Gluten Free Stuffing

Thanksgiving dinner is my all time, number one, favorite meal. My grandma cooked the most amazing Thanksgiving dinners that I have ever had, hands down. A perfect turkey and stuffing every single time, some years she even cooked a ham and a turkey, every side dish you could imagine, delicious rolls slathered with butter, the absolute best giblet gravy, apple pie, pumpkin pie, she even buttered and cinnamon and sugared the leftover pie crust so we could snack on it. Exactly the same every single year, which is just the way I liked it. I don’t think I’ll ever find anything as good again. I consider myself deeply blessed to have been a part of at least 30 of her Thanksgiving meals.

What I didn’t realize until I got older, was how much time and work goes into making a true “grandma style” Thanksgiving dinner. Wow, it’s a ton of work and a labor of love, for sure. And the dishes afterward for 10-15 people or more? Yikes.

Not wanting to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy my favorite meal, I found a way around it that isn’t quite as much work. And of course I needed to come up with a gluten-free stuffing. A few times a year I stuff a chicken and we have it with mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable side dish (only 1 instead of 3 or 4 like Grandma used to do) and of course, a pie. Still work, but not as much as Thanksgiving, and oh so worth every single bite. I love how food can evoke so many wonderful memories of the people we love and the fun we had while we were together. Wish she was here to see my new blog. She’s the original “foodie” in the family. She would be so pleased to know that all of those years I watched her in the kitchen I really was listening and learning.

Gluten Free Stuffing

(Will fill an 8 inch square pan or be enough to stuff about a 6 lb. bird)

1 Loaf Ener G Bread, you can use the tapioca or the brown rice loaf, cubed

4 Tbsp. Poultry Seasoning, heaping (I used about 3/4 of a 1.4 oz. jar)

2 Tbsp. Powdered or Fresh Garlic, minced (I used fresh garlic this time)

2 Tbsp. Sea Salt

Several Grinds of Pepper

2 Tbsp. Non-Dairy Butter (or real butter)

1 Carton of Organic Chicken Broth

8 Slices of Your Favorite Bacon (I used all natural, uncured)

3 Stalks of Celery, sliced thinly

1 Onion, diced small (I used 1/2 white & 1/2 red because I had it on hand)

Drizzle of Olive Oil

3 Tbsp. Bacon Drippings, reserved from browned bacon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cube the bread and place in a large bowl. Add poultry seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss gently with your fingers until ingredients are combined.

Gently pour out onto lined baking sheet. Some of the seasonings will fall to the bottom of the bowl, make sure you add these to the cubed bread on the baking sheet too.

Bake, turning with a spatula every 20 minutes until dry and crisp. About 60-80 minutes.

While the bread is browning, slice the bacon and prepare your vegetables.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry bacon until browned and lightly crisp. Place bacon pieces on a paper towel and drain bacon fat, reserving 3 Tbsp. in pan.

In the same pan with the bacon drippings, add the onion and celery and saute until onions are translucent and celery is al dente. Set aside until bread cubes are done.

Properly toasted bread cubes should look like this..

Once the cubed bread has cooled, pour into a large bowl. Warm 3 cups of chicken broth and add 2 Tbsp. dairy free butter (or real butter) to the broth. The picture shows 4 cups of broth, but I only used 3.

Taste bread cubes and if necessary, add another tablespoon or so of poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add warmed broth into cubes tossing carefully until 2 – 3 cups of the  broth is absorbed. This will also depend on how you like your stuffing. If you like it moist, try to get all 3 cups absorbed, if you like it a little dry, use 2 cups.

Then, either put it in a 8 inch square pan that is sprayed with non-stick spray, or stuff your bird. If you bake it in the pan, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake until the top is browned and crispy, about 40 minutes.  A 6 lb. stuffed chicken usually takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 or so hours at 375 degrees.


Asian Chicken Wings & Vegetable Stir Fry

How could something so dull and tiny as a chicken wing taste so good? I’m going to guess it’s the sauce. I’ve tried a lot of different chicken wings over the years and have definitely decided on what I don’t like. I don’t like them dry or dredged and deep-fried. I crave a gooey, spicy, baked or barbecued wing, one that isn’t fatty and underdone. One with depth and flavor and a texture that isn’t like eating beef jerky. There are so many different flavors that you can marry with a chicken wing. This time I decided to give them an Asian flair and serve them alongside vegetable stir fry. They had layers of sweet and spicy flavors, a bit of tang from the fresh ginger and the texture was perfect. They paired wonderfully with the vegetable stir fry and rice.

