Archive for Salads


My New Favorite Summertime Salad

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I know it isn’t technically summer, yet. But with the 90°F+ temperatures we’ve had this week, it definitely feels like summer. So, I’ve been scanning the gluten-free food blogs looking for cool and refreshing recipes. And I found some good ones to share with you.

Good thing it’s time for Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger again. If you are unfamiliar with this event, it is a roundup of gluten-free recipes tried by other gluten-free bloggers. I’m always trying new recipes, and I’m happy to share my good results with you. I missed last month’s roundup, but just made it in time for this month’s edition being hosted by Iris at The Daily Dietribe.

This month, I adopted Nancy from The Sensitive Pantry. I first found Nancy’s site several months ago while chatting with her on Twitter. (Follow Nancy on Twitter and Me on Twitter.) Nancy has a beautiful site full of exciting and tempting gluten-free recipes that are well organized and easy to find. As you might guess from her blog title, her recipes are suitable for food sensitivities other than gluten. And each of her recipes is labeled for a variety of sensitivities: Gluten, Egg, Dairy/Casein, and/or Vegan.

When I saw her post a recipe for Tropical Black Bean Salad, I knew I had to give it a try. And I have to tell you that it is my new favorite summertime salad! I’ve made a good mango-pineapple salsa before, but this salad is so much better. The addition of the black beans and crisp apples give it such a nice variety of textures and colors. And, I could really eat this as a meal. It does require a bit of time for peeling and chopping. (I’m still not very fast at that.) But, it is definitely worth the time, and of course no additional cooking time is required. The first time I made the salad, I couldn’t get enough of it. I had two servings of it with dinner. The next morning I ate it for breakfast with a piece of GF toast. I then had more of it for snacks later that day. I think I may be addicted to it. :) My husband thought it was great, too. He even passed it on to a co-worker who raved about it.

So what about the kids? Well, you wouldn’t think I would have trouble getting them to eat this would you? A fruit salad? My kids love fruit! Perhaps it was the black beans that turned them off, but I had no luck with them. My daughter did finally take a taste, but must have gotten some jalapeño, because she immediately complained about it being too spicy and wouldn’t take another bite. Crazy kids don’t know what they’re missing. It’s sweet, crunchy, juicy, and a little spicy, too. Very refreshing on a hot summer day (which is what it feels like here right now). What more could you ask for?

Well…maybe Nancy’s Strawberry Mint Limeade. Another deliciously refreshing recipe.

Want more summertime recipes? Try some of these:

At The Sensitive Pantry:

At Celiac Family:

Categories : Salads
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Potato Salad for a Crowd

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Yay! I’m finally getting a recipe posted. I have really had trouble keeping up with the online gluten-free community this spring. Too many activities in my offline world have been keeping me busy. The most I’ve been able to do is post our weekly menu plans. But, I have finally found some time to write a quick post and get back online.

I’m linking this post to The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s weekly carnival Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Every week, a variety of gluten-free recipes, tips, or reviews are linked to this online carnival. The Gluten-Free Homemaker has also started a monthly recipe challenge in conjunction with Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Check out this month’s submissions of gluten-free quiche recipes. Next month’s gluten-free recipe challenge is for gluten-free cakes. I can’t wait to see the recipes submitted for that one!

For this week’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays, I’m offering the following recipe for a traditional potato salad. It uses 5 pounds of potatoes and a dozen eggs, so it makes plenty to serve at a large gathering, party, picnic, barbecue, etc. I started this with my grandmother’s recipe, but then added a few extras. My grandmother worked many years in the bakery for a corporate cafeteria, so her recipes were often written for large amounts. You can, of course, halve the recipe for a smaller gathering. I like to make the full recipe, so I can have leftovers!

Potato Salad for 25


5 lbs. Russet potatoes — peeled, cooked, and mashed
12 eggs — hard-boiled, chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
1/2 large, white onion chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
1-1/4 Cups mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 Cup prepared mustard (I usually use 2 Tbsp yellow mustard and 2 Tbsp Dijon.)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed


  1. Cook and prepare the potatoes and eggs.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Cover and chill for a couple hours, or overnight.

Notable Links:

Categories : Recipes, Salads, Side Dish
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Avocado Salsa

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This naturally gluten-free recipe has been a family favorite for years. You may call it avocado dip or even avocado pico de gallo, but my family lovingly calls it “Ugly Dip.” Why ugly you ask? I’m not sure, but someone must have thought it was ugly at one time.  This dip is best after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight) to allow the flavors to mingle. Of course, if left too long the pretty green and yellow avocado may start to turn brown. Maybe that’s where the “ugly” title got started. I’ve found that the vinegar in the recipe helps keep it all looking and tasting fresh for at least 24 hours if sealed tight in a plastic container.

