Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Dump Cake and Happy Halloweenie to you!

Happy Halloweenie!!

Today is Halloween. I happen to love the holiday. I love seeing the kids all dressed up and excited. I love candy (who doesn't?). I love carving pumpkins (not so much on the scooping them out part). It is just a fun day.

I am having dinner at my house tonight. I suppose you could call it a "trick-or-treater watch party". My parents are coming in for dinner and my brother and his wife. We will eat fun food, watch the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football (crossing our fingers they don't blow it), and hand out gobs of candy to the cute kids.

The menu tonight is "Baked Potato Bar", Rotel Cheese Dip, Mexican bean dip, and pumpkin dump cake. Baked potato bar is awesome because each person gets their favorite toppings to put on their tater. I'm making some taco meat, the cheese dip, bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, salsa, etc.

The recipe I am going to share with you is the pumpkin dump cake. It is super easy. It is a recipe that I converted to be gluten free a couple of years ago. Ok so on with the show........

Pumpkin Dump Cake


  • 1 29-ounce can pure pumpkin

  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon pie spice

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (Gluten free of course)

  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional, I leave them out usually)

  • 3/4 cup melted margarine

  • Into the oven........

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first six ingredients until well blended, and pour batter into a 9-by-13-inch greased pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top, and then cover with pecans. Pour melted margarine over top. Bake 50 minutes.
    Mmmmmm golden brown

    This is best served warm with whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream. Enjoy and have a safe and happy Halloween!



    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    I got glutened

        Well I guess that's what I get for trying new things. I got glutened!! *huge sigh*
    I had heard about this little pizza place that was now serving gluten free pizza. When I hear the words "gluten free pizza" my eyes light up and I get as excited as a kid on Christmas morning! So I finally had some time to go check out this new little gluten free find.
         I went yesterday for lunch. I waited until the lunch rush was over (went about 1:30). I figured that would help lessen my chances of a mixed up order and cross-contamination issues. I walked up to the counter to order. I asked the little checkout girl about their gluten free pizzas. They had a sign up saying they "now had gluten free crusts". I asked the girl if all of their toppings were gluten free, she looked at me like a deer caught in headlights (this really should have been my clue to run the other direction). She said that she didn't really know, so I kindly asked her to see if anyone DID know. She went to the kitchen and came back with some info. for me. She said that they weren't sure about their peperoni and meatballs so steer clear of those. Ok fair enough and I ordered my pizza (without either of the offending toppings they had warned me of).
          While I was waiting a Mom and her daughter came in, just as excited as I was. The little girl had celiac and was super excited to have some gluten free pizza! The Mom also did some quizzing of the lady taking the orders. She asked her about cross-contamination issues. The lady again had that deer caught in headlights look. I made a mental note that this place could use some staff training if they were going to be doing gluten free. The lady finally just took the Mom back to the kitchen so that she could look at the oven and how things worked. I did give her credit for that, if you can't answer the question then showing the Mom was a good idea. They decided to place their order and sat down to wait.
         I told the little girl and her Mom that I was excited too. We had a little conversation about celiac, and I went back to waiting for my pizza. Shortly my pizza came out, it smelled amazing, looked good. I could hardly wait to dig in! 
    It looks really good right? Don't be fooled!

    I ate a couple pieces of my pizza, shut the lid on the box and went on my merry way. About 20 minutes later I wasn't feeling so great. I won't bore you with the details of that, but I will say that I got glutened.
        I should have run screaming out of the little pizza place when I encountered the first staff member who hadn't been trained at all. I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Evidently the kitchen staff hasn't been any more well trained than the counter staff. *big sigh*
            So I spent the evening feeling yucky. I couldn't sleep last night at all. I think I maybe got 2 hours of sleep. I felt horrible. It was all over a dumb pizza. So now what? Monday morning I will be making a call to the cute little pizza place. I will be letting them know that I got sick from their pizza, but that I am calling so that they can fix it. I know that I am not the only person going to this establishment and coming out not feeling so great. I want to educate them on cross contamination and ways they could avoid it. I don't want them to STOP making gluten free pizza. I want them to educate their staff, research their toppings so they KNOW what is gluten free, and produce some pizza that doesn't make a person sick.
        I'll keep you posted on how that goes, but for now I'll be sleeping off this gluten coma. UGH!


