Orange scented rice pudding

January 20, 2010

I have been eating this rice pudding for breakfast these days since I cannot find any gluten-free cereal around. I just make a big batch for the week and keep it in the refrigerator, and I use brown rice since it keeps me going a little longer than white rice. I even think the texture and taste of brown rice, especially for this pudding, is more pleasing than white rice, (and, of course, it is more nutritious) but some people prefer the less hardy texture of white rice. So by all means, use the rice you like best! This pudding is not too sweet, so if you are serving it for dessert you might want to increase the sugar a little or sprinkle each serving with some brown sugar.

  • 1 C white or brown rice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 ½ C coconut milk
  • 1 ½ C milk
  • ¼ C white sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine the rice and the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low, simmering the rice until it is cooked (15 to 20 minutes for the white rice, and about 40 to 45 minutes for the brown rice). Stir the coconut milk, regular milk, sugar, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in with the cooked rice until everything is well combined. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Simmer the pudding for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until it has thickened considerably, stirring every few minutes to keep the rice from sticking or burning. It is thick enough when the rice no longer sinks to the bottom of the pot after you finish stirring it. Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Shortcut brownies

November 8, 2009

I am thankful for the many wonderful gluten-free mixes widely available at grocery stores. One of my favorite mixes is Trader Joe’s (16z) brownie baking mix. This mix has appealed to my pocketbook more than any other product on the market. But take my word for it, your brownies will taste heavenly only if you stray a bit from the directions printed on the back of the bag. Use the mix, but follow my directions below.

  • 16z gluten free brownie baking mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) of melted, salted butter
  • ¼ C milk
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a square 8×8 inch baking pan. Mix all of the ingredients above thoroughly in a mixing bowl and pour the resulting batter into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes on the top rack of the oven. Let the brownies cool at least 15 minutes before cutting them into squares and serving.

Spinach pumpkin pesto

November 5, 2009

This is my favorite pesto and it is wonderful to make this time of year when canned pumpkin is on sale. Toss with gluten-free pasta and top with grilled chicken. It also freezes wonderfully, so while you have the food processor out, you might want to make a large batch and save some for later.

  • ½ C cashews
  • ½ C grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ C dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 9z bag of fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 T dried basil or a handful of fresh
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • ½ C pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)

In a food processor, pulse the cashews, Parmesan cheese, cranberries, and garlic until the cashews and cranberries are well ground to a paste-like consistency. Add the spinach, basil, olive oil and lemon juice and pulse until the mixture is thoroughly pureed. Thoroughly combine the spinach puree with the pumpkin puree in a bowl.

This might be about as easy and tasty as it gets. No measuring allowed on this one – just keep sprinkling and tasting until you are satisfied. I really enjoy adding spinach leaves to tomato based dishes right at the end of cooking so that they wilt but do not cook. This adds wonderful color and health to your food without altering the taste nearly at all! Really, I know that when most of us hear the word spinach we fixate on the smell that leaks out of a freshly opened can of spinach. But the taste of fresh, wilted spinach is worlds away from canned spinach and it is milder even than frozen spinach.

This recipe makes a couple of large servings, or more if there are no big eaters at the table. Serve the sauce over brown rice pasta, which is available very economically at Trader Joe’s (and it is also available at many other health food stores in different brands).

  • 1 14.5z can of diced tomatoes and their juices
  • good drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tsp or so of chopped garlic
  • few shakes of dried basil leaves
  • fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • handful of fresh, torn spinach leaves
  • few sprinkles of grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium sauce pan heat the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and pepper over medium high heat for 1 minute, adjusting the seasonings as needed. Place the chicken breast into the pan and cover, cooking for about 10 minutes until the chicken breast is cooked through. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken breast from the pan to a cutting board. Take a big handful of fresh spinach leaves, tear them into smaller pieces and stir them into the tomato sauce. Add a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese and check to see if the sauce needs any additional salt. Chop, slice, or shred the chicken and stir it back into the sauce. Serve the sauce over gluten-free pasta.

*For an extra treat, try sprinkling the warm pasta with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese before you ladle on the sauce.

Oatmeal apple crisp

October 24, 2009

An easy gluten free dessert! We like to keep the apple skins on for texture, health, and ease of preparation, but you can peel the apples if you like. Leftover apple crisp makes a great topping for pancakes.


  • 1 1/3 C gluten-free oats
  • 2/3 C sorghum or brown rice flour
  • 1 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 C of salted butter (2 sticks)

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and work the butter in with your fingers until everything is incorporated (or pulse in a food processor).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

Apple Filling

  • 8 medium green apples
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash, core and cut the apples into thin (about 1/4 inch) slices. Place the apple slices into a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour lemon juice over apples and mix in the zest, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg, combining thoroughly. Take the topping out of the refrigerator and crumble it over the top of the apples. Bake until the topping is brown and the apples are bubbling, around 40 minutes. Serve in bowls with vanilla ice cream.

Spicy coconut tilapia

October 15, 2009

This recipe is really not that spicy. Even my kids love to eat it (including the baby). It could be really spicy, though, if you add a little more chili garlic paste.

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • ½ T chili powder
  • couple dashes of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of chili garlic paste (available in Asian food aisle at the grocery store)
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 tilapia fillets (more or less depending on how many people you want to feed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine coconut milk through lemon juice and zest in a bowl and mix thoroughly to make the sauce. Place the tilapia in a glass baking dish and cover with sauce. Place dish into preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. You could also simmer tilapia in sauce in a large skillet on the stove until fish is opaque.

Serve with rice and some blanched broccoli florets stir fried in a few shakes of gluten-free soy sauce, olive oil/coconut oil and some chopped garlic.

Smashed black bean dip

October 13, 2009

Sometimes we need a quick, satisfying meal, and this dip does the trick in our house. It tastes great served with corn tortilla chips covered in melted cheese, or in a corn tortilla quesadilla.

  • 1 15z can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • good handful of chopped cilantro
  • good drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste (maybe ¼ to ½ tsp)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Either give the whole mixture a few pulses with an immersion blender, or pulse half of the mixture in a food processor/blender and then add back into bowl with unblended portion. The texture should be “smashed,” but not completely pureed.

If you like your food spicy, you could easily add a jalapeno with some of the seeds or a dash of cayenne pepper.

Coconut-fruit smoothie

October 13, 2009

This smoothie makes a pretty satisfying breakfast. The recipe yields 2 good sized smoothies, or four smaller ones.

  • 1 nectarine or peach, pitted and chunked
  • 1 banana
  • ½ C strawberries, hulled
  • ½ C orange juice
  • ½ C coconut milk

Blend ingredients until smooth.