Things are not always what they seem...

I love cookie cutters. For me, they are hard to resist. OK...the copper cutters that cost $12.95 plus shipping are a little easier to resist than the tin ones costing $2.95, but having the perfect cutter is really fun.

Do you always have to have the perfect cutter? No. Take a look at the cutters in your stash/basket/closet. Turn them around, look at them with a different eye. What else could they be?
These little bees were made with my pumpkin cutter. Is the shape perfect? No. Did it work? Absolutely. Not a soul said, "hey...this is supposed to be a pumpkin!"

I love this bee! It is perfect for so many occasions. With a note attached, the cookies can say:

BEE my honey
You've been a busy bee!
Thanks for BEEing there!
BEE sweet
You'll BEE great!

Have you re-purposed any of your cookie cutters?

Too Hot To Cook? Make a Lettuce Wrap

I love lettuce cups and garden wraps- so fresh and light.

Too hot to cook and you're contemplating going gluten-free to boot? Try a greenwich on for size. Garden fresh lettuce wraps make for an ultra-easy lunch that is perfect for sizzling summer days. Wrap or cradle your favorite sandwich filling with tender Boston lettuce or crisp romaine. Stuff smaller cups with your favorite salad or use larger leaves to wrap and roll a layered classic.

One of the first recipes I started with on my gluten-free journey years ago was the simple idea of wrapping various sandwich fillings in crisp washed lettuce leaves. The possibilities are endless.

Boston lettuce (aka butter lettuce) leaves make deliciously tender wraps. Romaine is sturdier; fill it lengthwise- like a boat- and simply fold it, rib on bottom. When fillings are messy, wrap the wrap with a piece of wax paper, plastic wrap or foil.

Lettuce wraps are great fun for kids. Set up a buffet style Greenwich Bar- with all the fixin's- and let them choose from an assortment of fillings to design their and wrap their own creations.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Pinon Rice Bake with Artichokes and Goat Cheese

Brown rice with artichokes, roasted corn, chiles, pine nuts and goat cheese.

Here's a favorite make-ahead rice dish recipe with Mediterranean flavors- artichokes, plum tomatoes, pine nuts and goat cheese. Entertaining made simple. And there are never any leftovers.

Having someone new over for dinner always sends me into a flurry of activity fueled by nervous energy and worry. I obsess over obscure details (like an iTune playlist), change my mind about the menu (wait- enchiladas or lasagna?), forget ingredients (dagnabbit! the green beans are still in the car). So I've learned (yes, the hard way) to always make a few key dishes ahead of time. Then dinner is basically done.

And I'm not stuck in the kitchen spilling olive oil on a new silk shirt.

I can relax (well, sort of). And- goddess willing- I won't set the oven on fire because I'm too busy discussing the yummy Anderson Cooper and sipping my second vodka martini to a Diana Krall tune.

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My Top Ten Gluten-Free Products

My Top Ten Gluten-Free Favorites

These quickie reviews of my favorite gluten-free products are not sponsored by the manufacturers. I accepted no free samples, coupons, or other please-blog-about-us incentives.

1. Pamela's Amazing Gluten Free Bread Mix with sorghum and millet flour is the best tasting gluten-free bread mix by far. Seriously. I've made it with eggs and without eggs. Both ways are delicious. I've even made killer rustic baguettes with Pamela's (pictured above).

2. Next up: Gluten-Free Pasta One of my favorite gluten-free pasta noodles is Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta, Spaghetti Style, Supergrain. It's non-starchy and has the bite of a good Italian linguine- perfect for those of you who prefer  your pasta al dente. For those unable to do corn, Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta is also excellent. The Tinkyada White Rice Spaghetti is smooth and creamy. And the Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna with Rice Bran makes light, delicious lasagna.

3. Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix is the best all-around all-purpose baking and pancake mix. Why? It features buttermilk and almond meal. Beginners can use Pamela's mix as a one-to-one sub for wheat flour in gluten-free baking. For those who need a dairy-free vegan mix try Namaste Gluten-Free Waffle and Pancake Mix.

4. Highly regarded Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free milled flours and mixes has finally added a gluten-free polenta and cornmeal to their esteemed line of products. Lucky us! For those who love polenta and care about quality- we now have Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Grits + Polenta. Look for the GF symbol on the package.

5. Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes is a hot breakfast cereal rich in vegan protein and calcium. I enjoy it as a warm bowl of comfort drizzled with maple syrup. And I absolutely love using it in baking- especially in cookie, muffin, and cake recipes (especially nice when oats are called for). Browse my quinoa recipes here. I also enjoy Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa as pilaf, tabbouleh, and  a high protein alternative  to rice. 

6. Gluten-free flours blends taste different. Less sweet than wheat. One trick I like to do? Use the best vanilla extract- Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. Rich, deep vanilla flavor. No icky fillers (like corn syrup).

7. My new gluten-free flour favorite is Bob's Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour. It adds moisture, flavor, and a subtle sweetness to GF flour blends. Not to mention, protein and fiber. A little is all you need- add a tablespoon or two for added moisture and texture, or sub out a half cup flour in your usual flour blend with a half cup coconut flour.

8. Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil makes gluten-free baked goods rich and buttery. It's my new favorite vegan butter and shortening replacement in baking recipes. Great for cookies, cakes, biscuits, and scones.

9. My favorite non-dairy milk to use in gluten-free cooking and baking is Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk. Creamy good.

10. Organic Raw Blue Agave is a low glycemic natural vegan sweetener that is wonderful for subtle sweetening in sauces, beverages and baking.

Purchasing items at Amazon: Gluten-Free
helps support this blog. 
Thank you!


Mexican Black Bean Soup- In Memory of Sher

Black Bean Soup Recipe
Sher's black bean soup recipe.

Sher and I never met. We were what people refer to as blogging acquaintances. We exchanged occasional comments on one another's blogs and admired each other's penchant for rustic Mexican recipes. Real food, with big flavor. Last Sunday lovely Sher passed away suddenly- from a heart attack. She was 59. Today food bloggers are joining in memory of Sher- and her enthusiastic love of good food- by posting one of her recipes. I suspect this would please her no end; as her blog title suggests, the first question asked by her family on any occasion is...

What did you eat?

Today we are collectively offering, One of your recipes, Sher!

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Scottie Dog cookies for a birthday

My friend Janet and I met when we worked at the Mary Engelbreit store in Chicago together. We had the most fun...whenever something new came into the store, we would play a little game called, "Do we NEED this?!?" Well, whether it was a cherry Christmas ornament in July, a scottie garden statue or a set of kitchen canisters, with a forty percent discount and a friend to talk us into it, we found that we usually did need it, whatever it was!

These cookies are for Janet's birthday. Even though we haven't laid eyes on each other in years, I still think of her every time I see a scottie dog or something with cherries on it. One more thing about Janet...she is the queen of gift giving! I don't know where she shops, but she always finds the absolute perfect gift and it is always wrapped in the cutest way!

This plaid cookie design is from a Martha Stewart cookie book. I decided on white scotties instead of black because who wants black icing teeth on their birthday?!?

Janet...thanks for being such a great friend! I miss seeing your smiling face every day!

Penne Arrabiata with Brown Rice Pasta

Gluten-free penne arrabiata- spicy and easy

The last meal of our two-week honeymoon in Italy was in Rome- on the way to the airport. And I'll never forget it. It was penne tossed in a spicy red sauce. My first Arrabiata. Here's my gluten-free version- a simple and fast recipe perfect for a weeknight supper.

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And the winner is...

My official, impartial name selector...

...and the winner is....

I am so happy that anyone entered at all!!! Over 20 comments and only 3 were relatives!!! Wow, I'm amazed! :) I will do this again; it is fun!

The funny thing about the drawing was that I was reading the comments to my husband and Bethany asked in hers if I was "the cookie angel." I said to my husband..."well, that's it. I'm sending them to Bethany right now." :) I guess a cookie angel was looking over her name in the drawing!!!

Bethany...I didn't see a way to contact you, so please email me. There is a link to my email at the very bottom of the blog (and in the comments from the last post). Thanks! Off to decorate some cookies...

Birthday cookies and a GIVEAWAY!

I am currently working on a batch of cookies for a friend's birthday and am making a few extras for a giveaway! Anyone interested? Leave a comment by 7:00pm Central on Sunday (July 20th) and a winner will be randomly selected. I'll contact the winner Sunday night to get your address. The only rule is, the cookies have to be shipped within the US. (Yes, Molly...Hawaii counts!) I'll ship the cookies out on Monday. Yay! :)

Farm Fresh: Cookie Exchange!

