Christmas Eats + Fav GF Recreation

How are y’all?  I missed you. 🙂  Hope your holiday was happy and sane. 🙂

First…some of our eats from the day

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We do a Tex-Mex Christmas.  Big surprise I’m sure. 😉 And this year every single drop of the meal was gluten-free. 🙂

Homemade Enchilada Sauce.

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My Meme’s Cheese-y Jalapeño Rice recipe.

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Seven Layer Dip.

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Refrieds.  The missing picture should be the Tamales.  The ‘star’ of the meal.

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate.  The best Egg Nog…like ever. 🙂

And now…the very best food of the day and the gluten-free recreation I’m most proud of to date. 🙂

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My annual holiday Kolaches.  Prune and sausage…plus one lone fig.  My Mema would always make me a small pan of figs on the side.  Y’all know that since I only get one batch a year in the summer I treat my fig preserves like gold.  There’s still 7 months before I can replenish my stash so I  didn’t want to waste a bunch in case these didn’t turn out. 🙂   

I’ve written about this before but I made my first batch of kolaches in elementary school for a heritage day presentation.  Bread doughs and especially kolache dough is in my blood.  When I got my celiac results I mourned the loss of plenty of stuff…but nothing more than Christmas kolaches.  Thankfully that one turned out to be a total waste of tears. 🙂

I took my regular kolache recipe (my Mema’s) and just subbed the bread book flour plus a little water roux.  I kept everything else exactly the same.  They were delicious.  The fam thought that no one would know they were gluten-free unless they were told.  I considered that pretty high praise coming from people who can still eat gluten. 🙂

What kinds of amazing stuff did y’all recreate this holiday?  Link it if you feel like sharing. 🙂 

My Earliest Christmas Memory

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I think I can speak for Sister Lupiac here when I say that in the grand parental lottery of life we are so very thankful to have drawn two of the best. Of course WE think they’re the absolute best. 🙂

Mama Lupiac is salt of the earth / mother earth personified. Papa L was an Eagle Scout…former Navy and is the most honest / hard working / respectable-to-the-core man I’ve ever known.

They raised us in a home where we were taught that ‘stuff’ and keeping up appearances aren’t even in the top 100 most important things in life. They were also very much of the ‘live it / mean it…don’t scream it’ type when it came to religion. Meaning show me with your actions…because lip service when it’s convenient means absolutely nothing.

Given that upbringing it’s not surprising that my earliest Christmas memory isn’t a toy. It’s a moment and a life lesson …that of course also involved cooking. 🙂

Our grandparents on both sides of the family lived within walking distance of their churches.

We always spent Christmas Eve with Papa L’s side of the fam and Christmas Day with Mama L’s.

So this particular Christmas Eve…Mama L let us help her make a cake. A plain white box cake with simple icing. Then she let us ‘decorate’ it with those little ‘red hot’ cinnamon dots.

Mama L was also the unofficial family photographer. She literally has thousands and thousands of childhood / holiday / random Tuesday 😉 pics. I know the pic of this cake is in there somewhere and so very badly want to find it.  I’ll update this post when I do.

Instead of eating this ‘masterpiece’ for Christmas Eve dessert the three of us walked down the street to the church and gave it to baby Jesus for his birthday. 🙂  She talked to the Father and he let us leave it at the altar.

No doubt he moved it as soon as we left but I have NEVER forgotten it.

Now granted I can’t think of one Christmas or birthday when I didn’t receive exactly whatever ‘stuff’ I wanted…but the real meaning of Christmas (and the most important things in life in general) were taught from the cradle and big props to Mama L for doing it in such an unforgettable way. 🙂

It was a tradition I’d always planned to continue with my own children but sadly my defective body has other plans. 😦   If I’d been able to have them though I think we would have made our cake like this.  Recipe at the end of the post.

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It’s cute and Christmas-y…and well this is me we’re talking about and I think we all know how much I love me some red food dye. 😉 I tried to find some of those little red hot candies for nostalgic decor but I couldn’t find ’em here in rural route.  Do they still make those?   And why oh why do some of my pics have a yellow (or brown) tint like on the left?  The actual icing is as white as it can be…like on the right.

