Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I have been put on hold with baking because my students always make me tons and tons of cookies, none of which I can eat, so my darling husband always has the job of eating them. Unfortunately, that means he is sugared out by the time I'm ready to do my Christmas baking. This year, I have decided to stray away from the usual Christmas goodies and make a random assortment of things that I'd like to eat. Since hubs is in anti-sugar mode and my parents are both dieting, this year its all about the gluten free pregnant lady...and luckily for me, I come from a big family with lots of kids. We all know kids don't discriminate against dessert, especially not the ones in my family.

Christmas Breakfast
* Fresh squeezed OJ from my in-laws tree (gotta love living in FL)
* Coffee (for hub) and Chocolate Milk (for me)
* Chocolate and Cherry Muffins (I subbed the cranberry, orange, and lemon for dried cherries and chocolate chips)
* Cranberry Orange Muffins
(with added lemon zest)
* Fruit

Christmas Dessert* Betty Crocker's Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Unfortunately, my plate has a dip in the middle and the cake split. Its not the prettiest, but it smells and tastes delicious!* Almond Joy Coconut Macaroons
- 2/3 cup condensed milk
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 24 almonds
-4 ounces chocolate, melted

Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, and shredded coconut in a bowl. Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto a very well greased baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. When you remove cookies from oven, immediately lift off of pan and place on wax paper. Stick an almond into the center of each macaroon. When cookies cool, melt chocolate and dip bottom of cookies in. Allow to cool on wax paper.

Can you tell I live in Florida? Its a very bright, tropical, and citrus filled Christmas, but with the temperatures in the 70s, who can blame me?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Healthy snacks for both big and little kids

A friend of mine gave me some prepackaged Smoothies and baby food from Ella's Kitchen. Unfortunately for me, baby is not due until after the expiration date, so I passed the baby food onto a friend. Her 6 month old baby loves them!! Luckily for me, I was able to try the smoothie, The Big Red, jammed full of bananas, strawberries, apples, raspberries, lemon juice concentrate, and nothing else. These look guys are 100% fruit, organic, and best of all gluten free. They were perfect this morning, since I was running late to the vet appointment for London. I quickly ate a Stonyfield vanilla yogurt (with pecans and raisins) and then grabbed a smoothie to slurp on in the car. A perfect snack to have on hand for your kids or busy pregnant ladies such as myself :) I still have a Yellow One(bananas, apples, mango, apricot) to try later this week. Hopefully, it will be just as yummy. If you're interested in trying them for yourselves, check out their website for locations.

Easy Gluten Free Holiday Snacks/Gifts

A student and a couple of friends, both made me some holiday goods and after years of having allergies, this is the first time someone has made me gluten free goodies. Normally, people seem to forget in the rush of the holidays and my husband ends up eating everything or it sadly goes in the trash if he can't finish it.
These gifts were delicious and easy to make! Two of them were made for other co-workers, but they tweaked the recipe so that I would be able to eat them as well. Isn't thoughtfulness the best thing about the holiday season :)

Chocolate Covered Pretzels by Claire bear
Chocolate pretzels are a favorite of mine and something I haven't had in years. It honestly never occurred to me to make my own. These are just as good as any gluten filled combo I've had before and thanks to one of my students I have been munching on a big tray of these all day. YUMMY...She even taped the Gluten free label on the tray so I would know they were safe to eat.

* Chocolate (milk/white/both), melted
Drizzle melted chocolate over pretzels and allow to cool.

Candied Nuts

* nut mix (season with butter, cinnamon, sugar and bake)
* m&ms
Bake nuts, allow to cool, mix with m&ms, and ENJOY! You could also add cranberries, raisins, or any other trail mix friendly item.

Monkey Munch or Muddy Buddy

* chocolate, melted
* peanut butter
* powdered sugar
* butter
* vanilla

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mrs. McKeeby 1, Starbucks 0

The 4th and 5th grade team decided to have a holiday breakfast to celebrate the last week of school. I searched long and hard for a recipe to please my co-workers and was really determined to make something that would never be guessed as gluten free. I found an old recipe copying Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars. I have never tried the original starbucks bars or this recipe, because my husband doesn't like white chocolate. With this special occassion I figured I'd go nuts and bake a big batch for my team. I've only ever heard good things about them.
BINGO!! This was the winner! The result was beautiful, tasty, wonderfully delicious dessert bars. I put 2 bars aside for myself (left on my desk) and went to the breakfast with my best lieing face(bad teacher). "No, of course, these are not gluten free. I wanted to make something everyone could enjoy." I know this seems silly, but I have a few coworkers who are not the most supportive of my diet (as if I have a choice). In response one even said "Good, I'm glad you didn't bring us cardboard to eat". (See why I lie?)

Well, I proceeded to watch everyone eat and listen to everyone's criticism on all the food. By the end of breakfast, ALL 32 of my bars were gone, with over half of the people going back for 2nd and 3rds. I heard people raving about them and even had 2 people ask for the recipe. By lunch, a teacher came by my room asking if there were anymore left because she had heard through the grapevine how delicious my Cranberry bars were.

I would definitely call that a success!! And, of course, after everyone enjoyed their 1, 2, or 3 bars I let them all in on my little secret that they were in fact, Gluten Free :)
I hope you all enjoy these as much as my co-workers did.

Adapted from Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur

* 2 sticks buter, softened
* 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 3 eggs
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
* 1 1/2 cups Pamela's baking mix
* zest of 1 lemon
* 3/4 cup cranberries
* 6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks
* 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 4 tsp lemon juice
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup cranberries, diced
* 1 ounce chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using an electric mixer, blend butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and beat well. Slowly stir in flour and xanthan gum. Mix cranberries and chocolate chunks in by hand. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow to cool.

Make frosting by mixing all frosting ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. When cake is cool, spread frosting on.

Sprinkle diced cranberries on top. Melt chocolate in microwave, 20-30 seconds at a time. Stir until smooth. Pour into a ziploc bag and cut off the very corner (a tiny hole). Use the ziploc bag to create lines of chocolate across the cake. This step is optional, but it makes the bars look so pretty.

All the recipes I found recommended cutting the pan in half lengthwise and then in 4th width-wise, followed by a diagonal cut to make triangles. Since they were so sweet and I was going to a party of 20+ people, I cut the cake 1st in 4ths lengthwise, then in 5ths widthwise with a final diagonal cut for pretty triangles. I left some larger in their original square shape to save for myself and served the triangles at the party. Depending on number of people you want to serve and how big you want your pieces you could get anywhere between 16 larges pieces to 40 party size pieces.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dressed up BLT wrap

* Food For Life brown rice tortilla
* Boar's head Bacon
* Garlic hummus
* Sliced roma tomato
* Romaine lettuce or spinach leaves
* slices of onion
* sliced avocado

Cook bacon to your liking. Spread hummus on the wrap and layer all your goodies. The combination of the bacon and avocado is a new favorite in the McKeeby household. This meal is so easy and filling. Serve along side of a salad or fresh fruit. Delicious!! Baby doesn't mind green things when they are wrapped up with bacon. Don't worry, we'll trick her into losing the meat and getting more greens once she's born.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bake cookies according to the directions on the box (just add water, butter, and vanilla). I added an additional 3/4 cup of coconut and 1/2 cup of broken pecans.

These cookies weren't better than making them for scratch, but considering that I picked these up at the Discount Grocery Store for $1 I was very pleased with the result. The cookies were soft and had a good amount of flavor. I don't think it would fool a gluten lover, but I've been happily snacking on them for days.

I've also tasted this company's sugar cookie. Now those were definitely just as good as homemade. I am normally a chocolate fan, but would choose the sugar cookie over the chocolate chip from The Cherrybrook Kitchen.