I was recently contacted by Christi Silbaugh, one of the authors of “Gluten-Free Made Easy” and asked if I would review her new gluten-free cookbook. Just reading the title “Gluten-Free made easy” made me anxious to read it and give some of the recipes a try.
At First Glance.
This cookbook is a paperback book with at least a dozen gluten-free recipes in each category of Breakfast, Finger Foods, Pasta and Pizza, Main Dishes, Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads, Breads, and Desserts. There are plenty of recipes to tempt your taste buds.
This book begins with lots of good information and resources about being gluten-free: answers to common questions, flour blends and cake mixes, easy ingredient substitutions, favorite products, where to shop, etc.
The cookbook is well-organized and features many recipes with full-page, 4-color photographs. Sometimes I receive cookbooks to review, and only find a few recipes that I really want to try. Not so with this cookbook. It is full of gluten-free recipes for everyday eating. Many of the recipes have few ingredients and simple instructions. Love that!
- The Mole Chicken was a nice change for our family. It wasn’t too spicy, and we enjoyed the chocolate flavor.
- The Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken was deliciously crisp and moist.
- Pollo Pasta Primavera and Linguine Carbonara are on our menu this week. Can’t wait to try them!
- Simple Spanish Rice and Mexican Black Bean Chili will be on our menu next week.
- My kids have requested Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Holes and Banana Snickerdoodle Muffins, so we’ll be making them soon, too!
There are several recipes in this cookbook that are similar to our own family favorites, so I know we’ll enjoy the many new ones we find in the book, too.
I love all the tips scattered through the book: Make Your Own Pancake Mix, Snacks in a Snap, Lunch Box ideas, Purchase or Prepare (tips for saving time and money), Making Treats for a Gluten-Free Friend, and more.
There are a lot of great gluten-free recipes in this book! It would be a great cookbook for anyone on a gluten-free diet. And, it gives a lot of information that would be helpful to someone new to the diet, as well as someone who wants to cook for their gluten-free friends and family members. The only downside for me, is that a lot of the recipes call for dairy — butter, cream, milk, etc. — which my body can’t tolerate anymore. Of course, I’ve gotten pretty good at making substitutions, but it would be nice to have recipes that had already been tested with dairy-free alternatives.
Where to Find It.
- The book can be found at Amazon.
- The author Christi Silbaugh shares more thoughts and recipes at Facebook and Mom, What’s For Dinner? blog.
- Find more reviews of “Gluten-Free Made Easy” during the blog tour this month at Mom, What’s For Dinner?
There are lots of tasty gluten-free snack bars on the market these days. But, if you don’t like the price, or the extra ingredients that may be in them, consider making your own.
With six simple ingredients, this recipe is easy to adjust to your own taste. I just used up what we had in our pantry. The whole family ate these up in no time. (Chocolate gets them every time!)
Enjoy these for a snack, a quick breakfast on-the-go, a protein burst after school, or even a sweet treat.
Cashew Cherry Chocolate Snack Bars
3/4 Cup Almond Butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
3/4 Cup Honey (or agave)
1-1/2 Cup Cashews (I used roasted but not salted.)
1 Cup Dried Cherries
4 to 5 Cups Gluten-Free Crispy Rice Cereal (Kellogg’s GF , Erewhon’s Cereal or EnviroKidz)
3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks (Use Enjoy Life to make it dairy-free.)
- Combine the almond butter and honey together in a pot over medium heat on the stove. Stir until well blended. Take off the heat and let it cool while you continue with the recipe.
- Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. It doesn’t need to be perfectly lined, it just makes shaping the bars and removing the bars from the pan easier. You can also use a jelly roll pan, or simply a sheet of parchment paper on the counter.
- Place the cashews and dried cherries in a food processor, and give it a whirl until they are chopped into pieces. (Or get out a knife and cutting board, and chop by hand.) Pour it all into a large bowl.
