I'm a working mom with 8 years experience raising a celiac kid. I have to eat dairy and gluten free, but my daughter only has to eat GF. I'm by no means an expert, but I'm happy to share a few of my cooking tips, school lunchbox ideas, and recipes with you. I'll be posting something new once a month.

If you're curious about me, visit my other sites (shown at the bottom of this page), where I have contact forms and About-the-Author pages.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

What to Serve at Your Gluten-Free and Diary-Free Tea Party


Summer's here, and little girls are going to want to have a tea party outside, with friends. But what can you offer little girls who are used to eating gluten? You need to offer them something they won't turn their noses up at.

If you want to bake something, I suggest getting a miniature muffin tin and using Pamela's gluten-free vanilla cake mix and Pamela's GF chocolate cake mix to bake some cupcakes everyone can frost. You can also buy miniature bundt cake pans, which make adorable little bundt cakes. We did this at my daughter's 10th birthday party, and it was a big hit. (See pictures.)

We bought Betty Crocker's GF white frosting (check labels), but be aware that this stuff isn't usually dairy-free too. So if you have a dairy-free person in your household, I recommend using powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar), Earth Balance spread, and soy milk to make your own frosting. Also check to make sure your food colorings are gluten- and dairy-free.

Candy sprinkles are usually safe, but it's always a good idea to check those labels too.

We also included marshmallows, GF hot chocolate (but that's not dairy-free, usually), strawberry guava juice, lemonade, and K-Toos GF and DF cookies on our tea party menu.

I had the girls frost the cupcakes and bundt cakes, so they had a lot of fun with that (although expect a mess). By frosting the cupcakes themselves, each person at the tea party takes pride in what they've made. You'll have fewer problems with non-gluten-free eaters turning their noses up at a cupcake they frosted themselves.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Jo-jo Potatoes Recipe

When I first started eating gluten-and-dairy-free, I remember going into a mini-mart and seeing all those deep fat fried foods and wishing I could eat them. Well here's a recipe for one of my favorites: Jo-jo potatoes! Yum!

Ingredients:

5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 Medium-to-Large Potatoes

1 Lime
1 tsp. Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
4 Tbsp. Yeast
2 tsp. Paprika
Large Dash of Cayenne Pepper (or Arizona Mesquite Seasoning from DTN Spices in Phoenix area)
3 tsp. Celery Salt
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Mustard Powder

Directions:
  1. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Pour 1 Tbsp. of olive oil onto the aluminum foil and rub it all around with a paper towel or napkin. (Make sure your cookie sheet has a lip or rim around the edge so the oil doesn’t drip into the oven!)
  2. Slice potatoes into eight wedges of equal size.
  3. Slice the lime in half and squeeze lime juice out until you have 4 Tbsp. of juice. Mix 4 Tbsp. of lime juice with 4 Tbsp. of olive oil.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Saturate potato slices in liquid lime/oil mixture. Then transfer them to the dry mixture and coat them completely.
  6. Lay them on the baking sheet. Bake them for 45 minutes or until golden brown, turning them half-way through.


Serves 4

Here's what my lineup looked like while I was making the Jo-jo potatoes:


For GF/DF ranch dressing, either click on "sauces" in the side margin or go back about three recipes. Yes! You can have your Jo-jo potatoes and dip 'em in ranch dressing too! Isn't that fantastic?!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free GF/DF Spanish Rice and Beans Recipe for Cinco de Mayo

When you first go GF/DF, it's hard to find those rice-in-a-box dinners that you used to rely on. They all have gluten in them, and many of them have dairy products too. Ugh!

Well here's one possible solution. It's my recipe for Spanish rice with beans, just like the stuff you used to make from a box-o-rice. Only healthier! And I'm posting it one month before Cinco de Mayo, so everyone can enjoy it with their Mexican fiesta celebrations!

