Archive for June, 2009


Red Potato and Green Bean Salad Recipe

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As much as I love the traditional potato salad, this is a wonderful alternative. The basil and dressing, made with balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard, give it a nice, fresh flavor. The lack of mayonnaise and the addition of green beans make me feel like I’m eating healthier, or at least a little lighter on the calories.¬† I found this recipe about a year ago on and modified it slightly for my own taste. It’s become one of my favorite vegetable salads to accompany grilled or barbecued meats. It makes a great side dish for pulled pork sandwiches.

Red Potato and Green Bean Salad


1 lb. red potatoes
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped
1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 large red onion, chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP Dijon mustard (I like to use whole, or coarse-grain mustard.)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash Worcestershire sauce (Make sure it’s gluten-free. We use French’s brand.)
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the green beans to the pot of cooking potatoes and cook both for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and pour off the water. Let them cool slightly until able to cut potatoes into quarters (or halves, depending on size).
  4. Place the potatoes and green beans in a large bowl. Add the fresh basil, red onion, salt and pepper. Stir gently and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat.

Additional Notes:

  • To add a little more flavor, consider adding bacon. Cook 3-4 strips of bacon until crispy, then crumble, and sprinkle over the salad.
  • Makes about 8 servings.
  • I think this salad is best served warm or at room temperature. And that makes it good for taking on a picnic or to an event where there’s no refrigerator or cooler, which you might need to keep a traditional potato salad cold.

Notable Links:

Categories : Lunch, Salads
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img_3642xPlanning a large family gathering for Father’s Day? This recipe for Pulled Pork is so easy, but so delicious. A pork shoulder roast, or Boston butt, is cooked slowly, so that the meat literally falls apart with a fork. It’s great eaten right out of the slow-cooker, but fathers will like it even better with some BBQ sauce. Makes 12-16 servings.

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork


6 lb. pork shoulder roast (bone-in)
1/4 Cup Cajun seasoning (I use Zatarain’s Creole seasoning.)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 Quart (4 Cups) vegetable broth (Make sure it’s gluten-free. I use Pacific brand.)
2 TBSP Liquid Smoke
24 oz. barbecue sauce (optional)


  1. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Slice the onion. Place garlic and onion into a 6-quart Slow Cooker.
  2. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on all sides of the pork, and rub it in to the meat. Place the pork in the slow-cooker, fat side up.
  3. Pour vegetable broth and liquid smoke over the pork.
  4. Cover the slow-cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. When cooking is complete, remove the pork from the slow-cooker and place into a large mixing (or serving) bowl. If the bone hasn’t already separated from the meat, remove it. Then shred the pork by holding it with one fork and pulling the meat apart with the second.
  6. If desired, mix 16 oz. of your favorite barbecue sauce into the pork.
  7. Serve pork as is, or place it on sandwich buns and top with some of the remaining 8 oz. of sauce.

Additional Notes:

  • There are other varieties of liquid smoke, but my favorite, and I think the most common, is hickory.
  • If you like your sandwich meat a little more moist, you may want to add a cup of the cooked broth to the pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Then, mix it all together.
  • The gluten-free buns in the above picture are Chebe frozen sandwich buns.

For more dinner ideas, visit What’s for Dinner? Wednesday at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

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Menu Plan June 15

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mpm121jpgSchool is finally done for my kids this year, and summer begins! The kids and I are planning lots of fun in the sun this summer, but we’re also lining up crafts and other indoor activities for days when the heat, humidity and mosquitoes become too much to bear. Check out our latest craft (wire photo holders) if your kids need an idea for Father’s Day.

Monday – Leftovers
Yep, we’re starting our week with leftovers. Those two kids of mine have got start eating more!

Tuesday – BBQ Pulled Pork (slow-cooked)
Slow-cooking a pork shoulder, or Boston butt, then adding BBQ sauce for great sandwiches. I’m hoping to try out The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s recipe for hamburger buns and focaccia bread.

Wednesday – Hamburgers
Grilling hamburgers to use up any leftover buns made on Tuesday. Serving with corn-on-the-cob, french fries and green beans.

Thursday – Shrimp
I think I’ll try something new to get the kids more interested in shrimp. Maybe a shrimp tempura….

Friday – Grilled Steaks
Grilling steaks and serving with Asparagus and sweet potato fries.

Saturday – Salmon
Broiling salmon with a balsamic glaze. Serving with rice and broccoli.

Sunday – Father’s Day
We’ll be joining the extended family to celebrate Father’s Day, as well as a couple birthdays in the family this month. So, not sure what food we’ll be eating, yet. But, I’m thinking about bringing salads: Berry Fruit Salad and a Red Potato and Green Bean Salad. I’ll probably make a cake of some kind, and maybe another dessert, too.

