Hello, hello! I’m so glad to be checking in! It feels like I’ve been checked out the entire month of May. It’s been a crazy one. That said, I’m sad to share the news that my sweet Grandma, who turned 100 this past February, passed away earlier this month. She was nothing short of a superstar. Independent, wise, and so sharp. A lifelong learner, travel adorer, early adapter (she always had her iPad nearby to play brain games, surf Facebook, and read the blog!) and fierce lover of her family. She went to college at a time when women often didn’t, and worked outside the home when being in the kitchen was the norm. Grandma loved her roses, Klondike bars, Lawrence Welk, attending lectures and seminars, being social and staying active, and especially her 6 grandkids and 11 great-grandkids. I could write a book.
I feel fortunate that the kids and I were able to Facetime with her several times in the weeks leading up to her passing when she was in good spirits. This may be an oxymoron, but seeing as though she was 100 years old and in relatively good health, she seemed somewhat invincible to me and I hadn’t given serious thought as to what it might feel like to not have her here. It’s surreal that’s she’s not, but her legacy will last generations. She will never be forgotten and we are all better people for having Alice as our Grandma. <3
My family and I stayed at her house in Ohio with my cousins, aunt, and uncle last week and, oh my goodness, the memories we have of all being there together! Fierce ping pong matches, cots lined up in the basement for sleepless sleepovers, hammering away in my Grandpa’s tool shop, intense games of Scrabble, badminton in the backyard, warm evenings on the porch, Christmas mornings in our PJs, and everyone crowded around the table for my Grandma’s signature Chicken Noodle Soup. Absolutely priceless.
Needless to say it’s been a bittersweet month but my Grandma would want us to focus on the here and now. Ben’s youngest brother is getting married this weekend so his family has been trickling in all week for the festivities taking place through the holiday. Memorial Day – I cannot believe you are already here! So anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. I apologize for the sparse posting – poor Instagram, I’ve all but abandoned you – but of course I know you understand.
Not sure how ya’ segue from that, but here we are! It’s been a couple months since my last Currently post so I thought we’d catch up today. Let’s do this!
Time and place: 1:35pm in my office aka bedroom. #glamorous The little boys and Ben are playing with relatives in town for the wedding and baby G is sleeping off a bug she caught while traveling with me to and from Ohio. She’s got a fever and everything – it’s so sad. :( I’m hoping to catch up then sign off in the next couple of hours before the wedding weekend begins!
Loving:Trey Kennedy. Pleeeeease tell me you follow Trey Kennedy on YouTube/Facebook/Instagram?! His weekly videos are one of the highlights of my week! I’ve probably watched his “Moms” video 50 times and it never, ever, ever stops being funny.
Moms - YouTube
Wearing:Ali & Jay Pleated Jersey Dress. Fellow Moms with a little baby pouch (hi three kids!) I can confidently say I’ve found THE LBD!! I ordered this dress for the aforementioned wedding and will wear it for every formal event until it falls apart. The band and draping at the waist completely hides any lumps, bumps, or pooches and the material is so, so comfortable. It’s also 40% off the moment – cannot beat that! It find it fits true to size.
Recommending: Makeup. I have three makeup products I’ve been using for awhile that I feel comfortable recommending! The first is Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer. I’ve actually been using this product for almost 2 years now and it not only works as a concealer but I also use it as a light foundation by swiping on a few stripes across my cheeks, nose and forehead then blending with my fingers. Great, buildable coverage for a drugstore price.
Thrive Cosmetics Instant Brow Fix. I admit to buying this via Instagram (darn ad targeting!) but I’ve been really pleased with the product. It’s a semi-permanent brow tint that over time leaves color on your brows, which I really need. I use this over eyebrow pencil – see below.
Anastasia Brow Wiz. I asked my eyebrow guru, aka my friend Laura with KILLER brows, for a pencil she loves and this Anastasia product is her favorite. I like it because it’s natural looking and comes in many shades. I buy at Sephora.
OH, also, I recently tried a sample of Beautycounter’s Dew Skin foundation, which everyone seems to be obsessed with, and I HATED it! I think it’s the SPF in the formula, but it felt like pancake makeup and my skin was suffocating. It also had zero coverage, imo. That said, I also tried a sample of Beautycounter’s Tint Skin foundation and LOVED it. Great coverage and it felt like I was wearing nothing. I’m going to purchase a tube with my next order!
Researching: Coffee Pots. I tossed my Keurig last year after watching some disturbing videos on YouTube showing how mold grows in the internal tubes, and have been using a Chemex pour over at home ever since. That said, we need some sort of coffee machine for when family and guests are staying with us. Got a recommendation for me? I don’t need anything fancy – in fact, the more basic the better. Less to go wrong, right? Thank you in advance!
Anticipating:Feel Good Foods “Pizza Rolls”. I am capital O-bsessed with Feel Good Foods’ line of certified gluten free frozen foods – their chicken and chipotle taquitos (which are killer with my homemade ranch dressing,) and chicken pot stickers are always in my freezer – and so I was thrilled to find their new pizza roll inspired snack bites at Super Target the other day. I don’t make it a habit to eat frozen, processed foods often but you cannot beat this company’s ingredient lists. And anyway, gluten free pizza rolls?! The 90s teen in me is totally into it. ;)
Saving:Butcher Box Ultimate BBQ Bundle. Heads up, Butcher Box is having a summer sale for new members right now. Sign up between now (May 24) and June 10 and you’ll receive 2 New York strip steaks, a slab of baby back ribs, and 2lbs ground beef for FREE in your first box. We love their ground beef so much I just ordered a “ground beef blast” – aka 10lbs of ground beef – to be included in my next shipment. Ugh, so good! You can click here for the deal >
Using:pacifier clips. As I mentioned, Gwen flew with me to Ohio for my Grandma’s services last week (baby girl won’t take a bottle!) and these pacifier clips saved us while traveling. Neither of the boys used pacifiers past 4 months when I took them away so they could find their fingers to self soothe, but G never found a thumb so here we are. Anyway, I got these clips to double as a safety net between her mouth and the disgusting airplane floor, plus something fun for her to play with too. They worked so well!
Sniffing: Lilacs. The air has smelled SO amazing over the past three weeks as all the area trees and lilacs have bloomed. It’s such a mood booster to step outside and feel as if you’ve stepped into a perfume shop. We have a giant bush/tree/unidentified plant on the back side of our house that I’ve 95% killed over the past 5 years by over trimming (I have the BLACKEST of black thumbs) that I’d like to dig out and replace with an old fashioned lilac bush. Does anyone know, have I missed my planting window this year?
