Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baked Donut Holes

Who ever said gluten-free breakfast had to be boring? Probably the same people who think good donuts have to be fried.

Last week, I woke up craving donut holes. I had no idea what to do, but I was determined to make them. The secret is to use a mini muffin tin. My mini muffin tin can make 24 mini muffins at once, and luckily, the batter I whipped up was the perfect amount to make 24 donut holes. I rolled the baked donut holes in melted butter and then powdered sugar, but you could do a cinnamon-sugar mixture instead. My whole family ate these up, and I look forward to making them again. I hope you love them too!

***Baked Donut Holes
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup corn starch
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup almond milk (regular milk will work, too)
Melted butter and desired donut hole topping (cinnamon-sugar, or powdered sugar work well)

Preheat oven to 350. In mixing bowl, mix sugar, brown and white rice flours, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. Stir in egg, oil and vanilla. Slowly stir in almond milk (or regular milk) until soft dough forms. I did not grease my mini muffin tin, but you are welcome to do that if you think your pan will need to be greased. Roll dough into walnut-size balls (or slightly smaller) and place one ball in each mini muffin spot. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the donut holes turn a very light brown, or until each donut hole is firm to the touch (not hard, but firm). Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Roll donut holes in melted butter and then into desired topping.  A ratio of 1/2 cup sugar to 2 tsp. cinnamon works well. Or you can use plain powdered sugar. Serve while still warm. Makes 24 large donut holes, or 36 smaller donut holes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gluten-Free Pancakes - with variations

Everybody says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it is also the meal that is the easiest to skip. If I don't eat breakfast, it sets me up to make poor eating choices all day. I've also noticed, though, that almost all the popular breakfast items for Americans are breads, starches, and things that are totally filled with wheat/gluten. Part of it is that we are all so busy in our lives and with our schedules that we don't think we have time to make something more substantial for breakfast on work/school days. I relate to that. As a working mom, I hardly have time to get myself dressed some mornings, let alone make something healthy to eat before heading out the door. For me, the key to a healthy start in the morning is advance preparation.

This pancake recipe is a cinch to make. It also creates a fluffy pancake that freezes well. Pop it in the microwave and heat to thaw for 45 seconds, and you've got breakfast.

Pancakes before stepping out the door? Yes, please!

***Gluten-Free Pancakes
1 cup rice flour
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. tapioca starch/flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. oil
1 1/2 cups water
dash of salt

In a mixing bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and dash of salt. Mix in eggs and oil. Slowly stir in water and beat well until batter is mostly smooth and few lumps remain. Heat large, greased skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake (you can make them larger or smaller if you want). Cook until bubbles form throughout pancake. Flip and cook until the pancakes are golden brown on each side. Serve warm.

Freezing leftovers: Allow pancakes to cool. Store in freezer bag with wax paper in between pancakes. I will make a layer of 4 pancakes in the bag, add wax paper, do another 4 pancakes, etc.

***Fruit-filled variations
For banana pancakes, mash one ripe banana and add to batter when you add in the eggs and oil.

For peach pancakes, drain one small diced peaches fruit cup and add peaches to batter when you add in the eggs and oil.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Indian-Style Chicken with Crushed Tomatoes

My garden is overflowing with cherry tomatoes right now, and many of them needed to be used within the next day or so. So, I decided to try something experimental tonight for dinner, and my oldest child ate three servings of chicken! I was expecting to have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Not so!

I'm not an expert in Indian food, but what I've tried, I have enjoyed. I also happened to have 5 chicken drumsticks in my deep freeze. I set out to cook with very little plan and here's what happened!

I took all the ripe cherry tomatoes I had and diced them into eighths. It ended up being about 2 cups. You could easily use a can of diced tomatoes (around 14.5 ounces or so) instead. I used the meat of 5 chicken drumsticks, but it would work well with white meat as well.

Here's what it turned into!

