Gluten-Free Pear Almond Tart (With Pumpkin Pie Spice)

pear tart 11Before everyone becomes burned out on everything pumpkin pie spice flavored and scented near the end of this year’s pumpkin pie spice season, I have to post one more pumpkin pie spice recipe! This recipe is very delicious, and makes an elegant dessert: perfect for holiday gatherings! Full disclosure: I took this recipe from Epicurious.com, modified it a bit, as well as deglutenized it. It’s turned out perfectly every time I’ve made it. My friends and family LOVE this dessert! Continue reading

Autumn’s Bounty: Thanksgiving and Variations of Gluten-Free Pecan Pies

I just updated this post from two years ago, to reflect the improvements I’ve made in making gluten-free pie crust dough. I demonstrated the way to make this pastry leaf decorated chocolate coffee liqueur pecan pie in the gluten-free pastry class I taught this past week, through Kitchen Underground. The ladies who attended the class were delightful! I enjoyed visiting with them while we discussed various gluten-free flours, methods for mixing pastry dough, and other such topics. I also prepared a pumpkin pie spice almond pear tart for the class; I will post the recipe for that delicious seasonal pastry soon.

Deglutenized and Delicious

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,leaf pecan pie final
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. . . .
(John Keats, from “To Autumn”)

’Neath the autumn rays,
Now the springtide sowing,
All its fruit displays;
Every hill rejoices,
Fields with gladness ring,
Lifting up their voices,
Now the valleys sing,
Lifting up their voices,
Now the valleys sing.
In the dark earth sleeping,
Long the seed hath lain;
Joyful now the reaping,
Fair the garnered grain.
As the gold we…

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Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark Cheesecake: The Only Dessert You Will Ever Need For A Christmas Celebration, Again

These days are a bit harried, barreling toward Christmas as we are. Shopping, baking, and cleaning are edging out my IMG_0293running time; sadly, my runs are the easiest activities to give up when deadlines and other responsibilities expand to squeeze my limited time. In less than a month I will run a half-marathon for which I am currently NOT training! In some ways I am preparing for this particular half-marathon, though. It’s the Women’s Cocoa Half, in SATX on January 18th: a chocolate themed race. I’m eating plenty of chocolate these days, and baking with plenty of chocolate as well – which leads me to this quick post about the cheesecake I made yesterday. I want to have a special dessert for Phillip, our children, and grandchildren Christmas day. For the past year, my mind has been working on a cheesecake recipe, using seasonal Mi-Del Gluten-Free Candy Cane Cremes. I did a test run of my recipe this weekend, to see if it works, or whether it needs some adjustments if it does work. I am pleased to report that the recipe does work, and although I hate that whole proverbial toot one’s horn thing, I have to be honest and say that this cheesecake is one of the best I have ever baked or tasted. No kidding. I never kid about matters as serious as cheesecake. Now, I don’t have much time to put into writing a post this week, and most people don’t have time to read a long post this week, so I’ll get right to it. I want to share this recipe while we’re in the midst of the Christmas and New Year season just in case some people might find it useful as they search for a perfect, easy, gluten-free dessert to take to a Christmas celebration. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Sea Salt Caramel Candied Bacon Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

I’ve read a couple of articles in food magazines and on food blogs recently, in which food writers bemoan the continuing pumpkin cheesecake 7love affair we’re having (at least in the USA) with salted caramel and bacon. A cursory look at restaurant menus and baking resources online show that these trends have yet to play out. Salted caramel and bacon are showing up as flavors in everything these days, for sure, and seem to have reached every last market possible. Betty Crocker offers a maple bacon-flavored cookie mix; Vosages offers a chocolate bacon bar; J & D Foods offers Baconnaise (yep – bacon flavored mayonnaise); McDonald’s offers a salted caramel sundae; and even Walmart offers a salted caramel gooey butter cake.  I’m pretty sure the reason for the persistent popularity of these flavors among all stratification of society (the fad started in France, with French chefs, after all)  is that anything tastes better if it has either salted caramel, bacon, or both somewhere in the ingredient list. Continue reading

Autumn Arrives At Trader Joe’s: Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Flavored Fare

A couple of weeks ago, when we were up in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee, I had a twinge of guilt for kentucky treethinking for a second – if only a split second – that living in a geographical area with actual changes of seasons and their accompanying colors and flavors might be nice. We were mostly in rural areas, and we passed little houses and little stores that were decked out with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, and all the trimmings associated with autumn and Halloween. What’s more, these dwellings and businesses were surrounded with actual trees, the leaves of which were festively and appropriately colored for the season: golds, reds, and bronzes splashed across the land.