Cooking:Crock Pot White Chicken Chili. I made dinner for Ben’s family a couple times this week and one of the evenings I turned to my tried and true Crock Pot White Chicken Chili. This is SUCH an easy dinner recipe and smells so good that even my neighbor commented on it – ha! I always make a double batch and skip the thickening step at the end – it doesn’t need it. I should really just edit the recipe… Anyway, pairs perfectly with tortilla chips and guacamole!
Replacing:Pyrex 16-Piece Set. I fiiiinally got rid of the last of our plastic gladware containers in favor of all glass storage. I was almost there then fully switched over when my favorite 16-piece set went on sale recently and it feels so, so good. If you are new to the gluten free world, this would be a great set to purchase as gluten can stick to the surfaces and scratches in plastic food storage containers.
Crunching:Bubba’s ‘Nana Chips. I picked up a bag of these green-banana-based snacks at the store the other day – ummm, SO GOOD!!! Love the buffalo flavor, especially, though the garlic and nacho flavors are awesome too.
Making: Memorial Day-friendly recipes. As I mentioned, it’s hard to believe this weekend is Memorial Day! This month totally flew by. If you are planning a party, potluck, or get together, here are a few of my favorite festive recipes:
Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken is an easy, gluten free dinner recipe that pairs the craveable flavors of fresh bruschetta with chicken and mozzarella cheese.
We had our first 90 degree day this week (woof/hooray!) It was gloriously hot and humid and ugh, I am just so excited for summer. The kids and I had a little preview earlier this week when we spent the morning at a nearby natural playscape (L had the day off from school.) It was all fun and games until Cam causally attempted to jump off a 4-1/2″ high tree stump like his big brother. Thank goodness I was right there and caught him literally in mid air. I’m not sure who will end up in the ER first – Cam or me from a heart attack!
(lololololol to Lincoln’s unprompted senior picture pose.) ;)
The gorgeous weather has me craving all things fresh, grilled, and flavorful – you know, summer food! And while a family of mice decided to make our grill their home this past winter (gross >> no >> why >> help,) I’m still achieving fresh and flavorful with Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken – no grill required. I apologize if this plate of food is somewhat unrecognizable – I get a little crazy around reduced balsamic vinegar!
This recipe is summer on a plate and so, SO good. It’s all about the homemade bruschetta which is a mouthwatering mixture of herby, tangy, and saucy, ie fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, raw garlic, and my (not so) secret ingredient – freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Oh, and that aforementioned balsamic reduction which is thick, sweet, and spoon-drink worthy. Hence my slightly massacred plate, ha!
It’s a given that nobody wants to be hovering over the stovetop in the summer. There’s walks to be had, sprinklers to be run through, and mules to be sipped on the patio. Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken takes no time at all and nearly all the components can be prepped ahead of time. That means, when it’s time to eat, all you’ve got to do is saute chicken, spoon on some bruschetta, slap some cheese on top, then broil until melted. Couldn’t be simpler. Let’s do this!
Start by making the balsamic reduction which is code for: simmer balsamic vinegar. You’ve got it! Add 1 cup balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until you can see the bottom of the pot for a second or two when you scrap a spatula across (it will continue to thicken as it cools, FYI,) about 20 minutes.
Voila – you’ve made balsamic reduction! Set it aside to cool.
Next make the bruschetta topping. I know there are store-bought varieties available but promise me you’ll try making your own just once. You’ll never go back!
To a bowl add 2 cups chopped tomatoes (any kind and no need to seed first), 1/4 cup packed fresh basil that’s been chopped, 3 Tablespoons EACH extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional but definitely add if you’re not using very ripe, in-season tomatoes,) 1 medium-sized garlic clove that’s been pressed or finely minced, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Time to cook. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then season 4 chicken cutlets OR chicken breasts that have been pounded thin with homemade seasoned salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Saute until golden brown on the bottom then turn the heat down slightly, flip, and continue to saute until cooked through.
I love using chicken cutlets for this dish, and in many of my other chicken skillet recipes, because they’re quick-cooking and stretch your chicken. I can use two big chicken breasts to feed my family of 5!
Once the chicken is cooked through, add 2-3 Tablespoons of the bruschetta mixture to the top of each piece of chicken followed by 2oz sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese.
Pop the skillet under your broiler to melt the cheese then scoop onto plates and drizzle with balsamic reduction. YUM. Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken is fab served next to steamed or roasted vegetables, or over a bed of gluten free angel hair pasta. Drizzled with extra bruschetta mixture?! TO DIE FOR! However you serve it, I hope you love this easy, tasty dish – enjoy!
Mozzarella Bruschetta Chicken is an easy, gluten free dinner recipe that pairs the craveable flavors of fresh bruschetta with chicken and mozzarella cheese.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
4 chicken breasts or cutlets (see notes)
homemade seasoned salt and pepper
4oz mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
For the bruschetta topping:
2 cups diced tomato (see notes)
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 medium-sized garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
salt and pepper
Add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan then turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to medium then simmer and reduce until you can see the bottom of the pot for a second or two after scraping a spatula across it (see photo in post), about 20 minutes. Vinegar will continue to thicken as it cools, FYI. Set aside to cool - can be done a day ahead of time.
Meanwhile, add ingredients for bruschetta topping in a medium-sized bowl then stir to combine and set aside. Can be done a day ahead of time.
Place an oven rack directly underneath the broiler then preheat to high.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray with nonstick spray. Season chicken on both sides with homemade seasoned salt and pepper then add to the skillet and saute until golden brown on the bottom, 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken cutlets/breasts. Turn heat down to medium then flip chicken and saute until nearly cooked through, 4-6 additional minutes, flipping chicken again if necessary. Sometimes I place a lid on top of the skillet if it feels like the chicken is browning too quickly on the outside but still raw on the outside.
Spoon 2-3 Tablespoons bruschetta topping on top of each piece of chicken followed by 1/4 of the cheese. Transfer skillet under the broiler then broil until cheese is melted. Scoop chicken onto plates then drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve extra bruschetta topping on the side.
You can use chicken cutlets (large chicken breasts cut in half widthwise) or chicken breasts depending on how hungry you are. If you use chicken breasts be sure they have been pounded to an even thickness to ensure even cooking.
Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins are soft, squishy, and naturally sweetened. A great gluten free breakfast or snack option that’s easily made vegan, too. Sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.
Due to the popularity of the Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies I recently posted (which you are making and loving in droves – whee!) I thought you might be looking for more recipes using nutritious and delicious almond flour. If so, I highly recommend making then devouring a fat stack of Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins ASAP.
OH MY WOOORD!
