Archive for December, 2009


Menu Plan Dec 28

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menu-swap-009I’m looking forward to a relaxing week. We had a wonderful holiday week, but now activities have definitely slowed down at our house. I’m slowly trying to reclaim my house that still has gifts, toys, games, and bits of wrapping paper scattered all over the house. So, maybe it won’t be as relaxing as I’m hoping because as I’m writing this I’m realizing all of the house cleaning that needs to get done. Well, however it turns out, here’s the menu I’m planning for this week.

Starting out the week by cleaning out the refrigerator and eating up the leftovers.

Tuesday – Spaghetti Bake
My husband says he’d like to make a baked spaghetti dish. So, I think that means cooked spaghetti topped with a meaty spaghetti sauce and mozzarella, then baked in the oven. We’ll serve it with gluten-free garlic bread and a tossed green salad.

Wednesday – White Chicken Chili (aka Chili Blanco)
Making a chili with chicken and Mexican spices. Serving with arepas.

Thursday – Easy Garlic Shrimp
Shrimp cooked quickly with butter and garlic. Serving over flat rice noodles.

Friday – Chicken Tacos
Shredded Mexican chicken cooked in a slow-cooker for tacos. Serving with corn tortillas, chopped lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, black olives, and guacamole.

Saturday – Cheeseburgers
Serving cheeseburgers with Red Potato and Green Bean Salad.

Sunday – Parmesan Tilapia
This white fish recipe is very quick and easy. The fish is topped with a Parmesan sauce, which also tastes great on vegetables. Serving with broccoli and fingerling potatoes.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Check out this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap, hosted at The GFCF Cookbook this week. I’m looking forward to what they have in mind for the theme of ham. I don’t usually have leftover ham. It quickly gets eaten up for sandwiches and snacks. However, I do love to add it to (GF) Macaroni and Cheese, on the rare occasion that I make that. Of course it’s also good in soups and a host of other foods. Add your own ideas or check out what other gluten-free cooks are sharing at the weekly round-up.
  • Laura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.
Categories : Menu Plan
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This month has been pretty hectic at our house, as I’m sure it is at most homes this time of year. There are so many different holiday activities, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do them all. In order to make time for as many as possible, I’ve found that I skimp on the everyday chores. The meals become simpler, the laundry goes a few extra days before getting washed, the house cleaning…well, let’s just say there are some parts of the house that just get ignored.

I really wanted to make gingerbread houses this year. I had a lot of leftover Halloween candy that I thought would be great to use on them. I thought about buying a gluten-free kit (A & J Bakery or Cherry Blossom Cakes), but I had already bought Jules special flour mix for making graham crackers and gingerbread. So, I didn’t buy the kit and I haven’t even opened the gluten-free graham flour. There are only a couple days left until Christmas and I’m thinking about finishing my shopping, wrapping presents and sending out the last of the Christmas cards.

So, I’ve decided to do what I did last year: use pre-made gluten-free graham crackers (Josef or Kinnikinnick) to make two small houses, one for each of my kids to decorate. It really worked out well last year. It was nice for each of my kids to have their own house to decorate. And, the small size was perfect for their attention span (then ages 3 and 5). Now that I’ve made that decision, I just have to make the gluey frosting to stick the graham crackers together. I have two different recipes for the frosting listed below: one that uses egg-whites, and one that uses meringue powder. Both work well, but I used the egg-white recipe last year. I put the icing in a pastry bag with plain decorating tips, but you could just put the icing into a zip-style bag and clip the corner with scissors. Last year, we used gum drops, M&Ms, candy-canes, and some holiday-shaped marshmallows. Of course, you can use whatever gluten-free candy you have on-hand.

This would be a great project for a support group for celiac kids (R.O.C.K. or Cel-Kids). The project is quick enough to be done in a reasonable amount of time, takes little preparation for the organizer, and the houses are small enough for each kid to take home.

Royal Icing using Egg Whites


3 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp vanilla


  1. Beat egg whites until fluffy and add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
  2. Mix in the other ingredients and beat until thick and stiff.

Additional Notes:

  • Once you’ve made up the icing, be sure to keep it covered in the bowl so it doesn’t dry out.
  • This makes a large batch of icing. It’s probably enough to make 6 small (cracker-size) houses.


Royal Icing for Gingerbread Houses

(I got this recipe from my sister, who says she got it from Better Homes and Gardens.)


2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 tsps Meringue Powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 Cup warm water


Combine sifted powdered sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until very stiff.

Additional Notes:

Add 1 to 4 Tbsp of water, 1 tsp at a time to make glaze of desired consistency.

