January 28, 2007

Chicken Noodle Soup - Gluten Free

One of my children's favorite soup is Chicken Noodle. When my son was little it was the only way I could get him to eat carrots. He loved to eat the soft carrots, the warm broth and the slurpy noodles. Creating a gluten-free version of Chicken Noodle soup that my children enjoyed has been a long standing challenge.

Over the last several years, I've made different versions of chicken noodle soup, but my kids have always disliked the results. Two months ago, I made this soup with Quinoa noodles in my crock pot. I wanted the soup to be ready to serve by the time we got home from gymnastics. So, I added the dry noodles to the soup to cook for the hour we were going to be gone. My mistake...I made a murky chicken and quinoa dumpling soup. The kids wouldn't eat it. Try...try...again.

I've found a wonderful substitute for the pasta noodles in the soup. Trader Joe's is now carrying brown rice pasta spaghetti noodles. They are made of brown rice flour and water. They will maintain their shape and don't dissolve in the leftover broth.

I kept trying and I've come up with a winner. It's a quick recipe for your crock pot.


1 can (12.5 oz) of canned chicken
8 cups water or 6 cups chicken broth & 2 cups vegetable broth
4-5 fresh celery leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or more if you like your broth spicier)
2/3 cup sliced celery
3/4 cup sliced carrot
2 Tb minced dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
sea salt to taste
brown rice noodles

In a crock pot, add all the ingredients except for the noodles. Set the crock pot to simmer and allow it to cook for 1 to 1/2 hours. Cook the brown rice noodles according to the package directions. Just before serving the soup, add the noodles to the crock pot and stir. Make sure to separate any noodles that are stuck together.

My judges are always enthusiastic about this recipe. It is one of our favorite winter meals. The brown rice noodles are the real hit with my kids. More like wheat noodles, they hold together and have a milder flavor than noodles made of quinoa. This recipe is a keeper at our house.

January 27, 2007

Pineapple Cashew Muffins (Gluten Free)

I had picked up a wonderful pineapple from Trader Joe's. It was the perfect pineapple. Sweet and scrumptious. We devoured most of it in one sitting. There was about a half cup of pineapple leftover and that made me think of muffins. Don't ask me why, but gluten-free pineapple muffins came to mind. Although, my daughter was actually horrified to think I was going to cook this wonderful leftover pineapple into a muffin.

They turned out beautifully and smelled delicious, but how did they taste? Sigh...Well, looks aren't everything, chalk another one up to the kitchen compost bin.

January 21, 2007

Split Pea Soup - Gluten Free

I love having crock pot meals on cold winter days. After playing hard in the cold and snow, you come inside to wonderful and inviting smells. Split Pea Soup is a family favorite and I wanted to develop a version that was healthier and gluten-free.

Our old crock pot was 17 years old and had reached the end of it's useful life. I decided to replace with with a cinnamon red Kitchen Aid slow cooker. I needed a family pleasing meal for it's maiden voyage. Since winter has finally arrived in New York, a nice body warming soup is in order. I found a bag of green peas in the pantry and a petite Niman Ranch ham in the freezer. Yes, split pea soup would be wonderful on a cold day.

This recipe makes enough for left overs. These came in handy after we came inside from trying to double dutch in 26 degree weather in our winter gear. The kids hugged the radiator in the kitchen while I warmed up the soup. This is perfect body warming food.


1 (16 oz) bag of dried split green peas
2 quarts of water
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced carrot
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt or to taste
Optional: 1 potato peeled & chopped

Wash the peas and remove any debris. Place peas in a bowl of water to soak overnight. Drain the water off and put the peas in the slow cooker.

Add the other ingredients to the slow cooker. Set on low heat in the morning the soup will be finished cooking by the end of the day. Take a potato masher and mash the vegetables in the soup. This will yield a chunkier soup. If you prefer a smoother soup, cool the soup and blend in batches in your food processer or blender.

Split pea soup is a family favorite at my house and this recipe gets rave reviews from both kids and parents.

Thanks, Eating Britain!

I was tickled pink when I saw that Sarah from Eating Britain said that Gluten A Go Go was one of five must read gluten free blogs. Thank you Sarah! You can read her article at:

January 17, 2007

Toll House Kookie Brittle (Gluten-Free)

I grew up loving Toll House Kookie Brittle. While it is baking the house smells so good that you can't wait for the cookies to come out of the oven. My Mom always made these for the holidays or whenever we could convince her to make them. Developing a gluten-free version of Toll House Kookie Brittle has been on my wish list ever since my diagnosis.

We belonged to a church outside of Marquette, Michigan, during the early 1960's. The ladies of the church put together their incredible baking prowess and made a cook book. This book is invaluable to me for the variety and number of fine recipes that it contains. I have made many of them and I will endeavor to bake my way through the others. (I mentioned this book in an earlier post on Pumpkin Bread.)

