Thursday, December 29, 2011

Babycakes cookbook/ Cake Pop Machine Review

Okay, I must admit, about a year ago I read this book by
Erin Mckenna, owner of the famous Babycakes Bakery in NYC. I was a little intimidated. She used a lot of strange flours, ingredients like agave nectar, coconut oil, and stevia-things I have never heard of.
Well, fast forward to today. I started doing some research on weight loss, and this book was referenced as having "healthy" indulgent snacks. I started out small, using only the recipes that called for agave or stevia as sweetners, since I knew my local market carried them.
I noticed that after I ate these snacks, I wasnt reaching for another snack 2 hours later, because I was hungry. I learned that agave and stevia have lower glycemic index, which means it won't spike your blood sugar. The finished products were very good. I moved onto the recipes that also included coconut oil, and these recipes were especially moist and decadent. The coconut oil is pricey-anywhere form 6-10$ per 16 oz. jar.
I'm sure you can buy it wholesale, but havent found that source yet. I'm happy to say that when I feel the need to bake(which I enjoy as my hobby), or have a rich dessert, this book had helped me to feel better about my need to snack! Watching what I am eating, and learning to bake without refined sugar, has helped me to lose 18 pounds in 3 months!

Now onto the Cake-Pop Maker...

My daughter received a Babycakes Cake-Pop Maker for Christmas, and I finally got to use this little gadget. I have to say, it makes round mini- muffins, and gf donut holes perfectly! Those little balls cooked up in 3 minutes, and were delicious. I used an apple cinnamon muffin mix from Hodgson Mills to test the muffin balls.

I hope this information has been helpful, and wishing you luck finding the Baycakes Maker. It was hot item this past Christmas, but I located them at Kohls, and Bed Bath & Beyond in my area.....Happy eating!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Losing weight

About four months ago, I decided it was time to lose some baby/nursing weight I had put on. My baby is four now, so I was really running out of excuses!
I started out by making small changes, cutting out chips, cheeses, and chocolate, my three favorite go-to snacks. I replaced my cheese with hard cheeses, such as parmesan, or lower-fat cheese sticks. I also substituted baked chips, and on one day a week, I do indulge in a few peices of my favorite chocolate.
I also stopped putting mayo on my sandwiches, and stop drinking Cokes. I'm sure skipping all that sugar each day has really helped.

My morning breakfast usually consists of a smoothie, or some low-fat homemade granola, over yogurt. My mid-morning snacks is usually a peice of fruit, or toast, with Best Life spread.

I'm happy to say, making these small changes I've lost almost 15 lbs. Now, if I added some exercise, I'm sure I would see more results.

Here is my recipe for my morning smoothie.

Yogurt Fruit Smoothie

2 cups Frozen fruits(berries, peaches, etc.)
1 cup fruit juice(I like orange)I use apple in a pinch.
5 ice cubes
1 container greek yougurt, plain or flavored
1 banana
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 packet Stevia

Blend all until smooth, in blender.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving prep and other shortcuts

How is everyone? Totally stressed out yet? Sometimes going gluten-free on Thanksgiving involves a little more work, but aren't you and your family worth it?

One thing that helps me, is to prepare the side dishes the day before.
Now I realize, there is no way to make those fluffy mashed potatoes early.(I suppose you could freeze them.) This year, I prepped my green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes, and stuffing early.

Another tip I use, to save time, is when I prep my dishes, I cover them with foil. To finish, I take a sharpie and mark the item, the degree, and time, that the dish takes to cook. It saves a ton of time, and no searching through that cookbook to find the information you need.

My third tip is, if you are able, order ready made desserts.
If you are lucky enough to live near a dedicated gluten free bakery, or
if you can online order, many companies now ship GF pies. This year I skipped the mess, and the high cost of pecans(9$ a pound) and ordered my pie from Charolette's Bakery in Salt Lake City. True, it costs about 3 times the price of a regular pie, but it's worth it to me.

