Friday, February 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Rum die for!

Well, hello there! It's time for Foodie Friday again. Yay!
This amazing recipe comes from the kitchen of a friend of mine. Sarah's recipe was featured in the Summer 2010 issue of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine. I had the privilege of remaking her recipe for the photo shoot and I was addicted. Here is what she had to say about it:

My sister and nephew both have an allergy to gluten and since they live so close by, we eat together often.  I love how excited she gets when I actually make something she can eat and enjoy.  

This particular recipe was not gluten free at first.  I made it for a dinner party and it was amazingly moist and went over very well with all our guests.  I happened to see a gluten free yellow cake mix at the store and decided to surprise my sister with a gluten-free dessert that doesn't sacrifice taste and texture and it turned out great.  I actually couldn't tell the difference between the gluten-free and regular; always a good sign in my book. 

notes: You can make this in a small bunt cake pan or double the recipe for a regular size bunt cake pan. I happen to find a fun cupcake-like pan that made little mini bunt cakes and it works out well for me and my guests. Plus I can make some without the nuts for my kids. 

Sarah's Gluten-Free Rum Cake
for cake:
1c chopped pecans
1pkg gluten-free yellow cake mix
1pkg Jello vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2c cold water
1/2c veggie oil
1/2c dark rum

for glaze:
1/4lb butter
1/4c water
1c sugar
1/2c rum

Preheat oven to 325, grease and flour a 12 cup bunt pan.  Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan.  Mix all cake ingredients and pour batter over nuts.  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool.  Invert carefully onto serving dish.  Prick the top all over with a toothpick and drizzle/smooth glaze over the top and sides of cake.  Allow cake to absorb, then repeat till glaze is used up.  (you may only want to use half of the glaze, it gets a little strong.)

For Glaze:
Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in water and sugar.  Boil for 5 min while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in rum.

recipe copyright Sarah Lanier
Photography copyright Julie Ann Luse


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Easy Peasy way to give back...and it's FREE!

So I just learned of this way to give back, which doesn't really affect my budget or my time really. Did you know that military families can use expired coupons up to 6 months after the expiration date. Since I've been cutting coupons lately, I'm a little stressed about the time it takes to cut coupons, and even the ones I am not sure I will use, just to have them go to wast. But now I have hope. There are lots of products I won't even buy for my family bc of food allergies but they are incredible deals. The Coupon Coach explains it all below.

Did you know that overseas military members can use expired coupons up to six months past their expiration date?  Military families stationed overseas are often living on one income and money can be scarce. Let’s support our military by showing them some coupon love!  We are asking the readers of to come together together each month to send our unused and expired coupons overseas.  Please join us in sending in your coupons to your local bases or adopt a base  by going to
Eligible Coupons:
  • Send only Manufacturer Coupons; Do NOT send store or restaurant coupons.
  • Coupons must be Clipped and Sorted into Food and Non-food (explained below).
  • Do NOT send coupons that are over 30 days expired.
How do I sort the coupons?
Separate your clipped coupons into two categories: Food and Non-Food
Most military bases have 2 stores. One is called the “Commissary” which is a grocery store and the other is the PX or BX which is a department store. We therefore ask you to sort the coupons into “food” and “non-food” bundles so that they can more easily be placed in the correct venue once they arrive at the base.
Label the Bundles
Try to use a baggie to separate your coupons instead of paper clips or rubber bands.
What’s Food & Non-Food?
Here’s the rule of thumb: It’s food if it can be eaten by humans, is usually eaten by humans, and is normally eaten to provide calories. For example, dog & cat food would be “Non-Food,” but Ensure or Slim-Fast would be “Food.” Vitamins would be non-food. Chewing Gum and Mints are food.
Is there a minimum donation?
No! Please send any coupons you may have. We only ask that you mail them only once a month. It will just be easier business this way!
May my family or community organization adopt our own base?
Yes!  If you prefer to send your coupons directly to the overseas military base of your choice, you can read all the details on how to do this
If this seems a bit overwhelming to you, then why not ask senior saints at your church to help out, or go to retirement communities to see if they want to get involved? Most people LOVE helping others, and this is such a good cause. Oh, and don’t forget home school groups or Boy/Girl Scouts to help earn their badges.
If you are a military family and you read this blog, will you please email me. I would love to send my extra and unused coupons directly to you! julie(at)delightglutenfree(dot)com.

