needless to say I was in heaven and feeling so blessed.

Special thanks to my rockin' husband and all my friends for a amazing start to a wonderful year!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celeriac and Dark Truffle Quilotto

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is sit down with my mother-in-law and go through the fall bon appetit magazines and pick out what we are going to make for our dinners over the holidays. Naturally we alter the recipes where needed to make them all gluten free. The sad thing is this year... I am in Germany and she is in Boston. Oh how I miss spending the holidays with family.

The one thing that always drives me crazy about this magazine is how difficult some of the recipes can be as far as ingredients go. I know they like to be a bit on the exotic side but a mom doesn't have time to be exotic. Between entertaining the little ones, getting them fed and bathed and trying to crank out a nice meal for my husband there isn't much time to go searching for a white truffle. I did actually look for one but I wasn't even sure what I was looking for and said what the hell, do I really need this? I have the oil, which should be good enough.

I was getting my hair done the other day and looking through the October 2010 bon appetit mag and came across this recipe. It interested me because I happened to have a celeriac in my fridge and a bottle of dark truffle oil, both of which I didn't know what I was going to do with. Perfect, I thought. I'm going to make this dish once I figure out what a Barlotto is. No clue!

It turns out, as many of you might already know that a Barlotto is a similar dish to a risotto but instead of rice it uses barley. Yikes!! Poison to my body. Hmmmm, what could I substitute for this? I thought of using millet but then realized that quinoa might be the perfect thing and after eating it tonight I chose wisely!

So if you have dark or white truffle oil you've got to give this recipe a try. If you don't have it I'm quite certain your local health food store will carry it. The German word for truffle oil is about the same... Trüffelöl.

Celeriac and Dark Truffle Quilotto (Barlotto without the barely)

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of white or dark truffle oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup celeriac, diced
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar or cheese of choice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Make the truffle butter: mix the butter, truffle oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Saute the onions, garlic and diced celeriac in olive oil until lightly caramelized.
  3. Add the quinoa and thyme and cook it for another minute.
  4. Add and cook off the white wine.
  5. Add one cup stock, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to feed stock into the quinoa little by little, "risotto style".
  7. When the quinoa is soft, remove from heat and stir in the truffle butter and cheese.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gluten Free Sautéed Chicken with olives & mushrooms

Cooking a family favorite tonight! I usually use a can of artichoke hearts in this recipe but I realized I was all out. Bummer! So I looked around the pantry to see what I could use instead. Ahh ha, I had some kalamata olives and a can of organic mushrooms. That should do the trick. If you don’t have olives you can use capers. And you can always use fresh sliced mushrooms. The whole idea on this recipe is to use what you have in your kitchen. Be creative and avoid making any extra trips to the grocery store. We moms spend enough time there as it is. This recipe is quick and easy and always delicious with a glass of white wine and some steamed broccoli.

If you have leftovers for the next day use the cuisinart to grind the chicken, add a little mayo and make one of the best chicken sandwiches.


  • 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill All purpose baking flour
  • 1 package of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 4oz can of Giorgio organic Pieces & stems mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives without pits
  • ¾ cup white wine (used Pinot Grigio)


  1. Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry.
  2. Put flour in gallon size ziplock bag and place chicken inside and shake to lightly coat chicken.
  3. Heat oil on med-high heat in large frying pan and place chicken in pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for about 9 minutes per side on medium heat.
  4. Add olives, mushrooms and wine and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low, cover and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reading Ingredient Labels in English & German

The first thing I teach anyone who is new to the gluten free world or just wants to go on a cleaner diet is how to properly read product labels when grocery shopping and the importance of knowing which ingredients have gluten in them or could possibly have gluten in them. There are the easy and obvious ingredients and then there are the hidden ingredients that still so many will question. This can be a challenge in itself and then throw in the element of living in a foreign country and not knowing how to read the language. I hope to make this as simple as possible.

Avoid all the following:

English: Wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats (unless GF oats), oat bran, malt, barley malt, soy sauce, hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat maltodextrin, modified food starch—could be wheat starch, malt vinegar (not distilled), brewer’s yeast

Flavors(artificial and natural)—Gluten containing grains are rarely used in flavorings except in meat products and products that contain meat. Avoid buying any type of meat that is preseasoned!!