Hopefully these tips will help take some of the stress out of your
Turkey Day. Everyone have a great gluten-free holiday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Okay, is you are not from the South, you probably have no idea what I am talking about, but believe me, you are missing one of the great dishes of Southern Cuisine.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and instead of wasting your loaf of $6 GF bread on stuffing for your turkey, try this recipe instead. Although this is a two-part process, it is well worth the effort.

First: Prepare the Classic Cornbread recipe( I often do this the night before)

Classic Cornbread Recipe


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 cup GF flour mix (spooned and leveled)
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not overmix). Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Once the cornbread has cooled enought to handle, take a large bowl and crumble the cornbread into it.

Cornbread Dressing

2TBSP Butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 lbs of white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper to taste
1 14.5 GF chicken broth(like Swansons)
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme

Heat heavy pot on stovetop, and add 2 TBSP butter to melt. Add diced onions and sliced celery, and cook until onions become transparent. Add mushrooms, and saute until slightly softened. Add salt and pepper, sage and thyme. Transfer the hot vegetable mixture to the bowl with the crubled corn bread. Mix, then add chicken stock to moisten. Turn into a 9x13 greased casserole dish, and bake at 350 degrees, for approximatley 30 minutes, or until crisp around edges. Serve with turkey or ham.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stokes Marketplace Review


At long last, Salem, Utah has thier grocery store back. Last year due to budget cuts, Crisps Grocery closed it's doors for good. Ironically, I was employed there, and soon found myself looking for another job.. Fast forward 10 months, and Stoke's Market opened up today. The Grand Opening is scheduled for November 2nd. They accept coupons and printable coupons, but the jury is still out on the ad price matching, such as Walmart.
I thought I would give you a gluten-free review of what the store offers.

Like Maceys, Stokes does have a dedicated gluten free isle. They have King Arthur products, Schar products, Glutino, and Tinkyada pastas. I also noticed that on the product specific aisle, such a cake mixes, there was 1-2 gluten- free offerings in that section.

The thing I was impressed with the most, was the produce section. Fresh watercress for 69 cents, and large RED bell peppers for the price of green-69 cents also. Another area that impressed me, was the gluten-free frozen section. They offered about 4 different types of pizzas, mostly Glutino, and Amy's brands. The frozen section included sliced breads, like Udi's(my favorite) Glutino bagels, english muffins, and my favorite guilty pleasure- Cinnamon Donuts by Kinnikinnick. For those of you that like convience foods, they had the single serve Fettucini Alfredo, by Gluten Free Cafe.(Look for coupons on thier website.)
For the chidren, they had Ians brand breaded fish sticks, and chicken nuggets. All of the gluten free items were price comparable to other stores.

So if you are in the area, and in need of gluten-free food, give Stoke's a try. They should have you covered.

I failed to mention that they also have a huge selection GF Auguson Farms baking mixes. They are located at the very front of the store, near the other food storage items. So far my favorite, is the rolled oats.
They hold up really well for cookies and granola.

Rolled Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treat

Okay, I have to admit, I love my sweets! The past month, I haven't been baking much. I am eating healthier, and losing weight in the process.
I find if I bake, I eat! Dont get me wrong, I do splurge one day during the week, usually a Saturday.

I was watching Studio 5(Amy Richardson) a couple of months ago, and they featured this variation of a Rice Krispy Treat. My SIL came to me, and asked for a good treat to serve her Celiac co-workers. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and here it is.

Warning these are so addictive. I usually slice them up, and wrap individually in foil, and hide them in the freezer for later :)

5 tbsp butter
5 1/2 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispie Cereal
1-10oz package marshmallows
1/3 cup peanut butter (White Chocolate Wonderful, Peanut Butter & Co.)
1- 4oz bar of chocolate, melted (Hershey or other GF milk chocolate)
1- 4oz bar white chocolate, melted
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews(get these in the bulk isle, they are cheaper)
1/4 cup prepared, or homemade caramel(I like Mrs. Richardsons)


· Butter a small flat baking sheet(I used my broiler pan from my oven,remove the insert, of course)
set aside.