If you like soft and squishy muffins that are made in one bowl, naturally sweetened, and bursting with fresh blueberries – gluten free and vegan too – then I got you, friend! Just don’t send me a nastygram when you lose track of how many almond flour blueberry muffins you’ve eaten in one sitting. You’ve been warned…
This craveable gluten free breakfast or snack recipe is brought to you by my buds at Bob’s Red Mill. I didn’t realize until pulling out the ingredients to make these muffins that I’ve slowly but surely replaced all my gluten free baking products with Bob’s Red Mill brand ones. From almond flour to gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ground flaxseed meal, I have been so impressed with not only the standards the company has in regards to producing safe gluten free products, but the quality too. I constantly hear people complaining about gritty baked goods when using gluten free flour in their recipes but I’ve never had that experience using Bob’s Red Mill products.
Before we get to the recipe, I also want to let you know that Bob’s new Better Bars are continuing to roll out in grocery stores across the country! I featured these low-sugar, high-protein bars with minimal ingredient lists in my 10 Purse Essentials post a few months ago and was so pumped to find them stocked at my local HyVee recently (locals: they’re by the cereals/granolas in the Health Market at my store.)
My boys love these soft and chewy bars and I feel 1000x better about offering them as a snack over animal crackers or heck, even an applesauce pouch because they have so much more staying power. Filling, yummy, and a great balance of protein, healthy fats, and whole grain carbs? Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!
Hot tip: if you’re an adult who wants to feel like a kid – try the Peanut Butter Jelly & Oats bar. It is a dead ringer for a peanut butter & jelly sandwich!
Back to these muffins though, which have become another snack time favorite. I’ve always been a person who has felt, if you’re going to eat dessert – EAT DESSERT. But if you’re going to eat a muffin, don’t eat one that has the nutritional content of a slice of frosted cake. That said, most muffins are packed with sugar and fat, though my Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins are not!
I replaced white sugar with a mixture of pure maple syrup and mashed banana, which not only contributes to the sweetness and incredible moistness (sorry) of these muffins, but reduces the amount of fat you need to use too. I also replaced eggs with “flax eggs” – ie water mixed with ground flaxseed meal – which provides a boost of omega 3 fatty acids and renders these muffins vegan, in case you need that.
Since those who eat gluten free can’t use whole wheat flour, the base of this recipe is almond flour which is a great option when you desire a flour that’s a touch healthier – maybe “well rounded” is a better term – then a regular gluten free flour blend. That said, almond flour not only lends a fabulous texture and flavor to these muffins, but a boost of healthy fats and fiber too.
Almond flour is also what gives these muffins their enviable tan on top – I promise, they’re not burnt and are just as soft as advertised!
Truly I could not be more tickled with how these Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins came out. All three of the kids and myself have been devouring them not just for breakfast, but snack time too. They’re so nice to have on the counter when the kids are “starving” (5 minutes after lunch) and I need something healthier to toss their way without having to get out a cutting board and knife. (Sometimes you JUST. CAN’T. EVEN. Know what I mean?!) Pair with a glass of milk and you’re set!
Start by making 2 “flax eggs”. Combine 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water in a small dish, then let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken. As I mentioned earlier, the combination of flaxseed meal and water creates a “flax egg” which is a common vegan replacement for chicken eggs in recipes.
While the flaxseed is thickening, add 1/2 cup each mashed banana and pure maple syrup, 1/4 cup each melted coconut oil and milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to a large bowl then stir with a fork to combine. Add the flax eggs then stir again.
Finally, add 1 cup blueberries then fold to combine, and then scoop 1/4 cup batter into each cup of a lined muffin tin (I use an ice cream scoop.) Pop the muffins into a 375 degree oven then bake for 17-19 minutes or until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the muffins hang out in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. The urge to eat these babies right away is STRONG, but I find the flavor is best when they’ve come down to room temperature.
Like I said, I ate more of these soft and squishy, perfectly sweet, blueberry-packed muffins then I care to share and I just know you’ll love them too. Whether you serve them for breakfast or as a snack, enjoy enjoy!
Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins are not only gluten free and easily made vegan, but they're soft, squishy, and naturally sweetened, too. Such a treat!
makes 1 dozen muffins
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mashed banana (~1 large or 2 small bananas)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup milk, any kind (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees then line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
To a small dish, add ground flaxseed and 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water (6 Tablespoons total) then stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
To a large bowl, add mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla then stir with a fork to combine. Add thickened flaxseed mixture then stir to combine. Sprinkle the next 5 ingredients - almond flour through salt - on top then stir until all the ingredients are wet. Switch to stirring with a spatula to ensure ingredients are well mixed together. Add blueberries then fold to combine.
Scoop 1/4 cup batter into prepared muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop) then bake for 17-19 minutes or until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let muffins sit in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store on the counter for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5.
Due to the almond flour, the tops of these muffins will be brown vs light golden brown when baked. That's fine! They don't taste burnt and are still nice and soft despite the color.
When measuring the almond flour, scoop the flour out of the bag then shake to level the cup, versus packing or pressing the flour into the cup.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
For the chocoholic, pie lover, and everything in between, here are 10 Gluten Free Mother’s Day desserts for every type of Mom!
If I had to create a vision board of what my ideal Mother’s Day would look like, it’d include a sunny day with lots of puffy clouds so I wouldn’t feel too terrible about making my melasma worse, a table for one on our back patio stocked with champagne, orange juice, Club Car gluten free mac and cheese, and did I mention champagne, plus the six books I’ve bought in the past 3 months that I have yet to crack.
DREAM BIG, MAMAS!!!
My vision board would also include not one, not two, but all 10 of the gluten free Mother’s Day desserts I’m sharing with you today. Oh, and pictures of my children – the wee ones who MADE me a Mama! Who I would happily watch play in the yard under the aforementioned partly sunny skies until they started asking for snacks. Then they’re all Ben’s.
Anyway, sweet, sweet Mother’s Day desserts, ladies! Honestly, forget the mac and cheese (but not the champagne…and honestly not the mac and cheese either) all I really want this Sunday is a yummy, gluten free treat, like the simple and special recipes below.
Whether you’re looking to bake for your Mom, or you’ve been sent here by your Mom (hi, I’ll take care of you!) all 10 of these recipes would be a hit with her on Mother’s Day. That said, if you know Mom’s got a penchant for pie, or a constant craving for chocolate, enjoys the classics, or something uber decadent, one of the gluten free Mother’s Day dessert recipes below is sure to be a perfect fit. :)
To all my fellow, future, and hopeful Mamas out there – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
For the “Surprise Me!” Mom
The dreaded phrase no family wants to hear from Mom – “surprise me!” Ugh. Stop sweating because I’ve got you covered with Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake, which ANY Mama will love. If she likes cheesecake, ice cream, pie, lemon bars, or any dessert in between, she’ll flip over this no-bake, gluten free AND dairy-free treat. Promise!
