Gluten Free Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Thanksgiving Spice Wall, designed by Alyn

Thanksgiving Spice Wall, designed by Alyn

In honor of Thanksgiving I’m putting up a recipe for one of my family’s pre-celiac diagnosis favorite desserts.  The good part is now that Mi-del is selling gluten free graham cracker crusts we can once again enjoy this fuss free dessert without messing with making a crust by hand.  But if you can’t find the graham cracker crust, just use gluten free graham crackers and follow this recipe. OR just spoon the filling into a dessert dish.  Yum.

Gluten Free Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 C smooth peanut butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 4 oz (half a tub) of Cool Whip, thawed
  • Gluten Free Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Blend peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl.  Gradually add in milk.  Fold in Cool Whip, blending well.  Spread into pie crust OR into dessert glasses if you are omitting the crust.

Freeze at least 4 hours and then let stand at room temperature for 10 min to cut.  Top with cool whip and chopped peanuts.  A drizzle of chocolate syrup is always nice too.

PS.  Yes I know Cool Whip is like the most horrible non-food food in the world, but occasionally we do splurge on things such as this.  You can try whipped cream instead but make sure your peanut butter is VERY soft.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quinoa Cookies


For being such a whole grain, low sugar (4g/serving), cookie Andean Dream Quinoa Cookies are delicate, flavorful, and have a good texture.  Where some gluten free cookies feel like a mouthful of sand when you start to chew them, these come apart into big crisp crumbs that are a little chewy.  The orange essence is clean and lingers on the tongue for a few minutes after eating.  Each cookie is individually wrapped which makes them easy to grab and take with you.  Having bought quite a few boxes, since they were onsale, I toss some in my pocket whenever we are going out so I have a safe snack.

Schar Gluten Free Foods

Schar, a German company dedicated to making gluten free foods, has become my go to brand for high quality gluten-free baked goods. As I write this article I am eating some of their short bread cookies. The cookies have a crisp first bite followed by the thick chewy crumbs of a good short bread and begin with a buttery taste on the tip of the tongue and finishing with a smooth vanilla. They are simply a good cookie.

Before I wax too much about this new find, Schar is such a loved company in my household because the quality of the products is very high, they taste good, and all with a texture close to a non-GF product. Thankfully, Schar products are also easy to find in my local grocery stores.

Prices, as with most GF products, are higher than something made with wheat. When, however, compared to boutique or specialty companies rather than a larger manufacturer the prices are similar.

So far, in my years of eating gluten-free I have tried the Vanilla Wafers, Chocolate Hazelnut Bars, Crispbread, Ladyfingers, and Shortbread Cookies. All of these left me satisfied; I did not want to reach for something made with wheat, barley, or rye.

Schar offers products that go beyond good-enough and are absolutely great.

If you cannot find these, or other, Schar products at your grocery store, Amazon has them for sale.


Gluten Free Rice Krispies have arrived!

They're here!

Yes, it is true.  All those celiac patients out there can now have rice krispie treats!  General Mills has developed a brown rice based Rice Krispie that is gluten-free.  This is one cereal we thought at the beginning that Scott would be able to have in its regular form, but not so, it had malt in it.  In fact most breakfast cereals have malt in them.

I haven’t found these at our stores yet but we will be trying them. Brown rice is better for you for sure, but I’m not convinced it will pass my taste test in the marshmallow squares.  We’ll see.

Here is the website for Gluten Free Rice Krispies – with recipes of course!

Crock Pot Caramel Rice Pudding Gluten Free

Makings of a Great, Easy Dessert

I’m not sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but I am so glad I did.  It is super easy, tastes like a dream and has very simple ingredients.  The original recipe appears here, but we eliminated most of the ingredients because we like our pudding pretty plain.

Crock Pot Caramel Rice Pudding


  • 3 cups cooked rice (cooked a day ahead if possible)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in the slow cooker and heat on low until rice absorbs most of the liquid.  We like to stop it while it is a little “soupy” which makes it nicer when we reheat it later.  If you cook it the whole way initially it can get a bit dry if you reheat it.  It’s also delicious cold.

Using day old rice give you grains that don’t stick together.  Leftover rice is fine.  I have made it with newly cooked rice and it tastes fine, it just is clumpy.

I find my canned milk and sweetened condensed milk at discount stores for under $1 each which makes this recipe really reasonable – less than $3 for twelve or so servings.  And very satisfying.

Gluten Free Taco Bake – and several reasons to shop Amelia’s Grocery Outlet

Frugal, Fantastic Taco Bake

Well, that picture kind of looks awful, but let me tell you it tasted wonderful!  I found this recipe in Cook’s Country magazine back when we subscribed and four years later I finally tried it.  You can see a picture of it on their website here but can’t view the recipe unless you are a member (which costs money.)  I made major changes to the recipe and it was still great.  They used Ro-Tel tomatoes which we don’t like and more cheese and meat than we needed.

Those of you going gluten free know that Mexican food is your friend as long as you skip the flour tortillas and find (or make) a gluten free taco seasoning.  The only gluten free taco seasoning that we have found in the store is Ortega.   We used to make our own taco seasoning to make life easier but when we had the last baby we kind of ran out of time.  We’ll go back to it eventually and I’ll post the recipe.  It is cumin heavy and that is pricey.

