Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review of BJ's GF Menu

Yesterday I had the pleasure of trying out BJ's Brewhouse Gluten-Free Menu instead of cooking! To sum it up: PIZZA!!!

BJ's Pizza

I loved this pizza! The crust has herbs infused in it and tastes great. It's very thin but tastes so great I actually wished it was thicker. The crust is even a little sweet. The best part is that you can get any of the pizza toppings BJ's offers (with the only exception being their meatballs), which is a pretty wide selection of toppings. Considering that the gluten-free menu seems small, the selection of toppings could provide for many varied meal options.

I thought the size was just right and priced just below $10.

I had ordered the pizza with ham and pineapple and it came out with only pineapple. The waitress brought the ham out for the pizza and told me she had the chef do it twice because the first time he didn't do it for someone with "allergies." She waited for him to change his gloves and do it again. I was very pleased to see that the staff had been trained to understand the need for the separation of gluten-free food.

If you're not in the mood for pizza, the Giant Stuffed Potatoes are also terrific as are the salads. They also offer two soups, which rarely occurs in eating out. I haven't tried those yet but plan on it for a future visit!

To find a location near you, search the BJ's Brewhouse website!

Enjoy eating a pizza you don't have to cook. I give it my highest recommendation for dining out!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Super Fast Baked Potato

Do you need a fast, little effort meal? Here it is!


Who has time to really bake a potato? This recipe is PERFECT for the end of a long work day. Or perhaps you ordered a pizza for the rest of your wheat eating family but still need to feed yourself. I don't like microwaved baked potatoes, so this is a great alternative!

I have my former roommate Courtney to thank for this recipe! We also worked together and would make this many times a week when we were tired after work. It makes great leftovers either refrigerated or frozen. It also travels well to work or out as a lunch to reheat.


Start with a potato (any kind you like best, red, white, Russet, whatever!). My preference is red potatoes but we didn't have any! The Russet worked perfectly well!


Cube it up.


Boil it for about 20 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork. The smaller the cubes you cut, the faster it will cook.


Drain it.


Cover it with whatever toppings you like best: cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon, chives, green onions, grilled chicken, broccoli, salsa, etc. Salt and pepper to taste. The options are limitless!


Boiled - Baked Potato
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Yield: 1 Serving

4 Medium Red Skinned Potatoes (1 Large Russet Potato, 4 White or Yellow Potatoes)

Potato Toppings (Your Choice):
Sour Cream
Grilled Chicken
Green Onions

Cube your potato(es). Put in appropriate sized pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.

Boil for 20-25 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain.

Add whatever toppings you would like!

*Dairy Free Version: Salsa and Grilled Chicken

Printable Recipe:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shortening Substitute


Really, a shortening substitute! Since I can't eat soy, shortening was a problem. Sometimes you just need shortening when you're baking. I love using this to grease my pans. It really works great and tastes great in your food. You can't go wrong with this.

Plus, the only ingredient is 100% Organic Expeller Pressed Palm Oil. Much better than some of your other options.

Read about it at the Spectrum website.

*Please note, Spectrum doesn't know who I am and they don't pay me for the marketing!

Egg Replacer


Powder as an egg replacer? Shocking! It's really surprisingly good! I can't believe it, but it works amazingly well! For a about a year I didn't eat eggs and a great deal of other food products, so I had to find an egg substitute so that I could still bake. This works great.

Here are the ingredients so that you know if this will work for you:

Potato starch, tapioca starch flour, leavening (calcium lactate [not derived from dairy], calcium carbonate, citric acid), sodium carboxymethycullulose, methylcellulose).

Read about it at the Ener G website.

Trust me, it works! I don't know how, but it works! Even if you just want to save on calories and cholesterol, this stuff works wonders!

If you want to test it, try it in the apple cinnamon muffins. It works perfectly in that recipe.

*Please note, Ener G does not know I exist and they are not paying me to post such a nice review about them!

Butter Replacement

Soy Free Vegan Margarine

If you are intolerant or allergic to dairy, this is a terrific butter substitute! It is a vegan margarine. Now, when I first heard of the term "vegan margarine" I thought it sounded soooo gross! I was really desperate for something buttery though and decided to give it a try. Many vegan margarines have soy in them but I can't eat soy so I was thrilled to find this one that doesn't! It's great on toast or rolls. It even cooks very well. Use it in a frying pan to make some eggs, you'll love it!