Pie lovers, may I present Triple Berry Crumb Bars? These easy, pie-inspired bars are sweet, tart, and, speaking from experience, way easier to make then a homemade gluten free pie crust. Woof. Featuring three kinds of berries and a crumble mixture that doubles as a crust AND topping, they are so glorious.
Got a fun and fancy Mom? Berries in a Cloud will delight her! This is a great project for teenagers to work together on. Whip up and bake the meringue, stir up the lemon curd, then top with fresh berries before presenting on a platter. Elegant and impressive, yet not difficult to make.
Got a Mom who loves the outdoors and camping? No-Bake S’Mores Icebox Cake is a fun and irresistable twist on the campfire classic. Emphasis on irresistable – this gluten free dessert recipe is SO delicious. Sticky, sweet, crunchy, and creamy. YUM.
If Mom loves a good ol’ fashioned brownie (topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce, of course) Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies are just the ticket. Made in just 1 bowl with everyday ingredients, they are chewy, chocolatey, and ultra fudgy.
Gluten free, dairy free Dirt Cake is for the fun loving Mama who’s a kid at heart! This INSANE dessert recipe is one of my all time favorites. Rich, chocolatey, creamy and, most importantly, topped with gummy worms. So memorable, and of course the kids will love it too. ;)
If Mom is a dessert purist, you cannot go wrong with No-Bake Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake, which is simply whipped cream, gluten free sugar cookies, and sliced strawberries layered in a baking dish then refrigerated overnight. The best recipes are often the easiest, right?
For the sweetheartiest of all Moms – the one who loves cooking and baking with her family – Blueberry Almond Crisp. Someone preps the berries, another person makes the crisp topping, while a third layers it all together in a baking dish. Bake until golden brown then enjoy while still warm together.
Lemon-Ginger Mint Juleps are perfect for the Kentucky Derby, or anytime you’re craving a refreshing and easy cocktail recipe!
The closest Ben and I have ever come to attending the Kentucky Derby was sitting indoors at the local racetrack sipping pre-made mint juleps while watching the actual race on TV with like, four other people. Not quite the experience we were looking for, but it does make me laugh every time I think about it.
Ooo, actually, I was in Vegas with girlfriends during the derby one year (and even met a few IGE readers as we cheered on our horses at the pool bar!) but technically Iowa is closer to Kentucky then Nevada, so we’re going with the horseless, ill-attended local derby party instead. Ha!
Anyway, things are looking up this year! Ben and I are skipping the smokey racetrack and casino to attend a watch party hosted by some friends – derby attire required. I’ve got my fascinator ready and an easy cocktail recipe to sip on too. Lemon-Ginger Mint Juleps are just the thing to feel like you’re heading to Churchill Downs no matter where you might be!
Truly, attending the Kentucky Derby is high on my bucket list and I cannot wait to attend some day. My Dad hitchhiked there in the 70s, as one does, and said it was a blast. ;) Seriously though, the tradition that surrounds the race is so exciting to me, and unlike any event that occurs in the Midwest. 364 days of the year I have no interest in horse racing yet I’m usually the loudest one in the room during the most exciting two minutes in sports. Eep! What can I say, I love a good adrenaline rush!
I also don’t usually drink anything resembling a mint julep – the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby – 364 days a year, but on derby day? Hey-o! Bring on the bourbon.
Now, Mint Juleps are a combination of bourbon, simple syrup, and mint, and when done right (ie not too much simple syrup,) they are super, super delicious. Wanting to give the classic cocktail my own little spin, I decided to add a lemon wedge and splash of ginger ale. Forget my old derby day rule – we’ll be making these all summer long. So refreshing!!
Couple of notes:
Like regular Mint Juleps, this easy cocktail recipe calls for crushed ice. Not only does it give you that classic derby drink experience, but it also serves a purpose. Crushed ice melts faster then ice cubes, diluting the drink and noticeably changing it’s flavor. In a good way! That said, I always wait a few minutes between pouring and taking my first sip. (Torture, I know.)
If you order a Mint Julep at a bar you’ll get a sprig of mint stuffed inside. It’s fun and festive. BUT, when making Lemon-Ginger Mint Juleps at home, go a step further and slap that bad boy first. Yes! Place a big mint sprig in one hand then slap/clap it with the other before popping it into the ice. This releases the mint’s oils which you’ll get a whiff of every time you take a sip.
This might go without saying, but if you don’t like bourbon, you probably won’t like this drink. ;)
Ok! For one cocktail, add 1 lemon wedge (pic shows 2 – use 1), 8 mint leaves, and 1/4 – 1/2oz simple syrup depending on how sweet you want it (I use a scant 1/2oz), to the bottom of a cocktail shaker or wide-mouth mason jar. Use the handle of a wooden spoon, or a muddler if you’ve got one, to muddle the ingredients just enough. Not too much or the mint can turn bitter.
Add a couple handfuls of ice cubes to your shaker or jar then pour 2oz bourbon on top and use the handle to stir the drink until it’s very cold. Mint Juleps are typically stirred, not shaken, so stir even if you’re using a shaker. I’ve used both Maker’s Mark and Bulleit bourbons to make this drink. Old Forester is The Mint Julep Bourbon, so that’s another good option too!
Pack a rocks glass with crushed ice then strain the drink inside. Top with ginger ale (I love Fever Tree brand) then garnish with a big sprig of slapped mint, which is a fun party trick if you’re making this drink for guests. ;)
Whether you’re enjoying this easy cocktail recipe for the derby or any ol’ day of the year – enjoy, and CHEERS!
Lemon-Ginger Mint Juleps are perfect for the Kentucky Derby, or anytime you're craving a refreshing and easy cocktail recipe!
makes 1 drink
1 lemon wedge (see notes)
8 mint leaves + 1 big sprig for a slapped garnish
1/4 - 1/2oz simple syrup, depending on how sweet you want it (see notes)
2oz (1/4 cup) bourbon (I like Maker's Mark or Bulleit)
Ginger ale (I like Fever Tree)
Add lemon wedge, mint leaves, and simple syrup to the bottom of a cocktail shaker or a wide-mouth mason jar then use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle the ingredients just enough - not too much or the mint will turn bitter. Add a couple big handfuls of ice cubes and the bourbon then stir with the wooden handle until very cold.
Pack a rocks glass (also called a lowball or Old Fashioned glass) with crushed ice then strain the drink inside (I pour the drink through my cocktail shaker's strainer then through a fine mesh sieve.) Top with ginger ale.
