Sunday, January 12, 2014

End of Christmas Season Feast (Gluten Free Recipes: Cheesy Hash Browns, Green Bean Casserole, Spiced Cranberry Sauce)

Today, The Baptism of Jesus, marks the end of the Christmas Season... so last night we feasted.  The tradition of having an extra Christmas feast... actual started with a faux Thanksgiving, years ago.  We had been visiting a friend shortly after Thanksgiving and we had decided to cook all the things that we really liked to eat, but couldn't convince the extended family to accept at the "official meal."  Hannah and I love to cook, and we love to try new things.  In so many ways, going gluten free was exciting because it gave us an excuse to try new things... or old things in new ways.  This is always one of our least healthy meals of the year... but it always tastes good

This weekend, Hannah's sister Sarah and her boyfriend were up visiting and were able to join us.

This year's spread included (going clockwise) Ham, Cranberry Sauce, Croissant Rolls, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Cheesy Hash Browns, Green Bean Casserole, Sausage, Walnut, Spiced Cranberry Sauce, Gravy, Sweet Potatoes, Corn.

Cheesy Hash Browns

2 lbs Shredded Potato (We shred our own with a box grater, but you can use the frozen)
8oz Sour Cream
2 cups Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Stick Butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (we use Pacific brand)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder to taste

Mix everything together, top with crumbled corn flakes or potato chips.  Pop in the oven @ 350 for an hour.  We usually leave it for another 15 minutes so everything gets toasty.

Green Bean Casserole

Enough green beans to fill your container about half way (we used about 20oz)
1 Can cream of Mushroom (we use Pacific brand)
1/2 Cup Milk

Mix everything together and bake @ 350 for about 30-45 minutes.  During the last 15 minutes, top with crumbled potato chips (or fry up some gluten free onion rings)

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
1-3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Simmer until everything thickens and the berries pop (30 minutes or so)  Cool.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Crescent Rolls

One of the things I miss most about being gluten free is dinner rolls. After looking at multiple gluten recipes for rolls I made this recipe up. It completely satisfies my desire for dinner rolls! I have also made pastries using this recipe! You can substitute this recipe into any pastry recipe that calls for a can of crescent rolls. 

1 package yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

Mix together the first 3 ingredients and let stand for about 20 minutes. Add melted butter, beaten eggs, and salt. Gently add 2 cups flour. Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time until it makes a very sticky dough. I do this in my kitchen aid mixer, so it kneads and mixes at the same time. Cover the dough and chill for about 2 hours.

Once you are ready to bake, divide the dough into two even balls. Roll out each and cut into triagles with your pizza cutter. I have made 8 out of each for large rolls or 16 for small rolls. Once you roll your crescent rolls and put them on the pan I like to brush melted butter on top so they get that nice brown crispy look to them. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes.

This is a picture of some pastries I made with this recipe. I forgot to add butter on top before baking so it did not brown as nicely but was still completely scrumptious!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up is my mother would make all kinds of cookie dough and freeze them so that we could have hot cookies through out the Christmas season whenever we felt like it! The chocolate chip cookie dough was the best! When Mama wasn't looking we would sneak just the dough and eat it!

After we went gluten free the chocolate chip cookies just weren't the same. I finally created a recipe that is EXACTLY like the ones before we went gluten free!!! I am excited to pass the tradition on to my children!

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour mix
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream butter sugars, and eggs, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Blend in other ingredients except chocolate chips mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and bake for 12 to 15 minutes
or put on wax paper and roll into a log and freeze for future use.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 is Finally Over

2012 proved to be a very hard year. I felt like I went on a very difficult spiritual journey and I am glad it is over. This year my husband and I spent a lot of time thinking about who we are, where we are in life, and who we want to be and where we want to go. I feel like I have a new understanding of what I want in life and what, I hope, God wants in my life. Getting to a point where I now know what I want and I have a plan to get there was difficult and spiritually trying. I am ready for a year with new beginnings. I am ready for certain chapters in my life to come to end and for others to begin.

I experienced a lot of loss this year. In March a priest who was my spiritual director and father to me passed away. In August I lost my grandmother and 3 weeks later the mother to one of my cousins lost the battle to cancer. I had a couple of friends who lost children to miscarriage including one on Christmas Eve. Even my parent's dogs passed away.

There were plenty of good things that happen. My husband took up violin and proved to have amazing talent! My children have grown into beautiful little girls who amaze me every day! I have made new friends, rekindled old friendships, and grown closer to certain family members.

I have a lot of hope for what 2013 will bring and I have several New Years resolutions to help bring those things about. One of those resolutions is I hope to blog more and post more gluten free recipes.

I hope you all had a wonderful new year and I hope you all have a very blessed 2013!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak

I have been blessed with the most wonderful husband who also happens to be a great cook! He guest blogged today. 