The origin of this recipe was probably the Toll House folks and it made it's way into the church cook book. Since, I'm not sure who originally created it - I salute them all! This is a fine cookie recipe.

The change to gluten free took a couple of test bakes. The first batch turned out to have too much butter and not enough flours. I added kudzu powder to help hold the cookie together. Since this batch was too oily from the butter, I had to go to batch two. In this one I added more flours and I left out the kudzu powder. I wanted to see if the cookies would hold together without the kudzu. Batch two turned out beautifully and they hold together. So, how did I adapt it to be gluten free? Like this...

Recipe (1/2 recipe made in a 8 x 12 pan)

1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup arrowroot flour
3 oz. mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 12 pan with parchment paper. Soften the butter.

After the butter is softened, put it in a mixing bowl and cream. Then add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Place all the flours in a bowl and mix. Once the butter mixture is blended slowly add the flour mixture. Once blended take the cookie dough and place it onto the cookie pan.

Then break up the dough into bite sized chunks and spread them around the sheet. Begin to press the cookie dough down with your fingers and cover the entire bottom of the pan with dough. (If the dough sticks to your fingers you can dampen them with a little water.) Sprinkle the top of the dough with the mini chocolate chips, spreading them around with your finger tips. Then lightly press the chips into the dough. Next sprinkle the chopped nuts onto the top of the dough and lightly press in.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. After you remove them from the oven, take a sharp knife and gently score the top of the cookies into standard sizes. Or you can let the pan cool and break the cookie sheet into irregular pieces like candy brittle.

What did my tough critics have to say? My son couldn't stop bouncing around the kitchen asking me, "Are they cool yet?" Once they were cool, he zoomed in for the attack and raced off with two cookies. He came back a minute later and asked if he could have some more. "So? What did you think?" I asked him. He started bouncing up in the air touching his heels together, saying "I like 'em!" Now my daughter (who is now The Toughest Critic in the house) looked at him trying to gain real altitude and said, "Really?" "Yeah!" he replied. She went to get a cookie and bit into it. She sat back down and quietly started chewing. She kept eating. I couldn't take it anymore... I blurted out, "So?" She put her thumb up and said, "Mmmmmm...good." Still airborne, my son said, "Really?" She smiled.

The kid judging was over. Well...except for the dog who very very patiently followed my son around picking up every single crumb that fell on the floor. As I put away a few cookies for my husband to try when he got home, I wondered if there were any clues to be hand in this sibling exchange. Let's see....good food causes my son to go airborne, if brother goes airborne then the food is really good, "I like 'em" is more emphatic than "Umm...their good," less talking and more eating means it better. I guess I could explore the sibling nonverbal signals next.....

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you about the pictures. There are nuts only one half of the cookies - it's the adult & Sheltie side. The chocolate chip only side is for the kids & the Sheltie.

January 14, 2007

Old Fashioned Beef Stew (Gluten Free)

Beef Stew is one of my family's favorite winter meals. Our family tradition is to eat gluten-free Beef Stew before we go Trick or Treating on Halloween, when we call it "Strength Enhancing Beef Stew." A nice healthy meal before going outhelps you have all the energy you need to make it through our traditional route.

This version is my favorite and is based on the one in my trusty basic, "The Fanny Farmer Cookbook." I have adapted the Fanny Farmer recipe so that it suits my family's taste in a stew recipe and is gluten free. This is what I did:


1 pound beef stew meat
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tb coconut oil
1 1/2 Tb Worcestershire Sauce
1 large onion, sliced
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 to 1/2 lbs baby carrots
8 -10 small new potatoes or fingerlings, quartered
6 cups hot water

Cut the stew meat into 1 inch cubes and remove the excess fat. Add it to a mixing bowl that contains the brown rice flour, salt and pepper. Stir and make sure that all the meat is covered by the flour mixture. Put the coconut oil in a Dutch oven or other stew pot and melt. Once the oil is melted and hot, add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove and drain on a paper towel covered plate. Add the 6 cups of hot water to the Dutch oven (step back as you do this as the water will splatter). Stir the water and browned flour mixture. The flour mixture will have stuck to the bottom of the pan, but after about 10 minutes all of it will have come lose and will blend with the water. Add the Worestershire sauce, bay leaves and allspice. Then add the beef and vegetables. Cook for 30 minutes. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the vegetables are tender. This will serve 6 people and makes a dense stew that has more vegetables than gravy.

The last time I made this stew it wasn't gluten free. So, I was particularly pleased with how it turned out using rice flour. How did it taste? Divine. We all agreed, none of us could taste the difference. It tasted the same as the gluten version. What did my taste testing judges think? Wow! Do it again! Let's make it like this all the time!