Friday, February 17, 2012

hey hey hey, it's that time again!

Happy Foodie Friday!

Today I want to share with you another family recipe that has always been a favorite. When we went gluten-free is was quite easy to convert. The thing is, everybody seems to love meatballs, adults and children alike. And there are so many kinds out there. I love this recipe above the rest because it will guarantee that your days of making meatballs too dry or crumbly are over. These meatballs melt in your mouth, stay together well, but tender to the touch of a fork and are super great as leftovers too. I am so positive you will love them. Oh, also, my favorite thing in a recipe: you can make them ahead of time, freeze them if you like and they go in the oven for about an hour and half before serving.

No-Fail Applesauce Meatballs
adapted from Gma JJ's recipe
gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free
bake time 1-2 hrs (depending on size)
makes approx. 30-40 meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch)

*note: Dr. Schar bread crumbs are gluten-free, dairy/lactose-free, but they are not free of corn, rice and soy. Check other brands if you need them to be free of corn or soy check with other brands. Or I recommend buying a loaf of gluten-free bread that is free of these allergens and sitting them out till they get stale (or dry them out in your oven) and make bread crumbs by hand or in your food processor. :)

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
 (I prefer Dr. Schar brand) 
2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 onion, chopped very tiny
gluten-free flour for coating meatballs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying

2 cups tomato juice

2 cups ketchup

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combing ground beef, applesauce, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, salt, pepper and onions. Mix together well.  I use my hands to ensure it gets mixed well. 

Shape 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch balls (sometimes I make 2 inch balls - it's up to you). Make sure they are smooth round balls. Put some gluten-free flour in a dish and roll each ball through the flour until coated on all sides. Heat about an inch of oil in a saucepan or skillet on med-high. 

When oil is heated drop in as many balls as you can fit. Brown on all sides ( I usually brown for a couple minutes on one side and then flip to brown the other side). Remove from oil and place directly in baking dish. Do this with all of the meatballs. 

Fit as many of the browned meatballs as you can into the dish, they can be touching sides.

* If you are making ahead, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to bake-you will cover with the sauce just before baking. If you are freezing. Cover very tightly with plastic wrap and a lid or a layer of aluminum foil. You will have to defrost and add the sauce before baking. 

While the meatballs are browning, you can make the sauce. In a sauce pan combing ketchup, tomato sauce, pepper and salt (optional). Heat to a bowl, stirring occasionally. After boiling, you can remove from heat. 

Pour sauce over meatballs ( I use a ladle). You want each meatball covered with sauce and if you have extra sauce pour in all the spaces of the pan. You cannot have too much sauce here. 

Bake 1 hour and 30 minutes at 325 degrees. For bigger meatballs, like 2 in, you will want your oven to be 350 degrees. Because each oven is different. You may want to check for doneness, pull one of the meatballs out to check for doneness. These meatballs are hard to overcook, and will always be tender, so if you want to cook a little longer just to be sure, it won't hurt them. 

recipes and photos copyright Julie Ann Luse

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

just sharing the love...

Okay, this is a brief post, but oh so important. I've recently plunged into the world of couponing and it's hard when you have to buy specific allergy-free foods for your family or you have a standard of what kinds of products you want your family to have. One of our family's favorite products is Smart Balance. But you can hardly find amazing deals on it. We love to use their butter and peanut butter. Well, I found a fab deal that I hope you take advantage of before it's gone.