***Indian-Style Chicken with Crushed Tomatoes
2 cups diced cherry tomatoes, or 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
5-6 chicken drumsticks, with meat cut into bite-size pieces (or 1-2 chicken breasts)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
4 cups cooked rice (2 cups uncooked, cooked per package directions)
oil for cooking chicken

Cut cherry tomatoes into fourths or eighths. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. In small amount of oil, cook chicken until no longer pink. Add 1/2 cup water, chopped onion, and diced cherry tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes start to break apart. With spoon, crush tomatoes until a red sauce forms. Add in cumin, ginger, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and ground cinnamon. Cook until sauce thickens slightly. Serve over rice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

Oh. My. Goodness. This cake is perfection! I confess that even before I stopped eating gluten I had never made an angel food cake. I'm not sure why I didn't. Several people in my family have angel food cake as their favorite cakes, and I enjoy eating it too. For some reason, it never occurred to me to try and make it myself.

Shortly after starting my blog, I had a request for a gluten-free angel food cake recipe that tasted like the real deal. I *love* being asked to help others create recipes, and so, I decided to give it a shot! I fully expected my first attempt to be a flop, especially after reading stories others had written about cakes that flopped. So, I was nervous, but very excited to try.

One of the keys to a fluffy angel food cake that doesn't fall in is inverting the cake after it bakes. Many angel food cake pans are being made with "feet" on the bottom to help with this. For those that don't have the little feet, you can turn the pan over the top of a bottle. Or...if you get a highly dysfunctional pan like mine that is too small for any bottle tops and doesn't have any feet, you can turn it over on a cooling rack or over three coffee cups spread around the edges of the pan.

Many recipes use a stand mixer, but I don't have one. So, I beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer and it worked out perfectly fine. Also, I'm too lazy for sifting. So, I "sifted" my flours and sugar with a fork.

And so, here it is!

***Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
1 1/2 cup egg whites (using between 10-12 eggs), brought to room temperature
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch/flour
1 1/4 cup sugar for mixing with flour, 1/4 cup sugar for mixing with eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Move oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 350. Separate 10-12 eggs, until you have about 1 1/2 cups of egg whites. (If you hate the thought of wasting 12 egg yolks, check out this link for methods on freezing egg yolks. I froze three packages of 4 yolks - two stabilized with sugar, and one stabilized with salt. Hope to use them in future recipes!) Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature, slightly colder than room temp. will work fine. While waiting for the egg whites to warm up, combine white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a bowl. "Sift" by stirring with a fork until the dry ingredients are well-mixed. With electric hand mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Add in salt and cream of tartar. Continue beating the eggs until they have risen significantly and begin to form stiff peaks. Add in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the sugar has mixed in.You do not need to beat the eggs until they are dry. But they should look something like this.

Gently fold in vanilla extract. Add in dry ingredient mixture 1/2 cup at a time, folding into egg mixture gently. Pour mixture into ungreased angel food cake pan. Bake for around 45 minutes, or until cake has turned a deep golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan on cooling rack, three coffee cups spread around outside of pan, or over a narrow-necked bottle (or using the little feet on the bottom of the pan, if yours has them). Cool for at least an hour. Using a butter knife, go around the outside edge, inside edge and bottom of the cake pan until it comes cleanly off the pan.

Serve as is, with berries, whipped topping, or drizzled icing.

Doesn't that look awesome?! A slice for you...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Product Review: S'moreables and S'more Mix Recipe

Time for another product review!

I will admit that my kids had an "off" day at the grocery store this week, and so I didn't pay super close attention to what I was selecting when I picked out a couple new GF products to try. The picture on the box of Kinnikinnick Foods S'moreables sold this product to me. I saw s'mores and had to try them. If I had read the bold print on the box, I would have realized that the product was graham crackers and I would need to supply the chocolate and marshmallows. Ha! Oh well!

The crackers are fantastic. They taste almost exactly like their gluten counterparts, but I actually like these better. They aren't flimsy. They aren't overly hard either. They are sturdy enough for making a s'more, but crumbly enough to be a cracker. The texture is perfection. My kids loved them too, but I didn't share very many. After eating a S'moreable, I started thinking about s'mores. I wanted one. And then, it hit me! Why not have a "s'more" in a bowl? After a bite or two, I wanted more S'more Mix!

