Posted in Sweets

No Bake Cheesecake with Apple Topping

I saw this recipe this morning at Delight Gluten Free while looking for a cool dish to serve this hot weekend.  It looks so good and simple I wanted to share with you all.  Be sure to check out their website for other great recipes and tips!

SERVES 8-10 PREP 10 Min COOK 5 MIN

This dessert is perfect any time you want that special creamy dessert and don’t want to use your oven. Your friends will ask you to make this over and over!

Crust:
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
8 ounces crushed gluten-free graham crackers (I used Kinnikinnick graham cracker crust)

Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:
4 tablespoons butter
2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced (multipurpose apples—I used Gala)
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

  1. To make the crust, melt the butter and in a small mixing bowl, combine butter with the gluten-free graham cracker crumbs.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9” pie dish or a spring form pan.
  3. To make the filling, in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the sugar to soft peaks. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix softened cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice, and cinnamon on low speed. Gently fold the whipped cream into this mixture. Pour on top of crust and place into the refrigerator to set.
  5. Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat, melt the butter for the topping and add the sugar, cinnamon, and the apples. Cook until the apples are softened; remove from heat and cool.
  6. Serve the cheesecake with the apple topping.

Live and LOVE Gluten free!

Advertisements
Posted in Just Plain Good Info.......

A Bazillion Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar has been around for hundreds of years and there are a bazillion uses for it.  OK, so I am exaggerating a little, but there sure are a lot of ways to use it.  One of the most obvious is cooking! This is good for us since most vinegar is naturally gluten-free except for malt vinegar which is made from barley.

What you may not realize is that white distilled vinegar can be used hundreds of other ways that can be ecologically friendly and economical too! My mom always used it for so many things and I have followed in her footsteps!

COOKING

  • Tenderize meat by using marinades made from vinegar.
  • When poaching eggs, a little white distilled vinegar in the water will help the whites stay better formed.
  • Freshen wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water containing a spoonful or two of white distilled vinegar.
  • A teaspoon or two of white distilled vinegar when boiling or steaming cauliflower, beets or other vegetables, will help them keep their color, improve their taste, and reduce gassy effects.
  • A dash of white distilled vinegar to water as pasta cooks will make it less sticky.
  • Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.
  • A spoonful of white distilled vinegar to any chocolate cake (box or homemade) will add moistness and taste.
  • A drop of white distilled vinegar added to frosting will keep it white and shiny and keep it from sugaring.
  • Add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for every 3 to 4 egg whites used in meringue. It will be perfect and fluffy.
  • To keep olives or pimentos indefinitely, cover with white distilled vinegar and refrigerate.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water when boiling eggs to keep them from cracking.

YOUR CAR

  • Your windows frosted? Coat them with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water overnight in winter for frost-free windows!
  • Full-strength white distilled vinegar on a soft cloth will polish car chrome.
  • Want to remove unwanted decals and bumper stickers? Cover them with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar and they should peel off in a couple hours. You can also repeatedly spray them with full-strength white distilled vinegar.
  • Road grime comes off windshield wipers by wiping them with a white distilled vinegar-soaked cloth.
  • A rinse made from 3 parts soft water to one part white distilled vinegar will get rid of hard water stains.
  • Spray and wipe inside windows with white distilled vinegar will remove the hazy film that builds up.
  • A mixture of half white distilled vinegar and half water will remove dirt and stains from car carpeting.

HEALTH BENEFITS

  • Dabbing insect stings and bites with a cotton ball saturated with undiluted white distilled vinegar will stop them from itching.
  • Sunburn!! Spray skin with white distilled vinegar (ice-cold will feel even better), repeating as often as you like. This will sooth your sunburn and may prevent blistering and peeling.
  • White distilled vinegar is an antiseptic for cuts and scrapes.
  • Washing feet well with antiseptic soap daily, then soaking them in undiluted cider vinegar for 10 minutes or so will help to get rid of foot odor. Also – cotton socks aid odor control more effectively than wool ones.
  • Equal parts white distilled vinegar and water make a great facial toner.
  • Undiluted white distilled vinegar can be used as aftershave.
  • Rubbing on full-strength white distilled vinegar will lighten body freckles (not facial freckles).
  • Brushing your teeth once or twice a week with white distilled vinegar will help to eliminate bad breath and whiten them too!
  • Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish will help to make nail polish last longer.

LAUNDRY

  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar in the wash cycle will prevent lint from clinging to clothes.
  • To remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull use white distilled vinegar in your final rinse.
  • Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in stained white socks and dingy dishcloths. Let soak overnight to get them white and bright again.
  • Spray a white distilled vinegar and water solution on food stains like spaghetti, barbecue, mustard or ketchup before washing.
  • Spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine to remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants.
  • Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine with moldy smelly laundry and wash in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent.
  • Get rid of mineral deposits in steam vents and spray nozzles on your steam iron by filling the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Let it set in an upright position (steaming) for about 5 minutes. After it is cool, rinse the tank with water, refill and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Test before using.
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar in the last rinse of your laundry will get your laundry cleaner. It will dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents removing the residue from your clothes. It also prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.

YOUR PETS

  • Wiping a dogs ears out regularly with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar should keep it from scratching them.
  • Wiping down the animal with a 50-50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water, followed by a plain-water rinse will help remove skunk odors. If necessary, repeat.
  • Cats do not like the smell of vinegar. Spraying white distilled vinegar on a windowsill (or other surface) or even upholstery will discourage a cat from scratching or going there. Be sure to test this on an unnoticeable area first to make sure there won’t be any discoloration. You can also spray areas outside of your home the rinse with hose to deter them from going or marking certain areas.  Try placing paper, a cloth, or sponge that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar in your garden!
  • Pour ½ inch of white distilled vinegar in an empty litter box and let stand for 20 minutes, swish it around, and then rinse with cold water. This will remove cat litter odor.
  • Adding a little white distilled vinegar to your dog or cat’s drinking water to kill fleas.

CLEANING

  • Use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar to shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup.
  • Scouring cleanser:  1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon liquid detergent – add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.
  • To clean and deodorize a drain or garbage disposal: pour 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar down drain or disposal. Let this sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the drain.
  • Place 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl in your microwave. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Wipe clean! Your baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear.
  • Clean your refrigerator shelves and walls with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.
  • You know that grime you get on the top of the refrigerator? A paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar will clean it off.
  • Saturate your grease splattered oven door window with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe down with a sponge.
  • Pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle will remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher.
  • White distilled vinegar will remove mineral deposits from coffee makers. Add 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar to the water reservoir and run it through a whole cycle. Run it a couple times more with plain water to rinse clean. (You should check the owners’ manual first.)
  • Narrow-necked glass jars, flower vases, and bottles that have that yucky film can be cleaned by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar sit in them for a few hours. To loosen stubborn stains add a little rice or sand and shake vigorously. If necessary repeat.
  • Clean your mini blinds easily by wearing pair of white cotton gloves. Run your fingers across both sides of each blind after having dipped the gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water.
  • Spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances will discourage ants and pests from coming in.
  • Set out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar to get rid of fruit flies.
  • Bathroom germs can be killed with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar follow up by wiping clean with a damp cloth.
  • Grime, mildew, and scum from the tub, tile, shower curtain or door, can be cleaned by wiping with undiluted white distilled vinegar and then rinsing with water.
  • Get rid of the hard water deposits on shower doors by spraying them with full-strength white distilled vinegar. The tracks can be cleaned by filling them with white distilled vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into them and wash and scrub away the scum with a toothbrush.
  • 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup ammonia to a gallon of warm water makes an inexpensive tile cleaner.
  • A scummy showerhead can be cleaned by pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let it set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped then remove the bag and turn on the water.
  • Cleaning your no-wax vinyl or linoleum floor with a solution of one cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water will give it a shining finish. For tough stains, apply full strength and let sit for 10-15 minutes before cleaning.
  • A great economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner can be made by mixing a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. For fast clean up spray sparingly and mop.
  • Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to reduce soap bubbles in a steam cleaner. To remove detergent residue and make carpets stay fresh longer, use the same amount in the rinse water.
  • Window cleaning solution: 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.
  • Wiping down walls with undiluted white distilled vinegar on a cloth or a sponge mop will get rid of mildew, dust, and stale odors.
  • To remove wallpaper: Use a paint roller to wet the surface very thoroughly with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water.
  • Dead mouse or other rodent smells (after removing all animal remnants) can be removed by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar and then placing a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors.

So there you have it.  OH and one other thing, if you are worried about that smell…….relax! Once dried, it has no smell!

There are a ton more way you can use vinegar but hopefully this will be enough to get you started!

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Side dishes, Sweets

Ultimate Energy Bars

Since I am always on the quest to optimize my health, trying to find gluten free energy bars THAT I LIKE the taste of has been challenging.  I ran across this and think it might be the key to getting something tuned to my tastes.  Matt Frazier at www.NoMeatAthlete.com posted a recipe that is completely customizeable to your likes or allergies!  

NOTE:  Make sure all of your ingredients are GLUTEN-FREE!

The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula

  • 1-pound can of beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • ½ cup binder
  • ¼ cup sweetener
  • ¼ cup soft sweet fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry spice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats (you can toast them if you want but I can’t tell the difference)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient
  • 1 cup stir-ins

In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.  Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.  Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.

If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient.

Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

Recommended beans

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Adzuki beans

Recommended binders

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Mashed avocado

Recommended sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (if you’re not vegan)

Recommended soft, sweet fruit

  • Applesauce
  • Mashed banana (about half of one)
  • Chopped dates (remove the pits!)
  • Crushed pineapple

Recommended optional extracts

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Coffee

Recommended dry spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  •  Instant coffee

*For stronger spices like nutmeg and cardamom, use just a ¼-½ teaspoon and combine with less intense spices like cinnamon.

Recommended dry base ingredient (a combination is usually best)

  • Protein powder
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Cocoa (max ½ cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buckwheat flour

Recommended stir-ins

  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Dry cereal
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Chocolate chips

So that’s the basic formula! To help get you started, here are three variations.  For each of them, follow the same procedure from above for mixing and baking.

Example #1: chocolate black bean happy bars

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa + ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut + ½ cup raisins

Example #2: cranberry-pistachio protein bars

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup binder: ¼ cup of ground flax seed with ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup pistachios + ½ cup dried cranberries

Example #3: maple pumpkin health bars

  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (used more maple syrup in place of the sweet fruit here, for more maple flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisin bran cereal

So there you go, three examples to get you started.  But really, the point is for you to create your own, using the basic formula as the framework.

Posted in GREAT articles to check out

Gluten free a weight loss diet? NO. Check out this article for valuable info!

I saw this awesome article this morning on the Gluten Free Cooking School website.  This was one of the first websites I found when going gluten free and have gotten a wealth of information from Mary Frances and her husband John.  When I read this article, it really sums up so many things that I have wanted to tell people!  So instead of my version – check out what John has to say about gluten free diets!  I’ve left in all of the links so you can research further on your own.  When you are done, head over to their website and check out all of the fabulous information and recipes available and sign up for her cooking school!

LIVE AND LOVE THE GLUTEN FREE LIFE!  😀

Lose Weight, Improve Energy Levels, and Feel Great: Three Variations On The Standard Gluten Free Diet

July 19, 2012 By John

There’s often a lot of confusion about starting a gluten free diet. Most people, when they’re interested in eating gluten free, look up “gluten”, find out that’s it’s contained in wheat, and they figure all they need to do is avoid wheat in their diet. Then they hear that gluten might be in other grains as well, and that it can be a “hidden” ingredient in some foods, so they end up confused as to what they can and cannot eat.

Compounding the issue is the prevalence of gluten free food products that are starting to appear in grocery stores more and more frequently. Are these boxed flour mixes and frozen dinners healthier than a whole foods diet that happens to contain gluten?

So if you’ve heard about the gluten free diet in the news, or a friend mentioned that they’re trying it out, or you read that Miley Cyrus is now gluten free, where do you start? Do you just avoid wheat and eat everything else like normal? Are processed foods bad? Are there any other ingredients that you need to look out for besides wheat?

I think the answer to these questions is contained in the reason that you’re thinking about going gluten free. Let’s take a look at 4 different ways to eat gluten free, and see which one will work for you.

(Quick note: For the purposes of this article, “diet” doesn’t necessarily refer to a weight loss diet. It simply means an overall way of eating.)

SAD minus gluten – This diet doesn’t have a particular name, but it’s what most people try at first when they go gluten free. The SAD, or Standard American Diet, generally consists of 50% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 35% fat. When people decide to go gluten free, they often unconsciously stick to these amounts, and simply replace gluten-containing carbs with new gluten free carb sources.

Is this a healthy diet? Well, the answer is “It depends.” It depends on your particular situation and your health.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease or a similar gluten intolerance, removing gluten from your diet is, hands down, the best (and first) thing that you can do is to improve your diet and overall health. In this case, eating the “SAD minus gluten” diet is not a bad choice, especially as you’re getting your feet under you on the whole GF thing.

(That’s not to say that you should try to eat tons of carbs and nothing else when you go GF. Check out our guide to your first week of eating gluten free to get some ideas of healthy, whole food meal ideas to try out.)

Once you’ve been gluten free for a while, and seen improvements in your health, you may be inspired to continue to improve your health through other dietary changes. Removing common allergens such as milk, soy, and corn are often a reasonable next step. Some of the diets mentioned below may be good choices too.

Can I Lose Weight On A Gluten Free Diet?

If you’re trying a gluten free diet to lose weight, and you keep eating the same number of calories, and the same amounts of carbs, fat, and protein that you ate before, you’re almost certainly not going to lose weight. Removing gluten from your diet is not a magical potion for weight-loss. In fact, we can attest that you can gain quite a bit of weight if you have daily access to delicious home-made gluten free biscuits, pizza, cakes, etc.

That being said, there are weight-loss diets that are gluten free. If you’re looking to increase your energy levels, lose weight, or generally improve your health, then I recommend starting with one of the three diets below.

Slow Carb Diet – Popularized by Tim Ferris in The 4-Hour Body
, the Slow Carb Diet is designed to help you lose weight. The rules of the diet are pretty simple:

Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.

Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.

Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.

Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. Eat anything that you want (except gluten, if you have a medical reason to avoid it). I choose and recommend Saturday.

Mary and I did the Slow Carb Diet for several months last year and had great results. We both lost significant amounts of weight, and actually enjoyed the diet. The thing that I love most about the SCD is that it is naturally gluten free six days of the week, and the only time you have to watch what you eat (in terms of gluten) is Cheat Day.

If you’ve been wondering why our Cooking School has so many “not good for your” recipes, Cheat Day is the explanation =)

Primal/Paleo Diet – Mary and I are currently on a 30-day trial of the Primal diet, and things are going great. I have a lot more energy when I eat low-carb, and I don’t crave more food a few hours after eating like I used to.

The rules of the Primal diet are somewhat more complicated than the SCD, as it encompasses more than just the diet. Sleep, exercise, and play are also addressed. As far as what you eat, the Primal diet focuses on meat, vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, and nuts. All grains, dairy, legumes, and refined carbs are out. If you’re interested in reading more about this diet and why it works (which is really, really interesting), then this book
would be a good place to start.

The Warrior Diet – The Warrior Diet is similar to the Primal diet, but with one major change: You only eat once a day. You fast all day (although you can eat some fruit during the day if you’re really hungry), and then eat a huge meal at night.

Ori Hofmekler, the man behind the Warrior Diet, recommends a Paleo diet approach to the foods that you eat – i.e., meats, veggies, and fruit. He also says to focus on protein and fat for your big meal, and finish up with carbs if you’re still hungry.

I wouldn’t recommend that you go straight from the Standard American Diet to this one. Fasting for most of the day is very hard and painful if your body is used to receiving grain and sugar based meals on a regular basis. Now that we’ve been eating Slow Carb/Paleo for 20 months, we can comfortably fast long enough to do the Warrior Diet, and we do follow that plan on days where we are not terribly hungry or when it’s just not convenient to eat gluten free.

Summing It All Up

A gluten free diet, though it can improve your health if you have celiac or some other wheat/gluten allergy or intolerance, will not necessarily result in weight-loss. Some people will lose weight; others will not.

However, there are weight-loss diets that are inherently gluten free. These weight-loss diets are ideal for those who need to be gluten free and lose weight. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that these diets will improve other aspects of your health. To make it even better, these diets are all enjoyable and do not focus on calorie restrictions. You’ll probably experience carb cravings, but you shouldn’t actually be hungry. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?