German: Weizen, Roggen, Gerste, buchstabierte, Hafer (es sei denn GF Hafer), Haferkleie, Malz, Gerstenmalz, Sojasoße, hydrolysierte Weizenprotein, Weizenmaltodextrin, geänderte Nahrung Stärke-konnte Weizenstärke, der Malzessig (nicht destilliert), Brauereihefe, Aromen (künstlich und natürlich)











Oats (unless GF oats)

Hafer (es sei denn GF hafer)

Oat bran




Barley malt


Soy sauce


hydrolyzed wheat protein

hydrolysierte Weizenprotein

wheat maltodextrin


modified food starch

geänderte Nahrung Stärke

malt vinegar (not distilled)

Malzessig (nicht destilliert)

brewer’s yeast


Natural flavors

natürliche Aromen

Artificial flavors

künstliche Aromen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Garmisch Christmas Party Fun & Food

It is strange to be disconnected from the world for more than a day or two but so worth it to have a mini vacation in one of the most picturesque places in the world, Garmisch, Germany. We stayed in the Military hotel, Edelweiss along with many of our closest friends for our command Christmas party. This place is a little slice of winter wonderland heaven, surrounded by incredible mountains tons of snow, skiing, sledding and the small Christmas Market that wasn’t much to talk about but nice to go for a mug of hot gluehwein at the end of your ski day. But still with all the great things this hotel has to over (to include Starbucks…ahhhh) it remains a challenge for the gluten free traveler. Just like any of our trips through Europe I pack a big cooler bag full of our necessities, goat milk for the boys, Udi’s bread, organic peanut butter, rice crackers and other gluten free snacks to get us through the weekend.

I’m pleased to say that the food we ate at the hotel for our Christmas party was great! I had the salmon that came with veggies and rice and it was fantastic! No problems with digestion. Yeah! All I had to avoid was the typical dinner rolls on the table and desert naturally was not an option for me. It was an apple strudel and looked delicious but there was no way that I was going to risk that. Luckily I brought along some of my homemade gluten free cookies so if I had a sweet tooth I would be covered. The next day we had lunch at the hotel, buffet style. There weren’t many options for me so I made a salad and had the veggie of the day, green beans. I could have had a sausage but didn’t want to risk getting one that had wheat fillers or wheat casings on it. When in doubt always opt out! That is my rule that keeps me safe when we are traveling.

I wasn’t so thrilled with the breakfast buffet that we had this morning . I brought my Udi’s bread with me as always and expected there to be a bread/pastry area where I could at least toast my bread and maybe get some slices of cheese or jam and that didn’t exist. I grabbed some scrambled eggs, fruit and a small salad. The eggs were horrible and must have been the powdered kind. Yuck! I couldn’t eat them but my youngest seemed to like them, so that was good. I sent my husband back in to get me some fried eggs to order and even those tasted horrible. Overall it was just bad and so frustrating on the lack of gluten free or uncontaminated options. If we stay there again I think we will go into town for breakfast and skip that buffet. Speaking of going into town to eat, one of the best Mexican restaurants called Sausalito’s is where we had dinner last night. This place is always packed so we were lucky to get in early with the kids to enjoy something that we rarely get living in Germany. We started off with the Nachos Grande… Mmmm. Again I played it on the safe side and ordered the steak with salad and it hit the spot. Their menu is not marked as a gluten free however there are choices that are on the safe side like the taco plate and corn tortilla enchiladas.

Overall the weekend was a success with no food attacks. Our biggest battle was the après party headache from all the wine, go figure. We are definitely going to plan another trip back and seek out more restaurants.

Note on Udi’s bread: For those of you who are military living overseas and wondering if you can get Udi’s bread… Yes you can order it direct from the The Gluten Free Palace to your APO/FPO address. They do an outstanding job of packing it up in a cooler box with ice packs and put a rush on the order so your bread arrives fresh. I was super impressed with the company!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gram's Peanut Blossoms

It is time to alter the best cookie recipe I have ever come across. My best friend from junior high school and I would ride the city bus to her grandmother's house after school and the second we opened the door we could smell that she was baking these little gems for us. Mmmmm... that was my favorite place to be after school. Nothing has ever compared to having a glass of milk and a few of Gram's yummy cookies!

