Archive for April, 2009


Easy, Hearty Gumbo

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img_3150xThe heat wave we were having is gone, and now our 60 degree weather feels unusually cool. So, I’m back to making hearty warm foods. I love cajun gumbo. It’s one of those foods you can adjust to your liking. I like it full of yummy ingredients. And, I don’t think gumbo can be gumbo without okra! So, I’ve added it all in this one. I’ve made this a quick and easy recipe that you can throw together with the ingredients in your refrigerator/freezer. Of course, you can always make it with fresh ingredients, you just may need to adjust cooking times.

Easy, Hearty Gumbo


1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 qts chicken broth (Make sure it’s gluten-free. I use Pacific brand.)
4-6 roma tomatoes, chopped (or 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes)
1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chiles
2 TBSP seasonings (I used Zatarains Creole seasoning.)
2 Cups chicken, cooked and cut into cubes (Great way to use up leftovers!)
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced (Make sure it’s gluten-free.)
1 lb. okra, cut (Not always easy to find fresh okra. I used a bag of frozen okra already cut.)
1 lb. small shrimp (I used a bag of frozen shrimp previously cooked, deveined and peeled. What’s easier than that!)
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 Cups water


  1. In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat and saute onion, celery, and garlic until the onion is tender and translucent.
  2. Now add in the chicken broth, tomatoes, chiles and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add chicken and sausage and let the gumbo simmer for 30 – 60 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
  4. Add okra and cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the shrimp and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Make a slurry by mixing 2 TBSP cornstarch into 2 cups cold water. Add to the pot, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. The slurry should slightly thicken the gumbo.

Additional Notes:

  • To serve, pour the gumbo over a scoop of rice.
  • I also served our gumbo with gluten-free baguettes by Against the Grain.  I sliced them and toasted it with a little butter. Wow! It was soooo good.
  • The cornstarch slurry should be added at the end of the cooking. Once you’ve added the cornstarch slurry, don’t cook it too long or it could break down and become watery again.
  • This makes a large pot of gumbo – 10-12 servings.

For more gluten-free dinner ideas, check out What’s For Dinner Wednesdays at the Gluten-Free Homemaker.

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May Gluten-Free Events

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Check out these gluten-free events happening around the U.S. in May.

What: NFCA Gluten Free Cooking Spree
When: Friday, May 1; 6:30 pm – 9 pm
Where: Hyatt Regency — Bethesda, MD
More Details: See earlier post.

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Sunday, May 3; 8 am check-in
Where: Clarence “Du” Burns Arena — Baltimore, MD
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. Lots of great gluten-free vendors will be there.  Activities for kids, raffles, silent auction, and more.

What: Gluten Free Sampling
When: Sunday, May 3; 1 pm – 3 pm
Where: Whole Foods — Indianapolis (86th St. store), IN
More Details: FREE; no RSVP needed. Sample gluten free foods while you shop! Stop by and get product recommendations & tips from Sandy Haney, gluten free food enthusiast.

What: Gluten-Free Living Lecture & Store Tour
When: Thursday, May 7; 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Whole Foods Market — Newton, MA
More Details: Cost $10.00, Registration required at Customer Service. Melinda Dennis MS, RD, LDN, Director of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center offers tips on how to live a gluten free lifestyle.  She walks you through testing and diagnosis, offers cookbook suggestions, and discusses techniques to ensure a well balanced gluten free diet.  The lecture is followed by a store tour and sampling of a wide variety of gluten free products.  Class participants receive a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase.

What: Gluten-Free Cooking Demo/Class with Chesapeake Celiac Support Group
When: Friday, May 8; 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Sajak Pavilion — Annapolis, MD
More Details: Elizabeth Barbone of will talk about the basics of gluten-free baking, how to create homemade mixes and demo two recipes. She is the author of “Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

What: Bowie Baysox Food Allergy Awareness Night
When: Thursday, May 14; 6 pm gate opens; 7:05 pm first pitch
Where: Prince George’s Stadium — Bowie, MD
More Details: To purchase your tickets for a great baseball game of the Bowie Baysox vs. Erie Seawolves contact Chris Rogers at 301-464-4855 or Ask about the upper reserved seats and the Gluten-free food vouchers available for GF hot dog on GF bun, chips, regular soft drink and a GF cookie.

What: Gluten-Free Faire
When: Saturday, May 16; 10 am – 2 pm
Where: St. Marks UMC Fellowship Hall — Sacramento, CA
More Details: Cost $1 at the door. Lots of GF vendors with GF food to sample and purchase. Cel-Kids table with kids’ activities. First 50 people to ask for it, receive a voucher for a free Celiac antibody testing. Further information at Gluten Free Adventures.

