Culinary Inspiration

Posted in baking, cooking, meals, recipe on June 18th, 2012 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Sometimes I need a little creative inspiration so I turn to other blogs for ideas.  I thought you might enjoy some recipes I’ve found recently that are/look yummy and of course can be made gluten free.

Pulled Chicken Barbecue (Eat, Live, Run)

Summer Corn Salad (101 Cookbooks)

Feta Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper Dip (6 in the Morningside)

BLT Corn Salad Wraps (Joy the Baker)

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas (Gluten Free Goddess)

Spiced Tomato Gratin (101 Cookbooks) *I think I would add fresh parmesan to this one

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars (Smitten Kitchen) *Just make sure you use certified gluten-free oats.

Almond Butter Cookies with Chocolate (Gluten Free Girl)

What are you excited about cooking this summer?  What are some of your favorite “go-to” blogs for recipe ideas?

Fall Pumpkin Cake

Posted in baking, recipe on October 24th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Last week, my friend, Michelle, celebrated a birthday and I decided to bake her a cake.  Since she has an October birthday, I thought it would only be fitting to make her a pumpkin cake!  It’s been a busy fall and I haven’t been doing much baking so I was looking forward to the opportunity to get my hands messy in the kitchen.

I perused online for recipes and ended up going with a slightly adapted version of Gluten-Free Goddess’ Pumpkin Cake recipe.  She bakes dairy free and I decided to make this cake with dairy products too so I went with butter instead of olive oil.  Also, I was feeling a tad pressed for time so I didn’t make icing from scratch.  I went with Betty Crocker’s cream cheese frosting which is labeled “Gluten Free” on the container.  (Sure, buying store bought icing isn’t as yummy as making your own but it is a way to cut a little time, and dishes, out of your preparation.)

The cake turned out pretty well, and leftovers even held up for a few days afterward.  The only change I would make to my version of the recipe, is not use an entire ½ cup of almond flour.  I like some texture from almond flour but not too much.  I would maybe go with ¼ cup of almond flour and ¾ cup of tapioca instead of ½ and ½.

Fall Pumpkin Cake (adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess)


  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 15-oz can cooked pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 10×13 baking pan.  (Gluten-Free Goddess lines with parchment paper and greases, but I didn’t.)  Mix dry ingredients (white rice flour through salt) together in bowl.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until “light and frothy.” Add the butter, and mix.  Then add brown sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are blended.  Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, a little at a time, and beat to combine, for two minutes.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Once cooled, turn cake onto a platter.  (I actually didn’t use the whole cake for the birthday event because it was so big and wouldn’t fit nicely on my platter.)  Ice the cake with store bought (or homemade) icing and decorate however you’d like.

Enjoy with friends!  It’s plenty for a crowd.  Happy Fall!

Even bon appetit says it’s good to be gluten free!

Posted in advice, recipe on September 1st, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

The September issue of Bon Appetit has a “Good Health” article entitled “Gluten-Free for All.”  The article discusses the notion that more and more people are realizing that following a gluten-free diet makes everyone feel better, not just those of us with celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten allergy. I’ve been saying this since I went gluten free!  I’m glad to know that the medical world has finally caught up with me.

The Bon Appetit article states, “Devotees say eliminating gluten gives them more energy, fewer aches and pains, and less bloating and depression…after years of skepticism, doctors now think they’re right.”

“Gluten-Free for All” also includes two yummy recipes that I will definitely be making: South Indian Lentil Cakes with Raita and Thai Ginger Chicken Salad.  Yum!

Any of you gluten-eating folks willing to give the gluten-free diet a try for a couple of weeks?  Do it for your health!  I promise, you’ll feel energized and your tummy won’t be so darn temperamental.

Perfect Sunday Supper

Posted in favorite things, local food, recipe on July 25th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Yum…so easy but so good.

Sliced local tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, S&P

Grilled swordfish: If you haven’t tried this fish, you’re missing out.  It’s meaty, not fishy, and worth the financial splurge. Just a little olive oil, some herbs and lemon juice make the perfect marinade.  This time we used a tequila lime rub.

Grilled corn on the cob: shuck the corn, wrap each ear separately in tin foil, with a little butter, S&P, and put on the grill.

My kind of food!  Simple, fresh, easy and highlighting the naturally delicious flavors.  What are your favorite easy suppers?