I have to tell this story... My best friend came to visit me when I was attending the University of New Mexico and one day while I was at work she thought she would surprise me with a batch of these cookies, because she knew how much I loved them and back then I wasn't privy to the secret recipe. At the time she must have been on a diet or watching her weight so she promised herself that she would not sample the dough or eat any of the cookies until I came home. She was quite proud of her accomplishment until she just couldn't take it any longer. She had finished the complete batch and thought, well just one won't hurt. She took one bite into the cookie and blaaaaa spit it up in the sink. What the... ? I guess I didn't label my containers and instead of a 1/2 cup of sugar she put a 1/2 cup of salt. I will never forget the disappointment on her face when I came home from work. She also probably won't be too happy that I'm now blogging about it, but maybe she can laugh about it now. :)

Today I'm going to use Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix... here we go.

Gram's Peanut Blossoms

  • 1 3/4 cup Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
  • 1 teaspoon of aluminum free soda (used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flax seed meal (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup raw organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered stevia
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 unbeaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk (used organic Almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
  • Approx 3 dozen Hershey's milk chocolate kisses (used the Almond Hershey's kisses)
  1. Blend dry ingredients flour to xantham gum in med size mixing bowl.
  2. Cream wet indgredients from ghee to sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add egg, milk and vanilla.
  4. Now blend in dry ingredients gradually.
  5. Shape into balls and roll in small bowl of raw sugar to coat.
  6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 9 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and immediately place one Hershey's Choc Kiss on each one mushing down into the cookie. After it sits for a bit the choc will get soft and you can twist it down a bit more to ensure it is set in good.
Makes approximately 2 to 3 dozen.
To eliminate even more sugar next time I will replace the raw sugar with agave syrup but not sure if I can replace the brown sugar as well because I believe that is what gives it the nice smooth texture and softness. But I should give that a try that as well. If you don't have stevia or don't like to bake with it then just increase the amount of agave syrup. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 of brown sugar. Too much sugar if you ask me. This recipe is SWEET enough and might be able to decrease the amount of sugar yet again!

The final product and verdict... AMAZING and seriously I don't taste a difference. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of peanut butter, I cut it in half and added almond butter. On my next batch I will try it with 100% almond butter.

Even though this recipe rocks... I will continue to experiment and update you on the outcome. Enjoy this delicious cookie!

For more great cookie recipes gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and vegan, go to Calling all Cookies!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bakery on Main Product Review

I have just about broken my habit of eating unsubstantial cereal in the mornings since I started eating granola and oatmeal again. YEAH! But today I tried another version of granola, the Baker on Main's gluten free Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola. I'm not quite sure why they call it granola because it is more like a mixed muesli type of a cereal. I enjoyed the taste as did my two year old however it did not sustain me today like a bowl of good old fashioned oatmeal or oat based granola does. Only a couple of hours passed when my hunger kicked in and I just felt tired and wanting to eat more. I ended up having a very unproductive day. It is so important to start the day off right with wholesome foods after a good night of sleep... that is if you are a lucky mom and don't have kids that wake you up multiple times. If it is not one it is the other. Sorry I digress.

Ok so looking at the ingredients now. The first ingredient is corn flour which I know does not do much for me as far as nutritional value goes and I normally don't eat it. It has a food variety of nuts and seeds and naturally the cranberries so again it has a great taste. Go ahead and give it a try and see if you feel fulfilled to start your day right.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes

There are quite a few pancake mixes on the market and today we have just sampled three; Bob's Red Mill, King Arthur and Maple Grove Farms. For the past seven years or so I have only used Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake mix which our entire family, gluten free, or not loves. We never had the desire to switch but since I haven't tried these others that so many are raving about I thought it was time to do so. I put my brother-in-law on a mission to test the King Arthur mix as he is one of the most critical members of our family when it comes to gluten free products and loves to give me a hard time about my diet, all in good fun naturally. He rates Pamela's at the top of his list even over non gluten free mixes so that is saying a lot. I'm anxiously awaiting his critique on the King Arthur mix.

Comparing the ingredients on these three mixes... Bob's Red Mill is heavy on the potato starch and corn flour which you will notice in the taste. If I wanted a corn bread I would have made cornbread but I wanted a pancake so Bob's is out. Maple Grove Farms is heavy on rice flour and soy flour and I try to avoid soy flour as much as possible in my baking. King Arthur is heavy on the whole grain brown rice flour, is soy and nut free but has added sugar. Pamela's is a mix of brown rice flour, rice flour and almond meal that can be used for much more than just pancakes. It really is an all purpose gluten free flour mix.