Place the mint sprig garnish in one hand then clap/slap it with your other hand to release its essential oils. Stick the sprig in the drink leaving the leaves above the ice so you can smell them every time you take a drink. I like to let the Ginger-Lemon Mint Juleps sit and dilute for a few minutes before taking a sip. As the crushed ice melts it really changes the flavor of the cocktail!
For the lemon wedges: slice a lemon in half lengthwise then each half into quarters.
For the simple syrup: add 1/2 cup each water and sugar into a mason jar then microwave for 1 minute. Stir then continue microwaving in 15 second increments until the simple syrup is clear. Refrigerate until cold - can be made up to a couple weeks ahead of time.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
One-Pot Chicken and Rice is part soup, part risotto, and wholly comforting. Your family will ask for this easy yet irresistable gluten free dinner recipe again and again.
We affectionately call this One-Pot Chicken and Rice dish “gruel” at my house.
“KIDS!” I’ll yell at dinnertime, “Come get yer gruel!” And they come running. What can I say, it makes me laugh and it’s the little things.
This easy, gluten free recipe was born from Lincoln’s love of Easy Chicken and Rice Soup and Cam’s deep, deep desire to wear his dinner every night. Part risotto (without all the stirring) and part soup, it’s creamy and made in one pot like porridge or “gruel”, but absolutely delicious and super comforting. Plus it’s easy to eat – even for 2 year olds. ;)
Far from the milky white porridge that Charlie Bucket’s grandparents ate out of wooden bowls whilst bed-ridden together (WHY??) in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this is one rendition of a creamy rice dish that you’ll absolutely look forward to eating. It’s also a complete meal in a bowl, which is another reason why I love making it for my kids – no battling over taking two more bites of this, that, and the other thing!
Sliced carrots are sauteed in butter and homemade seasoned salt then joined by dried minced onions, garlic, parsley, rice, diced chicken, and rich stock until thick and irresistible. THEN it’s finished with a couple pats of butter. Did I mention it’s irresistable? This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd and anything we don’t finish reheats wonderfully, too. It is not an understatement to say that my entire family LOVES this dish!
Now, a couple notes:
I’ve been making this recipe regularly for the past year or so but have never measured the ingredients until now so I could share it with you. That said, make any adaptations you like – it’s very hard to screw up! Use fresh onions and garlic instead of the dried versions. Add more or less butter to your liking. Throw in some celery or leeks if you please! Point being, this isn’t fancy or fussy cooking – use what you’ve got and follow your heart. :)
Use good quality rice or you actually WILL end up with mushy gruel. Please no par-baked or minute rice. I use Lundberg White Jasmine Rice.
I have not made this recipe with brown rice though if you do, you might need more chicken stock and of course will need to increase the cooking time.
Since this dish has just a few simple ingredients, I like using gluten free chicken STOCK vs broth for maximum flavor.
One-Pot Chicken and Rice (and the soup it’s adapted from) really benefits from being seasoned with my homemade seasoned salt. It’s just 4 ingredients that I can almost guarantee you have in your cupboards right now, and really adds a ton of flavor to each bite.
Oh my gosh, yum. Ok, let’s get this grue-, I mean One-Pot Chicken and Rice on the table!
Start by adding 1 heaping cup sliced carrots (from 1 cup baby carrots or 2 large carrots) to 2 Tablespoons butter that’s been melted in a soup pot over medium heat. Season with homemade seasoned salt and pepper then place a lid on top and saute until the carrots are tender, 5-6 minutes.
Next add 2 scant cups GOOD QUALITY long grain white rice, 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion, and 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic, then stir to coat the rice in the butter and saute for one minute.
Again, if you don’t use the right rice you’ll end up with mush, so I recommend using good quality rice like Lundberg.
Add 2 Tablespoons dried parsley and 8 cups chicken stock to the pot then bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low then simmer for 10 minutes. Next, season 2 small chicken breasts that have been chopped into bite-sized pieces with seasoned salt and pepper then add to the soup pot and continue to simmer until the rice is al dente and the chicken is cooked through, 10-15 additional minutes.
Last step is to remove the pot from the heat, place a lid on top, and let sit for 5 minutes. Finally, stir in 2-4 additional Tablespoons butter (follow your heart!) and season with additional seasoned salt and pepper if necessary.
One-Pot Chicken and Rice will thicken a bit as it cools – and tastes best warm vs piping hot – so give it a little rest then scoop into bowls and call in your crew! I hope you love this easy and comforting dish – enjoy!
One-Pot Chicken and Rice is part soup, part risotto, and wholly comforting. Your family will ask for this easy yet irresistable gluten free dinner recipe again and again.
4 - 6 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter, divided
1 heaping cup chopped carrots (from 1 cup baby carrots or 2 large carrots)
homemade seasoned salt and pepper (see notes)
2 scant cups long grain white rice (I like Lundberg White Jasmine Rice)
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion (see notes)
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (see notes)
2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
8 cups gluten free chicken stock
2 small chicken breasts (14oz), cut into bite-sized pieces
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, season with seasoned salt and pepper, then place a lid on top and cook until carrots are tender, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add rice, dried onions and dried garlic then stir to coat in butter and saute for 1 minute. Add dried parsley and chicken stock then turn heat up to high to bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot as it comes to a boil.
Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season chicken with seasoned salt and pepper then add to the pot, turn heat up slightly to bring back up to a bubble, then turn back down to medium-low and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice is al dente, 12-15 more minutes, stirring occasionally and more frequently near the end.
Place a lid on top of the pot then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 - 4 Tablespoons butter (however much you like!) then season with additional seasoned salt and pepper if necessary. Scoop into bowls then serve. Note: dish will thicken as it cools.
Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake is a sweet and refreshing gluten free dessert recipe that’s no-bake, vegan, and calls for just 4 ingredients. Perfect for any special occasion!
Oh my goodness, oh my GOOODneeesss!!! THIS goodness – no-bake Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake – has officially and instantly become my go-to spring and summer dessert recipe for any and all occasions. Wine club, Mother’s Day, dinner parties, birthdays, potlucks, Tuesdays… Wait, how did that get in there?
I actually made this incredible gluten free dessert recipe that’s vegan friendly too (no eggs nor dairy) to share before Easter (here’s my cute crew moments before entering a jelly bean-induced sugar rush!) but screwed up the layers and didn’t have time to remake and post before the holiday. So, the boys and I ate it straight out of the loaf pan with forks all week. Wish I was kidding. Seriously though, this type-A suffers from major perfectionitis and I couldn’t bear the thought of not getting this perfect layer shot in all its perfect layer glory. Gahh!! Such a sucker for layered desserts – especially when they’re this easy.