***S'more Mix
Kinnikinnick S'moreable crackers
Chocolate chunks of your choice (I read that dark chocolate M&Ms are GF, though you may want to check for yourself)
GF mini marshmallows

Break crackers into bite size pieces. Combine with chocolate chunks and marshmallows. Enjoy, and pretend you are sitting near a campfire somewhere.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Breakfast Pie

Yesterday morning I woke up craving breakfast pizza. I wanted something breakfast-y with no cheese or milk, and I was coming up empty. I decided to make a breakfast pizza and skip the cheese, but then I realized I had no yeast. Ugh. So, breakfast pizza was not going to happen. Then I started thinking about quiche, but I didn't really want to spend the time making and rolling out a crust. That's when I got a weird idea.

Why not make a crust out of crushed Rice Chex? Ya know, kinda like a graham cracker crust, only not sweet? So, that's what I did!

***Rice Chex Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed Rice Chex
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
dash black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Combine crushed Chex, melted butter, salt, and pepper in medium-size bowl. Pour mixture into pie plate and lightly press it into a crust shape. The mixture won't press totally flat, just try to even it out so that the whole bottom of the plate is covered as well as most of the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Chex will lightly brown in the oven.

So, I had an awesome looking crust, but no idea what to put in it. I was still thinking about quiche, but I had no breakfast meat, and was trying to avoid milk and cheese. I used veggies from my garden, but you could use anything. I think asparagus would be fantastic. A meat addition would be great too. So, here's what I did.

***Breakfast Pie Filling
5-6 eggs
3-4 cherry tomatoes, diced
handful of pole beans, finely chopped

Heat oven to 400. Mix eggs and diced veggies together in a bowl, until eggs are thoroughly scrambled. Pour into prepared Rice Chex crust. Bake for 25 minutes, or until eggs are firm and beginning to brown. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Poppers/GF Chicken Nuggets

I don't know why, but it seems like most kids obsess over chicken nuggets at some point in their lives. We eat pretty healthily at our house, but my son still begs for chicken nuggets and tells me they are his favorite food. I don't know if it is because of the fun shapes they often come in, that they can be picked up, or if it truly has to do with their flavor. Whatever it is, my kids beg for chicken nuggets and I pretty much only make them for my kids when I have a GF leftover I can heat up while I cook their wheat-filled nuggets.

I confess, sometimes I miss chicken nuggets too. Not because I miss their pre-packaged, preservative-filled-ness, but because I love what you can do with them. They are pretty versatile, really. My husband was out of town today and my son (whose comfort food is chicken nuggets) has been sick since yesterday. While he was napping, I decided to make chicken nuggets for him, but I wanted to please him and me. So, I made some "homemade chicken nuggets" and heated up some leftover pizza sauce. Voila - I was having chicken parmesan bites and he thought they were chicken nuggets. Win-win! And, for people with celiac/gluten-intolerance who cannot have cheese, these do not have any cheese. Pardon the picture...I wanted to take a picture right after I made these, but my husband had the camera and he was out of town. So, here's a picture of the leftovers!

***Chicken Parmesan Poppers
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-size pieces (I did two small chicken breasts from frozen)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats, pulsed in blender until almost like "flour"
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo
salt and pepper as desired
Pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 425. In blender or food processor, pulse oats until they are somewhat "flour-like." You may need to move the oats around with a spoon or shake the blender gently as you pulse. The oats don't need to be ground totally fine, but you want them to be chopped smaller than they were when you put them in the blender! :)  Put the chopped oats into a medium-size bowl and add salt and pepper as desired. I used about 1/2 tsp. salt and a dash of black pepper. Put mayo into small bowl. Chop chicken into small, bite-size pieces. Working in batches, coat chicken with mayo and then cover with oat crumbs. Place prepared chicken onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes, then flip. Bake 12 more minutes, or until chicken is done and breading has begun to brown. Heat up pizza sauce for dipping, if desired.

