Grandma Cynti’s Super Easy Fruit Cobbler {gluten-free}

My mother-in-law treated me to the most delicious fruit cobbler after the birth of baby #9.  I love apple pie, and this recipe tastes just like it without all the trouble of rolling out pie crust.

P1100054

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups fruit (fresh or frozen)
  • corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour of choice—we use a gluten-free flour blend, but regular would works great
  • 1 melted stick of butter of choice—we use Earth Balance to make it dairy free
  • 1 egg
  • If making gluten-free, 1 tsp xanthan gum

 

1.  Peel and slice the apples, or place frozen/fresh blueberries or blackberries in an 8 X 8 square baking dish. *I recommend making more 8 X 8 pies instead of doubling or tripling the recipe if you need a larger amount.*

applepie1

2.  Spoon corn starch on top of fruit to absorb the juices. I don’t measure, I just throw some on top! Next, sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the top (you can use more or less to your taste).

applepie2

3.  Mix together 1 cup flour, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter. Add in 1 tsp xanthan gum if you are using gluten-free flours.

applepie3

5.  Spoon pie crust mixture on top of the fruit. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just throw it on top!

applepie4

6.  Bake at 325° for about an hour. Check frequently at the 45 minute mark. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the pie crust on top is browning. Top with ice cream if you’d like!

applepie6

 

Here is a picture of the blueberry version (using frozen blueberries) that we love to make. It’s probably our favorite! Yes, we ate this much of it before I managed to get a picture!

IMG_6185

 

kitchenrecipecardtemplate

7 Quick Takes: My Favorite Gluten-Free Foods

Every day, I learn of another friend or acquaintance being diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.   My family has been dealing with gluten and dairy allergies for over nine years.  Recently, my entire family went gluten-free!  Well, except for my 15-year-old who won’t follow her doctor’s advice.  You can read about my pity party here.  Half of us are allergic to dairy, and we have some peanut and coconut allergies mixed in just for “fun.”

It is still overwhelming, but I am slowly but surely figuring out what works for our family.  I thought I would do a 7 Quick Takes Friday to list a few of my favorite gluten-free products!  Please note that they are gluten-free, not necessarily healthy!

7_quick_takes_sm1

 

1.  Vitamin Chocolate

 

My family orders Betty Crocker gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix by the case from Amazon.  This is crucial to have on hand for last-minute treats.  Usually I mix up two batches and press the dough into a 9 X 13 glass pan, baking it into a cookie cake!  It makes delicious chocolate chip cookies, as well.  **Side note:  This mix requires vanilla, which can contain gluten.  Look for a brand that specifically says gluten-free.  I have omitted the vanilla in a pinch and not noticed a difference in taste.

I rely on Enjoy Life chocolate chunks to wake up in the morning.  Chocolate is my weakness!  I usually mix a handful of chocolate chunks with almonds for a quick, relatively healthy breakfast that curbs my chocolate cravings.

 

2.  Convenience Foods

 

I know, I know.  It’s much cheaper to make things from scratch.  To stay healthy and keep the budget intact, I try to use my crock pot—a beef roast with veggies, a whole chicken seasoned with garlic salt, pulled pork covered with BBQ sauce.  Add rice, veggies, a salad and you have a super healthy, gluten-free meal!

 

Some nights, we have 3 kids going to soccer practice, another heading off to dance, a couple others super busy with homework.   This is when we rely on quick and easy meals.  Thank goodness gluten-free food is becoming more common in stores!

I order a case of the Namaste Pasta Pisavera every month.  I saute chicken or hamburger along with peppers, onions, any veggies that need used up, garlic, and the seasoning packet.  Stir in the cooked gluten-free pasta, and it really hits the spot when we need a quick meal.

I don’t have pictures, but I have been extremely pleased with the new gluten-free line at Aldi.  My kids love their cheese and pepperoni pizzas!

 

3.  Pretzels

 

download3

By far, Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels are the best.  My kids love dipping them in Nutella or Justin’s chocolate almond butter.  Sometimes we melt the Enjoy Life chocolate chips from #1 and make delicious chocolate covered pretzels!  Perhaps this should be part of #1—vitamin chocolate?

 

4. Waffles

 

download5

My goal is to get a waffle maker and make our own, but for now these work.  The apple cinnamon version is delicious, too.  Make sure if you are new to gluten-free that you buy a new toaster to avoid cross contamination.

 

5.  Cereal

 

We really don’t eat very much cereal, but these are our favorites.  I like to use some Earth Balance and marshmallows to make gluten-free rice crispy treats!

 

6. bread

 

1075691The first thing I missed when going gluten-free was bread.  Gluten-free bread is different, mainly in texture.  My absolute favorite bread is a recipe I came up with—The Best Gluten-Free Bread Ever.  This bread is delicious for peanut butter and honey sandwiches, cinnamon sugar toast, french toast, or slathered with butter.  However, I find it too crumbly for an egg sandwich or chicken salad sandwich.

 

glutenfreeMy favorite bread for a sandwich is the Aldi’s gluten-free wraps.  I brown them in a little olive oil and fill with scrambled eggs and veggies or chicken salad with lots of spinach.  I don’t even miss the sandwich bread it’s so good!  My kids really enjoy these wraps cooked with mexican cheese, toasted into a cheese quesadilla.

 

photo(12)If we are in a pinch for sandwich bread, we have tried Glutino white bread, Udi’s white bread, and Aldi’s white bread.  Honestly, all of them are kind of hard and stiff.  The texture thing is hard to get used to.  All three are edible, but our recent favorite is the Aldi’s gluten-free sandwich bread.  It is cheaper and has the closest texture to actual white sandwich bread.  The kids enjoy it for peanut butter or almond butter and honey sandwiches and for french toast.