Want to make your own gluten-free gingerbread cookies or houses from scratch? Try one of these recipes:

Gingerbread House Heaven
Jenn Cuisine
Only Sometimes Clever

For more gluten-free holiday treats, check out this week’s edition of “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?” at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

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Menu Plan Dec 21

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menu-swap-009I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. It’s been busy for us. So busy, that we didn’t follow last’s week’s plan very well. But that was fine. We switched the meals around and ate up the leftovers in the refrigerator. That’s the beauty of meal planning: You can move the meals around if necessary, and you know that you still have the ingredients to fix a meal.

This week, I still have some shopping and wrapping to do, so it will be another week of quick and easy cooking. (If you still need some gift ideas for gluten-free friends and family, check out my post for gift ideas.)

MondayParmesan Chicken Nuggets
A kid-favorite meal. Bite-sized pieces of chicken breaded with gluten-free bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, and baked until golden brown. Serving with French fries and steamed broccoli.

Tuesday – Pork Chops
Boneless pork chops cooked with sauteed mushrooms. Serving with rice and green beans.

Wednesday – Chili
Making traditional beef and red bean chili. Serving with gluten-free cornbread.

Thursday – Baked Ham
Baking a ham and serving with garlic roasted fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Friday – Christmas
We’ll be spending Christmas day with the family. Instead of a sit-down meal, we will probably have a buffet-style meal that works best with all the gift exchange activities. So, I’m planning on taking a hot spinach artichoke dip, baked potato skins, and a variety of gluten-free cookies. Great items for grazing all day! (And perhaps gaining a few pounds along the way. :))

Saturday – Leftovers
I don’t think we’ll need to cook today. Maybe just some fresh fruit and vegetables to serve with leftovers.

Sunday – Pupusas
Hoping to find the time and energy to try a new recipe for filling pupusas.

Oops! Here’s the link for the Baked Salmon recipe, just in case you’re looking for it.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Check out this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap, hosted by Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness this week.
  • Laura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.
Categories : Menu Plan
Comments (1)

Still doing some Christmas shopping? I have most of mine done, but I still have a few I need to get. If you are snowed in this weekend like I am, you can still order gifts online and have gifts arrive before Christmas! Just be sure to order on Amazon no later than Tuesday. (Although, Amazon’s Christmas Ordering Deadlines Page indicates that they will ship Wednesday orders overnight, and in some cities will even deliver items ordered Christmas eve for same-day delivery!) So, here’s a list of ten last-minute gift ideas that I think anyone on a gluten-free diet would appreciate.

IMG_4983xIMG_4981x1. Happy Tiffin – Have you seen these yet? My sister sent me one for my birthday this year. She said she thought it would be perfect for us to take our own gluten-free foods with us to food events: potlucks, school events, dinner parties, picnics, etc. She was right. We’ve used it while touring museums, to potlucks, and school events. She bought me the large one, which really holds a lot of food. If you are someone who likes to take food with you to parties so that you know it’s safe, you need to get one of these. Of course, it would be great to take lunch to work, too. Amazon carries similar containers with 2 and 3 tiers. Choose from a variety of shapes and sizes of To-Go Ware. For one like I have, go to Happy Tiffin where they also have new insulated bags to keep your Tiffin (and food) hot or cold.

2. Breadmaker with a gluten-free setting – I’ve considered getting this for myself, but haven’t quite committed to it, yet. I certainly think it would be nice to have. They can be expensive, but what really concerns me is the amount of counter space it would take up. I found three on Amazon that have gluten-free settings: Breadman 2-Pound Convection Breadmaker (on sale for $89); Cuisinart 2-Pound Convection Bread Maker (on sale for $129); Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Machine
(on sale for $190). Do you have a bread maker? What are your thoughts about them?

51LJ8HVkaRL._SL160_3. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook – Written by Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry, this is one of the newest gluten-free cookbooks out this year. As the title suggests, it focuses on using almond flour instead of grain flours in the recipes. As a result, the recipes are low glycemic, low in cholesterol and dairy, and high in protein and fiber. If you are buying this for a friend, be aware that almond flour is not readily available in stores. Most people order almond flour online (Honeyville or

511QmKZCVYL._SL160_4. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow – Another new cookbook out this fall was written by blog author Stephanie O’dea all about cooking using a slow-cooker, or Crock Pot. To get a sample of the recipes in this book, check out her website full of gluten-free slow-cooker meals. And, did I mention that all the recipes are gluten-free? New to the gluten-free diet? This book shows you that you can cook gluten-free for the whole family, even with a busy schedule!

51IhT+-MLKL._SL160_5. Gluten Free Every Day – This cookbook came out earlier this year. Author and chef, Robert Landolphi, learned to cook gluten-free meals when his wife was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Just like the title says, these are foods to cook and eat everyday. Many of the recipes are familiar foods with a new twist. I’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve tried. Some of the recipes took more time than I have every night to cook, but the results were delicious.