These chicken bites held together surprisingly well and could be paired with any number of dipping sauces. My son ate several pieces and then said, "Mom, you can make this again sometime!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Who says you can't give your kids cookies for breakfast?

This morning when I woke up, I noticed I had 6 bananas that were over-ripe and would go bad if I did not use or freeze them that day. My husband offered to make banana bread, but I wanted to try something different. That's when the idea hit me for breakfast cookies, and let me tell you they were a huge hit! My kids felt like they were getting a huge treat by getting cookies for breakfast, and I was happy because what they were eating was really no worse that oatmeal doctored up with a little fruit and sugar. Win-win situation. It doesn't get any better!

So, here it is...

***Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies - yields around 18 cookies
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 farm-fresh egg (or 1 egg + 1 yolk)
2 cups oats (check to make sure they are GF)
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 350. Mash bananas on a plate or in a small bowl. In medium-size mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown rice flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add egg and vanilla. Stir until sticky dough forms. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms are brown and tops are firm. Tops will not brown a lot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beef and Cherry Tomato Pasta Topping

My cherry tomato plants are extremely productive right now. The plants were only supposed to be 3-4 feet tall, but they are closer to 6 feet tall with tomatoes all the way to the tops of the branches. As I expected, as soon as one ripened, they all started ripening! I'm not the canning type - at least not right now - so I wanted to find a way to use all of the ripe tomatoes I had at once. It barely put a dent in the crop I've got now, but it was a great way to use about a dozen cherry tomatoes.

I call this a "topping" because it isn't really saucy. It is just saucy enough that it is kinda like spaghetti, but it lacks the oregano-y zip that reminds me of Italian food. So, I have no idea what to call this. Name it what you'd like. :)  Both my kids and my husband liked this dish a lot and said they'd be totally fine with me making it again. In my mind, that makes it a recipe worth writing down!

Not the greatest picture in the world, but you get the idea. :)  Who knew how hard it would be to take a picture of something that had yellow noodles? I served this up with a side of wax beans and pole beans (also right out of the garden).

***Beef and Cherry Tomato Pasta Topping
1 pound ground beef
12 large cherry tomatoes (I have "giant" cherry tomatoes in my garden, but plump regular cherry tomatoes are fine), cut into eighths
1 pepper, diced (I used a banana pepper from my garden, but you could use a bell pepper, or other pepper you like the flavor of)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
oil for sauteeing
1 box (8 oz.) GF pasta of your choice (I used Quinoa-Corn spaghetti noodles, but anything would work. If you want to feed more than four people, make more pasta. The topping had leftovers when I made this. The noodles did not.)

Cut cherry tomatoes into eighths, dice pepper and onions. In one skillet, brown the ground beef and drain off fat. In another skillet, sautee chopped tomatoes, pepper and onions in oil. Heat water for noodles. Once the tomatoes start breaking apart, add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and desired amount of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Simmer to allow flavors to combine. Cook pasta per package directions. Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water if desired.  Combine meat and tomato mixtures and heat through. Serve topping over noodles.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reduced Sugar GF Banana-Applesauce Muffins

My kids are addicted to muffins for breakfast. Even my two year old will ask me, "Mommy, can I have nuffins?" nearly every morning. I love that muffins are not very messy to eat, and it thrills me that there is usually some kind of fruit in muffins, but I'm not so thrilled about the amount of sugar most of my recipes contain. So, I set out on a quest to make a less-sugar muffin that was gluten-free, and while I was at it I decided to ditch the xanthan gum. Muffins have such a nice solid form that I didn't think the xanthan gum was necessary. Turns out, it isn't!

If you want a muffin that is more like a dessert, this is not the recipe for you. If you want a fruit filled, no oil, gluten-free breakfast you can be happy your kids enjoy (and you too!), then keep on reading.

