Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Gluten free, vegan, soy free

8 Apr

Three years ago I learned that gluten was my tummy’s enemy. About a year and a half ago, I realized that dairy was not my friend either. After cutting both out, I still had tummy issues. Not fun. Not fun at all.

I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve visited numerous doctors and with no success finally went to my second complementary medicine/naturopathic doctor. He was very helpful and had me take a food allergy test that came back full of life-changing news. In addition to gluten & dairy, I now also have to completely avoid: eggs, soy, peanuts, pecans, beans, & garlic for at least 6 months. This throws quite the wrench into my baking. No eggs? AND so many dairy free alternatives are jam packed with soy. Booo hiss.

Now, I don’t want a pity party. This gives me a good excuse to bake creatively. I’ve tried to make 3 different baked goods (brownies- fail, chocolate chip cookies- decent, oatmeal raisin cookies- yum!) in the past two days. I used this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from Gluten Free Goddess. I followed her directions and ingredients almost exactly, however I made the following substitutions: instead of 1/2 c brown rice flour I used a 1/2 c of white rice flour, instead of 1/2 c potato starch I used 1/2 c sweet rice flour, and instead of the 1/4 c vanilla powder I used 1/4 c brown rice flour. I also added about 1/4 c of allergen free chocolate chips- why not, right?

These cookies are very similar to what I remember an oatmeal raisin cookie tasting like. YUM!

If you have food allergies up the wazoo, I would love nothing more than to talk and exchange recipes. 🙂



Gluten and Dairy Free Cheesecake

7 Apr

The bf and I had a few friends over for dinner tonight- we had burgers on the grill with all the fixin’s- to celebrate Spring Break. I struggled to come up with a fun dessert that was “springy” and wanted something other than a cupcake or cookie. Luckily, my addiction to Pinterest lead me to the most beautiful cheesecake. I didn’t care that it was full of gluten and dairy and all things that would make a night full of friends a pain in the tush (no pun intended). I decided I’d make a gluten and dairy free version that everyone (including myself) could enjoy.

The creator of the original cheesecake took beautiful step-by-step photos and I highly recommend popping over there to check ’em out!  I topped mine with homemade raspberry topping, but you could use store bought jam or fudge or homemade caramel… Whatever floats your boat.

Now, dairy free substitutions are ridiculously expensive (um, yes I spent almost $40 making this cheesecake), but if you can’t tolerate dairy- you do what you gotta do. If you can have dairy, I would just use good ol’ cream cheese and sour cream that comes from a cow… It’ll save you some money.

I’ll be completely honest, the crust was my least favorite part of the entire cheesecake. I will add less flour or more butter next time, as it was a little crumbly. However, I’ll post it the way I made it because it still tasted delish. If you change the crust and find something that works better, please let me know 🙂 Thanks, friends.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Former Chef
Preheat Oven to 325

4 c cookie crumbs (I used 2 boxes of Annie’s Homegrown Gluten Free Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Cookies , plus one box of GF Kinnikinnick Graham crackers)
1/2 c sweet rice flour
1/2 c of dairy free butter, melted

4 containers Tofutti cream cheese (2 lbs or 36 oz), at room temp
1 c sugar
4 eggs
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup soy milk

Creamy Topping:
1 c Tofutti sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

In preparation for the Filling: In a small saucepan, heat your soy milk and prepared vanilla bean (first cut the vanilla bean, scrape out the goodies and whisk them into the milk- then plop the whole thing into the milk) over low until it’s warm. Remove from heat and let it cool down while you make the crust.

Crust: Using a food processor, crumble your cookies until they are very fine. You’ll notice I used two different types of cookies- this is because there weren’t 4 cups work of crumbs in the two boxes of cookies I had originally bought. The graham crackers were the only other cookie I had on hand. Once you have fine cookie crumbs, dump them into a bowl and only put 4 c of the crumbs back into the processor. You can store the leftover crumbs for another time.  Add the 1/2 c sweet  rice flour to your processor and pulse until it’s combined. Pulse in your melted butter until you have a mixture that looks like wet sand.

Cover the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with foil. Then dump 2 c of the cookie mixture into the pan. Press it down firmly, covering the bottom. After you’ve done that, carefully use the rest of the cookie mixture and press it up the sides of the springform pan. You want a wall and floor of crust on your cheesecake, because number one it looks gorgeous and number two it tastes amazing.You do NOT need to prebake your crust! I repeat, do not stick your crust into the oven.