Curry Chicken Salad

Posted in recipe on June 29th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

I love chicken salad, especially in the summer months.  It’s a great option for entertaining because you can make it ahead of time.  There are so many varieties of chicken salad that it’s hard to get sick of it.  Well, except when you make a huge batch of it and eat it for a week…

One of my all time favorites is Kim’s Chicken Salad.  This simple, traditional version of chicken salad is a go-to, great summer recipe.

Last week, I brought dinner to a family at our church who just had a baby.  I decided to try making curry chicken salad for the dinner, accompanied with this quinoa salad.  These dishes served their purpose as they were easily transportable, no assembly required and ready to eat upon arrival!  I also included salad and crackers as accompaniments for the chicken salad.

Since I planned on serving the chicken salad to some friends that same night, I wanted to make a lot of it.  In retrospect, I probably made too much.  Four chicken breasts would have been plenty.

A note on the chicken: I think it makes a huge difference to get bone-in, skin on chicken breasts.  The meat will be much more tender and it shreds up better.  Don’t be intimidated.

Curry Chicken Salad (Makes 10 generous servings.  Feel free to cut recipe in half.)


  • 6 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (or more, depending your preference; I used Hellman’s Light Mayo and it worked just fine)
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted*
  • 1 cup grapes, halved

*Toast pecans for about 5 minutes on a cookie sheet at 350.

Preheat oven to 350.  Put chicken breasts on baking sheet, skin side up.  Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for 35-40 minutes, until meat is cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove skin and pull meat off of the bone.  This should happen pretty easily.  Chop up chicken into pieces, in the size you prefer.  I’m not super precise in cutting up the chicken.  You can use kitchen shears or a knife.  Place chopped chicken in large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix mayo, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice.  Add mixture to the bowl with chicken and combine, mixing until chicken is coated.  Feel free to taste along the way.  The amount of mayo, curry and lemon depends on your taste buds.  I start with less mayo and add as I go.  I prefer mine to be a little “curry-heavy.”  Add pecans and grapes.  Stir and refrigerate.  I would suggest refrigerating for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy on top of a salad, with Mary’s Gone Crackers, or on toasted GF bread.  I find it perfect with summer heirloom tomatoes.

Summer Cooking Ideas

Posted in cooking, recipe on June 22nd, 2011 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Running out of dinner ideas?  Are you in a “cooking funk?”  I feel that way sometimes…that’s when I find myself eating sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts three nights in a row.

Here are some recipe ideas to get your creative juices flowing (and your stomach rumbling):

Roasted Beet Salad




Egg Strata with Turkey Sausage


Salmon on the Grill


Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Spinach & Pecans


Tomato Pie


Summer Squash Casserole


Peanut Butter Crispy Treats with Nutella


Peach & Blueberry Crisp


What are you making in your kitchen this summer?  I would love your ideas to bring some creativity to my kitchen.

Happy Cooking!

101 Cookbooks’ Quinoa with Currants, Dill & Zucchini

Posted in cooking, recipe, Uncategorized, vegetarian on June 15th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment


Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for my friend, Meredith, who’s expecting a little boy in August.  My jobs for the shower included making gluten-free blondies and a quinoa salad.


Last summer I made this quinoa salad for another baby shower, but when I saw the following recipe on Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, I couldn’t resist.  I love random ingredient combinations and this recipe fits that description.  I was a little nervous about the dill in the salad but I really enjoyed it, especially with the feta cheese.

I tripled the recipe below since I was making it for a crowd.  There were plenty of leftovers too!

quinoapresents Quinoa with Currants, Dill and Zucchini (from 101 Cookbooks)


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup dried currants (you could use dried cranberries too)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds*
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Feta cheese, crumbled




*To toast sesame seeds, I put a dry pan on medium heat on the stove top, added the sesame seeds and toasted for about five minutes, tossing a couple of times during the cooking process.  They will brown and start to smell yummy.  That’s how you know they’re ready.  Toasted sesame seeds are quite possibly my new favorite thing!


For quinoa: Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add most of the green onions, a pinch of salt, and cook until onions soften, a couple of minutes.  Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains toast a little bit, about 3 minutes.

Add the water, currants, and remaining salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, decrease heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.  (Even with tripling the recipe, I didn’t need to cook any longer so you might want to check on it after about 10 minutes.)

While quinoa is cooking, zest the lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl.  When quinoa is cooked, remove pan from heat.  Stir in zucchini, lemon juice and zest, most of the sesame seeds, and most of the dill.  Add salt as needed.

