Friday, November 27, 2009

Sundried Tomato and Basil Cheese Dip

Oh the colors... perfect for the holidays. The creamy white cheese, the fresh green basil and the dark red sundried tomatoes all combine to create a festive party appetizer.

I'm always asked for the recipe and it really couldn't be simpler.

I make it two ways. There's the classic way and there's the messy way. Go for whichever one you prefer.
I don't even have any exact measurements for it in fact.

Havarti cheese, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes ( not the ones that are oil-packed ), garlic, salt and pepper. Sound easy enough?

Let's get started.

Boil a couple cups of water and let the tomatoes rehydrate for about 10 minutes while you work on the basil and garlic.

Rinse and dry your basil and pull off all the leaves. Roll them up and then chiffonade and chop the basil into small pieces.

Take your garlic cloves and peel them and then mince them all up. I'd use 3 cloves for this size piece of cheese. I only used 2 here and found it could use a little more.

Now that your tomatoes have soaked up some of the water and become grown-up tomatoes again, drain and chop them up. My knives are never sharp enough so I cut them into pieces with scissors sometimes.

Time to make the cheesy dip!!

Toss your tomatoes, garlic and basil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here's where the 2 ways to make this come in.

You can lay the cheese in a nice bowl and spread the tomatoes and basil over top. We're going to microwave it until it's nice and melty so then you can dig in and get a nice cheesy smear.


You can coarsely cut the cheese into small cubes and mix it into the tomatoes and basil. This way, when you melt the cheese, it's all mixed up for you.

For a party, the first way is more presentable but I like to make this and then freeze some and the second way makes this a little easier.

Stick it in the microwave for about 1 minute or until it's all nice and melty.

To finish it off, if you don't have a nice gluten-free baguette all sliced and ready to go, I like Rice Works Sea Salt Crisps.

Grab a crisp and smear some cheesy dip all over it!

Check this out for more party ideas!!


Swiss Chalet

Sometimes you just want something familiar. When I was on vacation with friends in the Dominican a few years ago, we were chilling in the pool area, having some cocktails and lamenting the lack of familiar food. Granted, the food was great to me to me at least since I've always been a bit of a plain eater.

But the talk soon turned to Swiss Chalet. Rotisserie chicken with chalet sauce with french fries and a soft roll is a classic. We all made plans for a couple of weeks after the trip, to meet there and have dinner once again.

Now I can't eat the exact same thing that I did then but I don't mind. Quarter chicken with white meat, salad with Italian dressing and no bun and I'm a happy camper.

The fries are cooked in oil that sometimes fries other breaded items so I stay far away from that.

But other than that, it's a quick fantastic gluten free meal. Check it out here: Swiss Chalet Allergy Guide

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

I've never been a muffin girl. Muffin-top yes but big muffin eater? No.
Unless there were chocolate chips muffins, then it was another story.

Then I discovered Banana Crumb Muffins

Oh, plus chocolate chips.

The other day, I decided to give it a go. What have I got to lose?


* 1 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix*
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 bananas, mashed
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1/3 cup butter, melted
* Chocolate Chips - however many you like - 1/2 cup -3/4 cup
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons Gluten free flour mix*
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 tablespoon butter


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. Now, I make 12 muffins while the real recipe calls for 10 so my muffins are a little on the smaller side. So you decide which you would prefer.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened and add chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

*Gluten Free flour Mix - 1 part brown rice flour, 1 part white rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch and 3/4 -1 tsp xanthan gum per cup

Mmmm, tastes exactly the same as my old wheat flour filled version.

How good does that look???

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Favorite Flour Mix

Flour. So many blends... so little time.

I guess that's how it is. I've tried some recipes and mixed together the required quantities. I'm not a big fan of sorghum so far. Maybe that's just me and my impatience since I've only used in yeast breads so far. Yeast breads that I haven't let rise enough.

What I do like is the blend I'm using now.
It's a takeoff of Bette Hagman's.

1 part brown rice flour
1 part white rice flour
2/3 part potato starch
1/3 part tapioca starch
Add 3/4 tsp xanthan gum for each cup of flour you create.

I make double the batch and then I have it to use for a few recipes. Like Scones, Italian Plum Cake and Banana Crumb Muffins.

A Few of My Favorite Things

I hate missing out on things.

And that means food.

There is so much that I'm not able to eat any more. The convenience is out. The middle of the grocery store is pretty much a waste of time.

Your friends say "How can you do it?" "You can eat that, can't you?" or "That must suck".

And I can do it. I can't eat that. But no, it doesn't suck.

Not eating wheat and barley and rye certainly is a change. But to me, it's a fun challenge.
Perogies, fish and chips, onion rings, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and gravy aren't far-flung dreams. They are some of my successes. So when I want those things that everyone else can have, I can have them too. And so can you. You'll see.
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