For a nano-second I wondered whether I might not appreciate living somewhere other than South Texas, where we have but two seasons: hot and hotter. A Texas girl at heart I am, though, and a Texas girl I’ll always be, so I immediately chided myself for such heretical thoughts and counted all the blessings Texas offers, other than chilly, picture-postcard colored autumn days.

trader joe gluten-free pumpkinEven though the weather may not indicate as much in our proverbial neck of the woods, the calendar tells us that we are well into autumn. The appropriately flavored seasonal foods are showing up in the grocery stores, Trader Joe’s is encouraging festive dining by offering just about everything pumpkin (even pumpkin body butter, of which the store I shopped this morning was sadly sold out!). I did come away with three gluten-free pumpkin flavored items: gluten-free pumpkin soup, gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, and pumpkin macarons (macarons are, of course, traditionally gluten-free)! I have yet to try the pumpkin soup and gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, but I ate a couple macarons on the way home from the store (well, the drive home was taking quite a long time and I got hungry . . . . ). The macarons are to die for! The cookie part is tender and the filling is flavorful without being too sweet. I can’t wait to go back for more! After tomorrow morning’s run: gluten-free pumpkin pancakes! Can’t wait! If the pancakes taste delicious, I’ll update this post with the news.

Christmas Blessings In July, Part 2: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark Cakes

grain-free peppermint bard cakes 2A couple of days ago, I posted a recipe for the gluten-free peppermint bark cakes I made for my mother-in-law’s surprise Christmas-in-July 75th birthday celebration. I used grain flours in that recipe, so that the texture would be more familiar to those attending the party who are not used to the sometimes different texture of gluten-free foods. Personally, however, I use gluten-free nut and seed flours much more often than I do gluten-free grain flours these days. I believe grain-free flours are more dense with vitamins, good fats, and other nutrients. Even though dessert is, well, dessert, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be as healthy as dessert as can be while still being delicious (which means loaded with whole fat butter, raw sugar, and cocoa!). I remade the cakes yesterday, using almond, cashew, and coconut flours. It tasted every bit as delicious as the cakes I made with the rice, sorghum, and tapioca flours. I did make a little adjustment to the recipe, to accommodate the extra fat in the almond / cashew flours. I reduced the amount of coconut oil by 2 oz. Other than that, I used the same recipe I developed for the original cakes I made for my mother-in-law’s birthday party. Continue reading

Christmas Blessings In July: Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark Cakes

On July 22nd, 2014, my mother-in-law, Pat, turned 75 years old. To commemorate her reaching such a milestone in life, Phillip’s four grain-free peppermint bark cakes 4sisters threw Pat a birthday party to which her six children from all over various locations in the U.S. came to Texas to attend. Because Pat loves Christmas (she has a large Santa Clause collection, with Santas in her curio cabinet as well as placed in and around her dining and living rooms, and keeps Christmas ornaments out all year long), my sisters-in-law decided to make the party a Christmas-in-July theme. My sister-in-law Carol and her husband hosted the event; their house was aglow with the colors and glitter of Christmas. Christmas music flowed through the air continuously through the evening, and we even had a gift exchange (white elephant gifts, naturally). As his sisters were planning the party, they asked me to bake the cake. I had a while to plan the cake, but I knew right away I would bake something with a Christmas-y flavor. My idea came together when I purchased a couple of Wilton mini fluted cake pans for another baking project. Continue reading

Deglutenized, Delicious, and Definitely Healthy Slow Cooker Meals

The Healthy Slow Cooker 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, Second Edition (Robert Rose Inc, 2014)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Judith Finlayson
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0479-6
352 pages, 135 recipes

Recently I read about the possibility of cartilage regeneration in a column by Mark Sisson, on his website Mark’s Daily Apple. In this particular article, Sisson recommends drinking home-made bone broth as a possible aid to the regeneration of cartilage. This information was still fresh in my mind when I first explored the pages of the second edition of The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness (Judith Finlayson, 2014), I happened upon a recipe for slow cooker hearty beef stock; in a box entitled Natural Wonders (115), opposite the hearty beef stock recipe (114), author Judith Finlayson has written detailed information about the health properties of home-made beef broth. She mentions the nutrients and the healing properties of gelatin, the beneficial ingredient in well-made bone broth. The recipe for beef stock sounds delicious; its presence in a cookbook is, though, unsurprising. The nutritional information about bone broth that appears on the opposing page is, however, an unexpected find in a book devoted to slow cooker recipes. Many such nuggets of nutritional information appear throughout this book, all under the headings of either Natural Wonders or Mindful Morsels. One Natural Wonder’s note even explains the dangers of hidden gluten to people with Celiac and details ways to identify and avoid these hidden dangers. This type of information is an exciting addition to a cookbook; with it, one can easily relate the nutritional value of the ingredients she uses to the healthy meal she serves her family when she prepares slow cooker recipes from this cookbook. Continue reading

What Do Brownies and Cauliflower Have In Common? Tyrrell’s Gluten-Free Hand Cooked English Potato Chips