    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Gluten Free Sugar Cookies.....Halloweenie Style

    I just love making sugar cookies for the holidays. They are so fun and colorful. I love getting out the special cookie cutters and deciding which ones to use. Am I a weirdo? If so I'm ok with it. Cookie making is fun. (Except for the dirty dishes it creates)
        There is a recipe that circulates locally. It is rumored to be "THE" recipe from this great little bakery that closed a few years back.  I used to LOVE their sugar cookies (pre gluten free days). So last year I decided I would take this little recipe and turn it gluten free!!

    Drake's Bakery Sugar Cookies
    ‎1&1/2 sticks real butter (softened)
    3/4c sugar
    2 eggs
    1T vanilla
    2 3/4c flour (use your favorite gluten free mix and about 1/2 tsp xantham gum)
    2t baking powder.

    Combine all ingredients. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 20 min. Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet and Bake at 350 8-9minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

    Icing: 2C Powdered sugar 1/2 t almond extract 1/2 t vanilla 3T warm water. Combine and dip cookies in the icing. Dry on wire rack until icing is set up.

    I always start with the softened butter and sugar first. Cream the two together.
    I find the easiest way to roll out dough is on a well floured surface. Then cover the dough with saran wrap. It doesn't stick to everything that way!!
    Once your cookies are cut, I find that it is easier to remove the dough around the cut cookie, then use a floured small spatula to place it on the baking sheet.
    Remove the cookies from the baking sheet asap. Cool the on a wire rack.
    Use magic fairy dust to clean up the mess, or hire someone. ha
    Enjoy the recipe and have a Happy Halloween!!


    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Healthy Fudgy Brownies...........isn't that an oxymoron?

    Sometimes craving chocolate is serious business. Today was one of those days. I decided that I would make brownies. I also decided to give a new recipe a whirl. I did a google search for gluten free brownies and came up with a recipe that sounded "healthy". It included two different kinds of fruit!!!
          I am not sure fruit belongs in brownies, but I thought I would give it a try. I have been trying to eat more fruit and if you can get it in a brownie then I'm all for it!!
         Of course I had to tweak their recipe........I'm not one for following the recipe ha
    Here is the link to the original recipe that I found in my google search: Emeril's Gluten Free- Dairy Free Brownies and now on to the recipe that it morphed into. (mine is not dairy free though, sorry folks)

    "Healthy" Fudgy Brownies

     cooking spray
    1 ¼ cups applesauce
    1 cup cocoa powder
    2 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 mashed banana
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/3 cup Gluten Free Flour Mix
    1/2 tsp xantham gum
    2 cups Milk chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Generously spray a 8x8 pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl peel and mash banana (if it doesn't mash easily you can microwave it for about 30 seconds to get it smooshey). Combine all of the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into the 8x8 pan. Bake for 45-50 min. or until toothpick in the middle comes out mostly clean (remember these are fudgy brownies).


    Ok, so this was a new recipe for me. It wasn't too bad. It was moist and gooey. I could taste the banana just a little. I think that next time I would leave the banana out of the recipe. I don't think it really serves a purpose. I like cooking with applesauce instead of lots of oil so I would leave that in. I think that applesauce also adds moisture to our sometimes very dry baked goods.

    Overall this is a pretty good recipe, would be better minus the banana. So I would give it another shot sometime. It cured my chocolate craving for sure!!


    Sweet and Sour Meatloaf......the meatloaf of champions!

    Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

    1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I sometimes use ground turkey)
    1 c breadcrumbs (I usually use crumbled tortilla chips 1/2c and 1/2c minute rice)
    1/4 tsp Pepper
    2 eggs
    1tsp minced onion
    2 8oz cans tomato sauce

    1 of the cans tomato sauce
    2tbsp. brown sugar
    2tbsp. vinegar
    1/2 C Sugar
    2tsp. yellow mustard

    Mix together beef, breadcrumbs (or tortilla chips/rice), pepper, and eggs. Add onions and one can of tomato sauce. Form into a loaf in a 9x5x3 pan. Bake at 350 deg. for 50 min. In a saucepan combine topping ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour over the meat and bake for another 10 min.

    I can't take the credit for this recipe. This recipe is the meatloaf that I grew up on. It is my Mommy's meatloaf recipe. I never understood why kids hated Mom always made yummy meatloaf!!!

