Strawberry pie…as sweet as can be!

Monica says:

Oh how we love strawberry season! It’s time to pick the juiciest berries that we can find!

Do you think we did just that?

Our sweet girl, Emily, and my sister Maria (her granny), and I went to a little farm to find the best berries we could. This time we were smart and each wore disposable gloves….boy, they made all the difference!

Highly recommend this move!

Anyway, after about an hour, we had filled our vessels to capacity….here was my personal stash!

When we got home, I researched the best way to keep these beauties fresh and long lasting. Well, I found advice from a blog, Momables and I can say it was the best advice ever!

Following her instructions below, even today, after 8 days, my strawberries are still fresh and plump like they were just picked!

Washing Fresh Strawberries

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • Drop dish detergent
  1. Place above in salad spinner
  2. Clean strawberries in batches if too many
  3. Swish them around in liquid and then rinse
  4. Place on towel lined cookie sheets to dry
  5. Store them in sealed container lined with paper towels when completely dry
  6. Leave a smidge open on container so they don’t get too much moisture!

NOTE: I used 9 x 13 glass dishes with paper towels and only covered top layer with paper toweling; stayed perfect! And depending on the amount of strawberries you pick, you may have to do this several times.

I also decided to make my own strawberry filling for the pies since I wanted to eliminate some of the sugar content, so I followed this recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Filling

Note: This recipe is for ONE pie

  • 1 quart fresh, organic strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ tablespoon  cornstarch

To make the filling:

  1. In a sauce pan, put 1 cup sliced berries, ½ cup sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water. Bring to boil.
  2. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix cornstarch and remaining water. Add to sauce pan.
  4.  Return to heat. Stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile my official pie crust maker and our biggest gluten free lifestyle supporter, my hubby, began to make the crust. We decided to try a gluten free blend and chose King Arthur’s Measure for Measure blend with my mother’s pie crust recipe!

Mom’s Water Whip Pie Crust

Note: This recipe makes 2 crusts (either a top and bottom, or two bottoms)

  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 2 ¼ cups gluten free flour (a blend of your own or any commercial blend)
  • 1 T milk (Lactaid if needed)
  • 1 tsp salt

Whip shortening and water with a fork until smooth and creamy. Add milk, flour and salt. Work into a nice dough ball.

 

Perfection!

Since you have to bake these pastry shells without filling, I cut a round of parchment

for each and filled with uncooked rice.

Baked the crusts at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and then took them out of the oven, removed the rice with parchment, and then pricked small tine marks with a fork in the bottom of the crusts.

Then I placed the crusts back in the oven for 20 minutes.

Look at these babies!

While letting everything cool (filling and crusts), I removed the stems from the strawberries.

And now the best part…..filling them up with the sweet strawberries!

Once I liked the arrangement, I began pouring the filling over the strawberries. It was so thick and lovely!

Daria told me that I could have taken the filling and placed the strawberries in it to get better coverage,

but honestly, that didn’t occur to me.

That’s why she’s a pastry chef, and I’m not!!

Anyway, here is picture of our completed strawberry pies!

And the “pie maker” and “official gluten free taste tester” finally gets to dig in!

Y*U*M!

Wishing you fun picking strawberries…

…but most of all, eating strawberry pie!

Enjoy!

 

© 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

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5 ingredient baked apples!

Monica says:

Would you like a guiltless dessert for dinner tonight?

One that’s easy and gluten-free?

Well, I was looking for one too, and I found one!

When I was at the grocery store, I bought a huge bag of Honeycrisp apples (they are our favorite) and while we love to eat them plain or dipped in peanut butter, I thought about baking them.

My mom used to bake apples all the time, as we had several types of apple trees in our yard. But we don’t have any fruit bearing trees, so I love to get apples at the farmer’s market or grocery store.

While my pork chops were baking, I quickly trolled through the food sites I bookmarked on my phone, and I found one that sounded perfect!

Not too much sugar, using some nuts, and this recipe featured Honeycrisp apples!

So, thanks to Trisha Yearwood, here is the recipe!

 

Baked Apples

It’s so easy and believe me, these baked apples are amazing!