Filling: In a large bowl, cream together your dairy free cream cheese and sugar until it is smooth- No lumps!!! Scrape down the sides and when everything is nice and smooth, add an egg and mix until it’s fully incorporated. Stop. Scrape the sides. An an egg and mix until it’s incorporated. Repeat will all 4 of your eggs. When you’re done adding the eggs, you can mix in the vanilla infused soy milk. Don’t over mix.

Pour your filling into your prepared crust. Put your springform pan on top of a baking sheet in case any dripping occurs (I didn’t have any problems, but better to be safe than have a hot mess in your oven). Carefully put your cheesecake into the oven and let it bake for 1 hour or so. I had mine in the oven for probably an hour and twenty minutes. You want the sides to be set and the middle to still be a little soft/jiggly.

Creamy Topping: Once your cheesecake is done baking, take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes, but keep your oven on. During this time, make your creamy topping. Mix together your sugar, df sour cream, and vanilla. After 10 minutes, carefully spread the mixture onto your cheesecake and put it back into the oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack for an hour. After an hour, you can put it into the fridge for at least 4 hours so that it’s cool. Don’t freak out- the middle will set when it’s cold.

If you’re a procrastinator like me, and you don’t have 4 hours to let it cool you can put it into the freezer for a little while and that worked just fine for me.

As I mentioned before, I put some raspberry topping on mine, but you could use whatever you’d like or you could just be awesome and leave it plain. Whatever you do, rejoice that you have a damn good gluten free AND dairy free cheesecake that you can share with friends or just eat all by yourself.

Sweet Pickles

2 Apr


This past summer I babysat a few days a week for one of the most amazing families. I would always go to their house in hopes that there would be home made pickles to serve with lunch. I will admit that I would sneak a few (or a dozen…) pickles throughout the morning and didn’t always make it until lunch. Angie (the amazing mom) shared her recipe with me and I make these bad boys now all the time. They’re super simple and super delicious!

Sweet Pickles
1 small white onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3-4  cucumbers, sliced
1 Tablespoon of Celery Seed
1 c. white distilled vinegar
2 c. white sugar
1/2 TBS salt

Chop up all your veggies and dump them, along with your celery salt, into a decent sized container that has a lid. The lid fairy likes to hide all the lids in our house, so I settled for a cookie jar. It worked beautifully and looked gorgeous to boot.

In a medium saucepan, stir together your sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes (or at least until your sugar looks dissolved).

Carefully, pour your vinegar mixture on top of your veggies and stir. They might not all get covered at first, but it’ll be okay. I promise. Cover and put your soon-to-be pickles into the fridge. I always stir mine a few times over the first few hours to make sure that they all become submerged under the sugar liquid.

After 24 hours you will magically have pickles! I promise, if you eat half of them before the 24 hours I won’t judge. We can be pickle-eating buddies together. Mine are already half gone and it’s only been 2 hours 🙂

You can add freshly cut up cucumbers/onions/green peppers to your pre-made juice if you get low on your pickle stash. I tend to do this for a few days…. until I’m all pickled out.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip & Raisin Cookies (vegan)

28 Feb

I’m addicted to Pinterest. If you’re not addicted yet, stay away. Looking at food and recipes is like a drug. Like that delicious bubble gum medicine you used to get as a kid… Yum!

I digress.

Pinterest= Awesome recipes=My baking addiction on steriods

I found these cookies a few days ago and I just so happened to have a bunch of ripe bananas that had to be used stat. Don’t let the fact that they are vegan and gluten free scare you. They are a yummy, healthy cookie.

The boyfriend loved them- even after I told him that they didn’t have sugar 🙂


Whatcha need
Preheat oven to 350
(Adapted from this recipe)

3 large, ripe bananas
1 tspn vanilla
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 c gf oats
2/3 c sorghum flour
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn xanthan gum
1 tspn baking powder
3/4 c chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
1/4 c raisins
1/3 c coconut

With your handheld mixer, blend together your bananas, oil, and vanilla until relatively smooth- No big banana chunks, yo! In a separate bowl whisk together your dry ingredients (up through the baking powder) and mix them into your banana mixture until everything is combined. Stir in your chocolate chips, raisins and coconut.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop your batter by spoonfuls (I used a tablespoon) onto the prepared pan. I preferred it when I pressed the dough down a little (instead of leaving it as a mound). Leave about an inch of space between each. Bake them for 13 minutes. After a minute or two, move the cookies onto a cooling rack. I sprinkled mine with some raw sugar crystals just because. You don’t have to.