Head over to the Smart Balance website...send some stinkin adorable and cool e-cards from their site-no, it's not too late to send an e-card for v-day. When you send three e-cards you will automatically qualify to print off their $3 off any 3 Smart Balance products coupon. Expires 4-10, so there is time to wait for it to go on sale, then use your coupon and really save!

Oh, and more good news! 
For those of you with a Russ's Market in your town, they just started their 10 for $10.00 Mix and Match sale. Click here to see the flyer on their website. You will have to choose your store and then click on the 10 for $10 weekly ad. 
**I just called them to clarify if I actually had to buy 10 of each item in order to get the sale or if I could mix and match among the sale items. They said YES, you can mix and match, so you could buy one of each item or more from the 5 page sale ad and still everything is 10 for $10. 
YAY! combine this sale with any manufacturer coupons you can find and you've got yourself one heck of a deal! Sale ends Tuesday 2/21

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foodie Friday: Favorite Valentine food from pinterest! yum

Today, I'm relaxing a bit after a crazy week. Here are some of my favorite foodie finds from pinterest for Valentine's day. Click on the links below the photo to get the recipes **Or click on the photo for the pinterest link/website if the links are not showing up! Not all of these are gluten or allergy free, but I plan to try and make them. So stay tuned if you are looking for the version that fits your family. And have a great Friday!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Stuffed Cake Balls from, recipe here.

Valentine Fruit from

Valentine's Day Egg in a Basket from recipe here


Rice Krispie Pops from, recipe here


Thursday, February 9, 2012

The days are long (really long) but the years are short!

I need a reminder today of the good times. 
Because today it's hard to see past the hard times. 
In fact, this whole week with the kids has been hard. 

I honestly think that staying home with your children is harder than having a career. 
And to you nay sayers that think that stay at home moms just sit around in our pjs and relax all day...
well...I think this is another post idea. I've got too much to say about that. 

I would love to get away, make some money, contribute to the world, feel like I've accomplished something, have the house actually stay clean for an hour or more, actually feel like a real woman with my hair and makeup done and clean nice clothes to wear (of course mine are in the laundry pile). 
I would love to not feel like I need to shower for the third time after dishes, meals, poopy diapers and the sweat from bending over a thousand times to pick up toys and clothes.
I would love to be able to check out mentally, surf the internet, do some shopping, read anything in completion, enjoy my coffee or my food by myself, paint my toenails, listen to what I want to listen to in the car, watch what I want to watch on tv. 
How about take a hot shower without being interrupted or a long "luxurious" bubble bath. 

Staying home is not easy, 
it's selfless.
 And it's pretty hard to give up on me all day and put others first. 
So ya, today I need to remember that my years are short with these needy creatures and someday I will actually wish I could have them back. 
Very hard to see that right now!

So, here are some memories I want to keep vivid. 
We finally got some snow days. 

Thanks for visiting. 
Encouragement Welcome.... 

I'm linking up here today.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bonus Foodie Friday: crowd-pleasing food!

So I figured with Super Bowl Sunday coming up and because I am gullible enough to believe all the commercials that on this day, everyone and their dog is coming over to your house or your neighbors to watch the Super Bowl, or at least the commercials. I don't get into the Super Bowl parties so much. I sure do like a big game and I sure do like food. But the crowd wears me out. However every year, I still plan to attend some party out of all the invites. This year, I will probably find myself at the Youth Complex at our church with a bunch of young, hip and cool middle schoolers and high schoolers sitting on old couches with someone heating up Pizza Pockets or a stack of local delivery pizza, and of course the allergy-free snacks I pack for my own family.

But just like I said on Friday. I get so sick of the cliche food for a crowd. So I have planned out three different menu's for you that are sure to please a crowd (I've tried them out on my crowds for you already), they are super easy and super delicious. Last week was a fresh Tex Mex feel with a gourmet dessert, check it out here.

Today, I share with you an old classic pulled the pantry recipe box of my grandmother. My mother made it a lot and improved it. And I have improved it even further and made it gluten-free for my family. For years I hated the gluten-free version, but I have finally perfected and I can truthfully say, I enjoyed the gluten-free version more than the regularl -which is a miracle! I can also say that those that have tried this recipe always return for seconds and many continue to ask for the recipe. 
So folks, here it is. 