517ZqlnlRmL._SL160_6. BabyCakes – This is a fun cookbook of cupcakes and treats from Erin McKenna’s New York bakery where she produces all the goodies in her cookbook. The cookbook is not exclusively gluten-free, but a lot of the recipes are gluten free, as well as vegan and sugar-free. This book is also new out this year.



51D8WdPxxvL._SL160_7. Gluten-Free Baking Classics – I originally bought this book because a friend recommended it for its pie crust recipe. The pie crust is amazingly wonderful, but it’s just the beginning. Author Annalise Roberts shares her great recipes for muffins, sweet breads, cookies, cakes, pies, bread, pizza crust, and more in this cookbook. I use the flour mix suggested in the book, and love to use it as an all-purpose gluten-free flour.

51P42FATXFL._SL160_8. Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods – Bette Hagman is well-respected for her many gluten-free cookbooks. She was one of the first to publish gluten-free cookbooks, and an inspiration for many other gluten-free cooks out there. The book has many great recipes, and tips for cooking with gluten-free flours.



51XpcgFafiL._SL160_9. Ratio – This is not a cook book. It doesn’t have recipes and doesn’t focus on gluten-free foods and flours either. Instead it tells you how to combine ingredients in the right ratios to end up with a good food product. It gives you the confidence to experiment and create your own recipes.

51AiDZYDGTL._SL160_10. The G-Free Diet– The book written by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. It’s new this year, so your celiac friends may not have it yet. This is not a cookbook. It is a personal book written about living gluten-free, with personal experiences and tips on how to make your gf lifestyle easier to maintain.

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Menu Plan Dec 14 – Cinnamon

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menu-swap-009I am the lucky host for the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week. I chose cinnamon as the theme ingredient because it seems to surround us during the holiday season. I enjoy the cinnamon-scented pine cones placed around my house, and the cinnamon ornaments and gingerbread houses I make with the kids. Like so many other people do during the holiday season, I willl be baking with cinnamon this week: cookies for a school party and apple crisp for dessert. Although I think of cinnamon mostly for baking, I actually use it throughout the year in plenty of recipes. Here are some of them:

Celiac Family’s menu this week:

MondayTilapia Parmesan
A quick and easy dish with white fish and a Parmesan sauce that tastes great on vegetables, too. Serving with rice and Brussels sprouts.

Tuesday – Cheeseburgers
Cheeseburgers are on the menu for another quick meal. Serving with French fries and green beans.

Wednesday – Rotisserie Chicken
Serving rotisserie chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and fruit salad.

Thursday – Spaghetti
I don’t serve pasta at our house very often. It’s one food neither of my kids will eat, so it’s often left off the menu plan. But sometimes I just have to cook what my husband and I would like to eat. So the kids will be eating leftovers while we enjoy spaghetti with a homemade meat sauce. I’ll also make a tossed green salad that we all can enjoy.

Friday – Leftover Buffet
A busy day of holiday parties, leads me to think that I’ll be too worn out to cook dinner. So, it will be leftovers or frozen meals tonight.

Saturday – Pork Chops
Boneless pork chops cooked with sauteed mushrooms. Served with cornbread and green beans.

Sunday – Steaks
Grilling steaks and serving with fingerling potatoes and broccoli.

Here’s what some other gluten-free friends are doing this week:

Kim at Gluten Free is Life has been busy baking cookies this month. In fact, she’s posting a new cookie recipe every day this month. She said she had some recipes flop on her this past weekend, but her previously-posted cinnamon Snickerdoodles look great! I look forward to seeing what new cookie recipes she posts this week.

It sounds like Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness is also busy with baking this month. She has a wonderful list of treats, including some very tempting Chestnut Fudge, that she’s making to give as gifts. She also writes that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar. I knew it had to be good for more than just taste and smell. Thanks for the knowledge, Cheryl.

Deb at Green V-Neck says she’s finding more time to cook this week, since her holiday activities are slowing down. Slowing down??! And, she’s celebrating Christmas a little early with a dinner this weekend, so I guess she’ll have to get some cooking done this week. Be sure to check out her menu; the Black Bean Soup and sweet potato fries sound perfect for a chilly December evening.

This week, you’ll find black beans and sweet potatoes at A Modern Gal, too. Elizabeth combines them in a chili with turkey or ground beef. For recipes for her Salmon Chili, Swiss Chard and White Bean Stew, and other exciting dishes check out her full menu this week.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Laura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?

Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness manages the temporary headquarters of Gluten-Free Menu Swap. There you will find the rules, the current and upcoming schedule, and links to past roundups. For this week, email the link of your gluten-free menu to me at celiacfamily[at]gmail[dot]dom.

Categories : Menu Plan
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