My pot of stew only lasted 2 days, because my daughter wanted to eat stew for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

January 12, 2007

Quinoa Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I decided to go ahead and remake the gluten-free Quinoa cookies. I got an idea to substitute almond butter for the peanut butter in the recipe and I couldn't wait to try it out. I whipped up a half batch of cookies to see how the recipe worked and tasted. This half batch will make one dozen gluten free cookies.


3 Tb Brown Sugar
1/4 Stick of Butter
1/4 cup Almond Butter
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
5 Tb Quinoa Flakes
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1 Tb Sweet Rice Flour
1 Egg
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped almonds mixed in, an almond placed on top or 1/4 mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cream the butter. Add the brown sugar, almond butter, vanilla and egg to the butter and blend. In another bowl put the brown rice flour, quinoa flakes and sweet rice flour together and mix. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet cookie dough and mix until blended. Place by rounded teaspoons on the parchment paper and bake for 12-14 minutes or until done.

Optional: Since these cookies do not spread you can press the dough down for a flatter cookie with a fork or the bottom of a measuring cup. You could also try using a cookie press.

Now to bring out the cookie critics and see what they have to say about my experiment. My son really liked the chocolate chip version, but said they would be even better if they had more chocolate chips. My daughter didn't like them, but said that if she was going to have to eat them then they needed more chocolate chips. She said that the chocolate chips were the best part of the cookie. My husband and I liked them. I thought the dough was pretty versatile as it tasted good with a simple almond on top and very good with the chocolate chips in it.

January 10, 2007

Ancient Harvest Quinoa - Gluten Free

I have a variety of gluten- free Quinoa in my pantry. I have Quinoa flakes and flour from Ancient Harvest and organic Quinoa grain from Trader Joe's. I have made exactly one food item from each and didn't explore further. I really enjoyed the Quinoa with garlic and vegetables that I made with the grains. Although, my kids... I've read that you have to offer new foods to kids at least seven times before they will like it, that leaves six times to go.

NASA is experimenting with different varieties of Quinoa for growing in space. The nutritional profile of quinoa is excellent as it contains protein, fiber, calcium, etc. You can see the nutritional profile of quinoa at Ancient Harvest's website. www.quinoa.net

I chose my box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes as my test subject. Ancient Harvest has several recipes on the back of the box that seemed like they had potential. One was for Quinoa peanut butter cookies and the other for Quinoa banana muffins. Since, I've never made these before I made sure to cut both recipes in half before starting to work.

Crispy Quinoa Peanut Butter Cookies - Gluten Free

1/4 cup honey
2 tsp + 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown rice flour
6 Tb Quinoa Flakes
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
Optional: 1/4 cup nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the honey, sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until well blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons on the parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Cool.

As a group the taste testers said these were too sweet. The taste of the honey over powered the other flavors and lingered in your mouth. I agreed with my family on this one. This recipe has potential, but it needs adjusting for sweetness. Also, I think almond butter might lend a better flavor than the peanut butter.

Banana Quinoa Muffins

1/4 cup Quinoa Flour
1/4 cup Quinoa Flakes
1 Tb Honey
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 banana
1 egg
1 tsp brown sugar (not called for in original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cups. Blend all the dry ingredients together. In another bowl blend the banana, egg and honey. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture. Pour the mixture into the muffin cups. This 1/2 recipe will make 4 muffins. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until browned.

My kids didn't care for the muffins. They said they were a bit rubbery. I agreed they were rather unpleasantly rubbery. Although I thought the flavor of the muffin was pretty good. The rubbery texture could have been caused by my putting some water in the unused muffin cups. It was interesting to see how the quinoa was almost steamed by the little bit of water in the cups.

I had one for breakfast the next day and toasted it. It came out beautifully and wasn't rubbery at all. I put a little butter on it and shared it with my Sheltie. She thought it was scrumptious.

January 1, 2007

Sweet Potato Hash - Gluten Free

I love sweet potatoes! There are so many beautiful varieties of sweet potatoes at the grocery store right now, I couldn't resist. This recipe for gluten-free Sweet Potato Hash is made with the small organic Ruby sweet potatoes that I found at Trader Joe's.

Potato hash is down home Southern fare for us. The variation to sweet potatoes makes a wonderful addition to our breakfast menu, plus it's nightshade free.

(Note: Three cheers for anyone who guessed that I photographed the hash on a Pikachu plate.)


6 small Ruby sweet potatoes
1 onion, halved and sliced
1/2 bell pepper, halved and sliced
coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash, peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender. While the potatoes are cooking, put a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and cook the onion until it is clear. Add the bell pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Remove the potatoes from the water and add to the onions and bell pepper. Cook long enough to blend the flavors together approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

My food critics had mixed reviews about the sweet potato hash. First, my husband and I loved this recipe. This is warm and homey food. My kids only liked the sweet potatoes. They didn't like the onions. The kids tested the hash without the bell pepper, since my daughter has a slight nightshade allergy. I cooked the bell pepper in a separate skillet and added it to the hash once the kids were served.