***Reduced Sugar GF Banana-Applesauce Muffins
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 really ripe bananas (ya know, as ripe as you want them for banana bread)
1 cup applesauce (I used no sugar added)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 12-count muffin tin. In small bowl or on a plate, mash bananas with a fork. In mixing bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, soda, salt and sugar until well combined. Add in applesauce, mashed bananas, and egg. Stir thoroughly. Spoon muffin batter into muffin tin, dividing mixture evenly between the 12 cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, and top of muffins spring back when touched. If you really want to make sure it is good and done, insert a toothpick into the center of one muffin. If it comes out mostly clean, your muffins are ready. Cool, and enjoy.

Some muffins are awesome when they are piping hot. I prefer to let these muffins cool most of the way down before eating.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Almond French Toast

I have recently really gotten into almond milk. It is so creamy, delicious, and has more calcium than regular milk. Yum! So, I've started making lots of things with it. I even like to drink it plain. I've got plans to make my own almond milk and save the almond meal that is leftover to use in recipes, but for now, I've been buying it by the carton at the store.

The first thing I made with my almond milk was french toast. Oh it was so good! The almond flavor is very subtle, but I love it. I'm never making it with regular milk again!

***Almond French Toast

8-10 slices of gluten-free bread (I used Udi's brand)
3 eggs
3/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
oil for greasing the pan

Beat eggs, almond milk, sugar and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. Beat until well-combined. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture. Cook in skillet until both sides are golden brown.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Preview of things to come

I'm home from my road trip, and I can't tell you how excited I am to have control over my meals again! I splurged on some gluten itmes and I'm paying for it right now. Seriously, when will I learn?

Anyway, I wanted to post a short entry to let you know of a couple recipes I have in the works. What kinds of things would you like to see me blog about?

Right now I've got a recipe for almond french toast I can't wait to share, and am tweaking recipes for banana-applesauce muffins and crockpot oatmeal. There is great food in the future!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taking Gluten-Free on the Road

I'm in the routine of gluten-free eating and cooking at home, but taking the gluten-free lifestyle on the road is a tremendous challenge. I stocked up on gluten-free snacks (organic rice cakes, Food Should Taste Good chips, and some nuts for protein), but so far I have struggled to find food at most restaurants where we've stopped. Perhaps I just haven't learned the ropes, but I have found it to be nearly impossible to eat at restaurants on this trip. Fast food places are particularly bad. I don't think I ever realized the obsession we have in America with breaded food until I was looking for gluten-free options on a fast food menu. Thank goodness we found a grocery store so that I could buy some foods that I knew were safe.

Continental breakfast at a hotel is pretty much a nightmare. I've made a mental note to remember that one. Even the items that appear to be wheat free (eggs, sausage, bacon, etc) are dangerously close to items containing wheat. As I stood back and watched other people getting their food, I realized I couldn't trust any of the utensils because people were using them on biscuits and then putting them back in the eggs. The oatmeal packets were by Quaker oats, and I've heard that Quaker does not insure that their oats are un-contaminated. I ended up having my wonderful husband take me to the grocery store so that I could feed myself. I was super hungry by the time I finally ate!

Most restaurants offer a salad option that would work out OK, as long as you leave off the croutons. Last night I had a philly cheesesteak (sauteed green peppers and onions) and had them make it without the bun. That was actually really excellent, and several people at my table were jealous because my food looked better than theirs!

Do you have any tips to share about eating gluten-free on the road? What things do you pack with you when you travel?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Product Review: Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries

I'm not big into couponing, but if I can easily find a deal I will take it. I've been using Swagbucks as a search engine and a way to save up gift cards for Christmas and birthday presents, and I  noticed that you can print coupons through their website as well. One of the first coupons it offered me was for Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries. I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes in all forms, but sweet potato fries particularly delight me. I went ahead and "clipped" the coupon online, but I doubted I would be able to buy the product. There had to be some hidden wheat in there. I was sure of it. I have noticed that a lot of frozen fries and potato products use wheat as a sticking agent, and I was guessing that this product would be the same way.

When I got to the grocery store, I made a bee-line for the sweet potato fries. I was totally thrilled to read on the side of the package: "GLUTEN-FREE." Ahh!!!! Joy!!!!

