Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

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?

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.


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.

Top 10 in 2010

Posted in cooking, travel, Uncategorized on January 3rd, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already rung in the New Year and 2011 is here.  I don’t want to move on to 2011 without giving 2010 the attention it deserves.  2010 was an eventful year for me, with many unexpected life changes, trips and events.  Here are my top  highlights, in no particular order.

Highlights of 2010:

10. Spring Breaking it in San Diego, CA and Naples, FL with great friends

Jen and me bringing down the average age in Naples by about 62 years.

Jen and me bringing down the average age in Naples by about 62 years.

naples 2

Night out in San Diego with Brittanny

Night out in San Diego with Brittanny

9. Standing with my friend Becky as she and her new hubby, Peyton, shared their vows.

Becky on her wedding day

Becky on her wedding day

High School Friends enjoying Becky's Big Day

High School Friends enjoying Becky's Big Day

8. Cooking with some of the freshest, most beautiful veggies.


veggies 2

7. Meeting Carlo Petrini and volunteering at the ‘Slow Food Family Dinner’ at Watershed.

family dinner

6. Endless adventures in Montana and Wyoming with David and friends


montana 2

Beanie: Expert Fly Fisherwoman

Beanie: Expert Fly Fisherwoman

Gamble: Montana Wilderness Extraordinaire

Gamble: Montana Wilderness Extraordinaire

Hiking in MT with Stew

Hiking in MT with Stew

5. Hosting Thanksgiving for the first time


4. Deciding to call Atlanta home and buying a house

Enjoying our front porch at our new home

Enjoying our front porch at our new home

3. Getting published in a national magazine

lw 1

2. Traveling to Japan with my mom to visit my brother and his wonderful family

Who knew in Japan you can buy hot 'corn potage soup' in a vending machine? Don't think it's GF.

Who knew in Japan you can buy hot 'corn potage soup' in a vending machine? Don't think it's GF.

1. White Christmas on the Eastern Shore


What a year!  Thank you, 2010.  It’s been a pleasure.

Culinary Adventures in Montana

Posted in meals, travel on October 5th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

During our time in Montana, not only did we go to some delicious restaurants, but we also took advantage of the rare treat of having access to kitchens while traveling.  Between our own camping, staying with friends in Bozeman, as well as in Big Sky, we had plenty of opportunities to cook, which is a huge relief for those of us with dietary restrictions.


Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out, but sometimes I get tired of the stress and planning that often goes hand in hand with the combination of celiac disease and restaurants.  It’s so nice, when vacationing, to have the option of cooking.  In Montana, we had that option and used it!

Some my favorite meals on our trip were ones that were created in a kitchen, with friends, or in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.  Here are some highlights of our culinary adventures:

We spent a lot of time with our friends, Jason and Sarah, in Bozeman and basically squatted in their house for a week.  A true Montana-man, Jason hunts elk, antelope and other large mammals that I would run away from if I came across their path.  Well, Jason kills them.  We were the beneficiaries of Jason and Sarah’s hard work in the wilderness, and enjoyed homemade elk and antelope burgers one night.  Delicious!  We also roasted up some squash and made a salad, to make a perfect weeknight dinner.


burger meal

When we weren’t mooching off Sarah and Jason, we stayed in Forest Service Cabins.  These cabins were the perfect idea of camping for me.  A large wood stove for cooking, an outhouse (with hand sanitizer and toilet paper!) and an enclosed space.  Of course this didn’t stop me from being convinced in the middle of the night that a serial killer, and/or bear, was coming to get me.

birch creek

birch creek 2

With the wood stoves, you could have quite the romantic meal in these cabins.  (Until you spill the entire bottle of red wine on the floor…broken glass and mopping sort of ruins the ambiance.)  David’s pyro skills were put to the test, getting the wood stove started but we made some delicious meals.  Steak in the skillet, roasted onions, potatoes and green beans.


steak dinner

I purchased all of the produce at the Bozeman farmer’s market the night before.  Yum!



We enjoyed steak, eggs and potatoes the next morning, for breakfast.  The perfect solution for leftovers.


eggs 2

At the end of our trip, we left Bozeman and cabins behind, and headed to Big Sky, a ski area in Montana.  We stayed with a large group and enjoyed relaxing and eating delicious food.  I was particularly nervous about this time and my dietary needs because of the size of the group and not knowing everyone, but our hosts had carefully planned all of the meals to be gluten-free.  Our friends, Stewart and Crawford, made sure that I was well taken care of.

big sky

We enjoyed lots of grilling, roasted potatoes, salads, and other yummy, naturally gluten-free dinners.  I had one of the most amazing risotto dishes ever, while in Big Sky, courtesy of our new friend, Parker.  Fancy mushrooms, shallots, and red wine.  I ate the leftovers for the next few days!

One night, David cooked one of his specialties, salmon on the grill, and it was just like being at home, except at a higher altitude.  Side note: roasted potatoes and risotto take much longer to prepare when in Montana.  Allow extra cooking time.


As you can see, I did not go hungry while out west.  We truly enjoyed the perfect combination of dining out and eating in.  If only all vacations could be this simple…

Cooking for the 4th

Posted in cooking, event, local food, meals, recipe on July 2nd, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment


The 4th of July gives us a great excuse to break out the grill, cook for a crowd and do some low key entertaining.  Here are a few photos and recipe ideas to get your creative juices flowing for the 4th.

Old Bay Burgers

Pulled Pork Barbecue

Grilled Salmon


Roasted Okra


Heirloom Tomatoes with Feta Cheese, Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar


Peanut Butter Cookies

Peach Blueberry Crisp


Happy Independence Day!  A special Happy 4th to my family and friends who will be celebrating outside the US of A, in Japan, Austria, and Mexico.  You are missed!

Bon Appetit Recommends Gluten-Free Pastas

Posted in advice, cooking, GF product, recipe on January 20th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

My apologies for the delay in writing this post.  I love my subscription to Bon Appetit and usually I devour the material the minute it arrives.  When my January issue arrived, I was wrapped up in my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver’s, new book, The Lacuna, so I held off on diving into Bon Appetit.  Of course when I was ready to start reading this month’s issue, I couldn’t locate my copy.  Fortunately, David found it yesterday on our coffee table, and I immediately started scouring its contents.  Even though Bon Appetit doesn’t create recipes that are labeled ‘gluten-free,’ they have many recipes that are naturally gluten-free, and the ones that aren’t GF, I simply modify to make gluten free.


To my surprise and excitement, Bon Appetit’s Conscious Cook selected her “Top 3” brands of gluten-free pasta.  While I’m not a huge pasta person in the first place, I will say the editor was smart to select pasta brands that use a combination of flours, such as corn and quinoa, as opposed to just rice.  She selected Riso Bello Spaghetti al Riso, Ancient Harvest Supergrain Quinoa, and Rustichella d’Abruzzo Organic Corn Spaghetti.  Cooking gluten-free pasta can be a little tricky because it gets sticky pretty easily, but I find that good brands don’t taste too different from regular pasta.  Bon Appetit’s attention to gluten-free items is another example of the rising prevalence of celiac and gluten intolerance in the U.S.  This only affirms my belief that you can be a gluten-free foodie.

What gluten-free pasta brand do you prefer?  Do you have a favorite pasta dish?  I enjoy tossing homemade pesto with chicken and pasta.  While fresh basil is not seasonal right now, it makes me excited for warmer weather ahead.  We’re not too far from spring, right?

Easy Gluten-Free Dinner

Posted in advice, cooking, recipe, side dish on January 19th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

While it can seem overwhelming to cook gluten-free, it really can be done and done simply, with lots of good flavor.  I have to give a shout out to my friends Maury, Mary Stuart and Jen for showing just how easy gluten-free can be.  I invited the three of them over for dinner a few weeks ago and we shared a delicious gluten-free meal together.  Two years ago, if I invited friends over for dinner, I would have denied any requests made by my guests to “bring something.”  I feel safest in my home because I make the food myself and in the past I didn’t want to bring any variables into my one controlled eating space.

Over time I’ve become much more comfortable explaining to friends my dietary restrictions, and I’ve allowed myself to trust others to make gluten-free food.  My friends (and yours too!) want to accommodate our gluten-free needs.  Of course this thoughtful group of women each wanted to bring something and since I’ve eaten with them many times (I lived in Mary Stuart’s house while moving this summer and she and her husband, Joel made many delicious GF meals for me), I trust each of them and they serve as reminders to me, just how easy and simple gluten-free dining can be.

Each of us provided a component of the meal that we shared.  The food was delicious and they all made gluten-free seem so “normal” (because it can be!).  It is the best feeling when friends and family members accommodate my gluten-free needs and I’m so appreciative of the many people in my life who have been thoughtful and gone to great lengths to ask questions, educate themselves and prepare gluten-free food for me.

There are probably many meals you make that are naturally gluten-free.  Check out our dinner menu to see how simple it can be.

Here’s what we ate:

Mary Stuart brought a creative, yet simple appetizer.  She made delicious crackers, using Glutinos, topped with Gruyere cheese and fig jam.  Great flavor combinations and very easy to assemble.  The fig jam added nice color and I loved the texture as well.

I made Red Wine Braised Chicken with Onions & Thyme for our entrée that tasted delicious on a cold winter night.


Maury made her famous roasted sweet potatoes that have become one of my favorite dishes.  All she does is roast sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper at 375 for about 40 minutes and then she adds parmesan cheese to them.  So good!  (A sprinkle of parmesan cheese is a great addition to roasted veggies.)

Jen, who recently went gluten-free, brought a spinach salad with walnuts, craisins, feta and red onions.  A great winter salad and the red onions and craisins added festive colors.  Jen’s homemade salad dressing was composed of olive oil, basil, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.  Very flavorful and not too heavy.  It complimented the salad perfectly.

I’m one of those people that likes to mix everything on my plate and this meal was perfect for that, even though we didn’t even plan our components of the meal together.  It just seemed to fit.  I only wish I had more photos to document the evening’s cuisine.  We’ll just have to do it again!

Who knew gluten free could be so easy?

When I was first diagnosed with celiac, I never imagined that I would feel so safe eating food made by others.  It takes time, but you too can enjoy sharing meals with others.  When your friends ask questions, give them clear answers.  They want to get it right, I promise.  And they will.

Vegetables, grains, superfoods and more!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25th, 2008 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

I mentioned Heidi Swanson the other day and her Super Natural Cooking cookbook. Well, I just found out that she has a great website with tons of vegetarian recipes. She also has a section of gluten free recipes! Hopefully this will give you some good ideas for Thanksgiving. Just looking at the pictures will make you want to cook!

You can’t always go out to dinner…favorite recipes

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18th, 2008 by Betsy – 1 Comment

While the husband and I love to go out to dinner, we like to cook even more! Even since I was diagnosed with celiacs, we still use ‘normal’ cookbooks because there are so many delicious recipes out there that are naturally gluten free. Our three favorite cookbooks are,

- The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Ina Garten) The husband’s sister, Heidi, introduced us to the world of Barefoot! While all of her cookbooks are great, the original is our favorite. Her perfect roast chicken is so simple, easy and amazing! (Just skip the 2 tsp. of flour.)

- Super Natural Cooking (Heidi Swanson) Given to me by Heidi, this cookbook is vegetarian and uses many different (non-gluten grains) in its recipes. My personal favorite is the chunky lentil soup. It’s so hearty and perfect for the upcoming cold months. Serve it with GF corn bread and it’s a great dinner.

- The New Best Recipe (Cook’s Illustrated) The husband gave me this cookbook for Christmas last year and it has over 1,000 recipes. For example, the writers experiment with the best ways to make oven french fries and they tell you what the best method is. Lucky for us, the fries are GF and so good! You don’t even need a frier to make them!

Both of our lives are hectic and busy, so taking the time to prepare meals together is one of the things we like to do most. In this blog, I hope to share some of our favorite recipes with you in addition to just reviewing restaurants because for the celiac, eating at home is always the safest and most comfortable place to eat!