    This was one of those recipes that was very easily converted to gluten free. We tried several things instead of the bread crumbs and finally settled on a combination of crushed tortilla chips and some minute rice.

    To me this is warm comfort food!! Enjoy.


    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Thank you for not making it a guessing game

    Dearest companies,
         If you are a company who clearly labels your products, then I LOVE you!! If I can pick up your product in the store and it tells me, in plain English, if it is gluten free or not then I am happy. You have then saved me time on the phone calling your customer service number (where half the time you are not in the office, or have no idea what I am talking about). You have saved me time on the computer writing your company (only to get a bot response back). I think clearly labeling is a win-win situation for both of us!!
         I will proudly put your product in my cart. I will be supporting you because you have told me that your product is safe to be in my home. Thanks for doing your part in making my life a little less stressful!


    Too dramatic? What do you think? haha Ok ya I know I am not planning on sending this out to anyone, but it did make me giggle to write it. And it is true. I have spent so much time on the phone with companies, or on the computer emailing.

    Yesterday I had decided that I needed to pick up one more bag of Halloween candy. So I go UP the isle, back down the isle, then back up again.....I was having a hard time deciding on what to buy. I was trying to buy something that wouldn't tempt me to eat it, but not a horrible candy that would get my house egged and toilet papered. So I guess I was looking for a balance. I picked up a bag of Dum Dum suckers. I was SO very happy to see that they have their bag clearly labeled. It said "Free of Top Allergens" It even clearly said "Gluten Free". They even had a cute little picture to show me, just incase I didn't understand the words. I LOVE this company!! So that was the deciding factor. Their product was the one purchased.
    This is the cute little picture on the Dum-Dum's package. LOVE the clear labeling!

     After the candy choice was made, I continued on down the isles. In the rice isle I was again pleasantly suprised! Zatarains is now labeling their products clearly. They have several options of boxed rice flavors that have a little gluten free symbol on them.
    Left corner of the box clearly tells me it's Gluten Free!! YEAH!

    I was pretty excited after seeing the clearly labeled products in the store. I hope that the trend continues. It makes my life (and yours) less stressful. Please keep in mind that there are more products out there that are clearly labeled, but these are two that I ran across yesterday in my shopping trip. I think that if we keep calling and writing companies and asking for this information more will be waking up and deciding to put it directly on their product.


    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Healthy Soft Serve??? Shut the front door!!!!

        This was yet another find on Pinterest. A recipe for soft serve ice cream using only bananas and peanut butter!! I had to try it, mostly just because I didn't believe it would be very good.
          Well they showed was yummy!! It does have a banana flavor, so if you aren't a banana fan this may not be the recipe for you. I however do like bananas and LOVE peanut butter.
           So here is a link to the original recipe that I found via Pinterest Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve and now on to the recipe that I ended up making. We all know I can't just make a recipe as it's written. I HAVE to make changes ha I always think I can make things better with my tweaks. Which sometimes works out in my favor.....and well we won't talk about those other times :)
                I used my magic bullet to make the soft serve. I was just making one serving for me to try so I didn't need a huge amount.
         Early on in the day I diced two bananas and put them into the freezer. That pretty much concludes the prep work for this recipe. Easy huh?

               Peanut Butter Soft Serve
    2 frozen diced bananas
    1-2 T. Peanut Butter
    Cold milk (to make desired consistency)
    1T Hershey Syrup

    Place the bananas, peanut butter, and 2-3 T. Milk into the magic bullet (or other food processor). Blend for 20-30 sec. Check the mixture to see if it is smooth and creamy (no banana chunks). If it needs more mixing then mix it some more. You can also at this time add in the Hershey Syrup. Mix until the consistency is creamy like soft serve. You may need to add more milk. Once creamy....enjoy!!!

    This recipe is super healthy. Bananas are full of fiber and potassium. They are low in fat. I hope you all enjoy this yummy healthy easy recipe!!


