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Deep Dark Chocolate Muffins

Photos memorialize our lives. Each snapshot is meant to be viewed later to stir memories of what was.

Just like the blog posts, journal entries, letters, and emails we write are memorials to the moments we cherish. The moments we don’t want to forget. Or, the moments we want to remember so we’ll not repeat ourselves.

Yeah, folks, I’m rambling a bit. What does any of this have to do with chocolate muffins? Well, nothing. It has to do with friends and memories and holding on to both.

I lost a dear friend this week and need to carve a little place right here as a memorial. I have an intense desire to hold on to him—just like in Peter Pan when Wendy sews Peter’s shadow back on. I want to sew the shadow of my friend firmly somewhere so he doesn’t disappear. So he doesn’t wander off. So he’s here in my heart forever.

It was an unexpected and shocking loss. I’ve known my friend since grade school and expected to know him into old age. I only share that because when something like this happens you think not only about the loss of your loved one but about the people who are still here. Your husband (or wife), your children, siblings, parents and friends. You desire to make each moment memorable. To make each moment count. To tell them you love them, appreciate them, to be with them.

You know what? These muffins are good but don’t make them. That’s right. (At least not right now.) Go spend some time with family and friends making memories. Tell them you love them. Smile and laugh with them. Do that and you’ll create moments that will last a lifetime. I promise.


Deep Dark Chocolate Muffins

Deep Dark Chocolate Muffins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your muffin pan with liners—makes about 6 or 7 jumbo or 12 cupcake sized muffins.

Whisk to combine and set aside:

½ teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacer
2 tablespoons warm water

In a large mixing bowl mix together:

1½ cups GF Flour Blend
½ cup pulverized walnuts*
2/3 cups organic coconut or cane sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

In a 2 cup measuring cup whisk together:

1 6oz container plain or vanilla yogurt (for dairy-free/vegan use coconut milk yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon molasses (optional)
½ cup water
egg replacer you prepared earlier
1/3 cup grapeseed or other vegetable oil

Pour about half the wet mixture into the dry and give it a few turns with a spoon or silicone spatula. Add the rest of the liquid and stir until combined.

Add to the batter and mix in:

½ cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Spoon into the paper liners filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and enjoy.

*I pulverized the walnuts in a small food processor (or you might be able to use a coffee grinder) until they were the size of large grains of sand. Measure after they’re chopped.



Easy Gluten-Free Living: Tips for BBQs & Picnics 

Foil Cooking: Grilled Cabbage & Potato Packets

Thanks for checking in to see what 30 Days To Easy Gluten-Free Living is all about. It’s the brainchild of Diane Elbin of The WHOLE Gang fame. She’s a zippy lady who decided it was time to share that gluten-free living can be pretty easy. She rallied the troops—a group of some 30 GF bloggers—and asked us to help by sharing  our tips on a variety of GF subjects. You’ll find blog posts on everything from how to use your garden to enhance GF living to feeding kids and teens to travel tips.

Here we are at Day 18 where I’ve chosen to talk about how to stay safe while enjoying the outdoor BBQs and picnics that come hand in hand with spring and summer weather. (Don’t forget to check out Days 1-17 and stay tuned for more Easy GF Living through the month of May.)

I had a little help with my post—a few gluten-free friends shared their tips and wow they’re really good ones! Looking forward to hearing some of your ideas, as well, so please tell us about them in the comments below.

Easy GF Living: Tips for BBQs & Picnics

BBQs are all about the grilling. But, some of us might be fearful one too many rolls have been toasted on said grill. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your family from grill related cross-contamination.

  • Cooking in parchment wrapped aluminum foil is a great way to be sure your food is gluten-free. The options for foil cooking are plentiful. Put your individual meals together and transport them to the backyard or your best friend’s house to be popped onto their grill for safe cooking.

   Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Grilled Cabbage and Potato Packets—shredded cabbage and thinly sliced onions and potatoes topped with grated cheese. Mix it up a bit—how about sweet potatoes and sliced apples with shredded Brussels sprouts and onions? Some GF pre-cooked apple sausages sliced into coins will make this a full meal.

Orange Teriyaki Salmon—layer baby bok choy, thinly sliced carrots and oranges, snow peas, salmon filets, and a few tablespoons GF teriyaki sauce. Cook about 10 minutes (timing will depend on the temperature of the grill) on each side over medium low heat. Test to make sure the fish is cooked to your liking.

For the kids—check out a whole host of foil packet dinners and desserts courtesy of the Scouts that will make any kid happy. (Note that most, but not all, the recipes on the site are GF. Use your best judgment when choosing.)