What: DC Celiacs Meeting
When: Saturday, May 16; 2 pm
Where: Davis Library — Bethesda, MD
More Details: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD; Harris Whole Health speaks on “Going Gluten-Free and Still Fitting into Your Jeans!”

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Saturday, May 16; 10 am check-in
Where: Clarence Town Park — Buffalo, NY
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. BBQ lunch, activities for kids, door prizes, and more. Check out Western New York Gluten Free Diet Support Group for more.

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Saturday, May 16; 8:30 am registration
Where: Bob Woodruff Park — Plano, TX
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. Family picnic, silent auction, raffle, entertainment, and more. Check out for more.

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Saturday, May 16; 8:30 am registration
Where: Holy Family Catholic HS — Victoria, MN
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. Door prizes, raffles, music, entertainment for kids and more. Check out for more.

What: Gluten-Free Group of Friends – Pancakes, Scones and Waffles
When: Monday, May 18; 7 pm – 8 pm
Where: Whole Foods Market — Minneapolis, MN
More Details: Cost $5; Pre-registration required. Join Concierge Renee and Chef Amber in preparing a couple of new and delicious recipes for pancakes and waffles, as well as a decadent citrus scone you won’t want to miss!

What: Gluten-Free Gathering with Chef Sunshine Best
When: Thursday, May 21; 7 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Whole Foods Market — Palatine, IL
More Details: Cost $5.00 per person. Join Gluten Free culinary expert Sunshine Best from Your Safe Kitchen for recipes and preparation tips for Greek cuisine. Sign up today by calling customer service at (847)776-8080.

What: Gluten-Free Baking Class
When: Wednesday, May 27; 10 am – 4 pm
Where: Natural Gourmet InstituteManhattan, NY
More Details: Cost $195 for one or $380 for two people. This hands-on class and lecture (“Amazing Gluten-Free Pies, Tarts and Quiche”) is taught by Rebecca Reilly, chef, master baker, and author of “Gluten-Free Baking.”

What: Gluten-Free Baking Class
When: Thursday, May 28; 10 am – 4 pm
Where: Natural Gourmet InstituteManhattan, NY
More Details: Cost $195 for one or $380 for two people. This hands-on class and lecture (“Gluten Freedom: Reclaiming our Daily Bread”) is taught by Rebecca Reilly, chef, master baker, and author of “Gluten-Free Baking.”

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Saturday, May 30; 9:30 am registration
Where: Perinton Park — Rochester, NY
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. GF vendors, live entertainment, silent auction, etc. Check out Rochester Celiac Support Group for more.

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Saturday, May 30; 9:00 am registration
Where: Jamesville Beach County Park — Jamesville, NY
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. GF vendors, activities for kids, raffles, etc. Contact Karen Dorazio at or 315-469-8154 for more information.

What: Gluten-Free Living
When: Saturday, May 30; 2 pm – 5 pm
Where: Whole Foods Market — Lexington, KY
More Details: There will be information, vendors, & lots of free gluten free samples.

What: International Walk for Celiac Disease
When: Sunday, May 31; 9:00 am registration
Where: Edsel and Eleanor Ford House — Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
More Details: Great event to raise money for celiac research. GF food and refreshments, silent auction, etc. Contact Julie at for more information.

What: Gluten-Free Cooking
When: Sunday, May 31; 1 pm – 2:30 pm
Where: Whole Foods Market — Carmel, IN
More Details: FREE. Get gluten free cooking tips each month from someone who lives the lifestyle & loves to cook! RSVP at 317.569.1517. Leave message for Sarah Smith.

Categories : Events
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Simply Tasty Asparagus

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img_3291xNothing fancy about this — just a quick and easy side dish we like to eat.

Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang has determined the secret ingredient for Friday Foodie Fix this week is asparagus. Asparagus is great raw, dipped in salad dressing or other yummy sauce. But, I don’t usually eat it that way. We usually steam it, or quickly saute it in a pan on the stove to eat with dinner. I don’t know if you really need a recipe for this, but I wrote it up anyway:

Simply Tasty Asparagus


Asparagus (one bunch usually serves 4)
salt and pepper for taste
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  1. Gently clean asparagus and snap off the bottom woody part of the stems.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on the stove.
  3. Carefully place the asparagus into the pan. (Beware: If the asparagus is wet, the hot oil will splatter.)
  4. Watch the asparagus carefully and toss it around to promote even cooking.  It should only take about 5 minutes to cook.
  5. Add a little salt and pepper. And, at the last minute sprinkle on the Parmesan. Don’t leave it in the pan too long or the Parmesan will burn.

