A Year Of Jake!

Angie & Jake
Angie & Jake

This blog post is dedicated to one of our dogs, Jake! A year ago today we adopted him from the Atlanta Humane Society. I had adopted Angie ( on the left) years before I met Austin, and when we got married we talked about getting a “man” dog. I absolutely love dogs and I would have 10 if I could, so I was all for it! We talked about it for a couple months and we went to many PetsMart adoptions and shelters and we did not see “the one”. They were all cute, but there is a connection you feel when you find your dog!

So, Austin got to leave work early that Friday and called me at work and said that he was at the Humane Society. He told me to go on the website because it was between two different dogs; Jake ( named Bundy at the time, ew!) and Greed. They were both SO cute but they were both puppies and I didn’t really want a puppy, I really didn’t feel like training a dog, cleaning up pee, etc. Well, Austin ended up choosing “Bundy” (which was quickly changed to Jake) because he was very scared and quiet and Angie seemed to like him too. When I arrived home from work that day this is the little face that I saw and I could not resist:

baby Jake
baby Jake

It was tough at the beginning, alot of barking, accidents, and not alot of sleeping!! After we moved to our house things were better, he was able to run around more and get all his energy out! At about 7 months old I took him to a training class at City Dog Market called Jabula ( I would recommend the class & the store, both are great!) I was grateful that he wasn’t the worst dog there and didn’t embarrass me too much! So, after 8 weeks of hard work he graduated and we were on our way to a better behaved dog!

Jake is now 1 year and 5 months and weighing in at 65 lbs. We were told he was a lab/great dane mix so I think we definitely got a runt! haha. He has been a great addition to our family, he has made Angie much more playful and they are great friends! Here is to many more years with Jake! We love you buddy!!

grownup Jake
grownup Jake

Chocolate Espresso Dipped Marshmallows

chocolate espresso dipped marshmallows
chocolate espresso dipped marshmallows

This week we had our small group at our house and in honor of Valentine’s Day I wanted to make some little treats. Austin and I are the only people with food allergies so I wanted to make something that everyone could have and enjoy. I saw on BeFreeForMe.com some dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day and this looked pretty easy; all you have to do is dip marshmallows in chocolate and dip them in toppings if desired. So, I thought this is great! I put my own spin on it by adding coffee but you could easily take it out. The topping ideas are endless so have fun decorating!

What you need:

-1 bag of marshmallows

-1 bag chocolate chips (enjoy life for dairy free)

-1 1/2 Tbsp coffee granules

Directions:

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave bowl. When chocolate chips have melted add coffee granules and mix together until blended.

-Dip marshmallows in chocolate and decorate with sprinkles, crushed cookies, graham crackers, coconut, nuts or anything else you desire!

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

gluten free sugar cookies
gluten free sugar cookies from small group party!

This is Austin’s grandmother’s recipe that I have changed into gluten free at Austin’s request. This past Thanksgiving was the first time I tried this and Austin said it tasted almost exactly the same, I was so excited!! 🙂 So I made them again at Christmas and now for our small group for Valentine’s Day. This dessert can be made all year round and for any occasion, so I hope you enjoy this Abington/Lee family tradition!

What you need:

-2/3 cup Crisco

-1 1/4 cups sugar

-2 eggs

-1 Tbsp milk ( I use almond milk for dairy free)

-1 tsp vanilla

-3 cups rice flour

-1 tsp xanthan gum

-2 tsp baking powder

gluten free sugar cookies II
gluten free sugar cookies

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 375. Blend the Crisco, sugar, eggs, milk & vanilla

2) Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly

3) Roll out dough on a floured board 1/4 inch thick

4) Cut out the dough with your choice of cookie cutter

5) Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes or until golden brown

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan

gluten free chicken parmesan
gluten free chicken parmesan

Hello all!

Well, along my gluten free journey coming up with something to eat for dinner each day has been a challenge. I love making something new everyday but when your options are cut short sometimes that seems like a daunting task. Italian was definitely my favorite food before my diagnosis and trying to incorporate it back into my life in gluten free ways has been one of my missions. Austin and I have gluten free pizza from time to time which is good, and last night I tried my hand at some Chicken Parmesan. Here it is:

What you need:

-4 boneless chicken breasts (depends on how much you want to make)

-1/2 jar marinara sauce

-1 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I used Kinnikinick)

-1/2 cup white wine

-Olive oil

-Italian seasoning

-Black pepper

-Garlic powder

-Gluten free pasta ( I use DeBoles)

-Mozzarella cheese (or a dairy free cheese)

-Bread for a side ( I use Udi’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Coat a baking dish with olive oil. Pour the white wine in the dish also.

Season the chicken with pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning to your taste. Coat the chicken with the bread crumbs and place in the oven.

