Creole Gumbo Soup

I made a batch of this incredible Creole Gumbo soup today. The only change I did was to add a can of black beans.

I mixed up a quarter of a batch of creole seasoning blend.
While in the store, I looked over the rice mixtures and decided, after an "ah ha" moment, to make my own blend of rices. Mine has white, brown, red and black rice. It looks exactly like the expensive wild rice packages but was about 1/2 the cost. Score!

To make it gluten free, you can easily omit the flour and add a cornstarch and water thickener at the end.

Try it! (if you like creole spicy food) I bet you'll like it! I gar-ran-tee!


Oven Baked Chicken Dinner

Eating gluten free does not mean that you have to become a vegetarian. It doesn't destin you to only bland food. It doesn't mean you will never get to enjoy an Italian meal again. It just means you cook things your way. The way that gives you the most strength for your body. Anyone can benefit by it. You don't have to be diseased to eat gluten free food! You just have to read labels and get cooking. 

I wish you could smell my kitchen right now. It's roasted chicken night! I like to get legs or thighs; we like dark meat. Check it out...

Pull out the ingredients in the picture and turn the oven on to 350. Take the chicken and coat it with the cornmeal. Place in baking dish or cast iron skillet that's been sprayed lightly with canola oil. Grind pepper over the meat and sprinkle it with your spice blend favorite (like Mrs Dash). Add a sweet potato and bake for one hour.

That's it! It's juicy, delicious, and gluten free! Add a side salad or a pile of another veggie to stretch it out farther. You know those crunchy bits left in the pan? I scrape them out with a fork and put them on my potato. Yum!

Try it! Let me know how you make it!


GF Restaurant Options - Shane's Rib Shack

What to eat that's GF; that's the question. Shane's has an answer!

More restaurants are getting on the GF bandwagon these days. They have to. So many people are having issues with food sensitivities. 

When you walk into Shane's, their gluten free menu is posted right onto the counter. No mystery or hoops to jump through. No feeling weird about asking if they "do gluten free" or not. You don't have the problem. You're the customer and you are right!

So I chose the BBQ chicken plate with baked beans and coleslaw.  Yum!

So if you see a Shane's Rib Shack in your travels, you can consider them an option for a GF meal. Good times!


Peanut Butter Cookies

I love cookies. This is possibly the easiest peanut butter cookie recipe ever. AND it's gluten free! AND it's just in time for the holidays!!! Woo hoo!

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup white sugar (or organic)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
Chocolate kisses (optional)

Mix the sugar and baking powder. Add egg and peanut butter. Mix well. Take spoonful and roll into a ball shape. Coat with sugar and place on baking sheet with parchment or wax paper liner. Press criss-crosses lightly with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes; the edges will begin to crack a little. Remove from oven but leave on baking sheet for about 5 more minutes to give them a chance to firm up before putting them on a cooling rack. If desired, set a kiss on top when first removed from oven.


No oven required

For Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Oatmeal No Bake Cookies! Not the same ol' fatty, refined-sugar no bakes. I love these and have rewritten the recipe with health in mind. These are dairy free, gluten free, and glycemic friendly no bakes! Keep away if you have nut allergies! Everyone else, take a good look at these -

Don't they look yummy?!!! Is your mouth watering yet? Don't you wish you could reach into this post and grab one to eat right now???
The procedure is the same but the ingredients have been cleaned up. Here we go:
Cleaned Up No Bake Cookies
                             -by Pamelyn Baim
In a saucepan, mix and bring to a boil for 1 -2 minutes. Then remove from heat.
2/3 c agave nectar
1/4 c almond milk
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 c cocoa powder
Add and quickly stir in:
1/2 c peanut butter
3 c quick cooking oats
1/2 c flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. It may seem like they won't stick together but they will when they cool down. Best when cooled and stored in the fridge. Makes about 24 small or 15 large cookies.
The agave nectar is easy on your glycemic index. It's less likely to spike your blood sugar levels.
Almond milk is plain delicious and a no-brainer for using instead of dairy milk.
Coconut oil is being discovered as an amazing, healthful substitute for butter or crisco. 
Rolled oats is embraced by some gluten free eaters and avoided by others. 
Vanilla can have gluten in it. 
Always check ALL your ingredient labels! :) 
These smell great. They taste great. They are a wonderful dessert to make, especially if you don't want to stoke up the oven in the heat of summer. Give them a try and tell me what you think.


Glorious beans

When you decide to go GF, or more restrictive such as vegetarian or vegan, it doesn't take long before you start to embrace things like beans. I'm not talking canned baked beans, as much as I love them, they are full of sodium and additives that aren't good for you. I'm talking about red beans, butter beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas.... real beans!

Beans are a wonderful ingredient to add to your meals for a firm texture and tons of nutrition. Ever had three bean salad? Or southern red beans and rice? How about hummus? They are all bean based dishes. You can make a meal out of them without much effort. Here's one we enjoy.

Black bean and veggies on rice

-Cook up a batch of brown rice: 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup rice. I like using a rice cooker for this job.
-In pan, cook 4 oz chopped mushrooms until sweat forms. Add 1/2 cup chunky tomato sauce (I like Muir Glenn) or chopped fresh tomato and some water to fill 1 cup. Sprinkle with chili powder. Add 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans or 16 oz of dried black beans that have been rehydrated. Heat through to a simmer then turn off heat. Set aside.