    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Gluten free means being flexible.....even with Pizza

    I would have given large sums of money tonight to be able to dial up a pizza place and order some delivery pizza. Sadly, the nearest place with gluten free pizza is over an hour away. I was tired, thus the point of wanting delivery pizza. So I improvised. I used corn tortillas in a big round pizza pan. I layed them out so that they covered the entire pan. Covered with my favorite sauce, ham, pineapple, and cheese. I baked it for about 20 min at 425deg. It turned out pretty great!!
       I have made mini pizzas with corn tortillas zillions of times before. However, I had never tried the big full size pizza. It worked great. I think that if you loaded it down with toppings it wouldn't work as great though.
        I think I may call this recipe "Lazy chick's gluten free pizza" haha !



    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Carrot Cake.....moist, tasty, and gluten free (of course)

    So I realize that I promised to be back with my carrot cake recipe last night....however soon after posting that I realized that this post wouldn't be so great without a picture of the yummy cake. So I had to wait until the birthday party today to get a picture of the inside of the cake. I didn't think it would be too polite to cut a hunk out of the cake "for photography's sake". Nobody would have believed that excuse.

    Ok Ok ok....on with the recipe.................................

    Carrot Cake
    4  eggs
    1 cup melted margarine
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups gluten free flour mix ( I use Annalise Robert's flour mix) 
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp cinnamon
    dash salt (optional)
    1 16oz can drained cooked carrots (mashed in food processor)
    1 1 1/2 oz box Raisins
    1 8oz. can Crushed Pineapple (drained)
    1/4-1/2 Cup Coconut
    1/2 tsp. Vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs until peaks form. Thoroughly mix in margarine. Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture. Mix well. Mix in carrots until blended. Mix in pineapple, raisins and coconut. Bake in greased 9" x 13" x 4" pan for about 30 minutes or until firm when touched on top.
    Frost with cream cheese frosting (I use Betty Crocker Cream Cheese, always read labels for most current information)

    This recipe was adapted from a recipe that came from the back of an Ener-G Potato Starch box


    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Heavy Duty Cooking

    Tonight I'm doing what I call "heavy duty cooking". I'm having a family birthday celebration at my house tomorrow. So that means I'm the "hostest with the mostest". Which also means......I have to prove gluten free is yummy!! I have to prove that I'm not a dufus for not allowing gluteney rolls to pass through my door. Soooo tonight I am getting some of the cooking done early!! That way the "hostest with the mostest" doesn't have to get up at 3am and then drop over in her gluten free kitchen from cooking exhaustion before the guests arrive!
        Tonight I am making yummy gluten free yeast rolls and carrot cake. Both of which aren't rocket science, but they are time consuming. I made the beautiful pink lemonade cuppeycakes yesterday and they are in the freezer. They will come out tomorrow morning to defrost for the party.
         I am not sure I could do it all without the help of a couple amazing things though. Please let me introduce you to............
    My beautiful and amazingly wonderful PINK Kitchenaid mixer!!!

    a more recent love in my countertop dishwasher!!

    Without these two lovely beasts cooking would be more of a chore. Ok probably not really, but it is sure easier with these two!!

    Well the timer says that my break is up and the rolls are done rising. I must get back to the kitchen!! I'll be back later with a recipe for that carrot cake I was talking about.



    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Pink Lemonade Cuppeycakes-Gluten Free (of course)

    Pink Lemonade Cuppeycakes


  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened  

  •  1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  •  1 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour (I use Annalise Roberts's Mix, it works amazingly)

  •  1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

  •  Pink Food Coloring (I recommend gel coloring for the cake, otherwise your bright color fades)

  • Cooking spray

  • Frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 2 teaspoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate

  • 1/4teaspoon vanilla extract

  •  1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  •  Pink Food Coloring

  • Pre-Heat oven to 325 deg.  Place the first 4 ingredients into a large bowl. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add in salt, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and buttermilk. Mix until combined. Add gluten free flour to mixture 1/2 a cup at a time. Mixing after each addition. Add in gel food coloring to color the cake batter.

    Line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Spray the inside of each liner with cooking spray. Fill the cupcake liners with cake batter. Bake in a 325 deg. oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

    To prepare frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredientsin a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Add in food coloring until desired tint is reached. Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

    All You Magazine article on Celiac Disease and other autoimmune disorders

    So that's me in the article above......I am excited to let you all know that All You Magazine has a pretty darn good article on celiac in their November issue. The issue just hit stands today. I may be a touch biased in the greatness of the article because I am featured *grin*.
       All silliness aside, I'm very proud of the article. It talks a little about my struggles and puts a face with celiac. I have already had several people contact me via facebook saying they have gotten this article and how nice it is to know someone else is out there. That is exactly what I wanted to accomplish by agreeing to do the article. I wanted to create awareness and to help people with Celiac.
        So if you happen to be shopping, pick up the magazine. At least take time to read it in the check-out lane!!
    P.S. It's full of coupons so it pretty much pays for itself. If you are a coupon user this is a great magazine to buy!!! And this month it's even better because I'M in it!!