Enjoy, and if you eat four, five, or six… It’s okay, they’re healthy 😉


New York, New York

16 Jan

The boyfriend and I went on a week long trip to New York over New Years. Unlike most people, we toured the city based not only on its famous attractions… but we mostly saw different parts of the city in order to find food that I was able to eat. I researched for weeks to find the best gluten free options and am thoroughly satisfied with everything we were able to try while in NY. Our friends joked that we visited almost all of New York just because of my eating restrictions… 🙂

Below is a journal of where we ate during our stay. If you or someone you know can’t eat gluten and you travel to NY, this may be helpful for you!


Pala Pizza: An amazing start to our wonderful trip in the big apple! We met up with a few of our friends that live in New York. They had never been to this place before but they enjoyed the food just as much as we did. We started off with this gluten free, dairy free bruschetta type appetizer. Then we shared a pizza that was gluten and dairy free. It had a crispy crust, vegan mozzarella, sausage, sundried tomatoes, leeks… Awesome-sauce.  The waiter was also entertaining and friendly, which is a huge plus.


Luscious Food: We had originally planned on going to a place called Sun in Bloom, but when we took the subway and walked a few blocks there- we found out that they were closed for renovations. J That’s okay though, because after walking around the neighborhood we stumbled across Luscious Food. I had a delicious gluten free BLT with turkey. They get their bread from a local bakery. It was decent bread, but I was more excited about the bacon and turkey. Hey! I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

Risotteria: Later that night we stumbled into an adorable neighborhood. Although we had to wait for about thirty minutes to get a table (at the bar), we beat the rush. By the time we were sitting at our table, there was a list the mile long of people wanting to get some of their delicious eats. To start everything off we had some gluten free bread sticks. This was the first time I’d had breadsticks in over 4 years! They weren’t your typical breadstick, but it was still a fun substitute. I ordered a gluten free, dairy free Panini with chicken and peppers. It was amazingly crispy, yet moist… Oh it was amazing. I washed it down with a gluten free cider. We also ordered a $7 cupcake and a cookie. The cookie was fine, but the cupcake was one of the better cupcakes we tried when we were in NY.


Cosi: The Boyfriend had an insane desire to go to the Apple Store by Central Park before heading to the Lion King on Broadway. It took to long to get from point A to point B, so we had to quickly grab lunch. I spied Cosi down the block so we grabbed a quick bite. I always get their Signature Salad without the cheese.

Tre: I found this Italian restaurant when searching for GF places during our trip. When we got in the neighborhood I realized that we were only a block from Babycakes (see below). We took a pit stop there first, and then headed to Tre for some delicious Italian. There weren’t tons of gluten free options, but I ended up eating some gf penne, garlic, broccoli, and shrimp. Mmmm It was good!

Babycakes: I was desperate to try a couple of the gluten free cupcakes at Babycakes. Erin McKenna is known for her allergy friendly cupcakes. I practically ran from the subway station to grab one and I’m sorry to say it, but I was beyond disappointed. We got a carrot cupcake and a chocolate cupcake. The cake was extremely dry, crumbled all over, and tasted horribly. The frosting was gooey and didn’t taste like frosting… Now, I completely understand that there’s no dairy, gluten, eggs, etc in those cupcakes… but I still expected heaven. Bummer!

Bar Suzette: I am so happy that we happened upon this place in the Chelsea Market. First of all, the Chelsea Market is AMAZING! It was one of my favorite places that we visited. So many cute shops, bakeries, stores. Secondly, I have never had a crepe. Sad, right? Well, Bar Suzette has gluten free crepes! I died and went to heaven after eating their Nutella and Banana crepe. I also had a crepe that was jam packed with chicken and veggies. They have a separate crepe maker and batter just for gluten free people, too!

Brooklyn Mac: I was super excited to eat some gluten and dairy free macaroni and cheese. I talked about it all day. It took me over 20 minutes to decide which delicious dish I would get. That night we were going out to celebrate New Years so we needed something that could be delivered. I called two hours ahead of time to place our order. After about an hour, I had to call and see if they were lost. I was reassured that the delivery boy was on his way. Another 45 minutes later, someone called and told me that we were half a mile outside the delivery radius. I was so angry, but I had such a craving for macaroni that we ended up going back the next day (see Sunday’s post). By the way, I was going to order the Park Slope: vegan cheddar, hamburger, onions, and broccoli. Makes sense why I would want to go back, right? Mmmm.

Vegetarian Ginger: We went to our pre-party with empty tummies and luckily we found a place that had gluten free options just two blocks away. Even though everything is vegetarian, we still enjoyed our food. The boyfriend got General Tso’s (with fried tofu).