The one thing it has problems with is its consistency. If you leave it out at room temperature, it starts to melt and sort of separate. So serve cold or melt it completely and then it's perfect! I love this stuff and use it many times even when I could chose butter!

Check out the Earth Balance web-site. They sell a few varieties of vegan margarines, including one made with olive oil and baking sticks. Yum!

Try it, you'll like it!

*Please note - Earth Balance doesn't know who I am and does not pay me to say this, nor are they aware of my good opinion of them!

Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins


This is a terrific recipe for a breakfast muffin! I had leftover apples from my apple cake yesterday so I decided to use them up in some of my favorite muffins.


The Ingredients!


First, whisk the egg (I just wanted to throw in an action shot!).


Next, whisk in the milk and oil.


Add the rest of the ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and grated apple. Mix well. Batter will be lumpy.


Pour batter into muffin pan. Fill each well about halfway so there is room for the topping.


Now we make the yummy topping!


Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.


Sprinkle the topping on the muffins. I used my made it easier to sprinkle!! I always like any excuse to get my hands dirty while cooking!


It makes a wonderful gluten-free breakfast with the cranberry granola!


Look how beautiful they turn out!



Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Yield: 12 Muffins

1 Egg*
1/2 cup Almond Milk (Dairy, Soy Milk, etc.)**
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 1/4 cup Oat Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup Grated Apple

1/3 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Chopped Pecans (or almond meal)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease muffin pans with butter or shortening. Whisk egg and whisk in milk and oil. Mix in remaining ingredients. Batter will be lumpy. Pour into muffin pans and top with topping.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

*Egg Free Version: Use Ener G Egg Replacer. It tastes the same with this as it does with actual eggs!
**Milk Free Version: If you don't want to use any milk or milk substitute, you can use 1/4 cup Apple Juice Concentrate and 1/4 cup water.

Printable Recipe:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gluten-Free Vanilla Apple Cake


Seriously people, all I can say is YUM!


So I was watching Cake Boss on Monday and saw them make a this apple cake that looked to die for. Why I torture myself with watching baking shows I will never know! But it paid off today since I decided to figure out a gluten-free version of the apple cake and it is really good!!

Thanks for the idea Cake Boss!


The cast of characters.


First, cut up 3 apples (ignore the 4th one in the photo, it was one too many!). Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the apples and mix them up so that they don't turn brown.


Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples. Seal them and store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. This can be done one day in advance.


Grease a 10" springform pan. You can use butter, shortening, cooking spray, etc.


This is the shortening I use. It doesn't have any soy in it and is made only of Palm Oil. It's great!


Mix the flours, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.


Add egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla into the well of the flour mixture.


Use an electric mixer.


Mix for 4-5 minutes, until smooth and well blended.


Next, let's make a meringue! Meringues are a great way to do a gluten-free cake. It helps make it lighter and fluffier as well as smooth so you don't get a gritty, weird flour taste.

Start with the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar. Blend on medium speed. As the eggs get frothy, start adding the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar by tablespoonfuls. Blend at medium-high speed until stiff peeks form.


Slowly drizzle the flour and yolk mixture into the egg whites. Carefully fold it into the meringue as you drizzle it in.


Fold it in until it's completely mixed in. Don't overmix, you want to make sure to not flatten out the meringue.


Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.


Arrange the apples on the cake. Since this cake is so light, they apples will sink into the cake, just let it happen, it's all part of the wonderfulness of this cake!


Cube up a stick of butter and scatter them across the top of the cake. Yes, I'm serious. It makes it amazingly yummy! Use a butter substitute if you're intolerant of dairy!

Make up some cinnamon sugar by combining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.


Cover the top of the cake with the cinnamon sugar. I used all of this mix, because the more cinnamon sugar the better in my world!! If it's too much for you, use as much of it as you would like!


Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Check the cake after 30 minutes. If it is browning too much on top, place a piece of foil over the top for the remaining time.

Cool on a cake rack for ten minutes and use a knife to loosen the cake from the edge of the pan. Release the springform pan side.

Do you think that's enough???


Nope, it needs a glaze!

Mix powdered sugar, boiling water, vanilla and almond milk.


Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.



If you have some left at the end, drizzle it over the individual pieces!!