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What’s your earliest Christmas memory?

This is going to be my last post til next Monday.

Merry Christmas to those of you who observe and good week wishes to those of you who don’t.

Y’all (and the blog in general) have been one of my greatest gifts this year. 🙂

Thank you…have a great week…be safe on the roads…and see you next week. 🙂

Vanilla Cake

1 cup Flour (125g…I used Cup4Cup but have also used my own blend)
1 tsp Baking Powder
pinch Salt
5 tbsp soft Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 cup Milk

Preheat oven the 350 degrees

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Add flour and milk.

For this particular cake I then divided the batter in thirds…dyed 1/3 green and 2/3 red.

Pour into pan(s) and bake 10 – 20 minutes depending on pan size and oven.  Know your oven.  🙂

**This amount makes one single layer cake (one round…or one square…or 3 of the little 4 inch mini rounds I used for this cake) and can easily be doubled or tripled.

My Favorite Christmas Cookie

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I saved the best cookie for last.  🙂

We weren’t a Christmas cookie family on either side of my family. In fact I was in 8th grade Home Ec before I knew Christmas cookies were even a ‘thing’. Even then I never really got into it.

Until I found this cookie. I made this recipe for the first time 10 years ago and it became an instant family favorite. I only make them 2 or 3 days before Christmas and then don’t make them again til the next year. They’re highly anticipated in the Lupiac household.

They’re sweet and soft and chewy and delicious and the red / green cherries make a pretty presentation.

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Sorry for this last picture.  I clicked some kind of color or filter or something because it doesn’t do the color of these cookies justice. They aren’t nearly as brown as they look in the pic and you can actually see the red / green much better than it looks like here.  The actual color is just a little bit darker than the dough.  I really hope to work on my pics in the new year.

I leave out the nuts and instead double the cherries (using both red and green).  For the first time I also used Cup4Cup for the flour.  It worked like a dream.

I’ll be back tomorrow with one last post before the holiday break.  See you then.   🙂  

 

Seven Layer Cookies

aka…Dolcini Tre Colori…aka Rainbow Cookies

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Prior to 2005 here in rural route if we wanted a Panatone we had to either make it from scratch or order it.   I used to order it from a bakery in NYC.  That’s all I ever ordered from them but every year around Christmas time they’d send me one of their catalogs.  Every year they’d have a pretty picture of a box of their seven layer cookies on the cover.  And every year I’d tell myself to order them the next year.  I never did.

I never made them either.

This year I thought it would make a fun gluten-free project.

For those not familiar with these cookies they’re traditionally red / white and green to symbolize the Italian flag.  And the chocolate is regular chocolate not white.   When searching for a recipe for something else I came across this blog with a different take on them…red / green and blue with white chocolate.  It inspired me to do just red and green with white chocolate for Christmas.

I used her recipe.  Cut it down in size by approximately a forth (and still ended up with layers too thick).  Subbed Cup4Cup for the flour.

They weren’t hard to make at all.  Just a lot of waiting for things to bake / chill and / or set up.

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One tip?  If you use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting chips for your coating…DON’T try to do the butter / cream ‘ganache’ in the recipe.  The chips melted beautifully alone but when mixed with the butter / cream it was just a sludge-y mess.

I don’t know if I’d make these again…they are pretty but for me they look a whole lot better than they taste.  They weren’t sweet enough and the texture wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. But I really really enjoyed the process and it was fun to try something new…especially this time of year.  🙂

 

Gluten – Free Pita Bread

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And no, I don’t mean pita as in ‘Pain in the ___’.  😉

That’s right, y’all.  Real gluten – free pita bread.  🙂   (From the bread book.)

I’d never even made a gluten-full pita from scratch so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I put them in a really hot oven (400*) and about 2 minutes in they started to puff.  I just let ’em do their thang til they got to a level of golden I liked on the outside then pulled them out and hoped they wouldn’t deflate and be a solid mass.

They didn’t.  🙂  I cut off an end and found a lovely pocket to stuff.   Of course I had to Tex-Mex it up (chopped spicy steak / cheese / guac) but can y’all believe it?  A gluten-free / soft puffy bread.