Put quinoa into a serving bowl.  I refrigerated it for awhile before adding the feta cheese.  Add as much feta as you’d like.  (When eating leftovers, I’ve been adding a little more.)  Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.

quinoabowl This dish is great if your hosting a shower, summer cookout or any other warm weather event.  It would go perfectly with this grilled chicken.


PS: My friend, Mary Stuart, made this amazing (GF) popsicles, with cool flavors like mango, watermelon mint, and blueberry lemon.


My Rice Krispies Say “Gluten Free”

Posted in GF product, recipe, Uncategorized on June 6th, 2011 by Betsy – 5 Comments


When I was first diagnosed with celiac, I initially assumed that Rice Krispies would be gluten free.  I quickly learned (thankfully) that they are not.  It seemed to me that Rice Krispies could be easily made gluten free, being that their main ingredient is rice, not wheat.


Fortunately, the folks at Kellogg’s have figured this out too, and have just released a gluten-free version of their beloved Rice Krispies.  They still make regular, glutenous Rice Krispies, so make sure that you pick up the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” box that says “Gluten Free” on the front.

Kellogg’s nicely sent me a complimentary box of the new Rice Krispies to sample so of course, I skipped right over the bowl of cereal and began making Rice Krispies Treats.  On the Rice Krispies website, they have recipes to try.  If you’re going for the traditional treats that we grew up with, just make sure that the marshmallows you’re using are gluten free.

I was inspired by some treats I’d seen on one of my favorite blogs, Eat, Live, Run as the ingredient combination seemed to good to be true.


  • Peanut butter…check
  • Honey…check
  • Nutella…check

I just couldn’t resist!


It had been so long since I made or ate Rice Krispies treats so I had forgotten that you don’t even turn on an oven when you make them AND you don’t have to break out the Kitchen Aid either.  This simple recipe gets a bit sticky but requires very little labor and prep time.  An easy treat to bring to a summer picnic or pot luck dinner!

Peanut Butter Crispy Treat Nutella Sandwiches, from Eat, Live, Run


  • ½ cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, creamy)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup, plus ½ cup of Nutella
  • 5 cups gluten-free Rice Krispies or other GF brown rice cereal
  • Cooking spray

Combine PB, honey and 1/3 cup of nutella in microwave safe bowl.  Mix and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and heat for another 20 seconds if still not melted.  Add Rice Krispies to the mixture, 1 cup at a time.   (You’ll think it’s too much Rice Krispies but it will work.)



Spray a large pyrex or casserole dish with cooking spray and add your yummy mixture.  Cover and put in the fridge to chill, for at least 45 minutes.  (The longer you have, the better.)


*At this point in the process, you could cut up your treats and enjoy them, just like this.  Or you can add the next steps for even more chocolately goodness.

Cut treats into 2 x 2 inch pieces and cover half of them with Nutella.  (I found that I needed more than ½ cup, but maybe I was just generous.)  Top with the other pieces and serve.



The gluten-free version of Rice Krispies tastes exactly the same to me as the ones from my gluten-eating days.  The GF krispies hit shelves last week, and are selling for the same price as regular Rice Krispies so pick up a box when you see them.

What do your Rice Krispies say to you?

Spring Pesto

Posted in cooking, recipe, vegetarian on May 11th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

basil final

Last summer I wrote “An Ode to My Food Processor.”  As sad as it was to say goodbye to my mini-food processor, we upgraded to the next level.  This past weekend we broke out the new, bigger, shinier, and improved food processor, to make one of our favorite recipes: pesto.

basil process We were particularly excited to make pesto because we’ve been growing our own basil.  I have many dreams of being a farmer, but sadly our backyard doesn’t have great sunlight.  In attempting to develop our green thumbs, David and I are growing basil, rosemary and thyme in pots.  And boy are they growing.  (I don’t think we can take any credit for it though…mother nature’s pretty amazing.)

basil plant

This was our first time to really dig into the basil and we had enough leaves for a beautiful batch of pesto.  We used it for pesto chicken pasta with tomatoes and chicken.

Cook’s Illustrated’s pesto recipe involves roasting garlic and some other involved steps.  It was late Sunday afternoon and I wanted to make the batch quickly, so I bypassed the complicated parts and just through all the ingredients into the food processor.


Simple Pesto (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)


  • 2 cups basil leaves tightly packed
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt & pepper

Place all ingredients into the food processor and mix until smooth, or about a minute.  You may need to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.  It’s also good to taste as you go.  I ended up adding a little more olive oil and parmesan.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you’re making the pesto ahead of time, transfer pesto into a bowl and put saran wrap tightly over the actual pesto so that air can’t get to it, causing it to lose some of its beautiful bright green.

basil proces2

We grilled bone-in chicken breasts on the grill and cut them up.  (You can also cook boneless chicken breasts on the stove top but I found the flavor of the grilled bone in to be far superior.)  Cook pasta according to cooking instructions.  Once cooked, drain immediately and transfer pasta to a bowl.  Add chopped baby tomatoes, chicken, and pesto.  Toss gently until pasta is covered with pesto.  Dig in!

*We used bionaturae gluten-free spaghetti for this dish.  It’s one of my favorite brands.

basil final2

Enjoy!  What do you like to make with your food processor?  We definitely don’t use ours enough and I would like to put it to more use.

Wild Rice Casserole & Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day

Posted in baking, cooking, recipe, vegetarian on May 3rd, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

One of my favorite foodie writers is Heidi Swanson, creator of the blog, 101 Cookbooks.  I love her photographs, recipes and writing style.  I feel like she and I would be friends…if she knew me.   All of Heidi’s recipes are vegetarian, yet filling and full of flavor.  In the past, you’ve seen me make her Brussels sprouts and chunky lentil soup, two of my all time favorites.  One of my most tattered, well-loved, cookbooks on my shelf is Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.


For the last year, I’ve been following on 101 Cookbooks that Heidi was hard at work on a new cookbook.  Of course the moment it hit shelves, I ordered a copy of Super Natural Every Day: Well Loved Recipes from my Natural Foods Kitchen from Amazon.  Heidi’s personality and flavors are pervasive throughout the book.  The formatting and style is similar to her first cookbook, but she organizes it differently and of course, the recipes are new.  Because she cooks vegetarian, Heidi uses a lot of unique grains and flours, which appeals to the gluten-free girl in me.  While not everything Heidi makes is GF, it’s easy to navigate around those pages and even the recipes I can’t copy verbatim, I find to be inspirational in my own culinary endeavors.

Last week I had my “Fight Club” over for dinner.  This group of girls that I meet with weekly has played a huge role in why I love Atlanta so much.  It’s hard to believe that 18 months ago, I didn’t know any of them!  Since it was a Ladies’ Dinner, I decided this would be the perfect time to break out Super Natural Every Day. I also knew that I wanted to use the grill and didn’t want to be running back and forth between the kitchen and the back yard.  Heidi’s wild rice casserole stuck out to me because all of the prep can be done ahead of time and then it just bakes in the oven, leaving me to do my thing on the grill.


The wild rice casserole involves quite a few steps along the way and some chopping but it’s worth the work.  AND, when your guests arrive, you’ll no longer be laboring away, but looking relaxed and ready to sit and chat with friends, not slave over the stove.

This yummy recipe makes rice flavorful and adds depth to a grain that, in its most traditional state, can be so bland.  I didn’t change a thing about the recipe and it turned out really well.  I might add a little more salt, but other than that, it was delicious.  And, even better the next day, and the next day, and the next day, for leftovers!  The cottage cheese, sour cream and gruyere cheese complement the rice but also don’t overpower it.  You don’t feel like you had a sour cream and cheese casserole with rice, if you know what I mean.  While this is a hearty dish, it doesn’t feel ‘wintry.’  In fact it was perfect for a spring night on the porch.

Wild Rice Casserole (from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook)

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice and/or brown rice (I used a combination and I really liked the different textures)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped  fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 350 with oven rack in top third of oven.  Rub a medium to large casserole/baking dish with butter or olive oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard and ½ teaspoon salt.

In a large skillet over high heat, combine the olive oil and a couple pinches of salt.  Stir in the mushrooms.  Stir them once to coat with olive oil, then let them cook until liquid is released and evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Continue to cook and stir every few minutes, until mushrooms are browned.  Add the onion and cook until translucent and tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat.  Add cooked rice to the skillet and mix.


Add the rice mixture to the cottage cheese mixture and stir until well combined.  Put entire mixture into your casserole dish.  Cover with 2/3 of the cheese and cover with aluminum foil.


Bake for 30 minutes, then remove tin foil.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes until cheese looks brown but not burned. Top casserole with remaining cheese and thyme.  Serve warm.

Enjoy!  What’s your favorite Heidi Swanson recipe?