As a blogger, I often get emails from companies or people who offer to send me free gluten-free products to review on my timthumb.phpblog. Many of the food products I’m offered for review are food products I would not choose to buy; thus, I decline the offers. Recently, however, I received an offer to try Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked English Potato Chips, which I accepted. Although I do not eat potato chips on a daily basis, I do eat them often enough to be interested in trying this gluten-free brand, with which I was unfamiliar. I actually eat more potato chips since my diagnosis for Celiac than I did the years before my diagnosis. Chips, as I quickly learned, can be a Celiac’s best friend in a time of need and scarcity. Many times I’ve attended a party at which the only food I could safely eat was potato chips, the brand of which I knew to be gluten-free. Many times I’ve been on road trips from Texas to some other state, and the only gluten-free food I could find at one of those gas stations (at the cross roads out in the middle of nowhere, you know the kind – gas pumps + fast food restaurants + convenience store, fully stocked mostly with snacks and foods for those people who can eat gluten) to satiate my hunger after my personal snack supply had run out was a bag of gluten-free chips. Yes, potato and tortilla chips quickly took their place as my gluten-free- safe-food-in-an-emergency.

I was eager to try Tyrrell’s chips. They are gluten-free and natural, and cooked in small batches. They also come in a variety of interesting flavors. I accepted the offer to try the chips, and for some reason I was expecting to receive one, or maybe two, bags of the chips. I was extremely surprised when the package arrived in the mail and I opened it to see this:

IMG_1798

The Tyrrell company sent me a bag of every available chip flavor! Wow. Talk about carb loading! No problem, though. We have a couple of races scheduled in the next few weeks. We can use some carbs . . . . Training aside, I decided Phillip and I should probably share the chips (and the carbs), so I took the veg and Worcestershire Sauce / sundried tomato flavors to my daughter and son-in-law to try. Phillip and I, always willing to take one for team gluten-free, valiantly and courageously made our way through the other flavors (sea salt and cider vinegar, sweet chili and red pepper, lightly sea salted, mature cheddar and chives, sea salt and cracked black pepper). We went through them pretty quickly, until we had two bags left and I suddenly realized I could get creative with the chips! With my first bite of the mature cheddar and chives chips, I knew it would make a super topping for some sort of vegetable or casserole. Before I even opened the lightly sea salted chips, I thought: chocolate. Yes, these chips would lend themselves to some sort of chocolate-ty sweet / salty deliciousness. Continue reading

Autumn’s Bounty: Thanksgiving and Variations of Gluten-Free Pecan Pies

I just updated this post from two years ago, to reflect the improvements I’ve made in making gluten-free pie crust dough. I demonstrated the way to make this pastry leaf decorated chocolate coffee liqueur pecan pie in the gluten-free pastry class I taught this past week, through Kitchen Underground. The ladies who attended the class were delightful! I enjoyed visiting with them while we discussed various gluten-free flours, methods for mixing pastry dough, and other such topics. I also prepared a pumpkin pie spice almond pear tart for the class; I will post the recipe for that delicious seasonal pastry soon.

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,leaf pecan pie final
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. . . .
(John Keats, from “To Autumn”)

’Neath the autumn rays,
Now the springtide sowing,
All its fruit displays;
Every hill rejoices,
Fields with gladness ring,
Lifting up their voices,
Now the valleys sing,
Lifting up their voices,
Now the valleys sing.
In the dark earth sleeping,
Long the seed hath lain;
Joyful now the reaping,
Fair the garnered grain.
As the gold we gather
Of Thine harvest gift,
Now to Thee, our Father,
Thankful hearts we lift;
Now to Thee, our Father,
Thankful hearts we lift.
(Isabella Postgate, from the hymn “Fields of Gold are Glowing”)

Every year as the fall holiday season approaches, those three months of joy and celebration that begin with Halloween and end with New Year’s Day, people seem to follow an unspoken custom to observe to one another that the holidays surely did arrive quickly. We hear this every year, despite the fact that the holidays arrive the same time every year, with the same space of minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months between the holiday season’s end one year and its beginning the next. Like Keat’s bees, we think the days of summer will never end. Somehow, though, the time for holiday preparations does seem to arrive unexpectedly quickly every year. The first sign of Halloween that appears in stores seem to catch people off-guard, as if we didn’t know that somehow this year Halloween would be as early as October, or Christmas as early as December! I find myself as much surprised as the next person when I realize mid-autumn that I have only a limited amount of time to plan a Thanksgiving feast, bake Christmas goodies as presents for friends and acquaintances, and prepare a sumptuous Christmas repast. This year was no different. Surprised by the rapid approach of such a joyous season, I found too little time to record my gluten-free Thanksgiving dishes by posting them online; thus, I am only now, on December 28th, the fourth day of Christmas (the Feast of the Holy Innocents and Martyrs), sitting down to write about gluten-free pecan pies I make for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Continue reading