Today I’ll be working on a different bread recipe and a fun cookie.  Fingers crossed…depending on how they turn out…I’ll see y’all tomorrow with the cookie.  🙂

Please tell me I’m not the only one who enthusiastically mouthes the ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Buble’ part of this song when no one is looking?  😉  

One of My Favorite Days of the Year

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Backseat full of gifts.

Mama Lupiac and I have an annual tradition of going shopping for ‘Angel Tree’ little ones (and now they also include the elderly.)

When I got my lupus diagnosis…and along with it the news that I couldn’t have children…my heart broke into a million little pieces. It was the day before Thanksgiving so right at the start of the Christmas holidays. One day while walking through the mall on a Christmas shopping trip Mama L said let’s do the angel tree (to channel some of the sadness into a positive). It helped and we’ve done it every single year since.

It’s one of my most favorite days of the year and I wanted to share this today because while I’m in no way shape or form associated with the Salvation Army…I wanted to let y’all know that some Angel Tree locations are taking donations through Saturday.  The last week before Christmas is always important because most people pick the girl and /or little angels…leaving the older kids and especially boys on the tree.  😦

If you’re interested but not sure where to go…contact your local chapter for tree locations. They’re usually located in the mall and Walmart.

Hope y’all are having a great day too.  🙂

Praline Monday

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I tried a recipe from the bread book using Cup4Cup as the all purpose base for the bread flour blend.  It didn’t work well at all.  Definitely stick with one of the two blends recommended.  She recommends a simple blend and a more complex blend.  I’ve had the very best results with the simple blend.

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Mama Lupiac’s annual Christmas ‘trash’.  Look how I’ve got her trained to ‘stage’ food for my pics. I came through the kitchen and she’d put the green jalapeño things to the top for a pop of color.  🙂   I’m so happy she was able to make a completely gluten-free mix for me.  🙂  I don’t feel even a little bit deprived of this annual tradition.  This bowl has various types of Cheetos / Funions – regular and spicy / Pecans / Gluten – Free Goldfish and something else I’m forgetting.  We’re going on a shopping trip to a larger town this week and I hope to find some Glutino pretzels for the next batch.

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Made some Chicken Fried with oven baked potatoes.  I’m guilty of usually just throwing potatoes in the microwave.  Every now and then I get a reminder of why I shouldn’t do that.   They’re so much better straight out of an oven.

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Christmas Pralines.  As always…recipe is at the bottom of the post.  🙂

Do you say PRAY-lean or Praw-LINE?  You’re wrong if you choose the latter…but we can still be friends.  😉

My Meme used to make pralines year round but I save them for Christmas.  She also made them old school from scratch.  I ‘cheat’ and use pudding.  Butterscotch is delectable.  They practically melt in your mouth and I’ll probably end up making 3 or 4 batches by next week.

I have some more cookies on tap this week.  A hair appointment. A pedicure.  A shopping trip.  Some more bread.  Hopefully some present wrapping.  And a special cake.

What’s on the menu (food or otherwise) in your world this week?     

Pudding Pralines

Ingredients

1 small package COOKING type Vanilla or Butterscotch Pudding
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 tbsp Butter
1 cup chopped Pecans

Directions

Line baking sheet with nonstick foil, wax paper or parchment paper.  The key here is to use something you don’t need to grease or spray.

Mix pudding, sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Heat until the sugar and butter melt.

Insert a candy thermometer and cook without stirring until the thermometer reaches softball stage or 240*.  No matter how badly you want to stir it…don’t do it.  It’ll make your pralines grainy.

Immediately remove from the heat and add the pecans.

Stir with a heavy spoon until it starts to thicken and look less glossy.  Most recipes say to keep stirring until the mixture looks opaque.  I start scooping mine while it’s still a little bit glossy and just this side of opaque.

Quickly and I mean super quick 😉  scoop the pralines onto the baking sheet.  Don’t worry about any little stray strings or drops.  They break right off once they set up…leaving you with rounds.  Seriously don’t get caught up trying to make perfect drops.  The mix in the pan will harden if you take too much time.