Peter’s Restaurant: We went to New York simply for this place. I haven’t had french toast at a restaurant in over 3 years! No one in Madison has real gluten free breakfast foods (no french toast, pancakes, or waffles- unless they’re made by me!). Peter’s was the perfect place to nurse a hang over. We all thoroughly enjoyed our food, me a little more than everyone else. I had GF French toast, eggs, potatoes, and berries. It was amazingly delicious and I could stop smiling the entire time. I swore we would go back for the waffles.
Brooklyn Mac: I’m a sucker for mac’n’cheese so we took a two hour trip (since we found out from the previous day that they didn’t deliver to our area). The boyfriend made a sick joke on the way there that they would be out of gluten free noodles when we got there. Not funny, but guess what? It happened to be true. I almost punched the guys behind the counter I was so angry (and they deserved it- the guys working there were complete tool boxes). So, my choices were limited to salads seeing as they were out of gluten free noodles… Grrr. I ended up getting a 17 dollar salad which was not very exciting.  By the time we got home from our super long train ride everything was cold and wilted L To be honest, I would probably end up going again just to get that damn macaroni dish. I’m a fool. The boyfriend liked his dish though.


Lilli & Loo: After only having Starbucks coffee for breakfast that day by dinner time we were starving! I was thrilled to have a (gluten free) fried spring roll for the first time in 3 years.  The boyfriend wanted to try pork dumplings, which we both were unimpressed with, and then we shared thair fried rice and a chicken sizzling stir fry. It was fun to share our entire meal together for a change!

Tu Lu’s Bakery: We decided to make a trip out of our way just to visit this entirely gluten free bakery. It was a really cute place and their coffee cake was amazing! I wasn’t impressed with their cupcakes (dry), but the cookie tasted like it came straight out of the Nabisco box. It would have been great dipped in a glass of milk.

Peter’s Restaurant: The only duplicate visit to a restaurant on our trip was to Peter’s. I’m a breakfast girl, and had to go back for the waffle. It was amazing and I wish we had a Peter’s at our place. Almost their entire menu is gluten free… They even had a meatloaf! I thought it’d be pushing my luck to go back for a third time later that night 🙂

Sprinkles: We were walking towards the subway when I saw Sprinkles. This wasn’t a planned stop as I had completely forgot about this bakery. However, I remembered that they had a gluten free red velvet cupcake so I yanked the boyfriend into the store before he even knew what was happening. The cupcake was very moist but crumbly. Still one of the better cupcakes I had in NY. This place is so stinkin’ adorable! I love it.

Arepa Bar: We had originally planned on eating here the first night we got to NY, but just like the majority of restaurants in New York the place is tiny and there was a super long wait. We decided we’d go back and get some of my boyfriend’s native homeland food. I have posted about how to make arepas before, but we usually eat them with just eggs and ham. It was so cool to see a variety of fillings, and gave me some good ideas for what to make the next time we have arepitas. The boys ended up getting some tajadas as well (fried plantain). I had to avoid that though because it was made in the same fryer that they fry wheat in.

Tater Tot Hotdish (gluten & dairy free)

12 Jan

When it’s cold outside, there’s a crazy blizzard, and it takes you 4 times longer than usual to drive home, all you want to do is sit on your fanny and eat some comfort food. My go-to comfort food had always been tater tot hotdish. However, going gluten free (and now being dairy free) has made it more difficult to make.

Fret not comfort food loving, gluten free, dairy free friends: Tater Tot Hotdish is still possible!
Preheat Oven to 400
Whatcha Need:
1.5 lbs beef, venison, or turkey meat, browned (and drain the grease if necessary)
1 package of Ore Ida Tater Tots (I used a little more than half of the package)
1 bag  (16 oz) of mixed frozen veggies (I use one with corn, lima beans, green beans, peas, and carrots)
2 c of gluten free chicken broth
2 TBS of soy milk (or regular milk)
1.5-3 TBS of corn starch
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of pepper
pinch of salt

Put your browned (and drained) meat in the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Spread it out evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. If you are a hard-core meat lover, feel free to add more meat! We actually have a lot of venison that I use for hotdishes, so that’s what we used. Sprinkle your frozen veggies on top of the meat. I love having a thick veggie layer, so I use the whole bag. It’s up to you! Then, lay the tots on top of the veggies making sure not to pile them up too high or they won’t brown as nicely, but also making sure to make a complete layer to cover the vegetables.

