Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Easy Minestrone

I love soups. I make a big pot of soup almost every Sunday and that is what we have for lunch throughout the week. Soups are economical and good for body and soul. Here is one that is fast and easy to throw together. I like making a Crock Pot Chicken and saving the leftover broth to put into soup.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15oz can drained white beans (such as as Great Northern)
1 cup cut green beans or petite peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup small cooked GF pasta
4 cups chicken broth (or leftover broth from Crock Pot Chicken plus water to equal 4 cups liquid)
1 tbsp. lemon juice, if desired

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, drained beans, chicken broth, basil, pepper, salt and green beans or peas. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 - 15 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and heat through. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve soup hot with French Bread and a salad.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GFCF Chocolate Layer Cake


This is another one of those recipes I have on a tattered 3x5 inch index card. I don't remember its origin...it might be a Hershey's recipe. It's been my go-to recipe for chocolate layer cake for many years. Since it has converted to being gluten and casein free just perfectly, it will continue to be my go-to recipe for many years to come.

Megan's birthday cake...with strawberry jam between the cake layers.
Served with Strawberry Lime Ice Cream.

1/2 cup palm shortening or casein and soy free margarine
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups GF flour blend (I used 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Rice Blend plus 1/4 cup sorghum flour)
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (not dutch - I use Hershey's cocoa powder)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup dairy and soy free milk alternative (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

Cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat well.

Sift together the flour through the salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition (begin and end with the flour mixture).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the sides pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to cool completely on wire racks. Frost with Mock Buttercream Frosting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

(Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Soy-Free) Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other day I ran across a recipe for 36 Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies at Gluten Free Girl. Boy, did they look good. And I loved that there was amaranth flour in the recipe. Amaranth is high in fiber, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin C (for nutritional content see here) and if you combine it with rice or corn flours, you get a complete protein as high in food value as fish, poultry and red meat (see here). If I find a recipe with amaranth flour in it, then I want to try it.

I fully intended to make the cookie dough and stick it in the refrigerator for at least a day before baking, as suggested by the original recipe. But the girls had been without cookies for a few days already and I couldn't hold off the poor dears any longer. I whipped up the dough and baked the cookies right then and there. And they ended up being more than super delicious - these are easily the best chocolate chip cookies I have eaten in my life. The girls ate one in silence and then immediately asked for another (they would have eaten the whole batch if I had let them!). Four other taste-testers immediately demanded the recipe after trying these cookies. Well, here it is (by way of Gluten Free Girl and modified slightly by yours truly).

I think it's the margarine in this recipe that makes these cookies even better than my old recipe. I used a kosher soy-free margarine, but Earth Balance now has a dairy-free, soy-free margarine that will work too. Go ahead and refrigerate the dough before baking if you please (read the reasons for doing so here) - it supposedly makes the end product drier and more crisp. I like my cookies chewy and soft so I won't be refrigerating my dough. To each his (or her) own!


1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup potato starch flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
scant 1 cup (8 oz) dairy free, soy free margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 ounces dairy free, soy free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together the sorghum flour through the salt, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beat well. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary. This will take a bit of work if you do it by hand - don't worry if it looks dry at first, it will come together and look perfect in a minute. You don't want the mixture to be too wet, or the cookies will flatten out and get crisp in the oven. (If you like flat, crispy cookies, then increase the margarine to a generous 1 cup.)

Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by generous teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake about 12 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges of the cookies are very lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 30 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Skillet Flatbread

While searching for socca recipes that looked good, I came across this recipe here for skillet flatbread. It's made the exact same way as socca, but it uses different flour. Now that looked intriguing, so I tried it, using cornmeal instead of chickpea flour. It turned out really good, crispier than socca and reminiscent of a cracker. This recipe is easy and fast and definitely a keeper. Unlike the socca which I prefer to make on the stovetop, I prefer to make this particular flat bread in the oven because it gets a little more crisp that way. It's good eaten plain and hot right out of the skillet or after it has cooled. I chose to use two 8 inch cast iron skillets for cooking, not one 10 inch skillet, as this flat bread is best when it is thin. I offered this to the girls as "Cracker Bread" and they gobbled it right up - score for Mommy!



1 cup cornmeal
1 cup water

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives


Whisk together the cornmeal and the water. Add the olive oil, salt and chives. Set aside for about 30 minutes to let the cornmeal soften slightly.

Method #1
Place two 8 inch skillets (or one 10 inch cast iron skillet) in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take hot skillets out of the oven. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to each, swirl to distribute. Divide batter between the pans (about 1 cup of batter per pan) and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Broil for 1 minute if desired to crisp the top slightly. Remove from the oven and transfer to a pla
te to cool for one minute. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Method #1
Heat two 8 inch cast iron skillets over medium heat. Pour in 1 tbsp. olive oil into each pan and swirl to distribute. Divide the batter between the two pans, swirling the batter as needed to distribute evenly. Cook about 10 minutes or until bottoms are crispy brown. Flip and cook on the other side until crispy. Remove to a plate and let cool for 1 minute. Cut into wedges and serve hot, seasoned with salt and pepper as desired.