It makes a perfect appetizer for a party. Make it the night before, or the morning before the party. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, seal tightly and place in the refrigerator. A couple hours later, take it out and serve with some tortilla chips.

So, here’s another reason why I love this dip so much: You don’t have to wait for the avocado to be perfectly ripe. This tastes great with an almost ripe avocado. (You know, it has a dark skin, but it’s still firm — not really soft enough for guacamole.) So next time you think about making guacamole, but the avocados are too firm, try this instead. You won’t be disappointed.

Avocado Salsa (aka. Ugly Dip) Recipe


1 firm avocado, seeded, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped black olives
1 small can (4 oz.) of chopped green chiles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar


  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Additional Notes:

  • IMG_4313xThis is a mild dip. It has good flavor, but isn’t spicy. If you prefer something with a little more kick, add one or two finely chopped jalapeños.
  • This is also great served as a pico de gallo. Consider adding it to tacos, salads, or fajitas. Or, as I did here, on top of Cilantro Rice, slow-cooked Mexican Chicken, and shredded cheddar.

Related Links:

More gluten-free appetizer recipes at The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?
More gluten-free Super Bowl Party Foods at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.
For football party ideas, check out Celebrate-It!

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Kids Make Fruit Kabobs

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IMG_4270xI love to get the kids in the kitchen and have them help prepare meals. Well… that’s what I like to say. But honestly, when dinnertime comes around, I’m often rushing around to get it done. Instead of finding something the kids can do, I’m often scooting them out the kitchen, out of my way. With our summer activities finally slowing down this week, we were able to take our time and make something together. We decided to make something that’s always a kid favorite: Fruit Kabobs!

Fruit kabobs are a great activity for kids. You can use almost any fruit, they are in bite-size pieces, and the kids can put it together themselves (or with minimal help, depending on their ages). Melon is a perfect fruit to use on the kabobs because it is so easy to cut. I did the big cuts, and removed the rind from the fruit with the big, sharp knife. But then the kids could use a butter knife to easily cut the melon into bite-size pieces. They thought it was great. We had a cantaloupe, but watermelon and honey dew would be good additions. You can see from the picture that we used strawberries and grapes, too. Go ahead and use up whatever you have in the house. Of course, some fruit turns brown quickly, so if you’re making them in advance you’d probably want to avoid those.

Cutting the fruit. If your kids are older, consider letting them cut the fruit themselves with Rachael Ray’s Young Cooks Cutting Set. If they’re younger you could cut the fruit yourself, and just let the kids put the pieces on the sticks. If your kids are somewhere in between, consider letting them use butter knives or plastic knives.

The Sticks. You can use a variety of sticks for skewering the fruit: toothpicks, bamboo skewers, coffee stirs, small skinny straws, or even chopsticks. But my favorite is plastic swizzle sticks, or Drink Stirrers. They are just the right size, not too sharp, and colorful.

Good for kids and the family. This activity encourages kids to help out in the kitchen. Kids feel good about what they created. They get to pick the fruit they want, and then eat it! With the kids going back to school soon, I’m also thinking this activity is great for helping kids build fine motor skills.

Now that I got the kids back in the kitchen, I’m hoping to continue it more often. So, when I sit down to plan our meals for next week, I’m going to include one or two items that the kids can help prepare. Planning in advance will allow me to schedule around after-school activities and give us plenty of time to get it done. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly recipes, or maybe a little more inspiration, check out these online posts and articles:

Gluten-Free Kids in the Kitchen

Getting Your Children to Cook

Happy Kitchen Jam Tarts (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Kids in the Kitchen: Spaghetti and (Gluten-Free) Meatballs

Stir Fry Kid Style

Other Online articles about Kids in the Kitchen:

Benefits of Cooking with Kids

Cooking with Kids Teaches About Simple Snacks

Dads and Kids Cooking Together

Why Invite Your Kids Into The Kitchen?


Cantaloupe is the theme ingredient this week for Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. So check it out for more gluten-free recipes with cantaloupe.


Menu Plan for Non-GF Houseguests

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Do you ever struggle to figure out what foods to serve to visiting friends and family who aren’t on a gluten-free diet? You want them to like what you’re serving, but you don’t buy or cook with gluten. Last week we had family come to town to stay with us while they toured the area. We added two adults and two small kids to our meal plans. None of our guests were gluten-free, so I thought I’d share with you what we did for meals.