It's really good! I had this for lunch today, is that okay? Too late!

Vanilla Apple Cake
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours

3 Large Granny Smith Apples
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
3 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 tsp. nutmeg, divided
3/4 cup Oat Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 Eggs, separated
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick, or butter substitute)

2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tbs. Boiling Water
1 Tbs. Almond Milk (Dairy Milk, Soy Milk, etc.)
3/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10" springform pan.

Core, peel and slice the apples into 8 wedges per apple. Combine in a medium size bowl with lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Seal bowl and refrigerate until ready for use. Can be done up to 1 day in advance.

Combine flours, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium size bowl. Make a well in the center and add 4 egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla. Beat for 4-5 minutes with an electric mixer until smooth and well combined.

Create a meringue by beating the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar on medium high speed. Once the eggs are frothy, gradually add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar by tablespoons. Mix until stiff peaks form.

Drizzle the flour and yolk mixture into the meringue and gently fold in. Fold in completely, but don't over mix it.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Place apples around the top of the cake (they will sink into the cake). Cube the stick of butter and place the cubes on the top of the cake. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to create a cinnamon sugar mixture. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until tester inserted into center comes out clean. After 30 minutes, check cake and cover with foil if it is browning too quickly.

Cool on rack for 10 minutes and use a knife to loosen the sides of the cake. Remove the springform pan sides. Let cool completely.

Make the glaze by mixing powdered sugar, boiling water, almond milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake using a spoon.


Dairy Free Variation: Use a butter substitute on the top of the cake.

Printable Recipe:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cranberry Granola


Breakfast! It's always a struggle for me to deal with allergen free breakfast. I love this recipe for granola. I try to make it once a week and eat it all the time! It's really good and very fast. It requires very little effort but tastes fantastic. Plus it's rich in Omega-3's!


Serving Ideas: Great with vanilla almond milk as cereal, serve on top of Coconut Milk Yogurt, or eat as a snack! I usually break my big batch of granola up into individual serving sizes, put them in sandwich size ziplock bags and they make a great snack or meal on the go!


The players.


First, pour 2 tablespoons of safflower oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread evenly on the pan. Put another large rimmed cookie sheet, with nothing on it, in the refrigerator.


In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, sugar, egg whites and salt.


If you had whole pecans as I did, beat them down to pieces! I love doing this, it gets out all of your aggression. If you don't have any aggression, buy the pecans already chopped!


Add oats, pecans and flaxseed meal.


Mix well until the dry ingredients are evenly coated with the wet mixture.


Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.


After 15 minutes, stir the granola! Bake another 15 minutes.


After the 2nd round of 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir again. Sprinkle the cranberries over and drizzle the honey over the top. Try to evenly distribute the honey and make sure you cover all of it. If you have to use some extra won't be the end of the world. In fact, you'll probably be glad you did!!

Return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and stir again.


Transfer the granola from the hot cookie sheet to the cold one you put in the refrigerator. This will help it cool faster and stop cooking. Trust me, you don't want this overcooked - I've done it. It's not nearly as yummy!

By now, your house should be smelling AMAZING and you will really want to eat this. Be careful, it's hot. You may burn your I did this afternoon while making it. So I advise at least some cooling!

For the Sugar Free Version:


This is how the final product turned out (the one on the left)! It tastes just as great. Everything is the same in the steps of the recipe, just swap out the brown sugar for 1/2 cup of Agave Nectar. It's a great sugar substitute that's natural and has a low glycemic index!

Cranberry Granola
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes

4 Tbs. Safflower Oil, Divided
3/4 cups golden brown sugar (packed)*
4 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp. Coarse Kosher Salt
3 cups Certified Gluten-Free Oats
1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
1/2 cup Flaxseed Meal
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup Honey

*Sugar Free Version: Substitute 1/2 cup Agave Nectar for Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put a large rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator with nothing on it.

Pour 2 tablespoons of safflower oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread evenly on pan.

In a large bowl, whisk oil, sugar, egg whites and salt. Add oats, pecans and flaxseed meal. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes and stir the granola. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the granola again. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top. Drizzle the honey across the top. Bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Remove cookie sheet from refrigerator and pour hot granola onto cold baking sheet to cool completely.

Transfer to a storage container or zipper bag for storage. Will last about 1-2 weeks.

Printable Recipe: