Posted in Drinks

DIY Gluten Free Flavored Coffee Creamers

Coffee creamerIn my search for good gluten free products I realize that I am making more and more things myself to be sure they are actually gluten free.  I have found that while sometimes time consuming, Do-It-Yourself also saves quite a bit of money!  Bonus!

Take for example coffee creamer.  I am that gal that loves flavored cream in my coffee.  Different time of year or holidays  call for different flavors!  Store bought creamer can be pricey, but I stumbled upon a great set of recipes that you can customize and enjoy whatever flavor for much less than the store sells them for.  Giving credit where credit is due, I saw this post on my Facebook page where a friend shared it from Iris’s Healthy Friends (closed group).

When making your flavors – as always, please check the flavoring for gluten.  Great vanilla products that are gluten free are made by Nielsen-Massey.  Hershey’s syrups (chocolate, caramel, strawberry) are gluten free.  Most extracts are gluten free, please check the labels – McCormick says “When gluten or wheat is present as an ingredient, McCormick will declare it in the ingredient statement.”

So here you go………..enjoy some flavored coffee with me!

Start with the the basic ‘base’ recipe, then check below for different flavor variations.  

BASE RECIPE
14oz sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup milk or cream (whole, lowfat, skim, almond, soy, heavy cream, half & half etc – whatever your preference, however the more fat, the more creaminess)

Mix the ingredients together well. Add them to a mason jar and shake it like crazy or you could also opt to use an old (washed) creamer container.

French Vanilla Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR vanilla coffee syrup

Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Chocolate
2-3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
(1 tsp vanilla extract, optional)

Chocolate Almond
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon almond extract

Strudel
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Vanilla Caramel
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Raspberry
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons raspberry syrup

Irish Cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Coconut
2 teaspoons coconut extract

Samoa (like the Girl Scout Cookies)
2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut, heated & strained, for the milk/cream)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping

Peppermint Patty
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cinnamon Vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice
3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Vanilla
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Almond Joy
1-2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut if you heat it first, strained, in place of the milk & extract)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Sweet Cream
Use 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream instead of the milk in the base recipe
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR the inside of a vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon almond extract

Chocolate Orange
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1-2 teaspoons orange extract

Hazelnut
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract

Chocolate Hazelnut
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract

Cinnamon Cake
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel
2-3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1/2 teaspoon salt

Eggnog
Replace milk in the base recipe with equal amount of heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Toasted Almond
2 teaspoons almond extract

DIRECTIONS AND TIPS:
In all these recipes, anything that has a dry or thick ingredient (like cinnamon, honey, etc..) should be heated up with a small amount of your milk/cream from the base recipe so it can dissolve properly. You don’t want grainy creamer! Then, add the rest of the milk/cream along with the sweetened condensed milk.

If you want really creamy creamer, use heavy cream instead of milk in your base recipe.

You’ll want to stick a piece of tape on they mason jar lid with the expiration date from the milk used. Use this as a guideline as to when the creamer should be used by.

Play around with amounts of extracts and other ingredients used if you like stronger or less intense flavors!! And, let your imagination turn, and make up your own combinations. Use this as inspiration to create your very own perfect homemade flavored creamer!

 

Live & LOVE Gluten Free!!

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Posted in Sweets

Southern Comfort Gluten Free Brownies

These brownies are chewy little morsels of gluten-free goodness!  I created this recipe from several other recipes and it turned out great!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Southern Comfort
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla bean paste (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sweet white rice flour

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat you oven to 350 degrees, making sure your rack is in the center of the oven.  Grease an 8 x 8 square pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, under very low heat, melt the butter.  Add the chocolate and stir constantly till completely melted.  Remove from heat.
  3. Whip the eggs, sugar and salt on medium/high speed in a stand mixer till it is fluffy (should take 3-4 minutes).  Change speed to low and add the vanilla and the southern comfort, mix well.  Add the chocolate mixture (this should be warm, not hot) mix well.  Add the flour and mix just until combined.  Scrape the sides and bottom, making sure that everything is mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan, making sure the top is all smooth.  Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes until the brownie is pulling away from the pan.  Insert a toothpick in the center – if it comes out with just a few crumbs, if it is gooey, put back in the oven for a few more minutes.
  5. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

NOTES:

Nielsen-Massey has awesome vanilla products.  They are actually certified gluten free!

Sweet rice flour is often called “glutinous” or “sticky.  This flour works better to hold these brownies together vs regular rice flour.  I used Ener-G brand, and it worked out great.

You can use all bittersweet chocolate if you prefer.  I did not have enough bittersweet chocolate in my cabinet so I mixed it with the semi sweet.

You could substitute any kind of liquor (making sure it is gluten free) in this recipe.  I considered using Grand Mariner, Jack Daniels, Midori etc….

Tip to cut brownies – chill them in the fridge for a couple hours or days before cutting.  Dip your knife in hot water  before cutting the brownies making sure to wipe the knife clean and dry after each cut.

Live & LOVE gluten free!

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 Restaurant Review

The Public House of Williams Bay

2 W Geneva St, Williams Bay WI 53191    262.245.5100
http://wphdine.com/GlutenFreeMenu.aspx

Lets start by saying that this restaurant has three locations.  I went to the one in Williams Bay, WI.  There is another one in Woodstock, IL and also Crystal Lake, IL.

I am giving them my highest rating of ♦♦♦♦ with 21 out of 25 possible points.

Gluten-free food menu:  The link above is to their gluten-free menu.  Their selection is outstanding.  Their three gluten-free appetizers were selections I’ve not seen in other places. Buffalo wings?  Quesadillas?  Yesss!  We chose the shrimp and mushrooms.  This was served with corn chips.  Before the plate was even set down, the aroma had me salivating.  It was SO good I could have eaten it with a spoon.  Garlicky, but not too much.  Every bite was an explosion of flavor!

Decor: Lots of dark rich wood.  Nicely lit,  not so bright your eyes squinted, but no so dark you needed to pull out a flashlight.   The tables were organized in a way that you did not feel you were eating with the next table.  Everything was clean. Nice music that blended into the background.  Staff all dressed neatly in black.

Service:  Our server Elliot Taylor was awesome.  He was very friendly and had a great sense of humor.  He was very knowledgeable about the gluten-free options.  For a couple of unusual questions I had about gluten-free items, he did not hesitate to check with the chef.  I felt very comfortable, not worrying that I would end up being glutened by the end of the night!  The bartender, Steve, who I believe to be one of the owners, was awesome.  He made the perfect dirty martini.  Twice.

Cost:  Under $40 per person.  Being the Lake Geneva area we expected it to be a little more expensive so we were not too surprised at the prices.  At the bar we had three drinks and one appetizer, it was $35.  I believe the quality of the food was better also – warranting a higher price.

Taste:  Wowsa.  For dinner I had the fish special of Mahi Mahi served with wild rice and steamed vegetables (Mahi Mahi flown in from Hawaii).  It came with a big ole salad of mixed spring greens and romaine with fabulous house dressing (roasted garlic vinaigrette). The wild rice was cooked just right………it was not crunchy like often happens when I order this out.  The fish was excellently flavored, not overpowering in the least so I could taste the fish and the red pepper cream sauce with each bite.  Other items enjoyed at the table – fish fry, “prime” rib eye and a pulled pork sandwich.  Only issue……the “prime” was very fatty, but the flavor was great.  The desserts were excellent.  Sadly they did not have their gluten-free dessert, death by chocolate, so I skipped dessert, but the rest of the table enjoyed deep-fried cheese cake, black tie chocolate cake and turtle  ice cream cake.  Every bit gone.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant.  I will come back again AND I would bring guests.  If you find yourself in Williams Bay, WI, Woodstock, IL or Crystal Lake, IL – make it a point to stop here and enjoy a meal.  You will NOT be disappointed.

Live and LOVE gluten-free!

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Sweets

Chocolate-Strawberry Cheesecake

This recipe I created myself from a whole bunch of recipes.  I made this for Easter (2012) and it was a hit!  Yummm!  Sorry I didn’t take a picture……..it was very pretty!

1 Package of gluten free chocolate crème sandwich cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
12 ounce container of cool whip
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 pkg of cream cheese
1 small box sugar-free instant chocolate pudding
2 ounces of gluten-free chocolate chips
1 teaspoon butter

Crust:  Crush the cookies in a food processor or blender.  If neither available, crush them as fine as you can with a zip bag and rolling pin.

Add the butter a little at a time until the texture will is crumbly, not like a paste. There is a possibility you will not use the entire amount of butter.

Press the crust into the bottom of a greased 8” or 10” spring-form pan.  Put in the fridge to chill while you work on the rest.

Cheesecake layer:  Mix the cool whip, sour cream and cream cheese well.  I used my standing mixer for this. Add the chocolate pudding, mix well again.

Assembly:  Spread half of the cheesecake mixture evenly onto the cooled crust.

Lay your strawberries over entire cheesecake, if it makes a thick layer that’s ok too!  Save 6-8 slices of strawberries  for the top garnish.

Spread the last half of the cheesecake mixture over the strawberries.  Arrange the leftover strawberries in the center, like a flower.

Glaze:  Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in the microwave.  Add the chocolate chips and stir.  If it is not quite melted enough, microwave in 10 second increments.  Do not microwave too long or it will get hard and icky.

When glaze is smooth and stirs nicely, drizzle over the top of cheesecake.  I drizzled mine in a flower-like loop pattern all around the cake.

Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours before serving.

Notes:  PLEASE CHECK ALL LABELS TO MAKE SURE ALL INGREDIENTS ARE GLUTEN FREE

If your strawberries are not sweet, feel free to cut them ahead of time and LIGHTLY sprinkle them with sugar or stevia.

I used the Glutino brand chocolate crème sandwich cookies, but I’ve had the K-toos and those are great too.

I used Jello brand instant pudding, Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips, Philadelphia brand cream cheese and Daisy brand sour cream.

Options – you can change up the flavors of this easily:

Add 1 tablespoon of some kind of liquor or coffee to the crust – say Bailey’s Irish Cream, Frangelico, Grand Marnier etc…..

Change the flavor of the pudding you add – pistachio, banana cream (with banana filling), Coconut Cream…..

Change up the fruit too – blueberries, raspberries or even a combination.