Bake the chicken for 20 minutes or until the chicken is almost done. Once the chicken looks almost done take out and cover with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cook until chicken is done and cheese is melted. At the very end I put my oven on broil to make the cheese brown and crispy! Serve this over gfree pasta and with gfree bread!!

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Cake Hearts

gluten free chocolate cake heart
Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, Valentine’s Day is almost here!! I am personally not a big fan, but at least it is a chocolate holiday, so a reason to bake desserts!! I follow Paula Deen on Twitter and she has a guest baker spot called Paula Deen’s Test Kitchen so here is a recipe by Debbie Maugans, the guest for this week! I converted this recipe and changed alot of it to make it gluten free and also just based on the ingredients I had on hand, if you want the original recipe go here!

What you need:

(makes 2 servings)

*butter & flour to grease the pan

*1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp white rice flour ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)

*3 tbsp cocoa powder

*1/8 tsp salt

*1/4 tsp xanthan gum

*3 eggs

*2 tsp very hot water

*2 1/2 tbsp melted butter (earth balance for dairy free)

*2 1/2 tsbp raspberry preserves

*1 cup chocolate chips (enjoy life for dairy free)

*1 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan and line the bottom of the pan with wax paper and butter and flour that too.

2) Combine flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl combine eggs, sugar and water until the mixture is thick. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and add the melted butter. Mix until combined and then bake for 12 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before using the cookie cutter.

3) Combine the raspberry preserves and chocolate chips and vanilla in a bowl and microwave for about a minute or until it is melted. Let the mixture cool and it will get thicker. Once the cake is completely cool and the raspberry/chocolate sauce is thick frost the cake and enjoy with someone you love!

Gluten Free Girl Scout Samoa Cookie

gluten free girl scout samoa cookie
Not pretty, but they were good!!

My co-worker Danielle sent me this recipe, I’m not sure where she got it but props to them!! If I had known that last year was going to be my last time having a Girl Scout cookie I definitely would have eaten alot more! 🙂 So, in the spirit of Girl Scout Cookie season here is a recipe that hopefully can help with that craving! WARNING-these took me about 2.5 hrs to make, it is a long process so definitely make sure you have enough time to spare!! It is originally not gluten free so here is my gluten free/dairy free adaptation:

What you need:

For the cookie:

-2 sticks of butter at room temp (use Earth Balance for dairy free)

-1 cup sugar

-1 egg

-1 teaspoon of vanilla

-1 teaspoon salt

-3 cups white rice flour

-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

For the caramel: (honestly you could probably just buy caramels and melt them to make it easy!!)

-1 1/2 cups sugar

-4 tbsp corn syrup

-6 tbsp water

-pinch of salt

-6 tbsp butter (earth balance for dairy free)

-6 tbsp heavy cream (I used coconut milk for this, pour coconut milk into a container and let sit about an hour at least and it creates a cream on top, use that!)

-1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Extras:

-1 cup coconut

-12 oz chocolate ( I used sweet dreams milk chocolate for dairy free)

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a bowl cream together the butter and the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix. Next, add the salt, flour and xanthan gum. Mix until the dough forms, and form the dough into a cylinder and freeze for 30 minutes.

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into circles and I used a decorating tip to make the hole in the center. Refrigerate for 10 minutes and then bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool.

3.)Make the caramel~combine the sugar, corn syrup, water & salt and whisk together over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved completely ( took about 15 min or so) raise heat to high until it boils. It said at this point it is supposed to turn brown, mine did not it just stayed white until I stirred it up, but it probably took about 20 minutes so don’t get discouraged. To know if it is done or not, get a glass of water and put some of the mixture in it and if it gets hard then you are done! Once it is done remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, cream, & vanilla and keep whisking or else it will start to harden, and keep whisking until smooth.

4.) Now, add the coconut to the caramel and dip the cookies into the mixture, place them on the baking sheet and freeze them until they have hardened.

5.) Melt the chocolate in the microwave, dip the bottom of the cookies in the chocolate and drizzle some over top as well. Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.

ENJOY!

Gluten Free Graham Cracker Toffee

gluten free dessert graham cracker toffee
The Finished Product!!

Last Saturday night we had some friends over spontaneously which I love because it is a great excuse for me to cook! But, it was a busy afternoon and I didn’t have much time to plan so I needed a quick gluten free dessert. I remembered this easy dessert I use to make all the time since I was a little kid,  but the trick was now I had to figure out how to make it gluten free. I think most people have had the saltine cracker toffee, SO GOOD! Well here is my gluten free version:

Austin and I were out and about but we were only going to Target and they have very limited gluten free options. People online suggested Nut Thins or a cracker made by Glutino to substitute the saltine. That just didnt sound good!! I found gluten free graham crackers and decided to try and it was successful! So, if you need a quick dessert idea this one is perfect!