Gma JJ's Awesome Chicken Casserole
Kickin' Corn Bread Bites
Raspberry Lemon Tarts
Citrus Mint Goodness Drink

Gma JJ's awesome Chicken Casserole 
(click here for the gluten-free version)
Remember that chicken I roasted last week for the Tortilla Soup. Well, the leftover went into this casserole. The combination of white and dark meat compliment the casserole well, so if you use canned, shoot for the white and dark meat combo. 
The flavor of roasted chicken (or canned if you're strapped for time) melding with soft pasta, creamy cheese and soup, crunchiness of celery and water chestnuts and the salty browned topping of potato chips, somehow I have never found a chicken casserole recipe that could even hold a candle to this family heirloom.  Because you make this casserole the night before, you save so much time on the day that your guests are coming. 
(the gluten-free version is pictured here)

So the trick to making this casserole as outstanding as the original is to have a good gluten-free condensed soup. I thought it a miracle when I stumbled upon these nuggets at my local store. 

And I've always trusted this brand. The ingredients in the Cream of Chicken: filtered water, organic celery, organic creme fraiche, organic rice starch, organic rice flour, sea salt, organic why powder, organic celeriac juice concentrate, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder. 

 However if you cannot find this brand at the store and don't have time to place an online order. I don't necesarily recommend just any gluten free cream soups that are out there. First of all your dish will suffer in the way of taste, but also they won't be condensed. I have made this casserole before by making my own cream of chicken and cream of celery. But I don't have my recipe on hand. So I suggest you use this recipe for cream of chicken from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom blog, she also has a cream of celery recipe

Gma JJ's Awesome Chicken Casserole
Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free
serves 15-25 (depending on if they go back for seconds)

2 cups of chopped cooked chicken (or 2 cans of chicken, drained)
1/2 lb of Velveeta Cheese, cubed
12-15 oz Condensed cream of chicken soup (gluten-free)
12-15 oz condensed cream of celery soup (gluten-free)
15 oz can of chicken broth
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cups of Shells or macaroni (gluten-free)
1/4 cup of butter melted
half a bag of Lays potato chips, smashed
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Add cream of chicken, cream of celery, chicken broth, chicken, shells/macaroni,  and stir well. Add salt, stir and taste until the preferred saltiness is attained. (the gluten-free soups usually need a bit more salt. You can always add more salt so do not overdue it. How much salt you'll need will be determined by which brand/version of condensed soup you use. Add just a dash of pepper. Then add in cubed Velveeta, chopped celery, chopped onion, milk, and melted butter. Push down all the pasta to make sure it is covered by the liquid.

Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When oven is ready, remove plastic wrap and place in the middle of oven. Cook for 50-60 minutes. Make sure it is bubbling all the way around. 

Sprinkle smashed potato chips, cook for another 15 minutes until chips on top have browned.


Kickin Cornbread Bites (gluten-free)
This recipe comes from my friends over at Pamela's Products, this adapted recipe was originally created by Margie B., a 2010 runner up contest winner. Savory and sweet at the same time, there is an explosion of flavors in these little bites. Because I don't feed my children Pecans, and they can't quite handle the tiny punch of the cream cheese topping, I made some with and without it. You can make these the day before and put in a tubberware container with a lid to keep them moist. Wait until just before serving to add cream cheese topping. 

Kickin Cornbread Bites
Gluten-Free, Nut-Free (if you omit the pecans), Soy-Free
makes about 55 bites

When I say adapted, it means I wasn't able to find Pamela's Cornbread mix, so used Bob's Red Mill cornbread mix. Not quite my favorite but you do what you got to do when you live in Nebraska. I also add shredded cheddar and green onion and I use the Real Bacon Pieces already packaged to save time rather than cooking the bacon and tearing it up, which would save on costs.