Laura from A Dozen Eggs was kind enough to let me share her "eat your fruits and veggies" cookies for a little cookie exchange. These are so adorable! I can't decide which is my favorite...I'm a sucker for cherries, but that peach cookie is so gorgeous, and the broccoli...don't even get me started!

I love this time of year with all of the local farms being open, but honestly, this is the way I prefer to get my fruits and veggies!!! Thanks, Laura!

Savory G-Free Waffles- for breadcrumbs & panini

Vegan G-Free Waffles
Savory waffles for grilled sandwiches and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Several readers have requested my savory waffle recipe- the base recipe I use to make those golden Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbz. And who am I to refuse such a worthy request? Average waffles these are not. Not only are these crispy vegan gems wheat-free and egg-free, they are infused with herbs and garlic, rendering them suitable not only for conjuring Italian style crumbs, but grilling up warm and melty panini as well. Use these like you would use sandwich bread.

So take this simple recipe as a blueprint, add your own creativity to the mix and do great things. For nothing is as noble as cooking something delicious and food allergy safe for those you cherish.

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G is for Gabriella . . . and GIRL!

A little background on these cookies....while my mom was living, she was lucky enough to make some of the best girlfriends ever; my sister & I call them the ya-ya's. In the 25 years or so they've known each other, their families have become part of our family. Now, the 5 ya-ya's have 10 kids total, 8 daughters (I'm one of them). Of all of us girls, we have 9 boys...NO GIRLS! Until now! Erin, mother to 2 adorable boys already, is having a girl and these cookies are for her shower.

I think the stores in the area may be out of pink at this point! We have been waiting a long time to shop in the little girls' section!!! Don't get me wrong, I'll choose playing Legos over My Pretty Pony any day of the week, but there is something so sweet about tiny smocked dresses and little ruffled diaper covers! Thank you, Erin!!! It was fun going to the "other" side of the kids' section for once! To make these cookies:
  • Using a #3 tip, outline a scalloped border in white icing.
  • Thin pink and white icing with water to the consistency of syrup and cover with a damp dishcloth. Let sit for a few minutes. (Spectrum Deep Pink)
  • Run a rubber spatula gently through the icing to pop any bubbles that have formed on the top. Pour the flood icings into squeeze bottles.
  • Fill in cookies with the pink icing, using a toothpick to guide into the edges.
  • Once about 6 or so have been filled, add dots of thinned white icing on top.
  • Gently place the pre-made monograms onto the wet icing. (See previous post for monogram instructions.)
  • Let sit overnight to dry.

Vegan Banana Ice Scream

Vegan banana ice cream.

I've been busy behind the scenes here at Gluten-Free Goddess -- but I'm never too busy to create a new dessert recipe for you. Her Awesomeness forbid. I wouldn't abandon you to steam in the summer heat, sweltering without respite, without a new frozen confection to cheer you up and cool you down. 

Not me. I'm not a remote and apathetic kind of goddess. Nope. 

I get you. I listen. And I feel your non-dairy gluten-free frustration. All the way out here in the hills of Ojo Caliente.

So what that means is this ice cream recipe is vegan- in other words, dairy-free and egg-free for all you lovely casein-free beauties out there.

I start with frozen bananas- because they're so creamy good when frozen. They jump start the whole homemade ice cream making process. So go fetch your ripe bananas and toss 'em in the freezer right now.

You'll thank me later.

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A new way to monogram

I've already posted about using royal icing to make cookie monograms, but take a look at a twist on that technique. Recently, I took a cupcake decorating class taught by Karen Tack of Hello Cupcake and I've been reading a wonderful blog, Bakerella. Both Karen and Bakerella use candy melts to do some beautiful decorating, so I thought I would give them a try for monogramming cookies.

Candy melts are easy to find. WalMart even has a limited supply in their craft section. They are simply melted (on the stovetop or microwave) and they are ready to use. Food coloring and/or flavoring (they taste like chocolate on their own) can be added to them. Pour the melted melts into a disposable decorating bag fitted with a plain tip...I used a #2 tip.I needed "g's" for some baby shower cookies I am making for this weekend...more on those later. I printed out G's and traced the letters on wax paper, just like using royal icing. While they were still wet, I sprinkled white non-pareils on top. Once a tray was filled, I popped in the fridge for a few minutes. Once set, the letters can be removed from the paper and stored in a container at room temperature.Here's the big difference between candy melts and royal icing monograms, the candy melts peeled off the wax paper like a dream! No breakage, whatsoever! The only drawback I see is that the "white" candy melts are not white, but more of a white chocolate color...creamy. This might pose a problem trying to match a monogram color to a royal icing color on the cookie. At the cake decorating store, I think I have seen white food coloring. Has anyone used it? If the store wasn't a hour from my house, I'd run down and pick up a bottle right now!

