Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

RT gifted me with some delicious Fair Trade Baking Cocoa from Equal Exchange I knew I had to bake with it ASAP.  After reading Eat, Live, Run’s post on Meringue I decided I had to do something similar–but with Cocoa.  I followed the recipe exactly, except I added about 1/3 of a cup of Cocoa to the sugar before combining with the egg whites and cream of tartar. 

I left my pastry bags at my parents house after making Catherine and Andrew’s wedding cake (a post on this is coming–I promise).  I decided to just put the wet meringue mixture into a zip lock bag and cut the corner off.  It was very easy to make little “clouds” out of the meringue.  I tried experimenting with “baskets” that could then be filled with fresh berries….lets just say that is still a work in progress. 

After my patience was worn a bit thin the meringues were finally ready!  Fresh out of the oven, these were delicious, they tasted like clouds of chocolate melting in my mouth.  I tell you, this is the stuff dreams are made of.

Chocolate Dreams



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This past weekend I had the pleasure of co-hosting my sisters bridal shower.  The shower was to be held at my co-hostesses’ (also known as my Aunt Linda) house, where many family functions have been held before. 
I knew I wanted to keep things fresh and simple because who wants to eat a heavy meal in the middle of the summer?  After hatching a few ideas out with my mother (a true party throwing inspiration of mine) we decided a “build your own salad” bar would be a great way to provide a light, fresh lunch that met everyone’s dietary needs and restrictions!    Here is what the salad included

  • Spring mix
  • Red Onions
  • New Jersey Tomatoes (thanks Lesley!)
  • Cucumbers
  • Marinated Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Rolls
  • Creamy Dressing
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Since guests were expected to arrive fairly early Saturday and there was a decent amount of prep work that could only be done that morning, I wanted to make sure I got as much done as possible the night before.  Less stress=a more enjoyable party!

Here is what I did Friday Afternoon:

  • Wrap silverware in napkins and place in a basket: Guests will only have to pick up one additional item when filling their plates!
  • Wash and dry all vegetables: When it comes time to chop everything will be clean!
  • Label Service dishes and set up serving table: Knowing that everything already has a home makes set up easy.
  • Make Ice: Okay I didn’t do this but I should have!  We ended up buying a bag of ice at the store.
  • Fill balloons with helium: To be placed on the mailbox so guests will be sure to know where the party is.

Saturday Morning:

  • Fuel with a nice breakfast and a cup of coffee: You have a busy few hours ahead of you!
  • Brew tea and allow to chill for ice tea
  • Make lemonade
  • Chop vegetables/toppings: Place on the serving dishes and cover with plastic wrap
  • Fill salad bowls with spring mix: Purchasing the triple washes saves a lot of time.
  • Pick up rolls at Bakery (thanks Linda!)
  • Grill Salmon (thanks Joe!)
  • Roast Chicken breast (thanks Mom!)

Fresh Rolls

Perfectly Grilled Salmon

The Spread

When the guest arrived everyone mingled for a few minutes and snacked on a cheese and fruit plate as well as enjoyed a glass of ice tea or lemonade before we all dug in and ate! 
For dessert I made a slightly smaller version of the cake that I will be making for Catherine and Andrews wedding, but that is another post for another time.  Let’s just say I don’t think anyone was let down!  Modest of me, I know.

Sneak peak of the wedding cake

What is your favorite  bridal shower meal?


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I originally made this as a side dish for a pre-Memorial Day BBQ Andrew and I hosted when we were visiting his family in South Jersey. I used brown rice for that version, and it was so tasty I couldn’t wait to make it again back at home. I made a big batch this week and took it to work for lunch. Since I would be eating this on its own, I wanted a grain with a little more staying power. I chose quinoa.

Have you heard of quinoa? Up until a year ago, neither had I. While it often functions as a grain in recipes, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa packs a serious punch of vegetarian protein, making it a great choice for this lunchtime salad.  That said, you could make this recipe using any grain you would like–brown rice, white rice, millet, cous cous, bulger, etc.


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (or grain of your choice)
  • Half an English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 15-20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Mix first 5 ingredients (quinoa through goat cheese) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Allow flavors to combine at least 1 hour before serving.

Have you ever tried quinoa?


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Ole: Fish Tacos

In honor of Cinco de Mayo I decided it was time to try making fish tacos, one of my favorite Tex-Mex foods.  I have had many wonderful variations throughout the years, most of which included deep-fried fish.  Don’t get me wrong; fried food (especially fried fish)  has its place in my diet, but not every day.  In true We Cook When We Can fashion, I didn’t really follow a recipe. I just sort of made it up as I went along.  Here is what you will need.

Lizzie’s Fish Tacos (1 serving)

  • juice of 2  limes
  • paprika
  • chili pepper flakes
  • cumin
  • 1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 lb of white fish
  • shredded vegetable of your choice
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • Diced tomato
  • Avacado

Mix the first 5 ingredients together until blended.  Add fish fillets and let marinade for about 10 minutes.  I chose to use cod and the fillets were very thin.  In that short 10 minute period I could see how the acid in the lime juice was already starting to cook my fish. 

After marinating, cook the fish over a medium heat, making sure to include all the yummy juices from the marinade.  Flip the fish after a few minutes to start cooking the other side.  One of the reasons I chose to use cod was because I knew it would flake nicely, once it started to cook.  If you want a more solid fish I would suggest tilapia. 

Looks like a lot of fish---it shrinks up I promise

I took the lazy man’s way out and purchased shredded summer squash and zucchini as well as sliced red peppers  from the salad bar and diced some tomatoes and avocado for toppings. 

Once your fish is done cooking (most of the liquid will be cooked off) place inside corn tortillas, add black beans and vegetable toppings.  Now you are ready for your one man fiesta!

This dinner was very simple and cooked up relatively fast.   Next time I would like to add a bit more spice, seeing as I like it caliente.  Dare I say these were better than fried fish?


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When I first started eating a gluten-free diet, I was a little lost as to how to manage the diet. I met with a nutritionist in my doctor’s office, which helped me learn about what I could and couldn’t eat and what I should look at on food labels. However, I found it difficult to translate the list of dos and don’t into delicious, everyday eats. Since I was already familiar with the food blog scene at this point, I knew that there had to be some blogs out there dedicated to a eating a gluten-free diet.

As it turns out, I was right. One of the best gluten-free blogs that I have found is Elana’s Pantry. Elana’s recipes are beautiful, simple, and delicious. She often uses almond flour in her recipes which, as I’ve learned from her, is not only gluten-free but also nutritious, tasty, and easy-to-use. Soon after I discovered her blog, I ordered a bag of almond flour and The Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook. This turned out to be one of my best impulse buys of 2009.

Although I haven’t found a bad recipe in this book, my favorite and the one I make most often is the recipe for pancakes (you can find this recipe here). These pancakes aren’t “gluten-free good,” they’re simply delicious. And because the almond flour has  much more protein than white flour, these pancakes are much more filling and nutritious than typical pancakes.

To go with the pancakes, Andrew whipped up some fresh juice which included an orange, a lemon, a pear, a carrot, and Vita Coco coconut water

Fresh juice and pancakes, what a way to start the weekend!

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I have fond memories of make your own pizza night growing up.  I remember my Mom would make the pizza on a rectangular cookie sheet and for the life of my I could not understand why we just couldn’t make round pizza. Fast forward 20 some years and I too often make my pizza on a cookie sheet but no longer see problems with it.  Sigh…I guess mothers do know best!  

Pizza is a food that seems to have  a bad reputation.  However  with the some what recent surge in gourmet pizza you can certainly take a must more healthy and fancy approach to something that is so often seen as junk food.  This past Sunday I invited Catherine and FBIL (future brother-in-law) over for what we have coined as Sunday Suppers,  I was more than excited when my roommate Leah joined us!   One the menu: Overloaded Homemade pizza and side salad.

I normally buy the pre-made dough from the grocery store but no that I am no longer afraid of yeast I decided to make my own.  I used this receipt from Rhodeygirl tests for whole wheat pizza dough.  This was so simple and wonderful!  I made the dough Friday night and wrapped it up in the refrigerator until Sunday-so nice to have it made in advance.  Also, this makes a lot of dough so I sections off a small portion of it to freeze and use for an individual pizza for myself at a later point! 

C brought over a gluten-free pizza dough  from Bob’s Red Mill so that she too could join in the pizza feast!  This dough is much thicker and more biscuit like, but having tried a piece I must say I think it tasted really good!!

First we prepped the dough by painting olive oil on them and pre cooking them in the over.  I read about this in the recipe for the pizza dough, I had never done it before but it makes all the difference in the world and keeps the dough from getting soggy.  I love when I pick up new cooking tricks!

Now it is time to top it!  We used a TON of different ingredients including:

  • pesto
  • spinach
  • balsamic roasted potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • red onions
  • broccoli
  • chicken sausage
  • goat cheese
  • shredded mozzarella

check out some of the toppings!

My motto for pizza toppings: The more the merrier!

I kept that salad a lot more simple.  I used a bag of spring mix from Trader Joe’s and candied a few almonds and topped with dried cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette. 

 After about 20 mins (closer to 3o for the GF pizza) in a 425 degree oven your pizzas are ready! 

Now take a look at those!!

Whole wheat crust:

Gluten Free Version:

I am not calling them health food, but still these are much healthier and much more satisfying than your typical greasy pizza.  Although, I’m not going ot lie the greasy pizza does taste good once and a while!

Do you ever host Sunday Suppers to kick off the week on the right foot?  What are your Sunday traditions?

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I’m still getting used to this blogging thing. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few weeks I have started taking pictures as I prep a new recipe but forgotten to shoot the final product. Practice makes perfect? I hope so.

Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, but I haven’t had any since I removed gluten from my diet in May 2009.  So, you can imagine how excited I was when I found Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles at Stop and Shop.  They had been sitting in my cupboard for a couple months until I finally decided to make a lasagna last weekend. I tend to prefer vegetable lasagna, but my fiance requested some meat. I suggested ground turkey, he suggested sausage, so we compromised with turkey sausage from Whole Foods.

To get started, I removed the casing from three turkey sausage links and browned it in a non-stick pan.

I wasn’t going to make a lasagna without a healthy dose of veggies so once the sausage was browned, I set it aside and sautéed some vegetables. I looked at this lasagna as a chance to use up some vegetables that were on their last leg in my fridge–in this case I used onions, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.

As the veggies were cooking, I plopped a pint of part skim ricotta into a large plastic bowl and added oregano, marjoram, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and one egg. I mixed this together and set  it aside while I cooked the lasagna noodles.

This, my friends, is where I stopped taking pictures. I will get better I promise! Once the noodles were cooked, I sprayed a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and then spread a few spoonfuls of store-bought (Trader Joe’s?)  tomato sauce on the bottom. I then added a layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of ricotta,  a layer of veggies and sausage, and a few more scoops of tomato sauce. I repeated this twice and topped the whole mess with some shredded mozzarella.

This recipe made a lot. In fact, I actually made two lasagnas, one in a 9 x 12 pan and one in an 8 x 8 pan. I partially cooked the 8 x 8 pan of lasagna and then popped it in the freezer for an easy home-cooked meal in the future.

The final outcome…delish! Tikyada lasagna noodles are tough to find, but I will keep my eyes peeled. And next time, I promise there will be pictures of the final product.


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