Additional Notes:

  • For additional flavor, omit the Parmesan and drizzle a creamy sauce over the asparagus.
    • Try the Parmesan sauce in my Broiled Fish recipe.
    • Also good is a dill sauce: Mix together 1/2 Cup mayonnaise, 1/4 Cup mustard, 1 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried basil. If desired, you can use a TBSP of milk or lemon juice to thin the sauce.
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Weekly Menu April 20

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I used the new menu plan template at I’m an Organizing Junkie to get me ready for Menu Plan Monday this week. It was great for creating a shopping list. I even remembered to take it to the store with me!

Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness is temporarily organizing the Gluten Free Menu Swap. Asparagus Thin is hosting it this week with the theme ingredient of Rhubarb. I haven’t cooked with rhubarb before, but I’m going to try a new recipe for Rhubarb – Strawberry Crisp.

Here’s my menu plan for this week.

Monday – Chicken Enchiladas
Even after nachos last week, I still have some leftover seasoned ground beef. I’ll be adding it to some slow-cooked Mexican chicken and cheese to make enchiladas. I hope I have time to try a new green sauce.

Tuesday – Baked Chicken
Simple meal of chicken baked with a cream of chicken gravy. Serving with rice and asparagus.

Wednesday – Broiled Tilapia with a Parmesan Sauce
I didn’t actually get a chance to fix this last week, so I’m going to try it this week. Serving it with rice and steamed broccoli.

Thursday – Rice Bowls
Leftover Mexican chicken on leftover rice with black beans, green chiles, corn, cheese, and black olives.

Friday – Birthday Party
Celebrating my daughter’s birthday with family. Haven’t decided on a final menu yet. It will probably be her favorite meal: cheeseburgers and corn-on-the-cob. I also need to figure out what to do for an Ariel cake.

Saturday – Leftover Buffet
After four meals and a party, I know we’ll have a refrigerator full of leftovers.

Sunday – Steaks
Hoping for good weather for grilling steaks outside. Serving with Karina’s sweet potato fries and green beans (or perhaps leftover corn-on-the-cob). If the cake is all gone, I’m going to make Rhubarb – Strawberry Crisp.

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Quick & Easy Meals

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If you’ve looked through my menus or recipes, you’ll see that they are mostly quick & easy recipes. When my kids were babies and toddlers, I had to be fast at getting food on the table. Now a few years later, I need to be fast in order to keep up with the after-school activities. I don’t always have a lot of time and energy to spend in the kitchen. When I cook, I often make large portions so I have leftovers I can use another night. Our meals are often simple with few ingredients, but I still want food to taste good and cover all the necessary food groups.

img_3270xIf you’re needing a quick meal, whether it’s lunch or dinner, why not make a plate of nachos? “Appetizer” or “bar food” you say. Yes, they are. But they’re also filling and you can make them to be as nutritious or as fattening as you like.  Choose your favorite ingredients: gluten-free corn chips, leftover taco meat, some refried beans, black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, sliced olives, avocado, salsa, sour cream, green onions, etc. A minute in the microwave or 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, and you’re done. Or, if you’ve got a lot of leftover rice, put the ingredients over rice instead of chips. It may not be Chipotle, but it’s easy, tasty and filling.

And don’t forget the guacamole. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, but really makes a nice finishing touch to an easy meal. Try The W.H.O.L.E. Gang’s 5-Minute Guacamole.


Or, if you want it even easier try Frontera’s Guacamole Mix. I found it at Wegmans but you can also purchase it online at Amazon. After reading the ingredients — “fresh tomatillos, fresh tomatoes, green chiles, fresh onions, fresh cilantro, fresh garlic, citric acid, salt, pure can sugar” — I had to give it a try. I was a little skeptical about all the “fresh” ingredients listed (I mean how fresh can it be if it’s in a jar?), but I couldn’t resist.

I think it took 2 minutes to remove the seeds, peel, and mash the avocados (3 or 4) with the entire jar of guacamole mix. And, wow! It wasn’t just good, it really did taste fresh. So, if you’re in a pinch for time, you might want to give it a try. Wouldn’t it be great for a Mexican Fiesta party? One side dish or appetizer you could have done in minutes before the party crowd shows up.

For more avocado recipes, check out The W.H.O.L.E. Gang’s Friday Foodie Fix – secret ingredient avocados!