Banana Nut Bread For The Holidays

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When it comes to Christmas one word comes to mind and that word is “LOVE”.

For me and my family, Christmas is a time of year when we show people that simple word in action.  I use the adjective “simple” to describe love because it really is if you think about it.  Love can’t be bought or sold it simply is a free gift that you can choose to give to another.  Love is an action word..so put your love in action this season and if we could all do that all year round.. think about what kind of world we would have.

One way I like to show love is by cooking or baking something homemade and from the heart to share with others.   This season I like most people will be doing a lot of that.

The other day I made my husband’s unit at work peppermint bark.  That simple recipe can be found on this blog in-case you have never tried to make it before.  It’s simple and easy.

Gluten Free Peppermint Bark

One other recipe that I make usually around the holidays is Banana nut bread. It’s another easy recipe and is so good in the toaster oven or just cut up with some sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Or if your a chocolate lover like myself spread some nutella right on top of a piece of banana nut bread it really hits the spot.
What ever you choose to do this Christmas Season choose to do it in Love and see how long you can keep sharing this free gift…as the saying goes be the change you would like to see in the world.

In Love, Jane

What you’ll need for Banana Nut Bread: (I double this recipe to get 2 loaves)

3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose gluten free flour
1 cup of walnuts or if you don’t like nuts you could use chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), grease a 4×8-inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas until smooth.
Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the gluten free flour.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour(check at 50 minutes) at 350°F (175°C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Remove the banana bread from the pan. Slice and serve

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Empanadas and dipping sauce- The Gluten Free Way

photo 5(2)I know everyone has Christmas cookies on their brain’s about now.  But while your making your cookies which there are some awesome recipes to try on this blog 🙂 you might want to make a few empanadas to snack on as well.

So about a month ago my daughter’s teacher asked if I would make empanadas for the classroom as they were having an “Extravaganza Day” this is when they learn about different cultures or do fun science projects and all us parents can sign up to come in and help or for some of us act like kids again.  I don’t know about you but for me that’s a good thing.    This day we were learning about Day of the Dead.
So when I was asked to make the empanadas of course I replied, sure! Then my after thoughts hit.. oh… how are they going to turn out when I make them gluten free? And may I add I’ve never made them before in my life let alone made them gluten free, yikes!
We all know how that can play out.  Things just require a little or a lot of tweaking when made gluten free and you never know till you try how it will turnout.

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So to the drawing board I went which includes my family, oh my family they are such great sports (guinea pigs)  Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a yucky thing.  But for this latest adventure it turned out to be a great thing and now we have a new family favorite.
So if you’d like to try gluten free empanadas here’s what you will need.

photo 2(1)  (If you don’t want to make the dough you can buy yellow corn tortillas- I use the mission brand they have gluten free right on the package.  Just simply fry, drain on paper towel and season with salt.  Then fill with meat mixture top with Aioli sauce and enjoy!)
To make the Empanada dough:
3 cups all-purpose gluten free flour, plus more for the work surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
3/4 cup gluten free chicken stock

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To make the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
for frying in a deep pot or dutch oven – canola oil

Directions on how to put it together:
Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor.
Add the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then whisk in the stock. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture as the blade spins (don’t put it all in at once) and mix until dough forms. It will start to sound different as it mixes and comes together. Remove dough from processor cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the filling:
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and garlic salt. Cook until the beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and set the beef aside.

In the same pan, heat the following.
1 tablespoon olive oil,tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, bell peppers and onions.
Cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beef and let the flavors combine over low heat for about 5 more minutes. The mixture should be moist but not dripping wet. Remove from heat and let cool a little so it’s safe to handle when you fill the dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out
4 inch rounds. This size it great for snacks, meals or appetizers.
Add some meat filling to each empanada disk about 1 Tablespoon. I take my finger and dip it into a little bowl of water and go along the outside of the dough to help it seal better. Then fold the dough over in half to enclose the filling. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed.  My daughter helped in cutting out the circles from the dough and filling them so it’s a great way to get your kids involved.

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Heat the oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove to a paper towel surface to drain and dash with some salt.  Then they are ready to serve with the dipping sauce.

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Aioli Dip:
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Cholula Chipotle hot sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
mix well together cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate

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Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole

Gluten free green bean casserole with crispy onion rings on top.

Gluten free green bean casserole with crispy onion rings on top.

I don’t know about your family table at Thanksgiving but at ours there has always been a green bean casserole. However, since we discovered that we need to eat gluten free that same dish has been so missed, that is until now.

This dish takes a little longer because your going to be frying your own crispy onion rings. But honestly, it is so worth it! When making your crispy onion rings here’s a piece of advice. Make extras! you won’t be able to stop snacking on them! At least I couldn’t.
If you like me missed this dish because of that pesty gluten give it a try and here is what you will need.