I just couldn't bear to throw out all of the extra melted goodness :) last night, so I made a little something for my son's breakfast this morning.

How To Make Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs

Use toasted gluten free waffles for fabulous bread crumbs
Golden gluten-free bread crumbs made from toasted waffles.

Why not talk about simple pleasures? Like how to make really tasty gluten-free bread crumbs. Golden. Toasty. Slightly crunchy. When I first went gluten-free I missed the crunchy goodness that a buttered bread crumb topping adds to a home cooked recipe- especially comfort food. In fact, one of my favorite simple comfort recipes when I'm dragging my butt and too tired to cook is spaghetti tossed in extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and pan toasted bread crumbs.

So, after I found a decent (even wonderful) gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada Pasta) I tried making herbed crumbs for several of my favorite comfort foods, including my go-to Italian spaghetti with garlic and crumbs recipe.

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Easy Agave and Lime Salmon

Easy salmon with agave and lime.

Don't feel like cooking? Keep some wild caught salmon on hand and you almost won't have to. Got limes and agave? Smile. Salmon recipes don't get any easier than this. This is almost not cooking- which makes it a perfect recipe for a lazy summer supper.

We served our salmon with grilled veggie kebabs- another one of my easy summer staples. I grill my vegetable skewers on our handy Grilleration Forman grill because we don't have an outdoor grill. Hard to believe, I know. How can we live without a proper grill? And in New Mexico, for goddess sake! It's tricky, truth be told. If you saw our little casita you would understand. There's really no proper spot for a grill- or room to store it for the winter, now that you mention it. Yes, we have winters here in northern New Mexico (weeks of zero degree mornings). And only two closets. Two. Very. Small. Closets.

Some days I feel like we are camping in the middle of a great big sand box.

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Gluten-Free Pasta and Italian Recipes

Gluten free Italian recipes

Who doesn't love Italian food? It's a staple in my house. And lucky for those of us with celiac disease, gluten-free pasta is not only widely available now- but truly delicious. My favorite brand of gluten-free spaghetti, spirals, shells and lasagna is Tinkyada. If you cannot find Tinkyada in your local store, you can order it in bulk at Amazon here and save (free shipping!). Mangia!

My Favorite Gluten-Free Italian Recipes

Asparagus Leek Risotto

Baked Grape Tomatoes with Basil and Cornbread Crumbs
Basil Pesto
Beef In Pomegranate Sauce
Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Creamy Sauced Pasta with Artichokes & Bacon
Crustless Roasted Vegetable Quiche

Easy Chicken and Balsamic Peppers

Easy Mediterranean Fish in Foil Packets with Rice
Egg-Free Olive Oil Mayo

Fast n Easy Little Garlic Shrimp Pizzas
Fast n Easy Pasta and Veggie Toss
Fried Zucchini Chips 

Garlic Chicken Lasagna
Garlicky Shrimp and Spinach Bake with Mozzarella
Gold Potato Frittata (Baked)
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Herbed Flatbread with Roasted Vegetables
Italian Pasta Frittata with Goat Cheese + Sun-dried Tomatoes

Lasagna Vegetariana

Mediterranean Chicken Soup for the Soul
Mediterranean Eggplant with Crumbled Beef, Tomatoes and Mint
Mediterranean Pasta Frittata with Goat Cheese
Mediterranean Spinach and Rice Bake with Chicken and Mozzarella
Mediterranean Tuna and Artichoke Pasta

Pasta Smothered with Roasted Vegetables
Pasta with Toasted Pecans, Raisins & Artichoke Hearts

Penne Arrabiata
Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin with Bread Crumbs
Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans and Portobellos

Quinoa Salad with yellow tomatoes, olives, basil and mint

Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto
Roasted Sicilian Potatoes
Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Vegetable Frittata (Baked Crustless Quiche)
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Roasted Vegetables In a Nest
Roasted Vegetables and Feta on Broiled Polenta

Sexy Spring Pasta with Roasted Asparagus
Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Strata
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti with White Vegetables and Pine Nuts
Stuffed Peppers with Ground Turkey

Vegan Pasta Pie
Vegetarian Putanesca

Warm Winter Salad with Roasted Squash and Potatoes
Winter Pesto

Gluten-Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
Delicious sour cream chicken enchiladas- gluten-free.