    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Let's talk Halloween Candy

    Halloween is quickly sneaking up......only 11 days away now!! I know that Halloween and Trick-OR-Treating can be a BIG source of stress for parents of kids with food allergies and intollerances. There are lots of ways that you can handle the holiday. Here are a few that I like:

    • Following trick or treating sit down and pick out all of the unsafe candy. Set the candy out for a "Candy fairy" and overnight the candy fairy replaces the non gluten free candy with a toy or with a bag of safe candy.
    • Again sit down and pick out all of the unsafe candy and "trade" with your child for candy that is safe. Keep in mind that you will have to buy that candy in advance so that you can do the swap right when you get home.  That way they don't feel "cheated"
    • Allow your trick or treater to go around getting their candy, when they get home trade out the entire bag for a "safe bag" until you can go through it.
    • Have a bag of "safe candy" in the car or while you are walking around your neighborhood. That way if your child wants to eat a piece of candy while they are trick or treating, you will KNOW it is safe. It is awfully hard to read those candy labels in the dark and most candy that the kids will be getting is not labeled with ingredients.

    The other issue is WHAT CANDY IS SAFE!?!?!!
        Thankfully there are people out there who keep lists. Bless their little hearts for doing this. It sure saves the gluten free community from having a meltdown! Seriously, candy is important!! Keep in mind that the lists are a guide. You should always double check for yourself by reading the label or calling a company to verify the gluten free status.'s 2011 GF Halloween Candy List:

    National Foundation for Celiac Awareness 2011 Candy list (link goes to a PDF File):

    I hope that this gives you a couple of ideas so that Halloween can be a less stressful holiday for you and your family!


    Stuffed Pepper Soup

    So, it has suddenly turned cold here. I am NOT a fan of the cold!! I turn into a blanket wielding, robe wearing, fuzzy slippered goon! I also tend to sway towards comfort food in the cold weather. Comfort food is warm. Sooooo I have been pinning recipes that are warm on Pinterest. If you aren't on Pinterest yet, you totally should be!! There are tons of yummy recipes (and of course crafty things to make, clothes, jewelry, etc). I found a recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup, however it didn't sound quite right to me. So I did a search for Stuffed Pepper Soup and found another recipe, but it also didn't sound quite right to me. Soooo I took what I liked from both recipes, and then added in my own ingredients that I thought would make it MUCH better. Below you will find MY recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup...and I have to say it is AMAZING!! 

    Stuffed Pepper Soup
    • 1 lb hamburger
    • 46 oz. Tomato Juice (I used V8 to get more nutrients in)
    • 28 oz. Diced Tomatoes
    • 2 tsp. Beef boullion granules
    • 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
    • 1 tsp Black Pepper
    • 1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
    • 2 C Green Peppers-Diced/chopped
    • 8 oz Long Grain Brown Rice (or white, but brown is healthier you know :) )
    • 1/2 C Diced Onion
    • 3 T Soy Sauce
    1. Brown hamburger and onion in a large soup pot. When no longer pink drain off any fat.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
    3. Bring to a boil.
    4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until peppers are soft and rice is fully cooked (about 40-50min.)

    Sooooo.....I'm going to give blogging a try.

    Well after considerable amounts of thought, I have decided to give blogging a try. So here I am attempting to muttle through my first blog post. Setting up a blog can be pretty darn stressfull! There is choosing the layout, the background pictures, the headding, what do I want to say about this blog, oh much to choose. I don't want to pick the wrong thing and have people not like it here for heavens sake!!
          So I guess if you haven't figured it out, this blog is going to be an extension of the yahoo group of the same name and also the facebook page of the same name. USASillyYaks has come to the blogging world. I will be here talking about all things gluten free!! Get excited folks!!
        I hope to bring you yummy recipes, product reviews, support, information on research and much more! So welcome to my blog. I'm so glad you are here!!