If you are looking for the best taste closest to what you get at the local IHOP then King Arthur's mix should be your first choice but if you are comparing ingredients and want a mix that is a little more substantial then Pamela's is your healthy choice.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


One of the best German traditions is the local Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) which exists in just about every town during the holiday season. Mainly these are just collections of trinkets and food. But they are fun. And the food is the best part!

Note that this isn't exactly GF-specific because regular gluehwein is already GF. The problem with the local gluehwein is the amount of sugar that is added to the wine. It tastes great but leaves you with the worst headache the next morning, not to mention the extra calories. My mission was to make it with organic wine to eliminate the added sulfites and also to remove the refined sugar. We (my husband and I) decided to substitute the cup of sugar with 8 tablespoons of agave syrup and see if it passed the test. Two of our closest German friends came over tonight to try our hausgemacht (homemade) gluehwein and they loved it. I have to say it passed the test!

  • 750ml - 1L red wine (a bottle) - something inexpensive, full-bodied and fruity - we used Burgundy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 orange cut into slices
  • 8 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup water

Pour everything into a large pot and simmer on medium heat for 30 mins. Do NOT boil. Then drink! For some additional goodness, put a shot of Amaretto in each glass. Mmmmm... Enjoy during this wonderful Holiday Season!

Print Recipe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Traditions Gone Gluten Free--Chex Mix

My husband's family has a few holiday traditions and Chex mix at the Irwin's was a must the night before Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved to watch my father-in-law throw the mix together and then anxiously await the final product. Once complete he guarded it from his boys so that Thanksgiving day or Christmas day he would have a full bowl to accompany him while watching football. One year a fight even broke out between my father-in-law and brother-in-law about how much he was eating the night before. They took their Chex mix sooooo seriously! He would never adjust the recipe because like everything he did, it had to be perfect! And gluten free was not so perfect to him.

When I joined the family over nine years ago they made every attempt to accommodate my crazy diet but I don't think they really believed that it was necessary. I never asked them to change the famous Chex mix recipe because I didn't want to upset the family or be that way so I would just eat around the wheat Chex and pretzels and hope that the cross contamination affects would be minimal.

Tonight I watched my husband as he mixed the special mix with gluten free Worchestershire Sauce and pretzels and had to smile! What a great man! He is so dedicated to keeping my diet clean and so supportive. It just came out of the oven. Test taste to follow...

Ok so the results... OMG it is GREAT! Let me share this recipe with you all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mommy Gets a Break!

For the first time in over two and a half years I was actually able to take my time reading ingredients and exploring the local German health food store, Klett Naturmarkt, located in Boeblingen.  I didn't have to fight for space to push my double Phil & Ted stroller through the skinny aisles or listen to my boys screaming they want to go see the ducks NOW.  Why do health food stores always have to be so small and cramped?  Ever wonder?  You moms have all been there, I know.  There are already many difficulties, besides dragging two boys with you under the age of three, like understanding the language well enough to know what the product labels say.  Ugh... This took some time to get used to.

I finally had my moment of walking slowly down each aisle and taking it all in.  They have always had a great section of gluten free stuff but that day I found much more than just the crackers, breads and cookies.  I found pre-made falafel patties original and paprika (which is red pepper) both gluten free.  So tonight we will have a taste and see if they compare to the ones I normally make with the Orgran Gluten Free falafel mix, which is awesome by the way.

Oh and did I mention that they have gluten free beer??  Beer competition coming soon.  Stayed tuned.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pasta Thoughts

Pasta is one of those things that didn't really bother me to cut out of my diet. It was cutting out beer that was sooooo difficult. In 2001 there really wasn't any GF pasta worth eating. I tried a few and most were corn based, poor texture and just plain gross. If you're going to eat pasta and splurge on having those complex carbs in your meal then it has got to be GOOD! A few years later more products started to hit the market and I came across the Tinkyada brown rice pasta products and loved all the ones that I tried. The only bad thing about this company is that it is hard to remember their name (and pronounce for that matter.) It was the only pasta I would buy when I lived in the States but when we moved to Germany my selection changed drastically and I really had no desire to eat pasta again.

But the other day I was walking through the commissary doing my normal scanning of the aisles to find new gluten free products and there it was, a new pasta product. Ooooo I had to try it and I'm glad I did because it was fantastic. The consistency was no different from regular pasta and my husband loved it!