 

photo(13)Udi’s hot dog buns and hamburger buns are what we use for barbecue burgers and hot dogs.  They are kept frozen, so make sure to thaw them ahead of time.  The trick to making these buns delicious is to spread a little butter or Earth Balance on the buns and grill them or toast them in a skillet.  This really makes them taste a lot better!

 

7. pasta/crackers

 

 

These are just a few brands that my family likes.  Most gluten-free pasta I have tried tastes pretty darn good.  My kids that eat dairy enjoy the spaghetti sprinkled with parmesan cheese, while the rest of use just throw some spaghetti sauce on top.

 *****

So, there you have it.  #7QT on how I have survived going gluten-free.  Do you have any favorite brands, recipes, tips, links, or blog posts about gluten-free foods?  Please, I am begging you, post them in the comments.  I would love some new ideas!

 

Pentecost Sunday Roasted Marshmallows

I am always looking for fun activities or recipes that bring Church teaching to life for my kids.  Anything goes, but the projects must be easy (I’m no Martha Stewart!) and gluten-free dairy-free substitutions must be possible.

For example, this Easter dessert celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection (found at Campfires and Cleats) can be easily baked using gluten and dairy-free ingredients.   The perfect combo of easy, yummy, and GFCF!

After Pinteresting like crazy, all I found for Pentecost were recipes that were too complicated—I’m not good at making iced sugar cookies or intricate icing decorations.  As we were grilling hamburgers one evening, a light bulb went off.  Why not use the fire to roast Pentecost Marshmallows?  It would be easy, yummy, and GFCF!

Yes, you read that right.  We shoved marshmallows on a stick and called it a day.

 

First, my husband lit the grill.

pentecost20

While we waited for the charcoal to get white hot, we watched the flames shoot high in the air.  We read scripture from the Acts of the Apostles:

 

Right on cue, a gust of wind flipped my Bible page as I was reading about the “strong driving wind” that brought the fire of the Holy Spirit.  We got a good giggle out of that!

The kids and I talked about how the Holy Spirit burns inside all of us.  We may be afraid to speak up about our faith to the world, but the Holy Spirit gives us courage.  Others can tell we are Christians by our actions because we have the Holy Spirit burning inside of us.

Next, we put marshmallows on our skewers….

And carefully roasted them over the grill.

We poured “Holy Spirit” sprinkles on our marshmallows!

 

I would love to show you the picture of a beautiful finished product, but that’s not what happened.  We were a gooey, sticky, yummy mess!  Full of marshmallows AND the Holy Spirit!

 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.

Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.

Protect me, Holy Spirit that I may always be holy.

—St. Augustine

How exciting!  This blog post was #1 for the month of June at Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Linkup Blitz!  Please check out the other big clicks for the month!
2014 Big Clicks
Equipping Catholic Families

Best Gluten and Dairy Free Bread Ever

The first thing I missed when I went gluten and dairy free was, of course, bread.  At first, I ate Udi’s gluten free bread, but it got expensive.  Fast.

I tried several recipes and combined them to come up with this recipe.  It is mostly based on recipes from the Art of Gluten Free Baking, but I experimented with different flours.

For this recipe, a Kitchen Aid type stand mixer makes it easier, but a regular hand mixer would work.   Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (I microwave for 50 seconds).  You can experiment using warm milk or milk substitute if you’d like.
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 2 heaping tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temp is best, but cold will work)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups gluten free flours of choice
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

1.  Proof the yeast by whisking 1 heaping tbsp sugar into the warm water, followed by the yeast.  Wait a few minutes for the yeast to puff up, meaning it is working.  My kids love to watch this part!

Picture

2.  While yeast is proofing, mix 2 eggs and 1/4 cup olive oil until combined.  Add in yeast mixture and mix until combined.

3.  Slowly mix in 2 tsp xanthan gum, 4 tsp baking powder, 1 heaping tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 3 cups gluten free flours of choice.  I often use this gluten free flour mix, but you can use any store bought or home made mix.  Here are some delicious combinations I love:

  • 1 cup all purpose mix, 1 cup gluten free oat flour, 1 cup teff flour
  • 2 cups all purpose mix, 1 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour mix, 1 cup teff flour

I want to experiment with quinoa flour and millet flours, but I haven’t had the chance!  **It’s important to know that the xanthan gum makes the bread stick together.  If you are not using an all purpose flour mix with xanthan gum in it, you will need to experiment and possibly increase from 2 tsp to 3 or more.

**Since I cannot tolerate gluten-free oats, my favorite combination of flours is 1 cup teff flour, 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.

4.  Set the stand mixer on high and mix for 3 minutes.

Picture

Gluten free bread batter is not doughy like regular bread dough.  Instead, it is wet and has the consistency of cake or brownie batter.

5.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spoon bread batter into a greased loaf pan—I like to use olive oil spray and glass loaf pans.  Place on top of stove and let rise for 30-40 minutes.  I use this time to make another loaf of bread, usually baking 3 loaves at once.

6.  Once bread has risen, bake for 25 minutes, then cover loosely with foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

If you will be eating the entire loaf that day, simply place bread cut side down on a cutting board.  I like to bake several loaves at once and cut into slices once they are cool.  I freeze individual bread slices wrapped in plastic wrap.  Simply pop a slice in the microwave or toaster (reserved for gluten free bread only) to warm it up!

kitchenrecipecardtemplate