Hannah and I started dating about a year after most of her family went gluten free.  I embraced the idea of cooking gluten free from the beginning.  To me, it wasn't a burden that I had to put up with if I wanted to be with Hannah, it was a challenge to create great food that tasted as good... if not better... than the gluten alternative.  When we got married, the general rule we have for the house is that even if I may not be completely gluten free at work and such (I am a teacher... school lunches...) at home we cook gluten free.  It is not fair to Hannah to bring a ton of gluten into the house.

I love Chicken Fried Steak.  My ideal version is at Lee's Fried Chicken in Lincoln, NE.  Dad and I have been going there for 20+ years after Nebraska Cornhusker football games.  I have ordered the same thing... Chicken Fried Steak, Hash Browns, and Chicken Gravy.  In some parts of the country, people put white cream gravy or brown gravy... I prefer neon yellow chicken gravy on my Chicken Fried Steak.   This is my take on Midwest Chicken Fried Steak.  The chicken bouillon we use does not contain any artificial dye, so my gravy did not get very yellow... but it did taste very good.  While I like hash browns a lot... the girls eat mashed potatoes better.

Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes 
with Chicken Gravy

Chicken Fried Steak
4 Cubed steaks
3/4 Cup Flour Mix
1/2 Cup Potato Starch
1 tbls Onion Powder
1 tbls Garlic Powder
Pinch or two of Ground Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk
Oil for Frying

1 Can Chicken Broth
2-3 Carrots, cut up
2 Stocks of Celery, cut up
1 Onion, Cut up
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed
4 tsp. Chicken Bouillon
1 Cup Milk
4 tbls. Butter
2 tbls. Corn Starch
Salt and Pepper to taste

4-5 Russet Potatoes
Milk and Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste


Peel potatoes, cut into quarters, put in pot with enough water to cover.  Put on Medium High Heat

In medium pot, add first 5 ingredients for gravy, put on medium heat.  Add half a can of water

Mix dry ingredients for the steaks.  Dredge steaks through flour mix, pressing flour into steaks.  Set steaks aside

Mix egg and milk in a bowl.  Heat oil in large, heavy pan.

When oil is hot, dredge steaks through egg wash and then through flour again.  Coat well with flour and put in pan... fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towel lined plate.  A note: I don't do the egg wash and final coating until I am about to put them in the oil.

When potatoes are tender (fork goes through easily) drain.  Add milk and about 4 tbls. of butter.  Add enough milk that when blended, everything is smooth.  Go little by little.

For gravy, strain solids out of broth.  Add bullion.  Mix corn starch and milk in a small cup until corn starch is dissolved.  Add to broth.  Bring gravy to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I often add more garlic and onion powder too).


Monday, September 17, 2012

Flour Mix

I have tried a bunch of different gluten free flour mixes. The pre-mixed ones you can buy are usually too expensive and a lot of them have bean flour in them. I really dislike the flavor of bean flour. I have come up with a flour mix that I can make at home, it is not as expensive as buying it, and it taste great! 

1 cup rice flour
1 cup corn starch
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sorgum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Dear Readers,

I am sorry for my long and sudden absence. Life did not go as planned this summer (does it ever really?). I took a 2 week break while on vacation visiting my parents. It was a glorious and wonderful trip! We returned home and the next week my grandmother went in the hospital a very short 6 weeks later I was packing my bags to attend her funeral.

My grandparents live out on a farm in a town called Redfield. Every time anyone went to visit Grandma fed them. You would walk in the house and food would come flying out. My uncle likened it to the feeding of the 5 thousand. She was most famous for her casseroles. Each one of us kids thought she made those casseroles just for them! She had a way of making everyone feel special.

My grandmother loved her family more than life. Family was not limited to blood relations though. One of my cousins said, "Surely we are not the only family that has conversations that begin with 'What do you mean we aren't actually related?'" I am pretty sure the entire town of Redfield felt like family and the entire town of Redfield showed up to her funeral.

She had a wicked sense of humor and if you weren't on your guard she would get you! I think everyone's favorite story was from when she and Grandpa were dating. Grandpa had made her mad. One night while studying he got a call from a radio station saying that if he could name Roy Roger's horse he would win a prize. He correctly answered the question and the radio station said, "Congratulations! You just won a pound of horse manure!" Sure enough a few days later in the mail he received a tin that looked like his mother's cookies. Grandma convinced him to open it in the student union and it was horse manure. Grandma swore she had nothing to do with it. The fact that her dorm was fertilized with horse manure the week before was pure coincidence!

I am going to miss visiting with Grandma. I am going to miss her massive amount of food she always had on hand (3 freezers, 2 refrigerators, and a huge pantry... no joke!) I am going to miss seeing her in her chair with her cup of coffee watching the humming birds. To be honest, I don't know that I want to go to Redfield again and not have her there.

 My wonderful and amazingly talented cousin, Christin Byrd, put this together. It is a picture of Grandma's 4 children, 17 grand-children, 15 great-grand-children, all the in-laws, and some adopted family members who might as well be blood related.