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil (for frying)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
3 med. garlic cloves, chopped or mashed
15 oz. pinto beans, drained (reserve their juicy stuff for later though)
8 or 9 oz. can of golden corn, drained (no need to reserve the juice)
7 oz. can of diced green chilis
1 tsp. chili powder
scant 1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 five-oz. can of chicken breast plus the liquid
3 cups cooked rice (I like Jasmine rice best)

Directions:
1. Cook the rice according to the directions. Measure out three cups of the cooked rice and set it aside.
2. Mix onion powder, chili powder, and salt in the liquid left from draining the pinto beans.
3. Fry the chicken, garlic, and onion in the olive oil, on medium heat, in a deep-dish frying pan. Cook this mixture, stirring regularly, until the onion looks transparent.
4. Add the rice you have set aside.
5. Drizzle the salt/chili powder mixture over the top.
6. Mix in the beans, corn, and chilis.
7. Cook for two more minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly.
8. Lower heat and simmer five minutes or until the beans and corn are cooked to your liking.

It is possible to use fresh, pre-cooked chicken instead of canned chicken, but if you do that, I'd add a little broth to make sure the rice doesn't turn out too dry.

In the picture provided here, I garnished my Spanish rice dish with avocado, which tasted great mixed in with the rice, by the way!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Reuben Sandwich Recipe for St. Patrick's Day

Any time I've ever shopped for a package of corned beef to cook in my crock pot, I've found them to be gluten-free and dairy-free. But do check labels anyway. We all know it's a good idea to be careful, when you have to eat GF and DF. 

Once you've cooked your traditional corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot, though, what do you do with all the left over corned beef? Make yummy Reuben sandwiches! (I'm going to make this recipe for a single serving, but you just double it for two, quadruple it for four, etc.)

Ingredients:
2 slices of GF bread (I prefer Udi's for this recipe, as it tastes the most authentic)
1 Tbs. GF/DF ketchup
1 Tbs. GF/DF mayonnaise
1 Tbs. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese OR goat's milk cheese sliced (if you can tolerate it)

Directions:
1. Spread Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese on one side of each piece of the bread. (If your stomach can tolerate goat's milk cheese instead, skip this step.)
2. Mix the ketchup and mayonnaise in a bowl. Spread it over the top of the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese. We'll call this the "inside" side of the bread slices, because this spread will go inside the sandwich once it's made.
3. If you're planning to use goat's milk cheese, this is when you add your cheese slices to the inside part of the bread, covering the ketchup/mayo spread (only put cheese on one slice of bread). You don't need both Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and goat's milk cheese; just pick one or the other. If you're not worried about going dairy free, substitute the goat's milk cheese for Swiss cheese.
4. Drain the sauerkraut in a colander. Really drain it! I use a paper towel to smoosh it down into the colander until all the juice is gone from it. If you don't do this, your Reuben sandwich will be soggy.
5. If you're using real cheese (goat's milk or Swiss), place the sauerkraut over the top of the cheese, but if you're using the Tofutti cream-cheese substitute, it doesn't matter which slice of bread you put the sauerkraut on.
6. Lay slices of corned beef over the top of the sauerkraut. Then put the other slice of bread on top, with the ketchup-mayo mixture on the inside of the sandwich.
7. Spread Earth Balance margarine substitute on the outside of both sides of the sandwich. Place your sandwich in a frying pan and brown it on both sides.

Now you have a Reuben sandwich that even Saint Paddy himself would approve of! It goes great with chips and fruit. The one pictured above was made in the summer, so I had watermelon with it. Make sure you've got plenty of liquids to drink because a Reuben sandwich makes you thirsty!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day Recipes: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Stuffed Bell Peppers

Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Here's a recipe that'll smell so good coming out of the oven, Phil will have to come out to investigate!

And if you're having guests over, why not place a little cardstock groundhog on the end of a toothpick and have him poke his head out of these stuffed pappers? I've included a cartoon groundhog at the end of the page, so you can print him off and tape him to toothpicks. What fun!