-Chop one small onion, one bell pepper (any color), one stalk of celery, cherry tomatos, and some fresh (or dried) parsley. The amounts of these ingredients is up to your liking. Place in bowl with 1/2 cup of sweet corn. Grind black pepper on top. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, no more than a couple of tablespoons. Mix together and set aside.

Layer ingredients on plate: rice, tomato mixture, veggie mixture. Top with finely shredded parmesan cheese or finely chopped walnuts. Serve with corn tortilla chips or GF bread that has been toasted and spread with garlic butter.

This sounds good to me. I think I'll be having some beans tonight!

Crock Pot Chicken

The crock pot is a must-have kitchen appliance. The meat that comes out of it is terrific and there's nothing like walking in the door to the smells of dinner cooking! Chicken comes out great in it and here's the way I make it.

Crock Pot Chicken

-Take one whole chicken that will fit in your crock pot, rinse, pat dry, and put it in a shaking bag. Remember shake and bake bags? I use a clean plastic grocery bag.
-Place some potatos and carrots into crock pot.
-In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder (optional), 1 TBSP parsley. Pour spices over chicken and shake around until coated.
-Place on top of veggies in crock pot.
-Pour 2 cups of water or broth in crock. Set on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. (I prefer low)

That's it! When it's done, the meat will fall off the bone and the veggies will be mash tender. Save the broth and use it for other dishes or freeze in ice cube trays for quick access of 1/4 cup of broth per cube.


A little slice of

biscuit heaven! 

I had an amazing experience recently.  We took a little trip and decided to try a local, fast food type restaurant that we had never been to before. Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits seems to rule from Maryland southward.  So different than KFC which is a northerner's understanding of what southern fried chicken is. Bojangles is way better. And being served by the friendly folks of the south makes it mentally tasty, if you know what I mean. Anyways, with the understanding that I was not in a GF zone, I got the #5 combo - 2 pieces of chicken, 1 biscuit with a side of dirty rice and a medium strawberry iced tea. The leg was the first to go and it was surprisingly tabasco-ey. A closer look revealed the layer of the heat under the crispy outer coating. Yum! I tried a bite of the biscuit. I knew this was something I would wind up regretting, since it was certainly not GF, but I wanted to try a little. Well, this was probably the best tasting biscuit I had ever eaten and I was hooked. Light and airy on the inside, brown and buttery on the outside. It was gone in minutes. This must be recreated in my GF world!

When I was growing up, my mom gave me the job of baking. She did all the cooking for us, and sometimes my father would pitch in as well. But I started getting fond of making cookies, cakes, frostings, desserts, pies, brownies, rolls, breads and biscuits. We had an old red and white cookbook that had fabulous biscuit recipes in it. The best one called for cream of tartar, which seemed like a weird name for an ingredient, but they always tasted the best. I loved them slathered with butter and doused with honey right after they came out of the oven. So good!

Going GF has imposed baking challenges, for sure. They can be overcome with persistence. The desire to make Bojangles biscuits drove me to face it head on and I did with a vengeance. Determined to bite into those buttery balls of fluffiness, I started to search for their recipe. Or at least the general direction of their recipe. It didn't take long to find several. All they are are buttermilk biscuits. Ok. I can do that. Self rising flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, crisco, buttermilk, butter. I got everything I needed to make a batch.

Make your own GF self-rising flour: 2 TBSP potato flour + enough white rice flour to make 1 cup (or use 1 cup of the King Arthur's GF flour), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp Xanthan gum.

King Arthur's GF flour recipe: 6 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups potato starch, 1 cup tapioca flour or starch. Whisk together well and use what you need for recipes. Store in fridge.

Attempt #1 was a regular-flour batch so I could see if they were close. Well, not as light and airy but good and close enough. Then the GF flours were blended up - brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, cornstarch - then baking powder and cream of tartar was added to make it self rising. Here we go! Attempt #2. The GF version. Mixed it all up. Kneaded together and shaped into rounds. Baked for 8 minutes then coated with melted butter before baking for the remaining 4 minutes.

Bo Biscuits!

3 cups self rising flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp confectioners sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil or shortening
1-1/4 cup almond milk with a splash of vinegar added
Melted butter (optional)

Mix dry ingredients together Use pastry blender or fork to cut oil into flour. Add milk and mix together quickly. Place on floured counter. Flatten and fold over a couple of times. Cut with biscuit cutter or slice into squares with a knife. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes, brush with butter and return into oven for 4-5 minutes.

If you don't need this many biscuits at once, mix the drys together, split it in half and put in a baggie for later. Mix with 1/2 of the remaining wet ingredients and bake up 1/2 a batch! This is what I do. It's like doubling the fun!

The pictures say enough to know that they were tasty. Especially when doused with honey right after they came out of the oven! Topped off with a big glass of almond milk = a perfect breakfast, IMHO. My hubby had one with egg and cheese inside. Way better than anything you would get in a drive thru. These will be made many more times in my house!

I still haven't mastered a decent fried chicken. There is a Bojangles in Pennsylvania. A mere 5 hour drive from my house. I have driven farther than that for less good reasons before. Can anyone say "day trip"?