Let the Pralines ‘set’ up for about 15 minutes.

Whipped Butter Cookies

In my hundredth post  I told y’all I was waiting to get permission to share this recipe.  Instead of just updating that post I decided to do a dedicated recipe post.  If you’re missing Danish Butter Cookies you will love these.    🙂

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The weekend after Thanksgiving I told y’all how I look forward to Danish Butter Cookies every year…and asked y’all for any tips on recreating those Danish Butter cookies that used to only come in blue tins.

This being my first gluten-free Christmas and knowing I was going to have to make them myself I first turned to Martha.  Now y’all know Martha rarely fails me but her butter cookie…while good on it’s own…wasn’t even remotely close to those beloved Danish butter cookies.

gfandme told me about her family recipe and then was sweet enough to share it with me.  She said that they’d never tried to de-gluten it.  I’m honored that her family let me be the tester.  🙂

The recipe that follows is exactly as she sent it to me with my scaled down amounts in parentheses.  The full amount makes 5 dozen.

I made a 1/4 of the recipe and got 30 cookies using my smallest ice cream scoop.  For size reference the liners in the above pics are just regular size cupcake liners.

The only change I made to the ingredients was using Cup4Cup for the flour.

I whipped the dough for 10 minutes and baked them for about 13 minutes.

The cookies were light and airy and almost dissolved on the tongue.  They were so light I was kind of scared that once I put them in a storage tin and closed it that they might fall apart.

They DIDN”T.  🙂  They became even better.  Today they’re still very light and airy but they have a  ‘bite’ now and don’t just dissolve.

gfandme said she was going to share this post with her readers  so for anyone not familiar with my blog…I’m the only person in my life who has to eat gluten free.  But if the rest of the family wants to eat a homemade treat then they have to eat my gluten-free concoctions.  Everyone who tried these agreed with me…these are better than the blue tin.    🙂

Thanks again gfandme and gfandme’s Mom.   🙂

Whipped Butter Cookies

1 lb. of Butter (1 stick)

¼ cup Cornstarch (1 tbsp)

3 cups Flour (3/4 cup or 96g I used Cup4Cup)

1 cup Sugar (1/4 cup)

¼ tsp. Vanilla

Soften butter and cream well. Add other ingredients and

Beat on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes or until it

Reaches the consistency of whipped cream.

Bake in 350 degree oven on ungreased cookie sheet

For 12 to 15 minutes.
Yields 5 dozen

Hodgepodge Hundredth + Giveaway

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Pretty new poinsettia.  🙂

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Pizza I wrote about in the last post.   Delish.

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Annual Christmas Toffee.   Cutest little ‘fire place’ heater.  No it doesn’t normally sit in the middle of the floor.  I moved it take a clear picture.  

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Ridiculously good butter cookie ‘tree’.  🙂  This is a scaled down version of gfandme’s family recipe.  I don’t know if I can share it or not.  I’ll update when I make sure.  If you read my butter cookie recipe plea let me tell y’all…my search is over.  These are better than the canned ones.  They were light and airy and almost melted in the mouth.

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Happy Birthday this weekend to Sister Lupiac…love you and hope you have the best weekend.  🙂  Mama L picked this pic to scan.  🙂

So…

This is my 100th post.

When I started the blog I really didn’t know a thing about blogging. I’d read blogs for a while but I wasn’t sure exactly what form I wanted my own to take.

I knew I’d share my eats but I also wanted it to be more than just pics and recipes.

For the most part it is pics and recipes but I also started writing a little bit too.

Along the way the blog took on a shape of its own. Not only a gluten-free food share but also a love letter to the ladies who taught me to cook…my Meme and Mema.  Plus Cristina and Martha of course. 😉

I wanna take a second to add this here too.  I’m sure you’ve guessed this but Mama Lupiac doesn’t like to cook.  Even though I learned to cook from the hands of the best…I wouldn’t be an 1/8 of the cook I am if not for Mama L’s encouragement.  From the second I showed an interest in cooking she handed me the bowls and spoons and said ‘have it’.  She’s the very best and no love letter here would ever be complete without an homage to her.  🙂

Thank you so very much to each and every one of you who has taken the time to look…read…comment…email…and / or share. There are millions of blogs to choose from and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for making mine a stop in your day.  🙂

To celebrate 100 I’m going to do a little giveaway.