Here is the recipe as I cooked it:

Taco Bake

  • 2 11 oz cans organic diced tomatoes (purchased at Amelia’s for 50 cents each)
  • 2 cups refried beans (from our freezer, recipe can be found here)
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • 1/4 C salsa (whatever you like)
  • 2 C shredded cheddar cheese (purchased for $2/lb at Amelias)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 pkg Ortega taco seasoning (we never use the whole thing, only half)
  • 12 El Paso Taco Shells (.99 at Amelias)

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 (yep that high.)
  2. Drain juice from one can of tomatoes and save.
  3. Combine one can tomatoes, beans and hot sauce and spread in bottom of 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle cheese over top.
  4. Cook beef until brown.  Drain off fat and add tomatoes, salsa, taco seasoning and tomato juice.  Cook again until mixture is nearly dry – about 8 or 9 min on my stove.
  5. Place taco shells into bean mixture upright so you can fill them.
  6. Put in a little cheese and top with meat mixture.
  7. Cover pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes or until bubbly.
  8. Remove foil, cover with remaining cheese and bake until melted – about 5 or 6 minutes.  Enjoy!

That’s it.  Not a hard recipe and it makes a lot of food.  We had it with homemade apple sauce, skilled cooked apples and peas.

So I saved a bundle with finding these ingredients at Amelias and using homemade refried beans.  All the kids ate it and hubby and me!  Here is what was left at the end after 5 people had dinner (you can see my Christmas kitty trivet through the glass pan):

Leftovers for lunch!

Making Things at Home: Gluten Free, HFCS free Chocolate Syrup

10/30/13 Update:  Sadly, I no longer buy Breyers ice cream as mentioned in this recipe.  Many of their formulas have changed and include more than just milk, cream, sugar and eggs.  We now buy Turkey Hill Natural ice cream.  Yum.

I remember when I was young a big treat for my family was going to the Handi Market and buying a gallon box (yes gallon box, it was white with red dots and maybe stripes…) of Carnival vanilla ice cream and a can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup to go with it.  The syrup cans used to come with a yellow plastic lid you used once you opened the can.

Fast forward to today and I try to keep vanilla ice cream in the freezer at all times (preferably Breyers when it goes on 4/$10 like last week) but since our family is avoiding high fructose corn syrup I can no longer use the old standby of Hershey’s syrup.

I have tried two different recipes for making my own chocolate syrup and though they are similar one comes out better.  Below is a recipe adapted from How to Win The Grocery Game which was published a long time ago.  She advocates using 1 Tablespoon of margarine (we used butter) in her recipe but we thought that was a little greasy.

One thing to note is that the taste of this syrup will change depending on what brand of cocoa you use.  I used the Shurfine store brand and it tastes really good – very rich.  The Weis store brand made it too dark and the family didn’t like it as much. The texture may be a little grainy as well but we didn’t mind that at all.

This is a gluten-free recipe.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup (to replace Hershey’s syrup)

  • 3/4 Cup GF cocoa (not hot chocolate mix)
  • 1 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp GF vanilla

Mix cocoa, sugar and salt together in a saucepan (bigger than a 2 cup saucepan).  Add boiling water gradually.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.   Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Can be served warm or cold though it is a bit thin while warm.  You can use it to make chocolate milk or over ice cream or pancakes or whatever you’d use Hershey’s syrup for.  If you’d like to try the original recipe add 1 Tbl margarine with the vanilla and stir until melted.

German Macaroons

It’s been over a year since I became gluten free and this was one of the first cookie recipes I successfully tried.  They are light, crispy, and melt in your mouth delicious. I have no idea what makes these German, but that is how this recipe was passed along to me.

2 3/4c toasted coconut
4 egg whites
1c white sugar
1t ground cinnamon
1/2t almond extract

1,  Toast coconut for 5 to 7 minutes on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven.
2.  Lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3.  In a large bowl whip the egg whites until they for soft peaks.
4.  At low speed,  gradually add the sugar, cinnamon, and extract to the egg whites.
5.  Fold in the coconut by hand.
6.  Drop by the tablespoonful onto the parchment, spacing 2 inches apart.
7.  Bake until dry and able to peel off easily, about 20-25 minutes.
8. Move to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe – using Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix

Carrot cake is a favorite in our house and finding a gluten-free recipe has been challenging.  The moistness of the carrots seems to do bad things to the gluten-free flour mixes so when I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website I just had to share.  For the gluten free carrot cake recipe (and lots of others) go to their website here.

Goddess Cookie Company Gluten Free Cookies

While on a family trip to check out Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum, I was surprised to see a sign out front offering the best gluten free cookies I’d find anywhere.  This was an offer that seemed too good to be true so I knew then that I would have to take some home with me.  That lead me to buy a package ominously named Kali, a robust ginger cookie.

Made by the Goddess Cookie Company and baker Caryn Sheckler, they are made with only the finest ingredients, with no junk or fillers.  They are free of a number of common allergens including peanuts, oats, wheat, dairy, casein, soy, and trans-fats.  They are, however, almond based, so if you have a nut allergy they should be avoided.  For those of us without one, the almonds give a wonderful texture with a thick outer crust surrounding a moist chewy center.  If the label had not listed almonds as the main ingredient I would have had no reason to suspect it.

In the case of Kali, she had a hearty ginger taste with chunks of ginger.  This is what we should expect from every gingersnap.  It is rich, mouth filling, with a spicy warm taste that lingers comfortably long after every bite.

Besides Kali, there is also Venus (Double Chocolate), Freya (Currants and Spices), Tara (Coconut), and Arasy (Apricot and Cinnamon).  And, for those Vegans out there, Kali, Freya, Tara, and Arasy are all safe.

In the end, the pack of cookies I bought never made it home.  Instead, I ate them on the ride back. As for Mister Ed’s pronouncement, I agree:  They were the best gluten free cookies I’ve had so far.