In a medium saucepan, stir together your broth, soy milk, cornstarch, and spices. Bring them to a boil, constantly stirring. Start out with only 1.5 TBS of your corn starch, and add more (diluted with a little water) as necessary to thicken your “soup”. You want it to be the consistency of a cream of mushroom soup you would buy at the store. If you can do dairy, they make a gluten free cream of mushroom soup that you can just use instead. I have yet to find a dairy free one as well, so I made my own that would work for this dish.

Evenly pour the soup over the tots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven. Bake for anywhere between 35-50 minutes, which is long enough for your tots to cook but longer if you want a crispy top. Keep checking it so it doesn’t burn.

I usually eat my Tater Tot Hotdish with Ketchup, but it’s not necessary.

Enjoy! (Especially if it’s a winter wonderland outside)

Iron Cupcake 5

24 Oct

So I realize this is extremely late but I wanted to get some pictures up and my boyfriend just fixed my computer over the weekend.

The last Iron Cupcake was on September 25th. The theme was Late Summer Fruit. I attempted all sorts of cupcakes: cantaloupe, fig, cherry, apple, pear and pomegranate, peach, and even a late summer sangria. The cupcakes were all okay, but none of them knocked my co-workers socks off for a competition…. that is until I brought in a pumpkin spice latte cupcake. I made a pumpkin espresso cupcake, brushed the cupcake with espresso, and then topped it with an espresso cream cheese frosting. The whole thing was topped with a drizzle of caramel. Just like a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.

I’m proud to announce that I took home another first place win! I will probably be competing in November for the caramel challenge and will be competing in Milwaukee for the very last Iron Cupcake Milwaukee. Learn more about that here! Would love your support and vote at the chance to win a 500 gift card! If you have an idea of which WI landmark or a flavor I should do, let me know 🙂

Dessert Bar

23 Oct

One of my good friends got married on October 1st. I was asked to do her desserts and decided that a dessert bar would be a idea! Lots of little desserts to choose from and everyone can find something that they like.

Although it was a lot of work, it was tons of fun and people really enjoyed themselves.

A friend that I met at my business class is opening a decorating rental company. I will post her information as soon as she finishes her website. She has the most beautiful pieces that could be used for almost anything! I was fortunate enough to use some of her pieces.

For the dessert bar I made cherry cheesecake shooters, oreo truffles, cake balls, carrot cupcakes, lemon raspberry cupcakes, key lime cupcakes, s’more sticks, and chocolate covered strawberries. Overall I made about 800 desserts!

Sugar Cookies

22 Oct

I haven’t had a sugar cookie in 2 years. Today I decided it was time to change that. I have had the worst luck trying to bake gluten free cookies, but today I successfully made what the boyfriend is calling “the best cookie ever.” He actually told me not to change a thing in the recipe because he loved it. (Don’t tell him I told you, but he ate 5 cookies in about 10 minutes)

These cookies were a little chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside.

I adapted the recipe from my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook and actually halved it. I’m posting what I actually used, but you could double it and it should work!

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

Whatcha Need:
Preheat oven to 300

1/4 c butter, softened (I used dairy free Earth Balance)
1/4 c shortening
1 c sugar
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn cream of tartar
1/4 c + 1/8 c white rice flour
1/4 c brown rice flour
1/4 c sweet rice flour
1/4 tspn xanthan gum
1/2 tspn vanilla
1.5 egg yolks (about 1/8 c of egg yolk)

With a handheld or stand mixer, eat your butter and shortening on high for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat until well combined. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together your gluten free flours and xanthan gum. Add this to your butter mixture and beat until combined. Your dough is going to still be crumbly. I thought I had done something horribly wrong, but the dough still held together when it baked!

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls; I think mine were about 1.5 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes. They shouldn’t be at all brown, but the edges should be set. I think the less time you cook them, the more chewy they will be.

Let them cool about 1-2 minutes on your cookie sheet and then move them to a cooling rack to cool. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of sugar.


Goodbye Gluten Bakeshop cupcakes now available at Metcalfe’s (Hilldale Mall, Madison)

12 Oct

My gluten-free cupcakes are now available at Metcalfe’s Market Hilldale! Please share the news with your friends, and of course, stop by and get one! =)

From  Metcalfe’s FB page post:

“New at Metcalfe’s Hilldale: Goodbye Gluten Bakeshop. If you’re watching your wheat, you’ve heard of Nikki’s gluten-free cupcakes (her award-winning Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcake is amazing). Come see firsthand what everybody’s talking about! We have lots of yummy flavors to choose from.”