The Kindle version of this bread book I’ve been raving about for weeks.

Book 1

Giveaway details are at the end of the post.

Hope y’all have a great weekend.  Stay warm and sane if you’re hittin’ the stores for some shopping.  🙂

Me too, Kenny.  Me too.  😉

All the important giveaway mumbo jumbo…

To enter..leave a comment telling me what you like about the blog. Or your favorite post. Or just anything you’d like to share about the blog. The comments from this post will be combined with every comment from the first 99 posts and I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.

I’ll have to approve each comment before it shows up. I don’t usually check the blog before 5pm (sometimes later) each day so don’t worry if your comment isn’t showing up right away.

I’ll email the winner the gift code from Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle you can download the PC version for free. I can’t speak to any tablet other than my own but I don’t own a Kindle. I downloaded the free Kindle ap for my Samsung tablet and it works perfectly.  So does the one for PC.

The giveaway will close at 11:59 pm Tuesday night December 17th.

I’ll notify the winner via email.

This giveaway is mine and mine alone and is not sponsored in any way.

Thanks again for reading.  🙂

Since We Last Met

I visited the vampire for a major blood draw.  😦   And cooked some good stuff.   🙂

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More Chowder and Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  If you’re a fan of cheddar bay b’s and only try one thing on the site…let it be these.  🙂   I think the non-celiacs love these more than I do.  And I like them a whole lot.  🙂

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I can hear y’all saying ‘Jennifer, what the heck is that?  It looks like some kind of moldy meat‘.

I agree.  It’s not the most visually appealing thing in the world but it was…to borrow from Steven Tyler…beyond-o.  😉   I just threw these together with no recipe.  I started out with these ingredients…

1/4 cup Butter  (soft)

2 oz Cream Cheese (soft)

1/4 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

1 cup Cup4Cup

Red Food Color

Mixed.  Scooped.  Baked.  Left on pan til the pan was completely cool.  They were very fragile before they cooled completely.

I’m not suggesting anyone run right out and make these today because quite frankly they’re ugly as can be and it’s pretty holiday cookie time.  But these were so good.  If you like red velvet…and I think we’ve established I do…this dough will be your best friend.  🙂   They spread more than I anticipated they would.  Maybe a little more flour would help that but before I try that I am going to try putting the dough in the icebox for about an hour and then baking them.  I don’t want extra flour to dry them out.  They were the perfect amount of ‘goo’-in-a-good-way.

Have y’all ever had those cake mix / an egg / tub of Cool Whip cookies?  I think some people call them crinkle cookies.  These are close to the texture of those…only better…and red velvet.   🙂

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English Muffins from THE gluten-free bread book.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  I know it probably seems like I’m going all Julia and Julia over here but truly if you’re a bread-y you need this book.  🙂      And if bread-y is not a word it should be.  😉

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Let’s see what else?

Oh…I got this early Christmas gift (thanks, sweet ‘Santa’)   🙂  It’s this KitchenAid hand mixer.  Of course she’ll never take Alto-Janylvia’s place.  🙂   But I needed a stronger hand mixer with dough hooks for the new bread book method.  Since I’m the only one in my life who has to eat gluten-free I cut most recipes in half.   With Alto-Janylvia when I cut the recipe in half her dough hook doesn’t reach in that far to pick up the much smaller amount of ingredients at the very bottom of the bowl.

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Up first with the new hand mixer?  Pizza dough.  Chilling away for later today.  Isn’t it beautiful?

And finally…

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10 bags of Cup4Cup.  🙂   Some of you may have noticed I’ve been using C4C more lately.  I love my flour blend.  I worked really hard on it and made some delicious stuff…croissants, anyone?  But right now I just really need the ease of use provided by a premixed blend.  I’ll always keep my flour blend ratios handy but right now…health wise…I just need the simplicity of C4C.  Vitacost had a great black Friday sale so I stocked up.

Hope y’all are having a nice week and still staying safe / warm.  🙂