Gluten Free Crepes

Gluten Free Crepes

Our little family has a tradition of serving crepes for breakfast on New Year’s Day… ever since we received an electric crepe maker as a Christmas gift many years ago.  Here is the recipe for my gluten-free version.  You can hardly tell the difference.  Hooray!  The tradition continues!  These also make a fun dessert for parties or entertaining.

Using a blender: Combine all ingredients in blender jar; blend for about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and blend for another 15 seconds or until smooth.  Refrigerate batter at least 1 hour.  Cook on upside-down crepe griddle or in traditional pan.  Makes about 20 to 25 crepes.

We like to fill our crepes with strawberries or other berries, banana slices, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.  You can also go the savory route and fill with scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, etc.

Happy New Year!

Gluten Free School Lunches

One convenience I’ll never enjoy as a gluten-free mom, is letting my kid buy his lunch from the school cafeteria.  He will forever have to “brown bag” it.  In his preschool, I was able to send dinner leftovers, which his teachers could microwave for him.  But in elementary school, I need to send him meals that will keep well and don’t need to be reheated.  Here is the standard lunch I send with my son to school (along with my own tricks/tips that help make it easier):

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Udi’s bread
    • My son likes his sandwiches sans crust, so I cut off the crusts first, and save them to make bread crumbs or bread cubes for stuffing/croutons.
    • If your school is a Nut-Free Zone, use sunflower seed butter instead.
    • For the jelly, try to buy a squeeze bottle to avoid contaminating the jar with crumbs.  Or perfect the “glob drop” technique (Drop globs of jelly onto the bread before you use that knife to spread the jelly out).  Or have a dedicated jar just for gluten-free sandwiches.
    • I actually use an idea inspired by those gluten-full Smucker’s “Uncrustables” freezer sandwiches.  I take a whole loaf of Udi’s bread to make 6 or 7 sandwiches at the beginning of the week, and keep them in the freezer.  Then they’re ready to grab in the mornings as I throw my son’s lunch together.
  • Carrots and dip
    • I’m a carrot stick snob.  I peel and cut up my own carrot sticks from whole carrots.  These just taste SO MUCH better than processed “baby” carrots.  Once, in a pinch, I sent the processed carrots in his school lunch, and my son complained how they didn’t taste very good.
    • I use plain yogurt to make the ranch dip.  Usually I take a 32 oz container of plain yogurt and mix in one package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dips Mix.  This makes a much healthier dip than using the suggested 16 oz of sour cream.  Then I can send in a little portion of dip in something like a 1/2 cup GladWare container.
  • Fresh fruit
    • Apple slices (To prevent browning in the hours before lunch time, I dip slices into a bowl of ice water plus a few splashes of lemon juice.)
    • Grapes
    • Cantaloupe
    • Pineapple chunks
    • Pear
    • Peach
    • Banana
    • Clementine
    • If I’m low on fresh produce, I can send in an applesauce or fruit cup (preferably one packed in JUICE, not syrup!)

I also send in a gluten free SNACK.

Of course there are LOTS of other gluten free LUNCH or SNACK options to do… this is just what works for us.

You may also want to try:

I’d love to hear about your healthy school lunch strategies for keeping your child happily eating gluten free.  Please share with us!

Bakery On Main Instant Oatmeal

I just discovered a new brand of gluten free instant oatmealBakery on Main makes three fantastic kid-friendly flavors:  Apple Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, and Maple Multigrain Muffin.  All are made with certified gluten free oats, plus chia seeds, flax meal, quinoa and amaranth… giving it 5 grams of fiber per serving!  This is the new power breakfast I’ll be serving my son in the mornings before school.

Keep those great new gluten free products coming!  We love them!

Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies

Who doesn’t love Oreo cookies?  These “Oreo” style gluten free cookies from Glutino maybe aren’t so healthy, but as a special treat, they definitely make my son happy :-)  And as far as “imitation” Oreos go, these taste pretty dang close to the original. I actually wish they didn’t taste as good as they do, so I wouldn’t eat so many myself!

Back in our pre-diagnosis days, I hosted a bug-themed party for my son’s 3rd birthday.  One of the games we played was “Put the Spots on the Ladybug” which involved the kids opening Oreo cookies, licking the cream filling, and sticking it to a red poster board with a simple lady bug drawing, like so:

A little bit gross, but lots of fun.  Now that we have an acceptable gluten free alternative, I’m planning to use this game again at my daughter’s upcoming birthday party.

I have also used the Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies for making the “Cookies and Cream Cake” from my “The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free” cookbook.  This cake turned out AMAZING and is definitely my new favorite.  It was easy to make look good too, with sprinkled cookie crumbs on top of the frosting (I have a pretty disastrous track record with cake decorating).  Now I just need an occasion to celebrate, so I have an excuse to make this again :-)

Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix

The same sweet friend made us gluten free brownies too!  She used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix.  Rich and fudge-y.  Very good.  My son was delighted to have a treat made special for him.  One note: My friend was thrown off by the instructions calling for “gluten free vanilla” and left it out to be safe.  According to our Children’s Hospital nutritionist, vanilla flavoring used to be considered iffy because it is often extracted using grain-based alcohol.  Now they know that any distilled alcohol is gluten free, regardless of the grain source… so all vanilla extract should be naturally gluten free.