To make the Fried Onions:
Canola oil for frying
2 large onions, cut in half, thinly sliced (3 cups)
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1 1/2 buttermilk (To make your own use 1 1/2 Tablespoon of vinegar to 1 1/2 cup of milk)
3/4 cup Bisquick Gluten Free mix or all purpose gluten free flour mix from blog
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

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Green Beans and Sauce:
2 cans of 14.5 oz. French Style green beans drained
1 can (18 oz) Progresso Vegetable Classics gluten free creamy mushroom soup
2 teaspoons of Tamari Sauce – Gluten free soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
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Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Place onions and milk in medium bowl; let stand. In deep fryer or 4-quart Dutch oven, heat oil (2 inches) to 375°F.
In resealable plastic food storage bag, mix gluten free Bisquick mix or gluten free all purpose flour, salt and pepper until well mixed. Drain onions. Place onions in bag; shake to coat.

Remove onions from bag shaking off excess. Gently place half of onions in oil; fry 2 to 4 minutes (closer to the 4 minutes for extra crispy) or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and lightly salt. Repeat with remaining onions. Let onions stand while preparing bean mixture.

In non-greased 3-quart casserole, mix soup, soy sauce, pepper, French Style green beans and 1 1/2 cups of the onions. Bake 25 to 30 minutes covered or until hot and bubbly, uncover and add remaining onions during last 5 minutes of baking.

Gluten free green bean casserole with crispy onion rings on top.

Gluten free green bean casserole with crispy onion rings on top.


Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies

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Thanksgiving is such a special time of year for our family.
For us it is a time to gather with family, share many laughs and remember all about what we have to be grateful for.

For us we usually gather at my Mother In-laws house everyone brings a dish to share. They aren’t all gluten free but my family and a few other family members bring gluten free dishes to share.
There is always plenty for everyone!

This year I wanted to try and make pumpkin cookies that my niece makes, she makes a non gluten free version and everyone always says how good they are. She’s a foodie like me and enjoys cooking and baking and all things food so I was so excited to try her recipe. I of course wanted to tweak it to a gluten free version.
During this week I did a trial run and tried them out at a Thanksgiving diner that was at our church with the Youth Group and I’m happy to say they were a hit.

So if your looking for a pumpkin cookie to try with cream cheese frosting, here you go.

Ingredients for Pumpkin cookies:
2 Cups Gluten free All purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. gluten free vanilla extract
1 egg
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

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Ingredients for Cream cheese frosting:
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk gluten free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ground cloves and ginger together in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat 1 cup butter, white sugar, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and egg with an electric mixer beating until mixture is smooth. Beat in pumpkin puree. Gradually stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Batter will be moist.
Spoon batter by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are lightly browned, 25- 30 minutes.
Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on sheets before removing to cooling racks.

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Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Frost cooled cookies with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!
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**These cookies remind me of pumpkin roll, yummy!
Have a blessed wonderful Thanksgiving.

Chicken BBQ Time Again….

Come and enjoy a homemade meal made by the good folks of Christ Church McKeansburg 1751 Chestnut Street, New Ringgold, PA 17960 on Saturday October 25th from 11AM-6PM

Meal includes 1/2 of a chicken, baked potato, homemade pepper cabbage, homemade apple sauce, roll and drink. Ask for your meal without the roll and you are good to go. They put the dinners together as you order.

Cost for adult platter is: $8 Child platter is: $4
You can dine in or take out.

There are also a lot of different homemade desserts to purchase for your sweet tooth, including gluten free ones.

If you would like to purchase tickets in advance please call 570-943-2822 we sell out fast!

Proceeds help families in need.
Come and join us for a wonderful meal stay for the great fellowship!
Key lime pie
This Gluten Free Key lime pie will be available for dessert.
As always enjoy the day! Jane

Eczema is brutal this year

This winter has been hard on people in so many ways.  From traveling with dangerous road conditions, snow damage to their properties and suffering from harsh skin conditions.  I have to say I’ve experienced just about all three.

One thing I can always count on come winter time is eczema.  I’ve been a sufferer for many years now.  Eczema is when the skin becomes cracked, reddened, itchy and dry.  All in all it’s just nasty.

Up until now I’ve tried just about everything over the counter to very little relief.   I would usually have to wait it out till spring time and then it would slowly disappear or at least give me some relief.  However I recently started cooking with coconut oil because of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) which coconut oil has none of and a very neutral flavor.

My Father’s friend suggested that I try using it on my skin.  Hey something that pulls double duty is fine by me.  So I gave it a try and have to say it really helped.

The coconut oil helped relieve the itch, which to me is such a source of discomfort.  After a couple of times of rubbing it on my skin the eczema started to clear up.  I know a lot of people that suffer from Celiac disease also suffer with eczema, so I thought I’d write a little post about how this helped me and hopefully if you read this it can help you as well.

Here is what I use.  You can find it at Walmart in the cooking oil isle.  It runs about $6 a jar.

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If your a sufferer I hope this brings you some much needed relief!