Yummy. Easy. Chicken enchiladas. I never tire of them. And I'm not alone. My chicken enchilada recipes are among the most popular recipes on the blog. It's understandable. Enchiladas make a perfect make-ahead recipe for a weeknight supper or a pot luck gathering. And they are easily gluten-free. Make enchiladas earlier in the day- and dinner is done.

As easy as uno, dos, tres.

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Gluten-Free Recipes- A Rockin' Summer Round-Up

Why am I posting a Rockin' Summer Gluten-Free Recipe Round-Up? Because Dear Reader (unlike the hoards of Arriba County residents standing in line to buy fireworks in the sweltering Walmart parking lot), I have no plans for the Fourth of July. No gluten-free barbecues or family picnics. No recipes necessary. I ain't cookin'.

See that frosty glass of dairy-free chocolate goodness? That's what I'll be chillin' with all weekend as I kick back with my Number One Honey and dig in to the third season of Deadwood. I'll be munching organic popcorn (non-GMO, naturally) and whipping up blueberry smoothies. I might stuff a corn tortilla or two. Or throw together my Champagne Vinegar Potato Salad Recipe. We did buy a watermelon. 

But beyond those modest efforts? I'm hangin'. And catching up with Calamity Jane. I have a serious crush. And writer David Milch is my word-slinging hero.

So while I'm immersing myself in the riches of our very own Shakespeare, in the spirit of not keeping to myself things that are too good not to share, here are some gorgeous, tasty and often quite easy gluten-free recipes I've spotted lately. Enjoy!

Karina's Rockin' Summer Gluten-Free Recipe Round-Up

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon Jicama Salsa from Food Blogga
Lime and Peanut Coleslaw Recipe from Heidi Swanson
Gluten-Free Macaroni Salad Recipe from Book of Yum

Seven Layer Bean Dip Recipe from Simply Recipes
Gluten-Free Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe from Almost Fit
Lentil and Potato Salad Recipe from Lucullian Delights

Easy South Beach Recipes - Calabasitas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Snappy Crunchy Coleslaw at Gluten-Free Goddess
Grilled Corn Salad from Simply Recipes

Rand's Crab and Tangerine Nicoise with Lemon Vinaigrette from Kalyn's KItchen
Horseradish Spiked Red Potato Salad Recipe
at Gluten-Free Goddess
Roasted Tomatillo & Jalapeño Salsa from Gluten-Free Gobsmacked

Tarragon, Chive and Caper Deviled Eggs from Coconut & Lime
Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad from Cookthink
Jalapeño Lime Hummus from Karina's Kitchen

Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce Recipe from Elana's Pantry
Easy Mediterranean Fish with Rice Recipe
at Gluten-Free Goddess
Quick and Easy Red, White and Blue Desserts from GFCF Mommy

Watermelon Sorbetto Granita from Ms. Adventures in Italy
Apple Juice Sabayon with Berries from La Tartine Gourmande
Vegan Blueberry Cobbler Recipe
at Gluten-Free Goddess

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits from Simple Recipes
Gluten-Free Breakfast Brownies
at Gluten-Free Goddess
Amazing Black Bean Brownie Recipe from Heidi Swanson

Stars for the 4th

If you're in need of something to bring to a 4th of July get-together, these cookies are worth a try! You can make them big like above or mini-stars like below.
For the Dotty Stars:
  • Using a #3 tip, outline the star in white royal icing.
  • Thin red and blue icing to the consistency of syrup and let sit covered with a damp dishtowel for several minutes. Run a rubber spatula through the icing to pop any air bubbles that have formed on top. (AmeriColor Super Red, Spectrum Royal Blue)
  • Transfer thinned icing into squeeze bottles.
  • Working with about 6 cookies at a time, fill in the cookie in the blue icing using a toothpick to coax into the corners.
  • Once 6 or so are filled in blue, dot the red icing on top.
  • Let dry 1 hour.
  • Go over the border piping in white again, using the #3 tip.
  • Let dry overnight.
  • Using either warmed corn syrup or meringue powder mixed with water, "paint" over the raised border using a small paintbrush.
  • Sprinkle with clear sparkling or sanding sugar.