The Patch Commissary now carries 3 different products: Bionature, Ancient Harvest Quinoa and the new one, La Veneziane Fettucini. The best out of these 3 as far as taste goes is the La Veneziane but the Quinoa pasta is the healthier choice.

My husband and I picked up a chive pesto from the local Christmas Market in Sindelfingen last weekend and all I did was throw a few tablespoons of that pesto into our pasta, mixed it up and then placed sautéed chicken, zucchini and a little bit of parmesan cheese for me, and a lot of cheese for my husband. He is the cheese lover. Super simple, super good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gluten Free Organic Apfel Kuchen (German Apple Cake)

OMG... I just baked the most awesome cake ever! My son's former Au Pair (who is German) used to make this cake for us, non-gluten free, 3 years ago when she lived with us in the States and I would cheat just to have a slice. Today she is visiting us and I asked her if we could attempt to convert her mom's recipe into a gluten free recipe. So we did and WOW we cannot tell the difference one bit. This is a fantastic cake to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or just for fun anytime. The Germans are known for their amazing apple strudels and cakes so give this one a try. Everyone will love it!!!

  • 3 3/4 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 cup organic coconut crystals (sweetener)
  • 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons of organic unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder, Bob's Red Mill aluminum free
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 large red apples of choice (we used pink lady apples) sliced & peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups of organic apple sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix flour, coconut crystals, butter, baking powder, and almond extract together with hand mixer until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Prepare 8 or 9 inch spring form cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the sides.
  4. Place 1/2 of flour mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Layer the apples on top of the flour layer and the apple sauce on top of the apples.
  6. Place remaining flour mixture on top and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile mix the cream and egg with a fork and set aside until the cake is done then pour the cream mixture on top and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Soup (Kuerbiscremesuppe)

Since we moved to Germany we have enjoyed much of the winter months in the Austrian Alps snowboarding, drinking gluehwein and eating delicious Kuerbis (pumpkin) soup. There is one little hut in particular, right up the hill from the Hotel Bellevue in Lech, that has the most amazing pumpkin soup. Ever since we came across that soup I have tried to replicate it and I think I have finally come close. I did numerous searches online to find a recipe that worked but all of the ones I found were REALLY BORING so I hope that you find this recipe exciting. I've also had numerous other pumpkin soups that were pretty bland so I think that spicing things up a bit really makes the soup stand out. Nothing better than a hot bowl of Kuerbissuppe apres ski! So yummy, or as my son said to me the other day, "Das schmeckt lecker momma!"

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 to 4 small potatoes (red or white) diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1/2 cup cream (organic half and half)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pumpkin oil

1. Saute onions in olive oil until soft then add the crushed garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2. Stir in all spices
3. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, wine and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium high heat until potatoes are soft, approximately 30 minutes.
4. Allow to cool slightly and then blend in batches in a blender.
5. Return to soup to pan, stir in cream and reheat gently.
6. Sprinkle each serving with pumpkin seeds and a small swirl of pumpkin oil.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gluten Free Hearty Cornbread

I think I finally found what I was looking for in a cornbread that is perfect with soups and stews. I have taken the same recipe out of my very first GF cookbook, Cooking Gluten-Free! by Karen Robinson, and altered it now four times since 2003 to come up with this one and I believe it is a keeper. My magic ingredient is the GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal by Bob's Red Mill which is a blend of whole grain brown rice, corn, sorghum and buckwheat.

  • 1/3 cup organic agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill GF All purpose baking flour
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons of organic butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of Almond milk, vanilla (or any milk of choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or oil an 8 inch baking dish.
  2. Combine baking soda, salt, zanthan gum, flour mix, and Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, flaxseed meal in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine butter, egg, agave and milk in small bowl.
  4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until blended.
  5. Poor batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick tests clean.
  6. Serve for breakfast or with your favorite stew or soup.
We served our cornbread with my Beef Green Chili Stew. Stayed tuned for future post.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

Compliments of Namaste Foods, Biscuit, Piecrust & More! This amazing recipe is on the package and is a must to make for breakfast, brunch, when you have the girls over for coffee or if your man is sleeping in and you want to make the house smell great when he wakes... that is the case today.