1 1/2   2.8 oz packages of Real Bacon Recipe Pieces (Hikory Smoke Flavor)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) pure maple syrup
8 tsp unsalted butter, melted
1 bag Bob's Red Mill Cornbread Mix
1/4 cup mild shredded Cheddar Cheese
2/3 cup  green onion (including the green parts)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp chipotle flavored hot sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted*

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray 2 non-stick 24 mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, 1/4 cup maple syrup and butter. Stir in cornbread mix and green onion until blended. Stir in cheese and 3/4 of the bacon, reserving the rest for topping. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full, and bake in oven until golden (about 10-12 minutes). Place muffin tins on wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, hot sauce and remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup with mixer until smooth. Stir in remaining bacon and pecans. When muffins have cooled, spread cream cheese mixture over tops.

*I make some without for my kids, due to my son's tree nut allergy, I keep them separate. I also makes some without the topping because they are a bit too spicy for my kids. But the full amazing flavor of these bites does not truly play out with out the topping. 

Easy Raspberry Lemon Tarts
This recipe again from my friends at Pamela's, and the original recipe comes from 2008 contest runner up Shirley R. I have to tell you. Pastry scares me when you are making it gluten-free. I'm not a pastry chef, and although I've had decent luck with it the few times I've made it for pies and tarts, there is still a high percentage it may not turn out right or worse yet, it doesn't taste good bc I've handled the dough too much. This recipe made it simple. And as you can see below, I had trouble getting them super thin so they did not fold into the muffin tins in the most beautiful form. But nonetheless, my guests were still impressed and the taste was outstanding.

Easy Raspberry Lemon Tarts
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free (if you make the sub.s) Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free
makes about 24 tarts (or more if you want)
Two great things about this recipe, I can make it up the day before or ahead of time and they can sit in my fridge until guests arrive. Also, after 24 tart cups are made, I have leftover dough and filling. I could continue to make more of save the dough for another project, like pies, or pot pies. And use the pudding filling for a different dessert for the kids. 

1 bag (3-1/2 cups) Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled (or shortning for non-dairy)
8 tbsp ice cold water
1 package instant jello pudding mix lemon flavored (you will need milk or sub. also)
raspberries, blueberries, blackberries ;/or strawberries
24 mini baking cups

Preheat oven to 345°. Line mini muffin pan with mini baking cups. Crust: In a bowl, cut chilled butter and shortening (cut into smaller chunks) into Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives or a pastry knife until small pea sized pieces form. Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 tsp additional water if dough is too dry. Chill for 30 minutes. 

Divide dough in half and pat small pieces of dough using the palms of your hands until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 2-inch diameter circles (using a 2-inch diameter shot glass works well). Place each circle into a baking cup making sure the dough reaches the sides of the cup. Before baking pierce each Tart Crust with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely. 

Make pudding with milk or alternative according to package. Fill each cup generously with tapioca pudding. Then place washed and dried berries on top of each tart and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Citrus Mint Goodness Drink - a definite crowd pleaser!

Citrus Mint Goodness Drink 
(gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free, rice-free)
serves about 10 (I think you should double this recipe)
I love drinks with mint, it mellows the sweetness in the perfect way. I tried this drink out on my toughest crowd. You know the crowd that wants regular soda, water or coffee when they come over. These are not your lemonade or tea type people. I made them try it. This is not even close to lemonade or tea by the way. The flavors blew their taste buds out of the water and I had to make another pitcher as I saw the first one being devoured. I tell them, it was made with love. Cuz really, it is, you have to boil the concoction before cooling it. Now that's love!

1 cup lemon juice
1 cup orange juice
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
10 sprigs mint
32 fluid ounces ginger ale 

Place first five ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover; remove from heat and let steep until cool. Strain. Cover and refrigerate. To serve, a pitcher with equal amounts of fruit juice, ginger ale and water. Add ice and serve immediately.

I see ya next week for yummy Valentine's food!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...