Need more menu ideas?
For more gluten-free meals and recipes check out the GF Menu Swap, hosted this week by Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness. Her theme ingredient for the week is raspberries. I hope to have some for the Berry Fruit Salad I’m making this weekend. If I can find enough good raspberries, I may even make the Raspberry Divinity Tarts I created for Sea’s virtual Baby Shower to take to our family celebration. Is that too much raspberry for one meal?

Even more meals and recipes (not necessarily gluten-free) are listed at’s Menu Plan Monday.

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Summertime Arts & Crafts

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School’s Out! Today is the last day of school for my kids¬† — at least until September. So, I’m trying to line up some craft projects to keep us busy, and not glued to the TV. Here’s an idea to get you inspired, too: Photo/note holders. The kids made these for their teachers for an end-of-the-year thank you. Originally, I thought I would let the kids paint flower pots, but found these boxes at the dollar store and thought I would use them instead.

Actually, I got all of the supplies at a local dollar store. I love to go to dollar stores to come up with crafty ideas for the kids. They also had some great educational and activity books, including practicing writing letters, phonetics, simple math, telling time and more. They’ll be great for road trips and for those days when I need a quick distraction for the kids.

Wire Photo and/or Note Holders


  • img_3592x

    Box to hold the wire photo holders (Instead of a box, consider using flower pots, vases, coffee mugs, or get some clay and make your own base.)

  • Paint and paintbrush (Decorate any way appropriate for you and your kids: markers, stickers, stamps, etc.)
  • Glass beads to hold the photo holders in place and add weight to keep it all from tipping over. (You could use sand, pebbles, coins, or even floral foam if you don’t need extra weight.)
  • Decorative floral wire to hold photos and/or notes. (Could also use 20 gauge wire. Forks would be cute to use for a recipe card holder.)
  • Needle-nosed pliers and wire cutter
  • We also used photos and cut flowers out of card stock paper for finishing the project.


  1. img_3605xWe started by having the kids paint the boxes with their choice of colors. At the same time, I had them paint some flowers drawn on card stock paper. Let them dry a couple hours or overnight.
  2. Next, I shaped the floral wire. Start by pinching the wire on one end with the pliers and turning in a tight circle. Then continue to bend the wire around the circle leaving space between. You can even make different shapes, like stars, flowers, hearts, etc. Use wire cutters to cut the holders at a point a few inches longer than you need it.
  3. Now bend the other end of the wire to help it stand up nicely on the bottom of the box. Place the photo holders in the box in the way you want them arranged.
  4. Fill the box with glass beads or other weighted filling. As you’re filling the box, arrange the photo holders how you want them to stay.
  5. Put notes, pictures, cards, etc. in the photo holders.

Additional Notes:

  • This was a fun project for me and the kids (ages 4 and 5-1/2). They did all the painting. I did the actual bending of the photo holders. They helped put it all together, including a thank you note on which they drew pictures.
  • Worried about gluten-free paint? Common-Allergen-Free Products available at Discount School Supply
  • Great project for teacher gifts, mother’s day gift, father’s day gift, summer camp activity.

Other places to find more arts & crafts and printable activities for kids:

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Berry Good Summertime Salad

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img_3540xAnother favorite, quick and easy recipe of mine is this one for a berry fruit salad. It’s perfect for summertime, when berries are in season. I got this recipe from my sister, though I reduced the amount of sugar because I just didn’t think it needed that much. The balsamic vinegar does a great job of bringing out the flavors of the berries.

And because it’s naturally gluten-free, it makes a great dish to have at parties with Celiacs and non-Celiacs. (No special gluten-free flours or ingredients needed. Just double check that the vinegar is gluten-free. I’ve never found a balsamic vinegar that has gluten, but it’s always good to check.)

Berry Fruit Salad


1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP sugar


  1. Clean and dry all the berries and put into a medium bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and sugar. Then pour over the berries and gently toss to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Addtional Notes:

  • Use any berries that are fresh and in season. You can see in the picture above, I didn’t have raspberries to add in, but it was still delicious.
  • If you’re taking this to a party where you probably won’t eat right away, consider taking the vinegar/sugar mix in a separate container. Then pour it over the fruit and toss to coat when you get to the party. Put it into the refrigerator until time to eat.
  • This also works great for a gluten-free dessert. Add fresh whipped cream or pour over vanilla ice cream.

For more recipes with blueberries, check out Friday’s Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

Categories : Breakfast, Desserts, Salads
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