All of the Namaste products I have tried have always been great, simple to make and everyone loves them. This particular product is a blend of brown rice flour, tapioca four, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour, rice milk powder, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. Pretty simple.

The only thing I did differently on this recipe was taking out the sugar. I replaced the 1/2 cup of sugar with a 1/3 cup of agave syrup. If you want to make this completely sugar free then you will have to find a substitute for the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar that you put in the crumble topping. It is possible to just mix the finely chopped walnuts with cinnamon and leave it at that, but I haven't tired it yet.

Serve with your favorite cup of joe and enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gluten Free Oatmeal Buckwheat Hot Cereal

Did I mention that I am a cereal freak? Well one of the hardest things for me to give up when I had to stop eating gluten was all those great cereals on the market. Thankfully now there are plenty of gluten free cereals however I still find that it is not the most beneficial breakfast for me to eat especially before my workout. Doing CrossFit in the morning requires a little more substance and protein to start the day. I am thrilled to have another option for hot cereals, and couldn't wait to create a yummy breakfast this morning.

This recipe was inspired by my old College buddy from Haiti. She used to make her mom's special cream of wheat for me and it was delicious but loaded with sugar and gluten. It was necessary for me to adapt this one. I hope you enjoy it too!

  • 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lime (peel about 4 slices off the lime)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of gluten free oats
  • 1/8 cup of Pocono Cream of Buckwheat
  • Favorite fruit of choice (applesauce, blueberry sauce, blueberries, or dried cranberries)

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and lime peels and once the milk starts to simmer add the buckwheat then the oats. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Servings: 1

Bacon in a Blanket

I was walking through REAL the other day (the German's version of Walmart but much better quality thank goodness) and I came across a whole section of frozen GF products. That just made my day and everything that I have tried so far from this company ds is awesome. I found a box of pre-made puff pastry and thought it would come in handy and sure enough it gave me an idea... my version of "pigs in a blanket" that is super simple and quick to throw together when you need an appetizer for a party. Using only nitrate free bacon will alleviate the problem of not knowing if your sausages have gluten in them or not, most of them do. You can also add your mustard dip of choice. A sweet honey mustard makes these little treats melt in your mouth. Mmmmm good!!

  • 1 package of pre-made puff pastry
  • 1 package of nitrate free bacon, cooked until crispy and broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small chunk of cheddar cheese sliced into small chunks

Cook the bacon until crisp. Meanwhile slice the cheddar cheese and prepare the puff pastry by rolling it out on parchment paper. Cut into long strips about 5 to 6 inches long and about 1 inch thick. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Take one strip of puff pastry, one piece of bacon and one chunk of cheese and roll it up. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with your favorite GF honey mustard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

You gotta love a reason... Kindergarten Laterne Laufen ist heute abend! Tonight we take a lantern walk through the village with our kids, sing songs, drink kinder punch and attempt to speak German with the other parents. They ask all parents to bring something so I quickly threw together my kids favorite muffins. This is a must during the holidays. These are probably the most moist muffins I have made and very flavorful. If you have time to make your own pumpkin puree it is worth it and will guarantee no additives.

Recipe is from my favorite baking cookbook with some minor changes: Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly

  • 1 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour or Pamelas Baking mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 teaspoon zanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten free baking powder (used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup agave syrup (if you want it sweeter try 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk (used Almond milk)
  • Optional: Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Mix together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
Cream the butter until white. Add the agave syrup and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in pumkin puree. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk.
Option: add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or fruit.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar if desired.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Montana Monster Munchies Granola...

...has ARRIVED!! Oh so excited when my husband came home with packages in hand. Since we live overseas it takes a significant amount of time to receive mail, sometimes up to 4 weeks. But luckily my order to Monster Munchies arrived rather quickly. I was so happy to see the 5 different types of granola and couldn't wait for the morning to enjoy such a luxury!!! Mmmmm my cereal, a cup of coffee and a little morning silence before the kids wake up is heaven. I have tried 3 out of the 5 so far and they are definitely good but there is not much of a difference between the Cut Bank Cranberry, Chinook Chocolate and Mariah's Gold and all of them have peanuts. I'm not too fond of peanuts in my cereal so I end up picking them out. We shall see how the other two compare but I'm thinking the Cut Bank Cranberry will be my top pick from this brand.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's Play-Doh Time! ...or Maybe Not