 

Here is what my process looked like…

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I like to use a melon baller to core apples, especially when you need the bottom of the apple intact, like this recipe calls for.

And look at the “little star” that formed while I was coring this apple!

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Filled with yummy goodness and ready to eat!

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Oh dear!

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And of course, you can top your apple with some whipped cream!

Enjoy!

© 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Blueberry Coconut Crisp…gluten-free and oh, so good!

Monica says:

Every 4th of July brings new blueberry recipes to my collection. This one is a keeper for sure!

So easy and delicious!

I’ve even had some “coconut haters” try it and come over to the “coconut lovers” (okay, “likers”) side!

See what you think!

I adapted this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod (thank you!).

Ingredients:

5 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon*
1 cup GF Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour (I used hazelnut flour)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened, unsulphured flaked coconut)
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used organic coconut palm sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Calicutts Spice Co. Saigon Cinnamon*)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (I used organic extra virgin coconut oil)
Ice cream or yogurt for serving, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Pour blueberries into dish and pour lemon juice over the berries. Add a dash of cinnamon. Gently toss.

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A huge THANK YOU to my niece, Alicia, for letting us pick these beauties from her blueberry trees!

Honestly….TREES! Never have seen anything like them!

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour or almond meal, coconut, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Pour coconut oil over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

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Sprinkle the oat mixture evenly over the blueberries in the pan.

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Bake the crisp for 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm with ice cream or yogurt, if desired.

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Best thing about this dessert is that you can make it ahead of time and as long as it’s covered,

it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days!

So, in a word….YUM!

Give it a try…you won’t be sorry!

© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Orange glazed Italian Christmas cookies

Monica says:

We have been so busy with the holidays, as I’m sure all of you have been!

Baking, cooking, cleaning….oh, why do we do it?

For our family and friends…and to enjoy these special days and each other’s company…and while it is so delicious and fun to be together, it is often just as exhausting! But so worth it!

While I made several types of cookies to celebrate Christmas, these particular delights are one of my favorites. At least they were before Daria’s and my celiac diagnosis!

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Now, thinking that 13 years has passed since we ate gluten, I felt that I could figure out how to make these cookies with little to no problem…right?

Well, not so much!

This recipe, which was written down on a piece of paper in my recipe box, called for 3 cups of regular wheat flour. By the time I had a workable dough for this gluten-free version, I may have used close to double that!

No kidding!

Anyway, it was an adventure in gluten-free baking, if nothing else!

I had been at the grocery store a few weeks ago and turned down the GF aisle. I was amazed at the amount of gluten-free products that I have never tried!

We had always made our own GF flour by sifting several types of gluten-free flours together. Although I had never purchased an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, I thought “Why not?” I placed a bag of Cup4Cup in my grocery cart!

When I found this Italian cookie recipe in my recipe box, I remembered that purchase and decided to use the pre-blended flour.

 

So, here is my story!

I looked at the following Original Recipe…

Combine the following ingredients in your blender:

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ sticks margarine

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup orange juice

Now take the blended mixture and add the following:

3 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

Knead thoroughly; if batter is sticky add more flour….batter CANNOT be sticky!

When incorporated, take a large T of dough and roll into a log. Bring the two ends together to form a doughnut-like shape and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before baking. 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.

Glaze

½ pound confectioner’s sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ tsp vanilla

Blend all ingredients until you get the consistency of heavy syrup. When cookies are done, dip each one while still hot and place on dish. Sprinkle with candy confetti.

 

And now the Gluten-free Version!

I combined the following ingredients in my Cuisinart food processor:

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ sticks butter, softened

3 organic eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup orange juice

Then to the bowl of the food processor, I added:

3 cups gluten-free flour (Cup4Cup)

3 tsp baking powder

I allowed the food processor to do the work for me (arthritis dictates this move!)

However…

The dough was so sticky that I added ½ cup more of gf flour;

and then added ½ cup more of gf flour;

pulsed it all and at this point I turned the sticky mixture out of the bowl and onto the countertop.

Heeding the advice: “Knead thoroughly; if batter is sticky add more flour….batter CANNOT be sticky!”, I then added ½ cup more of gf flour and kneaded by hand, adding an additional amount until the dough was usable! I used way more than 3 cups of gluten-free flour total!!

