Archive for December, 2009


Dessert Mixes Giveaway Winner

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GF Dessert GiveawayWe have a winner for our Betty Crocker Dessert Mixes Giveaway! Angela Winesburg (comment #81) is the winner of the Betty Crocker Sweet Treats prize pack. She will be receiving all four varieties of dessert mixes, two FREE coupons for any of the varieties, a grocery tote bag, magnetic grocery list and pen. Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Congratulations to Angela!

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Cinnamon Ornaments

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IMG_5006xThese cinnamon ornaments are a great homemade gift that your kids will love making…and giving to friends, family, teachers, etc. As a kid, I used this dough like a clay to make cinnamon bears with my mom. Now, I’m making cinnamon ornaments with my kids. With two ingredients, this is a fast and easy craft to make. However, it does take time to dry before you can decorate them, so plan accordingly.

As a kid, we started with a bottle of ground cinnamon and just started mixing in the applesauce until we got the right consistency. Recently, I’ve had good luck using the recipe below from the McCormick website. (I may have slightly modified the wording.)

Last year, we made two batches of these and gave them to all of the kids’ teachers for Christmas. The kids loved being able to give all their teachers, aides, coaches, instructors, etc. something that they made.


Cinnamon Ornaments Recipe


3/4 Cup applesauce
1 large bottle (4.12 ounces, or 1 cup + 2 TBSP) ground cinnamon

Equipment and Other Supplies Needed:

cookie cutters
drinking straw
oven and baking sheets, or wire drying rack
colorful ribbon
fabric paint or glitter glue to decorate


  1. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in a small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Adjust amount of applesauce and cinnamon as necessary to get a good firm consistency — not too crumbly nor too sticky.
  2. Using about 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  3. Make a hole in the top of ornament with a drinking straw if making ornaments. Place ornaments on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake 2 1/2 hours at 200° F. Large or thick ornaments may need a little longer to dry. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry (turning about every 12 hours).
  5. For ornaments, insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Glitter glue is great for decorating them.

Additional Notes:

  • Makes about 16 medium-sized ornaments.
  • For my frugal friends, visit your local dollar store. You’ll find everything you need for this project, even the applesauce and ground cinnamon (which can be pricey).
  • If you like the gingerbread smell, consider adding ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to the dough. Making gingerbread boys and girls to hang on the tree? Add some googly eyes and glitter glue to give them some dimension.
  • You can also use these as air freshners — a bowl full of balls in the bathroom or some flat shapes to put at the bottom of the kitchen trash can or the ashtray in the car. The scent should last 3-6 months. You can add cinnamon oil to them later to extend the scent.

Notable Links:

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IMG_4859xWith the first yummy taste of these, I knew I had to share this recipe with you. Just look at how quick and easy it is to have a chocolate dessert or snack ready.

I made these Chocolate Mini-Muffins for my daughter to take to school to share with her classmates. I  intended to make banana muffins, but didn’t have any ripe bananas. So, this is what I came up with at the last minute. I guess I should call them cupcakes because that’s really what they are. But, I didn’t frost them like cupcakes. I was trying to keep them from being too sweet. It didn’t matter to anyone in our house that they weren’t frosted, the muffins disappeared very fast! I did, however, manage to save a few of them to see how they would last. Thanks to the pumpkin, they were still moist after sitting on the counter (in a sealed container) for a few days.

I’m linking this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays this week because the pumpkin adds to this treat a good amount of vitamin A, but adds no saturated fat or trans fat. And, no egg, oil or milk is needed to bake these; the pumpkin provides all the moisture needed. That’s good news for our friends with additional food allergies, too.

Chocolate Pumpkin Mini-Muffins made with Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix





  1. Combine the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Scoop batter into a Mini-Muffin Pan with paper liners or lightly sprayed with oil. You can also bake these on a flat baking sheet. Just place scoops of batter onto a baking sheet lightly greased or lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 350° F.

Additional Notes:

  • Makes about 36 mini muffins.
  • No need to add egg, milk, oil, or anything else.
  • I used 1-1/3 cups pumpkin because I had it leftover from a pumpkin pie I made. You could probably use 1 Cup, but I wouldn’t try a whole can (15 oz.) of pumpkin.
  • The batter is very thick, so you can’t pour it into the muffin pans. I used a small cookie scoop, which gave it a round shape. Baking it did not make it spread. It actually kept its shape on a flat baking sheet.
  • Please note that these do not have a strong pumpkin flavor. I used the canned, plain, solid pack 100% pumpkin. I also didn’t add any pumpkin pie spices. You could certainly do that if you’re wanting more of that flavor. But, if you do want a pumpkin-flavored muffin, I would try it with Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix and add in some pumpkin pie spices.
  • When I make these with chocolate chips, my kids think they taste like brownies.

Ready to get baking? If you need one of these cake mixes, why not enter the giveaway of the Betty Crocker gluten-free dessert mixes I posted last week.