· In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat, add marshmallows and stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter.

· Fold in cereal.

· When evenly coated, pour into prepared pan. Press to flatten slightly.

· Sprinkle cereal mixture with half the nuts. Drizzle half of the chocolate, white chocolate and caramel over the nuts.

· Refrigerate for 5-7 minutes, or until chocolate is slightly set.

· From the small end of pan, lift cereal and roll, jelly roll style. Pressing lightly to compress. Smoothing edge to seal.

· With seam side down, drizzle remaining, chocolates, and caramel over the top of roll, finishing with remaining chopped nuts.

· Refrigerate until firm. Slice into rounds when ready to serve.

Makes 10 pieces

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tuscan Soup

The weather is turning colder here in Utah, so it's time to break out the soup pot!
One of my good friends posted this recipe on Facebook, and I must say, it's a keeper. I wanted to share it with you because it is gluten free, and also super easy to make. Serves 4-6.

Zuppa Toscana

4 oz bacon or pepperoni
1 small onion,diced
1 lb Italian sausage
red pepper flakes (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)
3 cans gluten-free chicken broth( I like Kroger Brand)
2 cups whipping cream
4-5 cups chopped kale
3-4 small potatoes cut into slices, or small chunks

Dice bacon, and saute about a minute.(fat will render in the pan) Then add the onion, and saute for about 3 minutes on low. Add the Italian sausage, and cook until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the red pepper flakes, if you like some zing.
Add the kale, and saute until it has has reduced.(it will wilt quickly)
Add chicken broth, and whipping cream to pot, and stir gently.
Cook on low, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.(if it boils,the cream will curdle) Add potatoes, and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with crusty GF bread, or my favorite, Chebe rolls.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mainstream Gluten Free Cereal Review: Part 1

I'm so excited that General Mills, Post, and Kellogg's companies have finally started to recognize a celiacs need for breakfast cereal!

For years, I can remember heading to Wild Oats to get Ewehorn and Barbara Brand GF cereals. Then as a god send, Kroger stores(also known as Smith's Stores in the West) started carrying many gluten free items in their health food section.
Now the big boys, have finally come to the realization that they can have a peice of the gluten free market too, so to speak.

Now onto the review:

Fruity Pebbles Manufacturer: Post cereals
Wow! This is one sweet cereal! I can only stand a small bowl, but my 6 year old claims it is her favorite cereal. If I do eat a bowl for breakfast, I mix it half-and-half, with Rice Krispies.

CHEX Chocolate, Honey Nut, Cinammon, Rice, and Corn Chex.
Manufacturer: General Mills
I Love Chex! They are so versatile. Not only can I make my favorite,(Muddie Buddies)but also GF Chex Mix. As a breakfast choice, the Chocolate Chex is my favorite. Every other square is choclate flavored, so you dont have this overly sweet cereal.

Rice Krispies Manufacturer: Kellogg's
After much anticipation, I bought my first box last week. As a breakfast cereal with milk, this get less than stellar marks. The cereal has a musty taste, and the texure is stale. However, I was surprised that it made very good Krispie Treats. Unlike the original, Rice Krispies, the gluten-free one is made with brown rice, instead of white, which may account for the different taste/texture.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I will be reviewing, Cookie Crisp with Sprinkles, and 2 other cereals.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I love Eclairs, but I dont love the complexity of making the choux pastry. I really save these for special occasions, like birthdays, or a treat for my fellow Celiacs.

I happened upon this recipe at, and modified it a bit.
The shortcut is using a GF pudding mix, and combining it with whipped topping, to form the filling. Traditional eclairs call for a chocolate ganache slathered on top, but I use GF chocolate chips, combined with butter, to acheive the shortcut ganache. They do take a bit of time, but every bite is worth it! Enjoy!