At some point, I also added a few drops of Orange extract because I was concerned that the huge amount of extra flour had diminished the flavor!

It worked!

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When incorporated, I followed the original directions and took a large T of dough and rolled into a log.

I brought the two ends together and formed a doughnut-like shape and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

(how some things change!).

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I let each batch rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before baking.

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15 minutes at 350 degrees worked perfect!

 

Gluten-free Orange Glaze

½ pound organic powdered sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ tsp orange extract

 

Whisked all ingredients into a heavy syrup, and when cookies were done, I dipped each one (while still hot)

and placed on wire rack to cool. I then sprinkled with Christmas sprinkles.

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Yield: 4 dozen

So, while the flour amount may vary according to your dough stickiness….you really need to try this recipe!

Once I was able to have my hands free of sticky dough, it was fun rolling and shaping these cookies!

Better yet, it was fun eating them!

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They are a perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea…they have a wonderful biscuit-like consistency

and the orange flavor just takes them up a notch!

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Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a Happy 2016!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk whisks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have processor, have pudding! GF, of course!

Monica says:

 

Who loves chocolate?

Who loves dark chocolate?

Who loves dark chocolate pudding?

If you are yelling, “Yes!” “Yes!” “Yes!” …I have a recipe for you!

It combines healthy dark chocolate cocoa with avocado and banana.

That’s right. Three powerful foods full of antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients.

And best of all, making this wonderful pudding is so incredibly easy.

If you have a food processor, you are in business!

Get ready for gluten-free yumminess!

 

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Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

2 avocados

2 ripe bananas

½ cup milk (used Lactaid Milk)

¼ cup raw unfiltered honey (can use maple syrup)

1 T maple syrup

1/3 cup cocoa powder (used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Process all ingredients until smooth in a food processor.

whisks  © 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

That’s it!

No kidding!

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Pour the pudding into a bowl and set in refrigerator for a few hours covered.

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To serve, I split the pudding into two ramekins and topped it with slivered almonds and dark cocoa nibs.

What a delight!

The cinnamon really brings out the dark chocolate, while the banana and avocado make it super silky smooth.

You just want to keep on eating and eating it!

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Luckily, this recipe only makes two servings. Because you might eat yourself into oblivion!

I know I would!

So give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it.

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Gluten free doesn’t have to be boring, you know!

Happy blending!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A gluten-free getaway!

Monica and Daria say:

Oh how we love the end of July!

“Why?” you ask.

In a word….Bedford!

Well, maybe two words…Bedford Springs!

Lewie (hubby and daddy) always attends a conference here and he is so nice to invite us to tag along! He is busy during the day with meeting people from around the state of Pennsylvania, and we busy ourselves with leisure activities…..swimming, reading, antiquing, etc.

Is it any wonder that we look forward to this conference???

This year we couldn’t have asked for any better weather, either. The days were hot and sunny and even though I, (Monica), am not into tanning, reading under the umbrella and sipping something yummy was simply delightful! Daria gets enough sun for both of us!!

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Even though this is the fifth year that we’ve accompanied Lewie to Bedford Springs and have gotten to know the area quite well, we always look online for any new restaurants (before we leave) that may have opened since our last visit.

And to our surprise, we usually find something!

This year we investigated via findmeglutenfree.com and were not disappointed!

What a great resource for people who need to eat gluten-free!

This web site offers the user an insight into gluten-free friendly businesses in cities around the United States and even some cities in Canada! You can go online from your computer or download the free app to your cell so that you are connected wherever you go!

For those places that we had eaten at in previous years and wanted to dine there again, we made a reservation using Open Table. For the new places, we stored the information (address, phone, hours and days of operation) in a memo on our cell and were we happy we did!

This info was right at our fingertips when making inquiries and reservations when we arrived. We didn’t have to take any extra time to look anything up a second or third time! What a timesaver!

Here are our new favorite places!

Our dinner at Eat2Live Bistro was perfection! This wonderful little place in New Paris, is a dream come true for gluten-free diners! From soup to dessert(s)…we enjoyed every second!