Just recently my boys began playing with a Play-Doh kit.  Everyday they come home from kindergarten and say, "it's Play-Doh time momma!"  They sit quietly for a good amount of time creating things and having a blast.  I was thrilled and thought, "what a great invention!"  Until I realized just today that what my boys are playing with is made of WHEAT!  Yikes!  Both of them have had rashes on their cheeks for days now and all along I've been thinking it was something they ate.  I then tried everything to clear it up with no luck.  Now that I know, Play-Doh time is over until I can find a good substitue.  I found a recipe that I will try and will let you know how it goes.  But if you are as busy as most moms are check out Aroma Dough online for some already made GF "play dough."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken Tenderloins

My husband was on his own for dinner the other night and his first choice was the GF chicken tenderloins by Allergy Free Foods company.  You know it has got to be good for a GF product to be on the top his list.  I always keep at least one package of the chicken and one package of the country fried beef steaks in the freezer for those days when you just don't have enough time to prepare anything.  Not only are these the quickest to make, they are delicious.  You almost have to wonder... how is it possible for something to taste so good?  I always think if is that good it must have gluten in it.  But not this product.  It is gluten, soy, peanut, tree nuts, egg and milk free.  Seems to be good for everyone and my youngest, our red meat eater, can't get enough of the beef steaks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gluten Free Crackers

Always in search of a good GF cracker… I’ve tried them all with high hopes followed by disappointment, until now!  The Germans have figured out a way to make some of the best products I have tried.  Glutano’s Kric Kroc Salzcrackers are now my older son's favorite snack and let me tell you, he is the toughest critic.  He is now 3 and 1/2 and the pickiest eater on the planet.  And for some strange reason has taken it upon himself to be a vegetarian.  His blood type is A+ and I swear he eats straight out of The Blood Type Diet.  But more on that later...  We just had him tested for Celiac Disease yesterday and will know in 2 weeks if he inherited my gene.  I really hope he didn’t.  He has been on a GF diet since he was a small baby and started having horrible skin rashes.  Once I removed wheat from his diet, the rashes went away.  The only time he went off a GF diet drastically was during our transition and move to Germany.  His skin, digestion, and diaper rashes were uncontrollable.  After trying steroid creams, special lotions, special bath soaps, less baths, and different detergents I finally just put him back on his GF diet and within days all his rash problems vanished.  I was told to wait until he turned 3 to have him tested, so we shall see.

Anyway, for my son to try something new and different from his routine of eating peanut butter sandwiches, pears, peas, sometimes sweet potatoes, and corn chips, is a dream come true.  When I can find a snack that he likes I know it has to be good.  Glutano has many products and, with the exception of the Knusperspass, which is a chocolate balls cereal, they are all outstanding.  The problem once again is they distribute only in Germany and I don’t see any option to order online.  This is becoming frustrating because I don’t want to live in Germany for the rest of our lives.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

Had the best GF chicken fingers last night! The best part is that my youngest son, who is a toddler and NOT gluten intolerant (at least he has shown no signs of being so) loved them. But he has become a picky eater lately so when I find something that he will eat all by himself, I’m psyched. They took 10 minutes to bake in the oven and dinner was ready! It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

This company also has the best GF frozen pizza I have ever had and let me tell you I have tried them all. My son loved that as well. Just a simple margherita-style pizza, thin crust with sauce a little cheese. Mmmmm good. The only drawback is that they use yeast in their recipe and I really don’t see the need for it. Yeast is a hard thing to avoid but it can be done.

Oh and did I mention their tiramisu and ice cream cones? To die for! I can’t believe they are gluten free

This company (ds) rocks and now carries the Quality by Shar mark, meaning the products are developed by Dr Shar and stand for exceptional quality, max safety and great taste.

Montana Monster Munchies

Montana Monster Munchies is an excellent source for GF oats. I found them in Whole Foods on my visit back to the States and brought home a bag to try out. I got the GF Quick Oats and wow they are awesome. It is just so nice to feel safe about eating oats again and not having to be deprived of such a great food. Having this gives me some variety again for breakfast and keeps me from eating so much of the processed GF cereals which I LOVE unfortunately! You can order their products online however there is a drawback… a tad bit pricey. I would love to try their cookies but I don’t really want to buy in bulk and pay $45 to $50 for them. It would be perfect if you were running your own store. But just to have a few for a treat… might as well bake your own and save the cash.