Socca (Chickpea Flat Bread)

I recently ran across a recipe for chickpea flat bread, also known as Socca. I made it, thinking it would be something like foccacia but I was wrong (the recipe advised baking it in a pan in the oven which threw me off). I didn't like it too much. There was too much going on with the recipe - garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt. I might like it if the recipe were more simple. So I did some searching and found a simple recipe here that looked good. I tried it, and I liked it.

Apparently there is some argument over the way socca should be made...only with a certain kind of besan flour and a certain kind of olive oil and a certain copper pan and a certain kind of wood-fired oven to be truly authentic. But I'm not trying to be authentic, I'm just trying to feed my family good food. This is good food. I chose Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour and extra virgin olive oil. I cooked the flat bread in cast iron skillets. The end result should be crispy on the outside and softer on the inside, and it's good hot right out of the skillet, plain just the way it is without further ado!

I tried two cooking methods - one on the stovetop and one in the oven. I like the stovetop version better as the flat bread gets a little crispier that way. Also, it's going to be too hot to turn on the oven soon...anything I can make without turning on the oven in the summertime is a plus!


1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper


Combine the chickpea flour and the water, whisking well until smooth. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare your skillet.


Method #1
Heat two 8 inch cast iron skillets over medium heat. Pour in 1 tbsp. olive oil into each pan and swirl to distribute. Divide the batter between the two pans (about 1 cup batter each), swirling the batter as needed to distribute evenly. Cook about 10 minutes or until bottoms are crispy brown. Flip and cook on the other side until crispy. Remove to a plate and let cool for 1 minute. Cut into wedges and serve hot, seasoned with salt and pepper as desired. For a thicker flat bread, use one 10 inch cast iron skillet.

Method #2

Place two 8 inch skillets (or one 10 inch casat iron skillet) in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take hot skillets out of the oven. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to each, swirl to distribute. Divide batter between the pans (or pour all into one 10 inch skillet for a thicker flat bread) and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Broil for 1 minute if desired to crisp the top slightly. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Let cool one minute. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Moroccan Soup (Vegan)

I found this recipe by Brittany Rice in a magazine recently. The sweet and savory elements in the soup intrigued me but I was not sure how I'd like it. So I invited some guests over (they are such wonderful test subjects) - if I didn't end up liking the soup then at least I would not have a whole pot of it left sitting around. Well everybody ended up loving the soup! In fact, to my slight chagrin, there was not much left over at all. I will just have to make it again.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped

2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced - white and pale green parts only
1 tbsp. minced ginger root

4 large basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup dried apricots, minced

1/2 cup dried figs, minced
1/4 cup dried prunes,minced
1 package baby bella mushrooms - cleaned, stemmed and chopped

2 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dry white wine

4 cups vegetable stock

1 can coconut milk

1 can black beans, drained

1 can chick peas, drained


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, ginger and basil, cook 2 minutes. Add dried fruit and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes. Add spices, cook 1 minute. Add the wine and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, let reduce slightly for 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk, black beans and chick peas. Simmer another hour. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm. Serves 4 - 6.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cuban Black Bean Soup (Vegan)

This black bean soup is refreshing and light. Serve it with Marinated Rice and a salad, and you have a filling dinner that is simple but worthy enough to serve to guests. The original recipe for the soup can be found here.

1 pound dried black beans
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (red, orange, yellow or green)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 - 4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup mojo sauce, or juice of 1 orange and 1/2 lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

Soak beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse. Place beans in a soup pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain beans and set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion through the bell pepper and cook until soft. Add the cumin through the tomatoes and cook another 3 minutes.

Puree 1/3 of the beans with 1 cup of the water or vegetable stock (as much as you like to make the soup thick or a little thinner). Stir into the vegetables in the pot. Add the remaining beans, water or vegetable stock and mojo sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over rice or alongside Marinated Rice with the cilantro and avocado as garnish.

Marinated Rice

Okay - this rice dish is so good I could eat it plain, all by itself, with nothing else to accompany it. It's supposed to go with Cuban Black Bean Soup, and I did indeed serve the rice with the soup, but the rice is a great stand-alone dish as it is. I've never really cared for rice too much, but I really like it prepared this way. The original recipe for the rice can be found here.

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. olive oil
pinch salt
1 1/2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
4 large scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Bring water, olive oil and pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rice. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cool to room temperature.

Combine the diced tomatoes, scallions, olive oil and vinegar. Pour over the rice and toss well. Serve at room temperature. This is a good accompaniment to Cuban Black Bean Soup.