Our server Tina was so friendly and knowledgeable about eating gluten-free; she truly added to our dining experience!

We started off with fresh blackberry infused water….Daria chose to add some coconut palm sugar to sweeten it a bit!

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Then we looked over the extensive menu!

Daria enjoyed the chilled Gazpacho which consisted of local tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and watermelon…so refreshing!

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Monica and Lewie had the Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Chowder which boasted creamy, roasted sweet corn and red bell peppers with potatoes and nitrate-free bacon! Amazing!

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We each ordered a different entrée and had so much fun tasting each other’s. That’s what families do!

Daria had the Chicken ‘n Pesto which featured seasoned, grilled chicken breast topped with a roasted garlic and herb feta. It was served over house made quinoa pasta tossed with marinated local tomatoes and butter pesto sauce.

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OmG! So delicious!

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Look at that quinoa pasta!

Monica chose the Roasted Pineapple Pork Chop. This local pasture raised pork chop was topped with roasted pineapple salsa and served over a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto.

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In a word…delightful!

Lewie decided on the Trout Almondine (a local spring water fed trout, of course) which was presented on a creamy mushroom wild rice risotto, with seasonal veggies and toasted almond butter.

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Melted in your mouth!

Tina’s suggestions were spot-on and we were delighted to have found such a great eatery.

We were so full after our dinners, but managed to share the Three-Berry Cobbler with house made ice cream….gluten-free of course!

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It was simply delicious!

Since we rarely ever find an establishment that has ALL gluten-free desserts, we decided to take home the other selections….it’s so nice to have a refrigerator in the hotel room!

And when you are on vacation…dessert is breakfast!

So here are the other desserts….

A delicious Cheesecake….so creamy on an oatmeal walnut crust…we chose the caramel drizzle!

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Spring Carrot Cake…moist and delicious with cinnamon and walnuts, this cake had a house made lemon cream cheese frosting! Yum!

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Chocolate Truffle Cake…a decadent two-layer cacao (dark chocolate) beet cake with cacao avocado truffle icing. Just the right amount of sweetness and definitely chocolatey!

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We ended the evening with some sangria on the porch of the Bedford Springs Omni just chatting and reminiscing about vacationing together!

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Lunch at the Bedford Springs Omni was great, too!

Cheese plates, fruit plates to start!

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A gluten-free Rachel sandwich (which is a variation on a Reuben) with turkey, and coleslaw along with some gluten-free veggie pizza hit the spot!

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And here are some gluten-free shrimp rolls that were so good! The rolls were accompanied by a ham, cheese, and pea salad that is a local favorite. Not one of ours though…sorry!

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SO happy that we were able to spend a little time together!

Monica says:

While Daria couldn’t continue on the way with us to Greensburg to attend the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp, we really wish she could have, because she missed some GREAT gluten-free food!

On the evening of our first day there, we found a great little place called Noviello’s Sunset Café. What a fabulous Italian restaurant!

As soon as we walked in and smelled the Italian sauce, we knew we were in for a treat!

Since most Italian restaurants serve bread and dipping oil immediately upon ordering, I was so happy when our waiter brought me this little veggie plate! He even apologized that they didn’t have any gluten-free bread and hoped that this would make up for it!

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The house salad featured red beets, fresh grated mozzarella, and a house dressing that was a white wine concoction. Very good!

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I ordered the polenta with marinara sauce and it may have been the fluffiest polenta I ever ate! It seriously melted in my mouth!

Add your grated cheese and that’s it!

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Heaven!

The best was yet to come!

While we were eating the evening before at Noviello’s a gentleman at the next table was talking about being gluten-free….well, one thing led to another and he suggested a pizza place for me to try!

Before we went to the Steelers’ Friday Night Lights practice in LaTrobe, we found Little E’s Pizzeria…and my day was made!

I had to take a picture of the window….so exciting!

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Organic and gluten-free selections were so numerous I couldn’t even believe it!

I settled on a Margherita pizza with red pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, drizzled with extra virgin oil and fresh basil. Lewie decided on a gluten-free meatball hoagie that was made with homemade grass-fed Texas Longhorn meatballs, provolone cheese and red sauce.

We were so shocked and delighted that the meatballs were gluten-free!!

