friday eats

Candied Cashew and Pear Salad
3/4 cup cashew halves
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes

In a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast cashews until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove cashews to a dish to cool slightly. Return skillet to medium-high heat, cook bacon strips until crisp on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and soak up grease with a paper towel. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, and toasted cashews. Set aside. In a small jar, mix together white wine vinegar, mustard, and honey, olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, cover and shake. In a large salad bowl, toss dressing with greens, pear slices, grapes, and bacon, and sprinkle with nut mixture. I made this for a family dinner recently and it was a big hit, toss on a little cooked salmon or chicken and you have yourself a meal!

“The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter’s pallet can duplicate nature’s artistry.”  ~Dr. SunWolf

summer sweets

My friend, Fab, gave me a recipe for simple blueberry jam. This morning, I smeared some of my homemade jam on a toasted, gluten-free English muffin and tasted summer in every delectable bite.

5 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the berries have released their juices. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture has thickened for about 20 minutes. Transfer to containers and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 1 year.

gluten-free treat

Today’s theme for PhotoHunt Saturday is utensils. I photographed the baking supplies a few weeks ago for my iStock account. I don’t really bake much anymore since I had to go on a gluten-free diet. It’s a lot more complicated, and the truth is, most GF baking recipes just aren’t worth all the trouble. I have made one yummy discovery though, 123 Gluten-Free Pan Bar mix is delish when made with added pumpkin and a cream cheese frosting. I serve it often to “regular” people. Everyone seems to love my pumpkin bars and they didn’t know they were gluten-free until I told them:)

Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis

more cheese please

The other night while at a friend’s house for dinner I sampled a cheese and fell head over heels in love. Now I’m not a particularly cheesy person (so I like to think anyway),  and I’m even a little lactose intolerant, but this cheese was so yummy I made Sarah write down the name so I could pick some up. It’s called Dubliner and has a slightly sweet, nutty taste. I like it sliced thinly on gluten-free crackers, but it’s also great with apples, wine, and even beer. I’ve read that it melts well too so I plan to try it in some recipes. So move over George Clooney and bring on the Metamucil, this babie has a new crush;)

Age is not important unless you’re a cheese. ~Helen Hayes

i dream of pizza

So it was one of those good-news/bad-news moments when I found out that I would feel better by not eating food containing gluten. And most of the time I don’t miss all those carbs, mainly because I began to look at them differently. When I see a slice of chocolate birthday cake, a mound of spaghetti, or a basket of hot rolls I see poison. But the one thing I still missed after being wheat-free for many years was pizza. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care, that it was gooey and fattening and no big loss, the truth is, I still longed to bite into a hot cheesy, crusty slice of yummy pizza! Last week, while standing in front of the gluten-free product freezer at my local market, the woman next to me asked if I’d tried the Kinnikinnick Pizza Crusts. She went on (and on and on) telling me how she prepared them and how great they were while I stood there nodding and thinking that she must be totally deluding herself. There was no way they could be as good as the “real” thing, but I threw a bag in my cart and figured I’d give them a try. I made two individual pizzas that night and she was right, they were fabulous! My husband even loved them and he can eat wheat. So thank you gabby grocery store lady, you were right, I was wrong, and now because of you I’m eating pizza again and I’m going to have to ramp-up my meager workouts on the outside chance that winter will eventually end here in Michigan and I’ll have to put on a bathing suit someday (4-8 inches of snow predicted tonight!).

Did you know that when man first began eating wheat it contained only 1-2% gluten, while today’s wheat contains 55% gluten? No wonder more and more people are feeling the effects. If you have chronic digestive problems, skin rashes, or autoimmune health issues, consider talking to your doctor about a screening and perhaps giving the gluten-free diet a try. It’s really not so bad, really, you can even eat pizza:)

cheesecake bliss

Ever since I’ve gone gluten-free I rarely bake anymore. It just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, especially since I’m the only one in my family that avoids the sticky little proteins (although there are others who show signs of needing to, but I won’t go there in this post). Anyway, I hosted book club last week and wanted to make something I could actually enjoy along with my friends so I adapted a cheesecake recipe to make it gluten-free. It was soooo good you’d never know the crust was wheat-free and even people who aren’t big cheesecake fans loved it! It’s almost a cross between cheesecake and apple crisp because of the crust and the crumble top so this is the perfect time of year to make it and impress your friends and family. And since this was my first time ever making cheesecake it must be a fail safe recipe! Click on “keep reading” to get the recipe:)

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