As always enjoy the day! Jane

Jeremiah 29:11

Trying a new gluten free product today….Barilla Gluten Free Pasta

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Today we are having another huge snow storm.  Oh surprise, surprise!  We are expected to receive around 15 inches of fresh snow before it is all done and said with, please!  Sorry if that sounds a bit jaded.  I’ll get over it by Spring.  Until then I am spending time on Pinterest discovering new garden designs.  Ones I may or may never use, but all in all I am getting ready for this wonderful moment when the temperatures are up in the 70’s and keeping the pool clean is the new pain in my neck.

So until I can actually do all that I’ll spend some time in my other favorite place, the kitchen!

 

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The other day when I was out grocery shopping I saw that Barilla has a gluten free pasta line.  To me that’s very exciting!  Before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease Barilla was my pasta of choice.  I waited for so long for this line to come out and I am so excited to give it a try.  What can I say?  It’s the little things in life.

Today I thought would be the perfect time to give it a try.  I was in the mood for some good old fashioned marinara meat sauce and pasta.  No thrills just good and simple.

This pasta fit the bill it did not disappoint in any way.  It held up to the sauce very good, no mushiness and yum!
Not much else to say except, I believe I have an new old favorite.  So if your looking for a new gluten free pasta give it a try.  I am looking forward to see what else they put out..only time will tell.

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Food Blog Pictures 009 As always enjoy the day! ~ Jane

Jeremiah 29:11

Twin Sisters Thousands of Miles apart…

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Here is a story that ABC ran. If you haven’t seen it yet it is a story about how twin sisters both born in Korea and grew up thousands of miles apart. How they where reunited many years later is amazing.

As an adoptive mother myself this just spoke to my heart and I had to share it.

http://abc7.ws/1bmwEoF

It’s a good day for soup…

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It is so cold out today and I am home with a sick little one..so what does one do on those kind of days?  Make some yummy soup.

The other day I made a beef chuck roast.  I always add fresh carrots, 1 whole onion sliced, salt and pepper, a small amount of red wine and very little water when I make a roast.  Slow cook it in the oven at 350 for about 2 hours.

Making this beef vegetable soup is a great way to use up those leftovers from the roast.

I took the leftovers from that veggies, broth and roast and I added a can of crushed tomatoes, about 1/4 cup of red wine, one small bag of frozen mixed vegetables.   I use the one that has corn, carrots, green beans, peas and Lima beans.  If you have extra stock in your frig add that as well, I had chicken stock so I used that, and a nice sized bay leaf.  Let this slow cook about 1 hour over a low heat on top of the stove, salt and pepper to flavor and enjoy!

Hope this soup warms you up on this chilly day.

As always enjoy the day!  Jane

Jeremiah 29:11

Waiting out Wednesday…..

As we wait on this Wednesday to arrive the day when my Dad will have another surgery and prayerfully his last one.    I will be cooking and cleaning, what can I say it’s what I do when I become stressed or anxious.  Yes, I know I’m not suppose to be anxious but hey, I am human. As for cooking and cleaning they are just a coping mechanism, a corky one but hey, it could be worse. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who does that,  at least I hope not.  Now on the other hand when I become upset as in “mad” upset, usually at my husband, LOL I eat. So I either have a clean house, an extra 5 pounds or I’m somewhere in between.  What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

Tomorrow we are expecting another small snow storm about 4 inches.   I’m hoping for a snow day, that’s right I’m also one of those Moms who wants their kiddo home for the day.  If she does have off I will spend more time cooking than cleaning.   Jenna wants to make these yummy gluten free Italian cookies.  We made them over Christmas and the recipe is on the blog.Image

I just need to get to the store for more butter before the storm hits, that’s if there is any left on the shelves.   In between cooking there will be playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate.  Oh yeah that sounds like an awesome day to me.  As for the cleaning goes, there will be a whole lot more of that on top of what I already have to catch up with. But as they say, your kids are only little for a short while so…enjoy them!

“Housework can wait”

Come in, but don’t expect to find all dishes done, all floors ashine.

Observe the crumbs and toys galore. The smudgy prints upon the door.

The little ones we shelter here don’t thrive on a spotless atmosphere.

They’re more inclined to disarray And carefree even messy play.

Their needs are great, their patience small. All day I’m at their beck and call.

It’s Mommy come! Mommy see! Wiggly worms and red scraped knees.

Painted pictures, blocks piled high. My floors unshined, the days go by.

Some future day they’ll flee this nest, And I at last will have a rest!

Now you tell me which matters more, A happy child or a polished floor?

Author Unknown

This is more my motto now a days.  Not like when I was first married and before children.  I had to have a spotless house, yes I was one of those folks.  These days I try and like a clean house but there are so many more important things going on in my life.  Kids, family, friends and other endeavors, I just don’t stress about it anymore. 

Too me it’s more about the kindness and joy that comes from your home not if it smells like pine-sol.   So I say enjoy life and take more moments to truly live them!

As always enjoy the day! Jane

Matthew 6: 25-34