When I hear spring I think lemon, and when I imagine summer I see blueberries. This mash up of fresh and bright flavors is my favorite no-bake icebox cake creation to date, which is REALLY saying something because they’re all incredible. In this version though we layer gluten free graham crackers, fresh blueberries, and lemon curd folded with coconut whipped topping in a loaf pan before refrigerating overnight. Slice, serve and enjoy! The blueberries stay snappy, the graham crackers soften to mimic cake, and that whippy lemon layer is just to die for.
Speaking of, let’s talk lemon curd! Lemon curd is essentially a tangy lemon pudding and the only thing better then the taste is the fact that you can make it up to a week ahead of time. Yes! That said, I’m currently avoiding eggs, as Gwen is allergic and reacts to them through my breastmilk, which is a big ol’ bummer because lemon curd is traditionally made with a crap ton of egg yolks.
Pardon my french.
No biggie though because I found an egg-free lemon curd recipe, which I’ll link to below (my favorite traditional recipe using eggs is also below,) that is a DEAD RINGER for the real thing. I was fully prepared to have to sacrifice flavor and/or creaminess by making an eggless version, but nuh-uh! So good! The only downfall, if you can really call it that, is that the lemon curd and therefore the lemon/whip layer in this no-bake cake is white vs yellow if made without eggs. You will not care a lick after licking your plate entirely clean of this gluten free dessert recipe!
As I mentioned, this no-bake icebox cake would have been perfect for Easter (sob. I’m sorry!!) though Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I promise you that Mom will go crazy for this special gluten free dessert recipe. Did I mention eating half the reject straight out of the pan?! We’ve made make my Strawberry Shortcake No-Bake Icebox Cake for the holiday in the past, but this lemon-blueberry version will be making an appearance this year instead. Sorry strawberries, no hard feelings!
Start by folding together 1-1/2 cups prepared lemon curd with a 9oz tub whipped topping (my preferred brand is below) in a large bowl.
As I mentioned earlier, you can make the lemon curd days in advance, which is nice. For a vegan (egg/dairy free) option, I like the recipe for Vegan Egg Curd from Minimalist Baker using cornstarch and white sugar instead of arrowroot starch and maple syrup, respectively. Again, your egg curd won’t be a brilliant yellow since there’s no eggs in it, but it is a dead ringer taste-wise for the real thing. For a traditional lemon curd using eggs I like The Best Lemon Curd recipe from The Food Charlatan. I usually leave out the butter at the end, FYI.
Here’s my preferred whipped topping, btw. It’s a dairy-free, coconut-based whipped topping, and the faint coconut flavor pairs really well with the lemon and blueberry. That said, I don’t think I’d necessarily be able to identify the flavor as coconut if I didn’t know it was in there. It just adds a nice somethin’ somethin’!
Assembly time! Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with saran wrap letting it hang generously off the ends then spread 3/4 cup lemon whip mixture in the bottom. Next add a layer of graham crackers, cutting or breaking them to fit into an even layer.
Note: While there is no egg in this brand’s ingredient list, the box says the crackers may contain eggs (I’m sure they are processed on a shared line or something,) so please be aware if you have an egg allergy or are strictly vegan. Gwen hasn’t reacted at all on my end.
Add another layer of the lemon whip mixture followed by a scant cup blueberries, then repeat the lemon whip >> graham cracker >> lemon whip >> blueberry layers two more times (I’ve listed it out to easily follow in the recipe card below.) Cover the top with saran wrap then refrigerate for at least 18 hours.
When you’re ready to eat, invert the cake onto a cutting board then use the overhanging saran wrap to loosen it from the pan. Sprinkle the top with crushed graham crackers for a pretty presentation, then use a very sharp knife to cut the cake into slices. I find it helps to wipe the knife off on a paper towel in between slices.
Grab a fork and dig in!!! I hope you love this GORGEOUS and tangy-sweet gluten free treat as much as we do. It’s couldn’t be more perfect for a spring and summer potluck, patio dinner, special occasion, and every event in between. Enjoy, enjoy!
Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake is a sweet and refreshing gluten free dessert recipe that's no-bake, vegan, and calls for just 4 ingredients. Perfect for any special occasion!
1-1/2 cups prepared lemon curd (see notes)
9oz tub coconut whipped topping (I like SoDelicious CoCoWhip)
2, 8oz boxes gluten free graham crackers (I like Kinnikinnick S’moreables)
1 pint blueberries
Add lemon curd and whipped topping to a large bowl then fold to combine.
Line a 9x5” loaf pan with saran wrap, letting it hang generously over the ends. Spread/add layers as follows:
3/4 cup lemon mixture
Graham crackers, cut/broken to fit into an even layer
3/4 cup lemon mixture
Scant cup blueberries
3/4 cup lemon mixture
3/4 cup lemon mixture
Scant cup blueberries
3/4 cup lemon mixture
3/4 cup lemon mixture
Scant cup blueberries
Any leftover lemon mixture (ok if not)
Cover the top with saran wrap then refrigerate for at least 18 hours. When ready to serve, remove saran wrap from the top then invert cake onto a cutting board. Gently pull on overhanging saran wrap to remove the cake from the pan then sprinkle top with crushed leftover graham crackers, slice with a very sharp knife, and serve.
Enjoy brunch as much as before with these 15+ simple and mouthwatering gluten free brunch recipes! From gluten free cinnamon rolls and muffins, to easy breakfast casseroles and more.
I’ve been getting a ton of requests lately for gluten free brunch recipes and I’ve been SO happy to respond with all my favorites! Brunch is a meal with no boundaries which, like Chick-fil-A fries for lunch in the parking lot, is totally a meal I can get behind.
Since we’re talking brunch/breakfast-type recipes, I have to tell you that I’ve been making breakfast for dinner a lot lately because it’s so fast and the kids and I been spending more time outdoors in the afternoons as the weather warms up. Each photo I caught of my babes during a recent bubble adventure in the backyard sums them up *perfectly*. Lincoln is karate chopping the bubbles, Cam is trying to eat them, and sis is laughing at them both. Oh my goodness!
Anyway, the kids’ current fave (and mine too because it takes 10 minutes to make) is gluten free French Toast Sticks – would you like the recipe?
Back to brunch! As I mentioned last week, we are in the thick of shower season which is a big reason why I’ve been getting so many requests for brunch recipes. It’s a great time of day to schedule an event around because brunch recipes are typically easy, make-ahead and, like I mentioned, anything goes. Sweet, savory, hearty, or light – DIY bars, casseroles, dips, and more – there are SO many fun dishes you can serve for brunch, and the best news of all is that many are easily made gluten free.