While we waited for our selections to be made, we had some Woodchuck Amber on tap….the flavor was so much crisper than the bottled!

The meatball hoagie came out first…two huge pieces and with extra dipping sauce! Can you see the steam from the sauce?

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Such great flavor in the meatballs and the bread…oh, the bread!

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And now the pizza!

I think this pizza was the best gluten-free pizza I ever had! (even though I raved about the one in Rome!)

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The crust was herbed and so incredible!

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I wondered if the pizza crust and the hoagie bread were made on site. So I asked!

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Our server told us that they bought the gluten-free items from a place called Herbalicious in Mt. Pleasant…

we will be  looking into their products!

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Do you think we enjoyed our pizza?

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All I kept saying to Lewie was “I wish Daria was here!” and “I wish these people would come to eastern PA!”

Our evening ended with Lewie seeing his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers and a beautiful “blue” moon to boot!

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A great trip and tons of great gluten-free food!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

To see our gluten-free adventure in Bedford in 2014 link to:

https://glutenfreedoubletalk.com/2014/08/09/a-lovely-little-place-called-bedford/

 

 

Summer means strawberries!

Monica says:

One of our favorite summer pastimes when Daria and Claudia got out of school was to go picking our own strawberries at a nearby farm!

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We made it an annual expedition and made sure that we had our containers ready, the correct clothing on, (including our hats), wore sunblock…the works!

It was so hard not to eat the berries while picking them! I remember when each of the girls had braces and I warned them that if they ate any while picking, the farmer would have to weigh them, too! Too funny!

Besides just stuffing our faces with fresh strawberries, our favorite thing to make with our “strawberry haul,” was strawberry pie! It became a birthday tradition for many years, as we three girls are Junebabies!

Picking these little powerhouses of Vitamin C was always so much fun! Since the girls have been living on their own for many years, we have not been able to resurrect this tradition!

That’s why I was so happy when my nieces, Dawn (mom) and Emily (daughter) expressed an interest in going to pick strawberries this year! I was ready to go!

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We set out at 7:30 am ready to beat the heat and drove to a great little farm with our bowls and containers (I washed and saved all of my plastic containers from purchasing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries in the supermarket). We were pumped and ready to get started!

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The farmer pointed out a field (WAY across from the stand) that he claimed was ripe and ready to be picked…

we looked at each other and agreed to make the trek!

And boy, was it worth it!

Within 45 minutes, we had picked our little hands off!

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And just in the right amount of time because it started to get super-hot and humid! Our trip home was sweet-smelling!

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Now to decide what to make with all of this yummy goodness!

While pie was tempting, I decided to make strawberry shortcake. And I was thinking about using a prepared mix to hasten the baking process (since the strawberries were so ripe and needed to be eaten).

I also wanted to limit the sugar content in the shortcakes and let the strawberries shine! So here is what I came up with!

 

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GF Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients

3 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix (plus a little more if it’s too runny!)

¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup cold butter

¾ cup milk of your choice (we used Lactaid milk)

3 eggs, beaten

¾ teaspoon vanilla

4 cups (1 quart) fresh strawberries, sliced

¾ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, combine Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking & Pancake Mix with ¼ cup of sugar. Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or fork.

Beat eggs. Add to mixture. Stir in milk and vanilla. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 2 scoops per shortcake onto cookie sheet.*

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

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Cool 5 minutes.

With serrated knife, split the shortcakes and put whipped cream and a layer of strawberries on each stacked piece.

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Yield: 8 shortcakes

* We made 5 large shortcakes (2 scoops) and 6 small  shortcakes (1 scoop).

NOTE: No sugar was added to the strawberries to enhance the flavor;

they were plenty sweet on their own!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

whisks

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Strawberries have amazing health benefits! They contain wonderful antioxidants that boost your immunity and can aid in the prevention of cancer and cataracts. These little wonders also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, as they help in the production of collagen!

For more information and reasons to eat strawberries, go to Best Health Magazine online.

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My main reason for eating strawberries is the taste! And I am so grateful to have all of the great health benefits, too!

So if you are looking for a fun way to spend a morning, go strawberry picking!

And then have a very berry day!

 

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk