December 28, 2009

Gluten Free Apple Sausage Casserole

It's almost time to head to Syracuse to celebrate New Year's Eve! Mindy and I have made it a tradition for the past 5 years or so, to spend New Year's Eve with our two great friends David and Cheryl Vermilya, listening to music, drinking good wine, eating great food..  They live on a river, and the front of their home is mostly window.  I can spend hours watching the birds at the feeders, or the deer wandering through the forest on the opposite bank of the river. Another part of the tradition is to either x-country ski, or hike at Beaver Lake on the morning of New Year's Day. I love starting the year that way. So much better than nursing a pounding hangover. Usually it's just a mild one:)

On to the food.

The following may sound like a completely bizzaro taste combination, but I swear...  It's awesome!  I used sweet turkey sausage (making sure to inspect for "G" ingredients), but feel free to use any kind of sweet sausage you like.  You want to have drippings to drizzle on everything just before going into the oven, so if you use turkey, or any other kind of non-greasy meat, you'll want to cook the sausage in two tblsp. of butter and two tblsp. of olive oil.  The butter and oil will draw out a lot of flavor, which is exactly what you want.



  • 1 1/2 pounds of sausage (cut into chunks)
  • 4 medium apples (your favorite kind), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced (I love yams!!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tblsp. gluten free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Mix)
  • 2 tblsp. sugar

  1. Fry your non-greasy sausage in butter and olive oil until cooked through and lightly browned. If you're using pork, drippings a plenty for sure!
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray (most are GF, but check the ingredients)
  4. Mix together the salt, gluten free flour and sugar in a small bowl. 
  5. Layer the cooked sausage, apple and sweet potato slices in the casserole dish, sprinkling with flour mixture between layers. Top it off by drizzling your drippings over the whole shabang
  6. Cover the casserole dish with heavy duty aluminum foil and throw it in the oven for 1 hour, or until the sweet potato slices are soft.
  7. Chow down immediately!

December 19, 2009

Gluten Free Fruitcake

A few days ago we received a x-mas package from my gramps, my mom and Viola.  Inside it, among other goodies, were 6 carefully wrapped mini-bundt fruitcakes.  On the outside was written "Gluten Free!."  Now normally, receiving a fruitcake in the mail might put a half-disgusted smile on my face, complete with a furrowed brow... but knowing well that my mom and Viola are amazing cooks, I knew I was in for a treat!  I wasn't wrong.  For the last two days I've been unable to control myself. I keep sneaking into the kitchen to cut off another slice. I've even pulled out the spoon and began eating the crumbs like cereal late at night.

Not only are these fruitcakes delicious, they're loaded with enough rum to warm the belly of even the coldest snowperson!  Or yetti. Or Abomidable Snow Beast. Or whom or what-ever arrives at your doorstep seeking shelter from the storm.  And a key component of what makes these fruitcakes awesome, is the missing ingredient.  You will not find one green fruit thing chunk in these cakes! One of the reasons I've avoided holiday fruit cake was the artificial taste of those green chunks.  Whatever they are...

Today I called my mom to get the recipe.  The process is impressive!  Listening to my mom explain the steps necessary to produce amazingly delectable GF fruitcake was almost exhausting. I've never baked anything that involved so many steps, but knowing the end-product, I think it's about time for that to change.

Feel free to use any kind of GF baking flour you like, but my favorite is Bob's Red Mill.
Also, if you happen to love those green fruity chunky things. Add them. I won't be eating it:)

*Thanks Viola for the recipe. And thank you too Mom for making them with her:)  Your fruitcakes are AWESOME!*


  • 4 sticks margarine or butter (softened)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 cups GF Flour (Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups craizins (dried cranberries)
  • 5 cups pecans (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 lb. candied cherries
  • 1 1/2 lb. candied pineapple 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Using a mixer, cream the margarine and sugar together in large mixing bowl
  3. Then add the eggs one at a time, using a ladle or large spoon, continuing to mix until fully incorporated, mix in the vanilla then turn off
  4. Sift the dried ingredients together and then add slowly to liquid mixture until fully mixed
  5. In another bowl, mix together the chopped candied cherries and pineapple, the craizins and pecans
  6. Add the nuts-n-fruit to dough mixture slowly until fully incorporated
  7. Unless your mixing bowl is oven proof, transfer the entire mixture to a large oven safe crock or bowl. Make sure there is no dough along the edges of the bowl, to avoid burning, and pack down tight with the back of a large spoon.
  8. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Take out and mix together, pack down
  9. Put back into oven for another 15 minutes. Take out and mix together, pack down
  10. Put back in oven for another 15 minutes. Take out an mix together, pack down
  11. Remember to scrape the sides!
  12. And one more time for good measure...
  13. Then transfer into cooking sprayed, or olive oil coated bundt molds, loaf pans, etc. and dust with GF flour.
  14. Pack the mostly cooked dough mixture into the molds and pat down tightly again.  Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean)
  15. Remove from oven. Allow to cool, and then using double layer squares of heavy duty aluminum foil, place each fruit cake into center and then drizzle spiced/dark rum over the top and immediately wrap tight with aluminum foil
  16. Set them aside to age for a day or so
  17. Get ready for something special - because you're going to love em'! 

December 14, 2009

Gluten Free Amish Molasses Cookies

Wow the holiday season is sooo busy! It's like everyone has parties on the same days.. we're working harder, spending more, getting less sleep and eating a TON of awesome food! It's crazy, but I love it! On Saturday my friend Claudia and I spent the day exploring Amish country around Lancaster. It was a beautiful day for it! We stopped in a ton of little shops; antique places, quilt places, candy stores, bakeries, and old-fashioned country style restaurants. It was nice:)

After saying goodbye to Claudia, I settled into my kitchen and browsed through the Amish Cookie Book I picked up earlier in the day. These Molasses cookies were chosen for their ease and classic holiday flavor. I used Bob's GF Baking mix for these and they came out great! Make sure they're cooked through though. The first small batch I baked came out a bit doughy:( Also, feel free to throw in a little ginger and/or walnuts to spice it up. That's what I'm going to do the next time with these;)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (make sure it's GF)
  • 1/4 pound light brown sugar
  • 2 cups dark molasses
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups gluten free baking flour
  • 1/2 tblsp baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cream the vegetable shortening and brown sugar.
  3. Mix in the molasses and buttermilk
  4. Stir in the flour and baking soda until fully incorporated
  5. Using a 1-inch ice-cream scooper (or a spoon), drop dollops onto greased or non-stick cookie sheet about an inch or so apart.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Transfer to cooling racks and get your cup of milk ready!

December 7, 2009

Gluten Free Restaurant Review: CASONA in Collingswood NJ

If you have any kind of issue with gluten, and you happen to live less than an hour from Collingswood, New Jersey (about 10 minutes from Philadelphia), you absolutely MUST make a GF pilgrimage to Casona! Casona is a stylish little BYOB located on the main thoroughfare in Collingswood, NJ. Collingswood is actually a cool place to visit with loads of specialty shops, coffee houses, and restaurants serving a wide array of diverse ethnic and domestic cuisines.

My friend Brianna and I were starving when we arrived at the tail end of their lunch menu hours. We may have been the only ones in the place. The service was exceptional! Our waiter was amazing, and once we mentioned our "condition", it was obvious by the way he responded that he was fully informed about gluten issues.

Now before I talk about what we ordered, I must pay homage to the fact that Casona labels all their gluten free options with a "GF" beside the title of the dish. They also take great care to avoid cross-contamination. This is such an important characteristic of any restaurant looking to increase their GF customer base. It's such a load off of one's shoulders to not have to ask a million questions about the food one is to order. I just wish all restaurants were as aware and accommodating!

On to the food! The first thing we ordered for our appetizer was a plate of YUCA FRIES. Yuca fries are made from Yuca root. They come with a side of guacamole and a light horseradishy dipping sauce that packed a bit of a spicy kick. Brianna and I loved them! Yuca fries are a lot like regular potato fries, except that they are a bit more dense.

For the main dish I ordered the Habana Maduro, which was a ripened fried whole plantain filled with choice of seasoned chicken, ropa vieja or lechon topped with chihuahua cheese, sour cream sauce and chayote salad for $9.95. I chose the pulled flank steak (aka ropa vieja). Talk about a taste explosion!! Holy cow! I fell in love after the first bite:)

Brianna, also a vegetarian, ordered the Huevos Rancheros, which was corn tortilla with black beans, mixed cheese, avacado, pico de gallo, and two eggs any style with sour cream, avacado sauce and ranchero sauce for $10.95. She gave her dish rave reviews, and I would have tried it out for myself if I hadn't been so uncomfortably full from eating only half of my dish!

So if you're ever in the area, I urge you to check out Casona. You'll leave with a full belly and a smile on your face:)

Casona of Collingswood
563 Haddon
Collingswood, NJ 08108
(856) 854-5555


Just So You Know...

The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!