Easter is coming up of course and while we typically enjoy a huge Easter dinner, my Mom also always prepares brunch for after church and before the big egg hunt. The recipes I’m sharing below are almost always on the menu and make for such a delicious day. Showers, holidays, or simply when you’ve got guests or want to entertain, you are going to adore these 15+ gluten free brunch recipes!
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
I can promise you three things if Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls are on the brunch menu: 1.) they will FLY off the platter (especially if warm – YUM.) 2.) It doesn’t really matter what else you make for brunch because everyone will be obsessing over the gluten free cinnamon rolls. 3.) Make a double batch. :)
My Mom always prepares both a fruit and relish tray for brunches and Best Ever Fruit Dip totally makes the platter! This three ingredient fruit dip recipe is from an 80s church cookbook and, unlike power bangs, has stood the test of time.
Tart, tropical-tasting, and totally delish! 2-Ingredient Lemon Whip Fruit Dip is so, so easy and goes well with any fruit or cookie…or very large spoon. A must-have for any brunch fruit tray or platter.
I love bars at brunches (and brunches at bars – hey-o!) Bloody Mary and waffles bars are fun, and yogurt bars are too! Set out large bowls of plain or lightly sweetened yogurt with fresh fruit, spoons, and lots of The Best Grain Free Granola so guests can make their own parfaits.
IMHO you cannot have a proper brunch without a cheesy, bubbling breakfast casserole, which is why I’ve got four of them in this list! Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole has been a hit with my family and yours for years and years. I actually schedule celebrations for birthdays and baptisms, etc around brunch time so I can serve this dish. So easy and SUCH a crowd pleaser.
Don’t tell Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole, but Breakfast Taco Casserole might actually be my favorite brunch-friendly casserole. All the typical ingredients that come in breakfast tacos – corn tortillas, eggs, and sausage – layered in a baking dish then smothered with cheese sauce. YES.
Roasted Poblano and Sausage Breakfast Casserole takes a liiiiittle extra effort to roast a couple poblano peppers, but my word is it worth the effort. If you’re tired of the same old breakfast casserole for brunch, this make-ahead, slightly special version is definitely worth a try.
Gluten Free Breakfast Pizza with Hash Brown Crust is one of my very favorite recipes EVER – not just for brunch! Surprise your gluten free guests with this crispy, sturdy, gluten free pizza that’s topped with brunch time favorites like egg, cheese, and prosciutto.
A hummus toast bar is another fun brunch idea. Set out your toaster with gluten free bread, plus different flavored hummus and fresh toppings like microgreens, chevre, avocado slices, and different flavored salts. If you’re feeling fancy you could whip up poached eggs for popping on top!
Move over, plain ol’ coffee cake, Gluten Free Zucchini Coffee Cake combines tender zucchini bread with cinnamony coffee cake. It is SO good. Set out with muffins (see below!) and coffee for a nice brunch-time nibble.
Baked goods are pretty much mandatory for brunch – they fill in the gaps between breakfast casseroles and fruit salad nicely – and my Healthier Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins are a better option then pastries and doughnuts, if you ask me!
Fruit salad is another must for breakfast and brunch, and my Easiest Fruit Salad is so Midwest it hurts. I mean, marshmallows and mandarin oranges in a fruit salad? All I’ve got to say is, don’t knock it ’til you try it!
My favorite cocktail in (non-alcoholic) fruit salad form – Mojito Fruit Salad is beautiful, fresh, and festive for a spring and summertime brunch, especially. Also, I feel need to mention that a spoonful slid into a glass of champagne is also very brunch-y, no?
Forget breakfast casserole – you really can’t have a proper bunch without some bubbles, and Champagne Sangria Punch is like mimosas kicked up a few hundred notches. Pretty to look at AND fun to sip. Cheers to brunch!
Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad is no run of the mill side salad! Full of tasty toppings, including salted Maple-Bourbon Pecans (YUM), this gluten free salad recipe will impress. Sponsored by Fisher Nuts.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s officially shower season (I’ve got one to attend this weekend!) That said, April usually kicks off all things wedding and baby, so today I’m sharing a stunning salad recipe that’s suitable to serve at either of said celebrations.
Somebody smack me.
As I mentioned last week, Ben and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. As I was looking through our wedding photos reminiscing (so young, so tan, so well rested!) I came across pictures of a bridal shower my friend’s Mom threw for me leading up to the big day. It was such a sweet event with all my best high school friends and included a beautiful sit down lunch complete with china, linen napkins, and a dainty yet delectable spread.
Had Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad been created at the time, it would have been perfect to serve at the shower. Not only is it stunning and special-occasion-worthy, but seriously scrumptious (THOSE PECANS!) One thing my girls and I all have in common is that we love to eat. Bonus points for looking nice, but it has to be delicious, and Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad is checking all the boxes.
First thing’s first – this recipe is sponsored by my friends at Fisher Nuts. As you know, we’ve been working together for the past five years whipping up crunchy, drippy, downright decadent dishes featuring their fresh, preservative-free nuts which provide texture and flavor to anything they’re added to.
I created the totally epic, salted Maple-Bourbon Pecans featured in this salad recipe using their Pecan Halves which come in a resealable bag so they stay fresher, longer. The resealable bag also prevents dreaded pantry spills – chocolate chip and shredded coconut companies need to get with the program, right?
You can buy Fisher Nuts at Walmart, both online and in stores, and I’ve finally found them at HyVee in the baking aisle, too!
This perfect-for-entertaining salad recipe features fresh greens topped with tons of goodies (the only kinds of salads that exist in my universe.) Sliced Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced shallots, dried cranberries, crumbled chevre, and the most incredible Maple-Bourbon Pecans which take all of 5 minutes to make.
Drizzled with homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette, it’s the perfect composed salad to serve at bridal or baby showers, or for any special occasion really, as it travels well and again, is just so beautiful.
If you don’t have a shower or spring event to attend, don’t wait to make this salad. The bold flavors would stand up well to not only grilled steak or pork tenderloin (either grilled or pan-roasted), but seared or roasted shrimp, or sauteed salmon, meaning it pairs well with pretty much whatever’s on tap for dinner tonight. Get on this one ASAP!
Start by making the Maple-Bourbon Pecans. Add 2 Tablespoons brown sugar plus 1 Tablespoon each butter and pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup) to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat then bring the mixture to a bubble.
Immediately stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons bourbon then add 1 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves and stir to coat the pecans in the mixture.
Friendly reminder that you don’t need to buy a big bottle of bourbon to make these pecans (though it’d be a good excuse, wink wink!) These tiny bottles are sold almost everywhere the big bottles are and they provide just enough for a few batches of Maple-Bourbon Pecans.