Coconut Cookies

These cookies were one of my mom’s “specialties” growing up.  Today I had fun making them with my two little ones.  It was pretty easy to adjust this recipe to make it gluten free.

Mix everything together well.  Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Best if you do not over bake them, so they stay soft.

Bûche de Noel

One of my husband’s family traditions for Christmas is serving a “Bûche de Noel” or yule log for dessert.  Since my wonderful mother-in-law was visiting us for the holidays this year, I enlisted her help to teach me how to do it.

I just substituted an all-purpose gluten free flour and it turned out great.  Still a lot of work for me to commit to making it every Christmas, but it was fun anyhow.  Could easily be changed around with different flavorings or colors.  Happy Holidays!

Grease a cookie sheet 10” x 15” x 1/2” and cut a piece of brown wrapping paper or parchment paper to fit.  Grease paper well.

Cake

  • 6 TBSP gluten free cake flour (I used Jules Nearly Normal All Purpose Flour)
  • 6 TBSP cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs – separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together first four ingredients three times.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Gradually beat in half of the sugar.  Reserve.  Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored.  Add remaining sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Gradually mix in dry ingredients, and mix until batter is smooth.  Add a small amount of egg whites if batter is too thick to stir.  Gently fold in egg whites.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. (Do not overbake – chocolate scorches easily).

Sprinkle clean dish towel generously with powdered sugar.  Loosen cake from pan and invert onto towel.  Remove paper.  Roll up cake in cloth to a roll 10” long.  (The towel will be inside the cake).  Cool on rack for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove towel.  Fill and decorate.

Filling

  • 1 cup whipping cream whipped with sugar to taste
  • 1/4 tsp mint flavoring
  • green food coloring

Mix together and use to fill roll.  Cut ends of bûche on diagonal.

Icing

  • 1 cup whipping cream whipped and sweetened to taste

Put 3 TBSP cream in individual spoonfuls on bûche to represent knots.  Color the rest of the icing with cocoa powder to a light brown.  Spread cream icing on and comb lightly with a fork to represent bark.  Dust with cocoa if desired.  Decorate with cherries and leaves of holly.

Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Just made some key adjustments to the basic corn bread recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  The sweet potato puree (my addition) is critical for making the muffins moist instead of dry.

  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour with xanthan gum (I use Jules’ Nearly Normal flour mix)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 6 oz jar sweet potato puree (stage 3 baby food)

Lightly grease muffin pan, or use muffin cups.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt) together in one bowl, and all the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil, sweet potato puree)  in another bowl.  Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until well blended.  Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  My family all LOVED these.  Wonderful served with chili.

FONDUE!! (Kid-friendly and Gluten Free)

I hosted a Book Club / FONDUE Party the other evening, and made two wonderful fondues that just happen to be gluten free and sans alcohol.  Plus, you know how much kids love dipping!

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CHEESE FONDUE (adapted from AllRecipes.com)

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (check labels on shredded cheese)
  • 8 oz cheddar jack, shredded
  • 8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz Swiss Emmental or Gruyére cheese, shredded
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • dash or two of garlic powder
  • several cranks of fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 TBSP lemon juice

Mix shredded cheeses together with cornstarch and spices.  Boil about half of the apple cider in a large pot on your stovetop.  Turn down heat and stir in the mixed cheeses.  Add in the rest of the apple cider a little at a time, and add in the lemon juice to help smooth out the cheese.  I had to keep stirring mine for about 10 minutes or so to get it to a smooth consistency.  Transfer the fondue to a small crock pot or fondue pot.  Feel free to play around with the combination of cheeses.  I made a lovely broccoli cheese soup with the leftover fondue the next day.

Suggested dippers:

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CHOCOLATE FONDUE

  • 2 bags milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Mix together in electric fondue pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to melt.  Keep warm to serve.

Suggested dippers:

  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • pineapple
  • grapes
  • apples
  • marshmallows
  • dried apricots
  • gluten free angel food cake
  • gluten free shortbread cookies
  • gluten free chocolate chip cookies

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What’s your favorite way to entertain gluten free?

Annie’s Gluten Free Bunny Cookies

Cookies or crackers shaped like cute little animals are ALWAYS a hit with little kids, right?  A friend showed me these Gluten Free Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Cookies by Annie’s Homegrown a few weeks back and asked if they were OK for my son to eat.  I was grateful (1) for a thoughtful friend, and (2) to have a growing number of easily accessible gluten free options filling supermarket shelves!  Made with rice flour, corn flour, brown rice flour, corn starch, soy flour and tapioca starch (and sugar, etc.), these are pretty tasty (and cute) little cookies.

UPDATE:  My two-year-old daughter (who can eat gluten) prefers these bunny cookies over the regular version.  Now available in gluten free SnickerDoodle or Ginger Snap flavors too.