Choux(Puff pastry)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1 cup potato starch flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups cold milk

1 cup whipped topping

Shortcut ganache:
4 ounces GF semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 tsp GF vanilla extract

Bring water and to boil on stovetop. Add potato starch flour and stir until combined, and dough starts to form a ball. Turn off heat, and place douch into a decorating bag(or a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped.) Squeeze out 4 inch lengths for eclairs, or small 1 inch balls for cream puffs. Bake for 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 325 and bake 20 minutes more. Let cool. (at this point you can freeze the shells for a later use.)

While the shells are cooling, mix up your dry instant pudding mix with 2 cups cold milk, stirring until combined, and pudding is smooth.
Immediately add 1 cup of whipped topping. Mix carefully, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make shortcut ganache, melt chocolate chips and butter in a bowl in microwave or stovetop. Add vanilla. Stir until smooth and glossy.

To assemble, slice eclair shell lengthwise, and spoon, or pipe pudding mixture inside. Replace top shell, and spread the chocolate ganache on top.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quick Pot Pie

I am in love, with Sam's Club. Yes, it's true!(don't tell my husband.)
I am so happy they reformulated their rotisserie chicken, and it is now Gluten Free. I LOVE having this shortcut in my cooking! Here is my recipe for

Quick Pot Pie.

1-3 lb GF Rotisserie chicken picked from bone, and chopped into bite size pieces(Sam's Club)
2 cans Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet, and add vegetables, saute until onions are soft.
Season with salt and pepper.


1 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick Baking Mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
In separate bowl, mix until combined.

Assembling Pot Pie:

In a 9x13 casserole pan, spray bottom lightly with cooking spray. Layer chicken on bottom of pan, and top with sauteed vegetables. Pour canned soup over the layers, and top casserole, with large scoops of biscuit mixture. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. (biscuits will be browned)

Serve with a large salad. Yum!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the Forkies

I love award shows, so when January/February rolls around, and the re-runs
are on, I still have the award shows to look forward to. The Academy awards, Sag Awards, Golden Globes, and my favorite, The People's Choice(because I get to vote!) This made me think of awarding the best gluten-free products- so here it goes!

For best overall baking mix: Bisquick Baking Mix.
I love this product! at 3.84 a box, it's a bargain in the gluten free shopping world. I use to make cheddar biscuits, (like the ones at Red Lobster) and they are to die for!

For best Pancake Mix: Pamela's Pancake Mix.
I like my pancakes with a little extra something in them. Pamela's does this by adding Almond Meal in its mix. I also use this mix for breading products, such as my knock off Chick-fil-a nugget recipe.

For best Bread mix: Grandpas Kitchen Gluten Free Lactose Free Bread Mix. This stuff is made right here in my hometown, and it produces a nice firm loaf, perfect for toasting for sandwiches.

For best Frozen Ready-to-eat bread: Udi's whole grain bread
Tastes like real bread, and the added whole grains are great for your digestive tract.

For best Pizza Crust Mix: Bob's Gluten Free Red Mill Pizza Crust. This mix is relatively cheap(3.49 a bag) and produces a chewy pizza crust. A also like the the mix makes enough for 2 large pizzas per pkg.

Best Gluten Free Oats: Bob' Red Mill. I have re-discovered no-bake cookies, and granola again thanks to this product!

Best Additive: Auguson Farms Xanthan Gum
Forget the other x-gums. This company gives you double the amount( one pound) for the price of other x-gums( Bob's Red Mill) for the same price 12.99.
You can find it in any Macey's store here in Utah, or order online @
Best Chocolate Cake Mix: King Arthur's Flour Chocolate Cake Mix. Oh my! Tastes just like a regular cake mix. Moist and delicious. Top with Pillsbury chocolate frosting for a gluten free treat!

And lastly, the best Gluten Free Flour Mix. This is a tough one. Twenty years ago you couldn't find GF flour mixes on the store shelves, but today we have many choices. It is a tie in this area. I've separated this category into two different sub categories:Homemade and store bought.