Keep stirring the pecans until you feel the sugar start to adhere and crystallize around the pecans, 1-2 minutes, then spread the pecans out onto a silpat or sheet of parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt. I didn’t think these pecans could get any better UNTIL I tried them sprinkled with coarse salt. OH MY WORRRRRD!!!
While the nuts are cooling, shake up the easy Red Wine Vinaigrette I’m suggesting you drizzle this salad with. This vinaigrette is tart and tangy which compliments the sweet elements in the salad, and it’s just a fabulous everyday dressing.
Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 small clove garlic that’s been pressed or minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine.
Assembly time! To a large serving bowl add 5oz lettuce mix (I’ve used spring mix and baby spinach/arugula mix – both yum) then top with 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 2 small shallots that’ve been sliced into very thin rings, 1 thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, and 2oz crumbled chevre. Plus of course the Maple-Bourbon Pecans! Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette then toss to combine and serve.
I hope you adore this flavor-packed salad, and especially those maple-bourbon pecans (DROOL) as much as I do. Let me know if you give this recipe a try, and enjoy!
Maple-Bourbon Pecan Salad is no run of the mill side salad! Full of tasty toppings, including salted Maple-Bourbon Pecans (YUM), this gluten free salad recipe will impress.
serves 4-6 as a side salad
5oz lettuce blend
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 small shallots, sliced into thin rings
1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
2oz chevre, crumbled
For the Maple-Bourbon Pecans:
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)
1 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves
pinch coarse sea salt
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced OR 1/8 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
For the Maple-Bourbon Pecans: Place a silpat or piece of parchment paper on the counter then set aside. Add brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Once melted and bubbling, stir in bourbon then add pecans. Cook while stirring constantly until mixture begins to crystallize around the pecan halves, 1-2 minutes. Spread pecans onto prepared surface then sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cool completely.
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette: Add all ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine and set aside. Can be done several days ahead of time.
Add lettuce blend to a large bowl then arrange dried cranberries, shallot rings, sliced apples, chèvre, and Maple-Bourbon Pecans on top. Drizzle with dressing then toss to combine and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Start a new tradition with Gluten Free Bunny Munch! This sweet and salty, gluten free Easter dessert recipe takes 5 minutes to make and will be a hit with kids, adults…and the Easter Bunny!
The babies and I took our first long walk of the season yesterday while Lincoln was at school and it was gloOOorious! 65 and sunny, a bit breezy (but not, breezy breezy, thank goodness, as wind is my most hated weather element,) and so much color to see already. Trees are budding, grass is so green its practically glowing, and everywhere daffodils and tulips have shot up from the dirt.
We watched a herd of deer munching their way through the forest, stopped at a park to play, and I even gotten a little color on my legs which are also glowing but for all the wrong reasons. #MamaNeedsATan
If the weather didn’t have me convinced that spring is here, this pretty Gluten Free Bunny Munch would seal the deal. I can’t remember the last time I had more fun photographing a recipe! Pastel pink, purple, baby blue, and yellow too – I am equal parts in love with the flavors and colors of this fun and seeeriously yummy gluten free Easter dessert recipe.
It’s no wonder we didn’t see any bunnies on our walk yesterday – they were all in line to devour this cute and tasty treat that is incredibly easy and Easter-ready. That said, making gluten free Bunny Munch would be such a fun tradition to start with your kids or grandkids to set out for the Easter Bunny in exchange for eggs. Why should Santa have all the fun?
Seriously though, this recipe takes approximitely 5 minutes to make and 30 minutes to cool/set. Simple! Popped popcorn, gluten free pretzel sticks, and peanuts are coated with melted white chocolate then dolloped with M&Ms, sprinkles, and coarse sea salt. YES. Sweet + salty = insanely addicting. Also, CLUSTERS. Need I say more?
Here’s how to make this adorable spring treat!
Start by adding 12 cups popped popcorn, 2 cups gluten free pretzel sticks (I use Snyders GF) and 1-1/2 cups peanuts to the biggest bowl you’ve got. If you don’t have a giant one, use two bowls. Trust me on this!
I used my air popper (similar one here) to pop the popcorn – you’ll need a scant 1/3 cup kernels to get 12 cups.
Next add a 12oz bag gluten free white chocolate chips to a medium-sized bowl with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil then microwave until smooth. Detailed timing instructions are in the recipe card below.
Drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn mixture then fold with a spatula until everything is evenly coated. Spread the Bunny Munch onto parchment or wax paper, or a couple silpats, then sprinkle on M&Ms (I used the spring pastel variety) and gently press into the warm chocolate so they stick when it cools. Last step is to add gluten free sprinkles and a pinch of coarse sea salt which I think balances out all the sweetness.
NOTE #1: Mars (maker of M&Ms) will always call out allergens on their packaging. At the time of this writing, April 2019, plain M&Ms are gluten free, though SOMETIMES holiday versions of candy products can be made in different facilities. Check labels before purchasing.
NOTE #2: Gluten free sprinkles are almost impossible to find, but I did find this gluten free icing that comes with sprinkles at Target, so I used the sprinkles and saved the icing for another day. I think they make the Bunny Munch look so cute and festive!
Let the chocolate set then package the Bunny Munch into treat bags or transfer to an airtight container where it’ll last a couple of days. I hope you love this fun and festive, gluten free Easter dessert treat!! Enjoy!
Start a new tradition with Gluten Free Bunny Munch! This sweet and salty, gluten free Easter dessert recipe takes 5 minutes to make and will be a hit with kids, adults...and the Easter Bunny!
makes 18 cups
12 cups popped popcorn (~1/3 cup kernels)
2 cups gluten free pretzel sticks (I used Snyder's GF)
1-1/2 cups peanuts
12oz bag gluten free white chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
11oz bag M&Ms
gluten free sprinkles, optional
coarse sea salt, optional
Spread a couple sheets of parchment paper, wax paper, or two silpats onto the countertop then set aside.
Add popcorn, pretzel sticks, and peanuts to a very large bowl - if you don't have an XL bowl, use two large bowls - then set aside.
Add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 40 seconds and stir. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir. If chocolate chips aren't completely smooth, continue microwaving in 10 seconds increments, stirring between increments, until completely melted.
Drizzle chocolate over popcorn mixture then gently fold with a spatula until everything is evenly coated. Spread mixture out onto prepared surface then immediately sprinkle with M&Ms (may not use whole bag) and press gently so they adhere to the warm chocolate. Add sprinkles and a big pinch of coarse sea salt, if using, then let Bunny Munch cool completely. Transfer to treat bags or an airtight container.