I tried to fix meals that are naturally gluten-free. I also tried to keep meals simple enough to satisfy the kids‘ taste buds. And some days, we went sightseeing with them and got back late, so we needed meals that were quick to fix. I didn’t cook and bake as much as I wanted to for them. The kids probably wouldn’t appreciate more elaborate meals anyway. Instead, I spent more time catching up with family I don’t get to see very often.

Breakfast Items

  • Cereal – We had a lot of varieties on hand: Koala Crisp, Panda Puffs, Honey Nut Chex, Rice Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Brown Rice Crisps, Brown Rice Crisps with Berries, Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles.
  • Waffles
  • Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit – blueberries seemed to be the favorite, but we also had bananas, strawberries, cherries, and apples.


  • Sandwiches – My cousin bought regular bread for sandwiches, so we had to be careful about cross-contamination. My cousin used a clean spoon to scoop out the peanut butter and jelly to avoid getting bread crumbs in the jars. (Thanks for understanding, Lorie!) And, plates, utensils and preparation area were cleaned thoroughly. For more gluten-free sandwich ideas, check out my post on alternatives for bread.
  • Cheese slices
  • Pepperoni and bologna
  • Hot dogs
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Chips: corn chips, tortilla chips, potato chips

Snacks & Desserts


Monday – Boston Market
Yep, we cheated the first evening and picked up food at Boston Market on the way home from afternoon activities. Boston Market is a great place to find gluten-free meals. We ordered a chicken family meal with mashed potatoes, corn, and steamed vegetables. I also got an additional rotisserie chicken to make sure we had enough. (For a limited time, it’s only $1.99 to add on to your order!)  It’s always great to have extra chicken to use in other meals later in the week, too. Check out their menu with gluten content indicated. If you don’t have a Boston Market located near you, check out some of these other restaurants with gluten-free menus.

Tuesday – Flank Steak
Flank steak marinated in a gluten-free soy sauce with ginger, garlic, and molasses was grilled and then thinly sliced. We served it with a tossed salad, corn-on-the-cob, and steak-cut french fries.

Wednesday – Chicken Tacos
Another day out sightseeing, so I put chicken in the slow-cooker in the morning and had Mexican chicken ready when we got home. We quickly heated corn tortillas and crispy shells to serve with chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, black beans, and shredded cheese.

Thursday – Bonefish Grill
Our family visitors generously offered to take us out for dinner. We talked about local restaurants that have gluten-free menus and they decided to try Bonefish Grill, since it was new to them. It’s my son’s favorite restaurant. The only GF item on the kids’ menu is grilled chicken, so that’s what he gets, along with steamed vegetables with no seasoning. He cleans his plate every time, which is saying a lot for my skinny little Celiac. :) My husband and I always start dinner with the Saucy Shrimp appetizer. For dinner, I had the Ahi Tuna with mango salsa served with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables (no seasoning). It was so good! Another favorite of mine on their gluten-free menu is Lily’s chicken (topped with spinach, artichoke and goat cheese) with garlic mashed potatoes.

Friday – Southwestern Chicken Salad
After eating so much at Thursday’s dinner at Bonefish, I was ready for a lighter meal. So, we used leftovers from Wednesday’s meal to build our own salads. The kids didn’t exactly eat salads, but they ate some of the ingredients separately. We also had some hot dogs to heat up for the kids. Hot dogs with cheese in a corn tortilla always works well.

Saturday – Hamburgers
I was told this was a favorite of my cousin’s daughter, so we decided to have hamburgers one night. I was a little concerned about serving gluten-free buns to those used to eating the glutenous ones, but it wasn’t a problem. The youngest kids didn’t want buns, one wanted bread instead of a bun, and the adults enjoyed our favorite GF rolls: Against the Grain. I made a red potato and green bean salad for the adults, and served steamed green beans and French fries for the kids. OK, the adults ate the fries, too. :)

Sunday – Leftovers
We had a great time with family, but their vacation time was over. With our guests gone, we tried to finish up the leftovers in the refrigerator.

Need more menu ideas?

For more Gluten-Free Menus, visit this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap, hosted by Manda at Aspargus Thin. Her theme this week is grapes. This weekend I made a very tasty Chicken Salad using grapes and leftover chicken from Boston Market.  Thanks to Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness for continuing to organize the Gluten-Free Menu Swap.

As always, there are hundreds more menu plans (not necessarily gluten-free) at