2 Packages of Party Wings (About 2-2/12 pounds)

Marinade & Basting Sauce

1 Bottle GF BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle)

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/2 Cup GF Tamari Sauce (Gluten Free Soy Sauce)

2 Tbsp. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (Three if you like it hot)

2 Tbsp. Chopped Garlic

1 Tbsp. Grated Ginger

3/4 tsp. Dark Sesame Oil

3 Green Onions, chopped

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk until thoroughly combined. Reserve 1 cup for basting. Place chicken wings in sauce bowl and stir until completely coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

While chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables for the stir fry.

Vegetable Stir Fry

1 Cup Carrots, sliced on the diagonal

1 Cup Broccoli, sliced small

1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, sliced thinly

1 Can Sliced Chestnuts

1 Can Bamboo Shoots

1/4 Red Onion, sliced thinly

2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. Ginger, finely diced

About 1/4 Cup GF Tamari Sauce

About 1/4 Cup GF Teriyaki Sauce

Once vegetables are cut and ready to go, set aside until you place the chicken in the oven.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and make the rice according to package directions (I use Texmati rice, which takes 15 minutes)

Place chicken wings on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then increase temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.  When you raise the oven temperature up to 375 degrees, begin cooking vegetable stir fry. Then, drizzle the wings with reserved sauce, and broil on middle shelf for 10-15 minutes longer, until sauce is bubbly and starts to thicken.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and garlic on medium-medium high heat, add vegetables and ginger. Saute until  the pan starts to dry out,and add the soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, bamboo, and chestnuts.  Stir fry until vegetables are al dente.

Serve vegetable stir fry over rice with the wings on the side.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Mix

Simply Organic Carrot Cake Mix

I ran across this in the grocery store yesterday.The picture reminded me a little of the amazing carrot cake that my mom makes. Unfortunately, hers has gluten and dairy and I can’t indulge in it anymore. So I thought, what the heck? I’m going to try this, I’m not a major fan of pre-made mixes but I’m sure I can do something to doctor it up. There are also three different recipes on the box for different types of cakes and one recipe for bars, in case you get stuck or don’t feel like being adventurous. I added several things to this mix and made it into Carrot Cupcakes With Walnut & Ginger Frosting, which I had for breakfast with all natural uncured bacon. Oh yes, you’re reading this correctly…I had cupcakes and bacon for breakfast. And it was just as delicious as it sounds.

Carrot Cupcakes With Walnut & Ginger Topping

I love early Sunday mornings. For some reason, Sundays signify a special food day for us. When we were younger we used to go to my in-law’s every Sunday night for a family dinner and I loved it. I loved the routine, the family atmosphere, and especially the food. I like to make something sweet for breakfast with bacon on Sunday mornings and typically I make a large dinner with a special dessert as well. It’s comforting, a time for all of us to be together at once, a tradition, and a welcomed relief to our crazy-busy lives. Something that I hope our son will remember forever and will look forward to with his family someday. Confessions of a foodie “a-holic” and a somewhat sentimental sap, I suppose. I think it’s a wonderful way to end a week, a time to slow down, get together, and remember how blessed we are. It’s sunny and beautiful this morning, and I can’t think of a better day to have a carrot cake cupcake for breakfast.

(Makes 12 Unbelievably Moist & Delicious Cupcakes)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 Box Simply Organic Carrot Cake Mix

1/2 of a 15 oz. can of Organic Sweet Potato Puree

1/4 cup Organic Raisins, heaping

1/4 cup Sweetened Coconut

1/2 cup Shredded Organic Carrots

2 Large Organic Eggs

1/2 Cup Water

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/8 Cup Chopped Walnuts, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. of  Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting of your choice.

I used Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Cream Cheese frosting because it is gluten-free and dairy free. If you’re not dairy free you can easily make homemade cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. You could also try the non-dairy cream cheese, it has a similar texture to cream cheese but I feel it lacks the cheesy flavor and tartness of the real cheese. If you’re worried about the partially hydrogenated oils, you could just simply do a vanilla frosting with powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla, and skip the cream cheese flavor.

Pour cake mix into medium glass bowl. Add sweet potato puree, raisins, coconut, shredded carrots, eggs, water, and olive oil. Stir just until combined and batter is evenly moist.

Next, line a muffin pan with cupcake papers, spray lightly with non-stick spray (I didn’t spray mine and they stuck to the paper a little). Fill with batter about 3/4 full.

Place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, remove from muffin pan and place on cooling rack until completely cool.

Finely chop the nuts and crystallized ginger.