- Add the cereal and chocolate chunks to the large bowl of ingredients. Then, pour the nut butter/honey mixture on top of the ingredients in the large bowl. Use a spatula to mix all the ingredients together. (If the honey mixture is hot it will melt the chocolate. If you want the chocolate chips to remain as chips, make sure the honey mixture has had enough time to cool.)
- Press the mixture into the lined 9 x 13 pan with a spatula, or use a sheet of parchment or wax paper on top and press it with your hands.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
- Once set, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the bars into the size and shape you want. Makes 18-24 depending on how you cut them.
- To store these yummy treats, wrap the bars in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container. They don’t last longer than a week or two at our house on the counter. If you plan to keep them longer, you may want to store in the refrigerator.
- I’ve made these with a variety of ingredients: almonds, dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. Choose your favorites or try a mix of nuts and dried fruit. Macadamia nuts with dried apricots is yummy! I’m trying Sunbutter next.
- Don’t be afraid to press these into the pan very firmly. They will stay together better if you do.
- I like to use the mega chocolate chunks because the warm almond butter and honey will partially melt them (as in the picture above).
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, where you’ll find more ideas for eating gluten-free!
Since writing about Gluten-Free Breakfasts a few weeks ago, I’ve had a couple more ideas I wanted to share with you.
Don’t forget to take your vitamins!
I’m surprised I didn’t even think about vitamins when writing about Back-to-School Breakfast ideas. So many people take supplements or vitamins in the mornings, especially kids! I neglected to mention it, probably because we haven’t been taking vitamins at my house until recently. With my kids getting so busy in sports, I realize that I really need to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need.
I was intrigued by Hakuna Matata, a chewable multivitamin and natural fruit and veggie supplement. Healthy Pride Supplements was nice enough to send me some samples to try out on my kids. (I hate paying big bucks for vitamins, just to find out the kids won’t eat them!) I tried the vitamins, too. I prefer the chewable vitamins because I think they’re easier on my tummy.
The great thing about these vitamins is that they are gluten-free, wheat-free, and egg-free, with no artificial colors or sweeteners. They also do not contain meat, yeast, starch, or preservatives. And, check out the natural sources of all the vitamins and minerals:
- FRUITS AND BERRIES: strawberry, banana, raspberry, melon, pineapple, black currant, apricot, cherry, tagerine, kiwi, grape, apple, tomato, peach, papaya, guava, and mango.
- VEGATABLES: broccoli, carrot, spinach, beet greens, asparagus, onion, garlic, alfalfa, barley grass, artichoke, peas, and summer squash.
- ALGAE: spiralina blue-green algae, klmath blue-green algae, chlorella, kombu green algae, and cytoseira green algae.
- Other ingredients: Dextrose, orange juice flavored crystals, natural flavors, stearic acid, turmeric color, magnesium stearate, silica, citric acid, alfalfa juice and carmine color.
So what was our final analysis? We like them! They aren’t bitter, and don’t upset our tummies. I LOVE all the natural ingredients. I like to think that my family is eating healthy, but sometimes I worry that we aren’t getting enough of the good stuff.
Where can you buy them? You can order the vitamins online or through a select group of stores and pharmacies. For more vitamin options, check out the list of the Top 100 Children’s Vitamins, as reported by Vitamin-One.com.
Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal
I happened to notice in the grocery store this month, a new arrival — Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal. I grabbed a box to check it out, then noticed another shopper grabbing a box. She said it was really sweet and her kids loved it. So, I bought it, and took it home. My kids never did get to try it. My husband and I ate all of it.
The shopper was right: It is sweet. Maple Brown Sugar sweet. Just like the packages of instant oatmeal we used to eat when we were kids. Each box contains 6 individual packages. You simply pour the cereal into a bowl, add 2/3 cup water or milk, and microwave for 90 seconds. Yum!
I have only seen the Maple Brown Sugar variety in the stores. However, I found Apple Cinnamon and Original flavored varieties at Amazon, if you’re interested. You may find them in the cereal aisles at your store. I’ll be watching ours to see if they arrive. A variety pack might be nice.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavor. Each pouch/serving: 170 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 12 g sugars.