Grilled Mediterranean Kabobs

  • If foil cooking is not your thing you can bring GF burgers and dogs to the picnic and grill them using your own grill topper that’s never been touched by a wheat flour bun or roll. One friend brings her own tabletop portable grill—I love that idea! Or, how about using pre-soaked cedar planks which when placed on the grill will add a new (and safe dimension) to your cooked foods. Kebobs are easy to make ahead and will work with any of the safe grilling options mentioned here.
  • Most GF folks I spoke with like to bring their own food and tend to make one dish dinners that serve many. Layered and roasted veggies, sprinkled with cheese makes a great, light dinner. Or for the kids you can’t go wrong with GF mac and cheese or tuna casserole.
  • If possible try to have your gluten-free food on a table separate from the non-GF food. It will protect the serving utensils—and food—from being cross-contaminated. If that isn’t possible be sure to serve yourself and your family first before the other guests are served. Some folks may not understand utensils used across dishes can be hazardous to anyone who is gluten-free.
  • Condiments can be a cause for concern for many celiacs and gluten sensitive folks. It’s likely the knife hanging out in that mustard just smeared the inside of a nice fluffy gluten-filled roll. To alleviate that worry bring your own GF condiments in individual serving packages. Or, if you’re hosting serve your mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup in handy squeeze bottles.

Tropical Black Bean Salad

  • Munchie foods are easy to make and share. Everyone loves salsa or guacamole and GF corn chips. Hummus is another favorite. Or how about this great black bean salad?
  • I personally think you can eat chili at any time—so why not at a BBQ? It’s easy to make a big pot of slow cooker chili and bring it with you. Kids will find this especially fun if you serve them Frito Pie. (Just make sure that chili isn’t too hot!)
  • And, the options for desserts are endless so pick your favorite GF cake, cupcakes, cookies—or these sweet little ice cream sandwiches that can be made ahead—and pop those in your picnic cooler to bring along.

It’s true we GF folks all seem to bring a ton of food with us when invited to a summer potluck. No worries. It’s fun to hang with friends and not have to worry about getting “glutened”. Your friends will be thankful you’re with them and having a good time. And, they’re going to enjoy some of the wonderful GF food you’ve brought along to share.

The takeaway is life doesn’t stop because we’re gluten-free. It’s not that complicated if you choose to have fun with it and if you have a little help along the way. So make sure to visit the other 30 days of Easy Gluten-Free Living to get some ideas and tips from some of the best gluten-free bloggers out there—and remember to share your own tips and ideas in the comments section!

30 Days of Easy Gluten-Free Living

May 2:  Diane from The WHOLE Gang—Easy Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Tips

May 3:  Iris from The Daily Dietribe—How to Start a Gluten Free Diet

May 4: Heather from Gluten-Free Cat—Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies

May 5: Alta from Tasty Eats at Home—Make Your Own Convenience Foods

May 6: Elana from Elana’s Pantry—Quick and Easy Gluten Free Cherry Vanilla Power Bars

May 7: Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness—Easy Meals GF Style

May 8: Megan from Food Sensitivity Journal—Gluten Free Baking Undone: Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

May 9: Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free—Magic Cookie Power Bars

May 10: Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs—Gluten Free Baking Tips

May 11: Ellen from Gluten-Free Diva—Gluten Free Travel Tips

May 12: Kim from Cook It Allergy Free sharing Eating—Your Garden for Easy Gluten-Free Living

May 13: Melissa from Gluten Free For Good—Gluten-Free Food Rules (recipes included)

May 14: Brittany from Real Sustenance—Healthy Allergy-Free Quick Bread with easy flavor variations

May 15: Nicola from g-free Mom—Kids Lunch Boxes

May 16: Wendy from Celiacs in the House—Fast Food for Gluten Free Teens

May 17: Shirley from gluten free easily—Your Pantry is the Key to Living gfe

May 18: Nancy from the Sensitive Pantry—BBQ and Picnic Tips and Recipes ☝YOU ARE HERE!

May 19: Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom—Tips for getting kids to eat healthy, real-food snacks!

May 20: Silvana from Silvana’s Kitchen—Everything I’ve Learned So Far about Gluten-Free (plus a recipe!)

May 21: Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake—Easy Gluten-Free Living With Preschoolers and a Vanilla Cupcake recipe!

May 22: Sea from Book of Yum—Gluten Free Vegetarian Burritos

May 23: Tia from Glugle Gluten-Free—The Value of Support

May 24: Alisa from Alisa Cooks and Go Dairy Free—Wrap it Up-Thinking Outside the Bun

May 25: Hallie from Daily Bites—Keys to Colorful Cooking

May 26: Carol from Simply…Gluten-Free—Tips on Entertaining

May 27: AndreaAnna from Life as a Plate—Tips on Traveling on Day Trips with Kids

May 28: Zoe from Z’s Cup of Tea—Food Packaging and Presentation for Kids

May 29: Kelly from The Spunky Coconut—Buying in Bulk, Cooking in Bulk…to save money

May 30: Rella from Penny Pinching Epicure—GF on a Budget

May 31: Naomi from Straight into Bed, Cakefree and Dried—Soaking and Fermenting Grains

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