What you need:

1 Box Kinnikinicks Gluten Free graham crackers (or regular too)

2 cups chocolate chips ( we are dairy free too, so I use Enjoy Life brand)

8 Tbsp butter ( we use Earth Balance for dairy free)

1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray it with Pam to prevent sticking. Lay down graham crackers on baking sheet. Boil the butter and brown sugar in a pan until it is melted and makes a liquid toffee. Pour mixture over crackers and bake in oven for 5 minutes or until they are bubbling. Take them out and spread the chocolate chips over the crackers and put back in oven for about a minute or until they start melting. Spread the chocolate chips thinly over the crackers and refrigerate. Once they have hardened break into pieces and enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Chinese Dumplings

gluten free chinese dumplings

**update, I made these 2 days in a row because Austin wanted them again, so here is a picture! Some stuck to the pan so this is not the greatest picture :(***

I found a recipe for Vegan Chinese Dumplings that are also gluten free. Austin, however, is not Vegan, so I knew better than to just follow the recipe. You never know how new recipes will turn out, but this one was great! Austin tried to fit about 5 in his mouth at a time! ha! Needless to say there is no picture to share, they gotten eat too fast!! Here is my Gluten Free version of these Chinese Dumplings:

Dumpling Dough:

1/2 c tapioca starch (i used cornstarch)
1/2 c fine rice flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp T oil (I used olive oil)
5-6 Tbsp cold water

Whisk together the starch, flour, and xanthan gum. Add the oil and then 5 T of the water. I had to add alot more oil & water in order for it to all stick together. Mix by hand until everything comes together. Sprinkle your work surface with flour, roll into a ball and cover with a damp paper towel for about 10 minutes. Make little balls and flatten them with your hand, add filling (recipe to come next) and pinch them close. This was really hard to do and my filling was coming out, so just try your best! Put the dumplings in a pan and fill it with water covering about 1/4 up the dumplings, cover and put on medium heat until all the water evaporates, this will take about 10-15 minutes. After all of the water had evaporated put some oil in the pan to brown them until crispy. I served ours with brown rice and the dipping sauce (recipe at bottom).

Filling:

I used whatever veggies I had on hand which were carrots, yellow pepper, green pepper, scallions, red onion. So, feel free to use what ever you have!! I also put chicken in mine, but tofu was originally suggested, or just make them veggie.  So, just cut up all the veggies and cook them in some oil until they are tender. Then add chicken or any meat that you want and cook together. I love ginger so i added alot, so just use your judgment and add as much or as little ginger as you like! Then add:

1 Tbsp  minced garlic
3 Tbsp  gf soy sauce (I use LaChoy)
1 tsp t  sesame oil

Mix all together until everything is cooked and incorporated. Then, place a paper towel on a plate and let the filling drain and cool. Once it is cool place the filling in the dough and cook as directed above.

Dipping Sauce:

I just made this up, there are no measurements just really as much or as little as you like and just keep taste testing. I LOVE peanut sauces so this is what I made to go with ours:

*peanut butter ( I used chunky)

*rice vinegar

*soy sauce (gfree, I use La Choy)

*sesame oil

*honey

*ginger

*garlic

Mix together and enjoy!!!

If you are interested in the actual recipe this is based on (or your husband isn’t afraid of vegetables and tofu) then you can use the actual Vegan Chinese Dumpling Recipe.

(Inspired by heythattastesgood.com)

Thank You To Austin!

Alright…This is my first blog post!! Exciting! This is dedicated to Austin, he created this lovely blog for me. I had talked about how I really wanted a blog but I didn’t know what I would ever say. So, one day he just took it upon himself and came up with this for me!

So, now I really have to start a blog! I wanted to start a blog ever since I found out I was allergic to wheat (or gluten-free) back in July 2010. It was so hard at the beginning trying to find recipes that I enjoyed, what to make for lunch, what to have for a snack, and how to deal with losing all the foods I loved. I really wanted to start something so that I could help others that have been gluten free for awhile or who are just starting out. Don’t worry you gluten eaters, I wont always be writing about gluten free stuff! 🙂 My hope is that this blog will be enjoyable, informative, funny, and helpful to all who read!! Thanks to Austin and thanks to all who are reading my first post!

Welcome to your Very Own BLOG!!

Court,

I hope you know how much I love you! Look at the web address for this blog post at the top of the page. You are the proud owner of www.courtjlee.com!!!

I know it’s not much, but you have been talking about wanting a blog for a while, so I got you one. I hope you like it! We can come up with some categories and a blog focus this week and get you started! I hope you know that I love you and that I am proud of you!

So, get ready to blog!

Love,

Austin