Ingredients:
4 large or medium sized bell peppers
1/2 pound Italian sausage or hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
3 cups cooked rice (I like Jasmine rice)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions:
1. Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove the seeds within. Then, in a large boiling pot, blanch the peppers in boiling water for three minutes. Drain and rinse them in cold water and set them aside. They should be flexible but not soft.
2. In a skillet, brown the sausage or burger over medium heat, adding onion and garlic after a minute or two. (If your sausage is already spicy--like Jimmy Dean's GF sausage--you can leave out the garlic, onion, and probably the thyme too. Only season as needed in that case.)
3. Stir in the tomato sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly, to allow seasonings to blend into the tomato sauce.
4. Scoop about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the saucy meat mixture into a bowl and set aside. (This depends on how big your peppers are. If they're big peppers--like the monsters you can buy in a store--only set aside 1/4 cup. If they're smaller peppers--like the ones I grow in my garden--set aside 1/2 cup.)
5. Add the rice and stir.
6. Spoon the mixture from your saucepan into the blanched peppers. Place the peppers in an ungreased casserole dish. Use the 1/4 cup that you set aside (and any extra you left in the pan) to drizzle over the top of the peppers, filling the edges of the casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F (approx. 175 degrees C).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free German Pancakes (Also Called Dutch Babies)

When I was a kid, the German pancake (Dutch baby) at Elmer's Pancake House was the yummiest breakfast in my breakfasting repertoire. But that was before I had to go DF and GF.

Now I can make it whenever I like! And the recipe is surprisingly simple to follow.

If you're new to GF/DF cooking, let me share a word about xanthan gum. When I first started cooking GF, I thought, "What the heck is xanthan gum and where do I buy it?" It's what holds things together in GF baked foods, and it's an essential ingredient for people who eat gluten-free. You'll see it in a lot of baking recipes, from breads to cakes to pastries. So it's well-worth buying. If your grocery store offers Bob's Redmill products, they probably carry xanthan gum. If not, check your local health food store. You don't have to buy very much because it lasts a long time.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. dairy-free shortening (I use Earth Balance, which works like margarine)
6 extra-large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups soy milk (I use Pacific brand)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (or more--if you like it more lemony)

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). As the oven preheats, place the shortening in a 13x9 inch casserole dish, and stick it in the oven just until the shortening is melted. Then take it out. Spread the shortening around a bit with a spatula.
2. Put the eggs, soy milk, salt, and xanthan gum in a blender and mix it until frothy (30 seconds or so). Add all three kinds of flour and mix again. Stop the blender after 30 seconds and scrape the sides with a spatula. (Flour often gets stuck to the sides.) Mix a while longer (maybe another 10 seconds or 15). You want the mix to be frothy and wet, but not lumpy at all.
3. Pour the mixture into the very center of your melted shortening, in the casserole dish. Do not redistribute it at all. You'll see some shortening settle on top of the batter, and that's okay.
4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. I live at a high altitude, so I bake mine for 20 minutes, but I'm told people at sea level can get by with less time. Just make sure the eggs in the center of it are cooked all the way through. When it first comes out of the oven, it puffs up like a deformed balloon. But it will shrink down to the size of bar cookies in just a few minutes. Let it shrink down a little before you do the next step.
5. Use a sifter to dust the rectangular pancake with powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar). Then evenly sprinkle lemon juice over the top of the powdered sugar (see picture). If you like yours really lemony, you can squeeze more lemon juice than the recommended tablespoon. In my opinion, the lemon juice is what makes it super-yummy!
6. Cut it into about eight rectangles and serve warm. No need to use syrup, as the powdered sugar makes it plenty sweet (although my brother used to add syrup to his).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Gingerbread Recipe

I'm not sure about baking this gingerbread cake with dairy-free ingredients. This year I'm going to try it dairy-free for the first time, substituting the regular milk for soy milk, and see how it turns out. If I forget to post my results, message me at esthersparhawk (at) gmail (dot) com. I'll let you know whether it works out or not.

Anyway, here's the recipe I'm going to use:

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening (or Earth Balance if you're going dairy-free)
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup rice flour
1 cup potato starch flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup milk (I'll be substituting with soy milk this year)

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (approx. 175 degrees C). Beat together the shortening, eggs, and sugar in a large mixer.
2. Add the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and xanthan gum.
3. Blend your flours together in a separate bowl.
4. Mix the flours and the milk together with the rest. Make sure it's thoroughly blended, no lumps.
5. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 30 minutes.
6. Sift a little powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) on top, if you like. It can make it look pretty.

Wish me luck! I'm hoping this holiday season I can enjoy my gingerbread without worrying about gluten or dairy...