So, we had a family cook out, and I stuck some of these sweet potato fries in the oven. The fries held together nicely when I flipped them part-way through the cooking time, and they achieved a wonderful crunchy-but-slightly-soggy texture. I love that about good sweet potato fries.

Not the greatest picture in the world. I never realized how hard it was to get a good picture of orange food until I went through probably 30 pictures before I got one that wasn't simply terrible. These fries were great, and I definitely recommend them if you are a lover of sweet potatoes. And, if you hunt around, there are several coupons floating around online. Hope you love these as much as I did!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chocolate Fruity Pebble Treats

I'm still packing my meals for Vacation Bible School this week. I've been kinda boring and have stayed with a cold meat sandwich on bread each night. Tomorrow night they are grilling hot dogs, so I think I'll eat a hot dog without the bun and pack my own side dishes. Hopefully that will work out all right.

Each night the kids get a dessert of some sort with the meal. I've just packed basic sides like GF pretzels, raisins, plantain crispers, etc., but then I heard that Fruity Pebbles are gluten-free now. I decided I should make myself a dessert, and I wanted to use Fruity Pebbles. So, I made a quick trip to the local grocery store, picked up some Fruity Pebbles and came home. The box did NOT say gluten-free on it, so I went to Post Cereal's website. It did confirm that Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are gluten-free, but if you have specific dietary needs, I would recommend calling or emailing the company with your specific questions. As with all my recipes, please double check what you are using to ensure that it is gluten-free and safe for you.

Not the greatest picture, but here's what I came up with for my Vacation Bible School dessert:

***Chocoalte Fruity Pebble Treats

1/4 cup (or 1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 pkg. (10.5 ounce) mini marshmallows
1 box Fruity Pebbles
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. sugar

Line a 9x13 pan with foil and grease foil. In a very large, microwave-safe bowl, melt butter with cocoa and sugar on high for about 45 seconds. Stir well. If the mixture isn't melted, add another 10-15 seconds and stir again. Add marshmallows and toss with the chocolate mixture until the marshmallows are coated. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes (stopping after 45 seconds to stir), or until marshmallows are completely melted. Add Fruity Pebbles cereal and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Dampen hands with water and firmly press cereal mixture into pan until evenly spread. Allow the treats to cool. Cut into about 15 squares.

Hope you enjoy these! They lasted all of one day at my house!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vacation Bible School: A Gluten-Free Challenge!

Our church is doing Vacation Bible School this week, and as part of our outreach to the community, we are offering a meal right when Bible School starts. Last night there were sandwiches (cut into fourths) that were either cheese sandwiches, jelly sandwiches, or lunchmeat sandwiches. There were shredded carrot pieces, pretzel sticks, cookies and juice. I knew ahead of time that this was the menu being served, and so I knew that for the week I would have to plan to bring my own meal with me. So, my challenge has two parts: 1) to bring something that will fill me up and give me the energy to lead the music and skits for almost 70 kids, and 2) something that wouldn't make other people eating around me jealous that my food was different.

Gotta love eating gluten-free at a big community meal.

So, last night I made a turkey sandwich on Udi's gluten-free bread. If you've never had Udi's bread, go get some. It will change your gluten-free life. I know that if I'm going out of town or to visit someone who won't be cooking gluten-free, I can bring along some Udi's bread and be just fine.

I also packed some yellow raisins, and some "Sticks and Twigs" by the company with perhaps the best name I've ever read: Mary's Gone Crackers. The "Sticks and Twigs" were a taste sensation, to say the least, so I will have to do a product review of them a bit later on.

I also toted along my Camelbak full of water. I never leave home without it.

Tonight I will make myself another sandwich, and bring along some Food Should Taste Good chips.

What kinds of things do you bring with you when you know you are going somewhere that won't have gluten-free food? What are your go-to snacks? I'll keep you posted on how the rest of Vacation Bible School goes and what kinds of food I decided to throw in my re-usable lunch bag. Should be an adventure!

As a side note, I also noticed that one other helper was unable to eat with everone else. She is vegetarian and lactose intolerant. Next year I want to do something that can make those with food allergies still feel welcome.