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Menu Plan Dec. 7

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mpm121jpgLast weekend, we took a surprise trip to Disney World. We had a wonderful time, but I’m happy to be home. Now I need to work on decorating the house for Christmas and finishing up the Christmas shopping. Looks like another easy week of cooking for me.

Monday – Cilantro Lime Shrimp
A quick and easy dinner is always good for Mondays. Serving Cilantro Lime Shrimp over rice noodles with steamed broccoli.

Thursday – Pork Chops with Black Beans
Boneless pork chops cooked with black beans, salsa and cilantro. Serving with rice and green beans.

Wednesday – Fish Sticks
Using gluten-free bread crumbs to coat fish strips and bake until crispy. Serving with Brussels sprouts and corn.

TuesdayPulled Pork Sandwiches
Slow-cooked pork shoulder shredded and served on gluten-free buns with barbecue sauce. Serving with sweet potatoes and green beans.

Friday – Leftover Night
Pulling everything out of the refrigerator so everyone can choose their own leftover meal.

Saturday – Arepas
I found the perfect Colombian cheese (I think) to serve with arepas. Now I just have to make the arepas.

Sunday – Pizza
Once again, trying a new recipe for pizza.

Need more menu ideas?

  • menu-swap-009Esther at Lilac Kitchen is hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week with the theme ingredient of suet. I don’t even know how to comment on suet. It isn’t something I’ve ever used in cooking. Check out her menu plan this week to see what she’s cooking with it.
  • 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.

More from Celiac Family:

  • This is the last week to enter the Betty Crocker Dessert Mix Giveaway at Celiac Family. Check out my review of the mixes and add your own thoughts.
  • I’m hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap next week, so please join us. The theme ingredient will be cinnamon (but you don’t have to include it in your menu to participate). For the rules and past week roundups,  check out the menu swap headquarters hosted at Gluten Free Goodness. Thanks to Cheryl for continuing to organize this fun roundup of gluten-free meals every week.
Categories : Menu Plan
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Chocolate Martinis

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IMG_4878xWhen I first read that Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free was hosting Cocktails, Mocktails and Appetizers for the Holiday Food Fest, I immediately thought of our Chocolate Martinis. It’s a recipe that my husband and I worked at creating several years ago. OK. My husband actually did the work, measuring, shaking, etc. I sat on the couch, tasted them and gave them a thumbs up or thumbs down. We tried several brands and types of alcohol to arrive at this recipe. I must warn you: Though they are deliciously chocolate, this is a martini and very strong! I’m a light-weight when it comes to alcohol, and one is usually all I can handle in one night.

Chocolate Martinis


Magic Shell (optional for decorating the glass)
Dark Chocolate ice cream (The darker, richer chocolate ice creams are best for this.)
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1.5 oz.Creme de Cacao (You can use dark or clear varieties, we used the dark.)
1.5 oz. Vodka (Any will do, but we used a chocolate infused vodka for even more chocolate flavor.)


  1. IMG_4870xMy husband begins the martini making process by preparing the Martini Glasses. Place the glasses in the freezer (for about 30 minutes) to get them nice and frosty. Then slowly drizzle Magic Shell along the edge of the glass, so that it starts to run down the inside of the glass. It adds a little flavor to the drink, but mainly just makes it look nice. Then, place the glass back into the freezer.
  2. Next, place 3 or 4 ice cubes into a Cocktail Shaker and one scoop of ice cream. Pour in equal parts Creme de Cacao, Kahlua, and Vodka and shake vigorously. Continue shaking until the ice cream is broken up.
  3. Straining out the ice, pour the martini into the prepared glass.
  4. Serve quickly, while still icy cold.

Additional Notes:

  • Magic shell is our favorite way to decorate the glass. However, you may want to experiment with others: Cocoa powder on the rim can be a little bitter but could be cut with powdered sugar; Chocolate syrup drizzled can get messy and doesn’t stay along the sides, but it does add a little sweetness to the drink; Powdered sugar on the rim makes a nice snowy look, but can get sticky. How about cinnamon, or cinnamon sugar? Be creative and have fun!
  • We usually serve it without any other garnish. However, crushed peppermint candy sprinkled on top and a whole candy stuck on the side, as in the photo, gives it a fun holiday flavor. Try hanging a small candy cane on the side. Or, a fresh mint leaf for a summer day. None of these add much flavor to the drink. But, it does add a nice aroma to the drink.
  • If you’re a real fan of peppermint, put crushed peppermint candy on the rim. And, maybe even a splash of Peppermint Schnapps.

holiday-food-festFor more Cocktails, Mocktails, and Appetizer recipes, check out the Holiday Food Fest at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

I am also linking this to “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?” at The Gluten-Free Homemaker. So, be sure to check out all of the gluten-free recipes and ideas shared at this round-up, too.

Categories : Drinks, Holidays
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