Frost with your choice of frosting and sprinkle lightly with walnuts and crystallized ginger. A little bit of ginger goes a long way, so remember to just sprinkle a tiny amount on each cake.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Burritos!

Amy's Gluten Free Non-Dairy Burritos

Probably the number one complaint we heard from people who were told they had food allergies and needed to change their diet  when I worked in the Naturopath’s office was how inconvenient it was. I would have to agree. It makes it difficult to just grab something to eat when you’re on the go. I’m constantly in search of gluten-free and dairy free things to keep on hand for snacks or small meals when I don’t feel like preparing something. My cousin told me about Amy’s burritos and I have to admit, I was skeptical. A dairy free and gluten-free burrito? What the heck is in it? But I bought a couple of them anyway and was very pleasantly surprised. Great texture, great taste, and convenient! If you’re not dairy free she also has a variety of just gluten-free burritos. So far this is the only dairy free & gluten-free one that I’ve been able to find. And who really needs the added extra fat of cheese anyway, right?

Organic Hummus

Emerald Valley Organic Smoked Jalapeno & Garlic Hummus - Gluten & Dairy Free

I’m eating this hummus with rice crackers and celery right now as I type this…and it is good. Great in fact. I ran across it in my local grocery store in the health food cold section. The Smoked Jalapeño & Garlic on the label was what first caught my eye. Then I was even more excited to see that it was gluten-free, dairy free, and completely organic! I’ve tried a lot of  different  types of “main stream” hummus dips and although they taste great, and I can’t seem to find gluten as an ingredient…they give me gluten like symptoms. That isn’t the case with this product. And don’t let the smoked jalapeño scare you. It’s just enough to satisfy those of us who like hot and spicy foods but not enough to offend those of you with a more mild palette. Emerald Valley has several different dips. This is my first, if the others are even half as good as this one, I’m sure I’ll be stocking up.

Not Your Mama’s Sugar Cookie

Insomnia. As long as you don’t have anything of great importance to do the next day, it can actually be quite productive. I don’t suffer from it very often but when I do, I like to visualize my house re-decorated in different ways and create recipes in my head while I’m waiting to get back into the dream world. A couple of weeks ago when I had one of those sleepless nights, I was trying to think of all the different ways I could make a sugar cookie. This rich and decadent recipe was what I came up with. Dark and chocolately, kind of naughty…the black sheep in the family of sugar cookies.

Cherry & Sea Salt Double Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Makes about 28 2 1/2 in. cookies, give or take 1 or 2 testers

1/3 Cup Butter (I used Earth Balance Vegan Sticks)

1/3 Cup Shortening (I used Crisco)

2 Cups Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 Egg

3/4 Sugar

2 Tbsp. Chocolate Rice Milk

1 tsp. Instant Coffee Granules

1 tsp. Baking Powder

3/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Vanilla

(See Frosting Recipe Below)

Cream margarine and shortening until completely combined and fluffy, scraping down once during process.

Dissolve the coffee granules in the 2 Tbsp. of chocolate rice milk.

Add about half of the flour, the egg, sugar, milk and coffee mixture, baking powder, xanthan gum,vanilla, and salt, to the creamed butter and shortening. Mix on low until the flour is incorporated and then beat until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add the remaining cup of flour and beat again until thoroughly combined, scraping down bowl once or twice during the process. Remove batter from bowl, form into disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

After the dough has chilled, remove from fridge and allow to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Flour your work surface with gluten-free flour. Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time, roll out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

Cut into desired shapes and place on lined baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Allow to rest on sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks, allow to cool completely before frosting.

Rich & Decadent Chocolate Frosting

1 1/2 Cups Enjoy Life dairy free, gluten-free, miniature chocolate chips

1 tsp. Instant Coffee Granules, heaping

1/2 Cup Hot Water

1/2 Cup Dried Cherries, chopped small

Course Sea Salt

Place chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle in the instant coffee granules and pour 1/2 cup hot water over chips and coffee granules. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir.

Microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate.

Chop the cherries into small pieces. They will stick together but you can separate them with your fingers when you place them on the cookies.

Place a cooling rack over parchment paper, I used the parchment paper that I baked the cookies on, and lay cookies out on rack. Stirring the chocolate as you go along, frost each cookie with about a teaspoon of chocolate. Carefully spread around the cookie with the spoon.

Carefully separate the cherries with you fingers and drop a few on each cookie. Wait 10 minutes and sprinkle with a small amount of course sea salt. Allow frosting to set completely before storing.

It has been my experience that chocolate frosting or glaze does not freeze well. The fat solidifies and floats to the top, turning the cookies a speckled white. These cookies are to be enjoyed fresh.