For Homemade mix: The Un-flour mix by Christina Davis. This is a homemade mix using Rice flour, tapioca Flour, and cornstarch. It works really well in recipes, and if you are lucky enough to find these in 25 pound bags, you can mix your own right at home. If interested Christina has her book, Irresistibly Gluten Free on sale Would definitely recommend this if you have young celiacs.

And in the Pre-made flour mix: Grandpas Kitchen Flour Mix
Thes make the best Buttermilk Biscuits you have ever tasted, and I have the waistline to prove it! I make a large batch, individually wrap, and freeze them for later use.

Well, there you have it, the first annual Forkies! We'll do it again next year, and I'm looking forward to testing all the new products of 2011!

Monday, January 24, 2011

weighing in

You all know how much I love to bake, so with sadness, due to health reasons,
I stopped baking. If I bake, I eat. Being a Celiac has a dark side too. No one tells you that all of these over-priced, high fat, goodies are loaded with extra sugar and preservatives, to make them taste good. Consequently, I have gained about 30 lbs in the past 6 years.

About 4 years ago, I was watching the Martha Stewart show, and she had a guest that spoke about her GF recipes and bakery called Babycakes in NYC. She was using this sweetener called agave. I did my research online, and found that the agave syrup was from the cactus family , and had a lower glycemic index. It basically means products made with the agave nectar wont cause your sugar levels to spike. Fast forward to 2010, I started seeing agave nectar in the stores, not just the health food store. I bought a jar(this was painful, as it was pretty expensive)It sat on the shelf for about 2 months before I got brave enough to use it.
My first experiment consisted of a taste test. I started getting nut butter from my local HF store, and used the agave nectar on top, as you would honey. I was really surprised how sweet it was. Some people say it has an aftertaste, but I have yet to find it.

Fast forward six months- I was perusing out local library, and came upon a book called "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" by Elana Amsterdam.
In her introduction she talks about how she developed nourishing gluten free foods.
She uses agave nectar as her sweetener, and almond flour as her main flour in her recipes. I have also read other accounts of celiacs, who substituting agave for refined sugars, have lost weight in the process.

Im anxious to start baking in a whole new way. Today, I tried my hands at banana bread, using the agave. This recipe is from Erin McKenna @ Babycakes in NYC.

Babycakes Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (gotta be Bob's, no sub)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons of good quality vanilla
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush your loaf pan with oil and set aside.

In a medium bowl, measure in flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and whisk. Add oil, agave nectar, rice milk and vanilla and then mix again. Fold in bananas until nicely distributed.

Pour batter into loaf pan (only halway!) and set in the oven. After 20 minutes, check on the loaf and continue baking until it passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gluten free cupcakes in Orem!

Okay, you all,get ready! One of my friends told me that Cupcake Chic in Orem is now making gluten-free cupcakes. Of course I had to go down, and check it out. The owner Trista Millette, said she had customers request them, and after doing some research on gluten free flours, decided to take the plunge. After a couple of tests with different flour mixes, she finally decided on using Utah's Own Grandpa's Kitchen Flour Blend.

I was so excited too see the shop, and that the GF cupcakes are being kept in a different case than the regular ones. I got to the store late in the afternoon- so the selection was limited. I choose(by default) a wonderful red velvet cupcake. The cupcake itself was very tender, no gritty mouth feel, and the cream cheese frosting was to die for!

I was hoping they would have other flavors to try, but someone had came in earlier and purchased the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ones. Trista said that she will bake one dozen of assorted daily, until she gets a feel for what sells. Her shoppe is super trendy, and check out the cute little take-out box.

Price for single gluten free cupcakes are 2.99. Run, don't walk! Go check it out. You can check out thier blog at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


It's been about 25 years since I had a corn dog. I miss biting into that lava hot, dog on a stick! I was excited to find that Christina Davis' book
Irresistibly Gluten Free had a fairly simple recipe.

I followed it exactly, but I think I may have needed a bit more liquid, because I couldn't quite get the edges to seal correctly. Otherwise, the taste was right on, and I loved the fact that they were baked, and not fried. Fit right in with some of my New Years resolutions :)