A Modern Playhouse

a modern playhouse
So this isn't recipe related but it is delectable (and worth blogging about I think)! I've been scouring Pinterest lately for playhouse ideas for my little girl. Her 3rd birthday is coming up and she's quite imaginative and likes to role play. I thought a backyard playhouse would be perfect! On one condition...it has to be stylish. Shallow as it may be, I don't want a large plastic eyesore in my backyard. I like the mid-century modern style of homes (even though I live in an 80s ranch!) so why not make one for our sweet girl?! I enlisted my dad and hubby to do all the hard work and I helped with the design, aesthetics and a little painting  :-) This little house is more than I could have ever imagined for my daughter. She absolutely loves it and even likes to eat her breakfast inside at her special table :)

leveling the yard
building the foundation
a TREX foundation (no splinters)! 
checking out the roof
power tools!
sitting on the front porch
the back view 

side view of crawl door and window
can't forget flowers

the inside
a steering wheel to drive the house ;)
inside view of table and back wall
the completed house 
the front porch with mailbox, house numbers and cafe door

a few details:
paint/stain color: BEHR Cape Cod Gray Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain
table and chairs: Ikea Lack Table in Grey and Ikea Mammut Stools in Blue
house numbers: modern house numbers from the Hillman Group from Home Depot
mailbox: vintage
door paint: Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore
dishes: tea set by Green Toys
watering can and broom bought locally at Grandrabbits Toy shop in Boulder, CO


Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

I love summer. It's my favorite time of year...fresh veggies, fruits and herbs are in abundance and grilling outside is the preferred way of  cooking (not to mention my birthday just happens to be in the summer)! :) This recipe is perfect for grilled salmon.  Fresh, creamy, tangy and very flavorful! Hope you enjoy! 

Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

3 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
salt to taste

mix it all together and top on your favorite grilled fish :) easy peasy!


Fresh Herb Potato and Green Bean Salad for a Gluten Free Soiree

Sip and See Soiree!

I didn't want to have a traditional baby shower for a second baby so instead opted for a meet the baby brunch (a so called "sip and see"). My Little one is 10 weeks old and such a happy baby! The party was very small and only included a few of my friends from high school and college and my mom and sister. It was very low-key and relaxing.

I feel very busy and a tad bit tired these days, so I didn't want to do much cooking. The menu needed to be easy, look appealing, taste delicious and of course gluten free! Here's a sample of the offerings :)
  • GF Chocolate cupcakes (trader joes)
  • Salami, roasted turkey breast and black forest ham (boars head brand)
  • Herbed goat cheese, semi-soft fontina, aged cheddar cheese with peppercorns and a sliced mild cheddar cheese
  • Grapes and apricots
  • Mixed Olives
  • A Mimosa bar! Peach juice, French Lemonade, and mango juice paired with sparkling wine and a variety of fresh fruits to garnish
  • Bread! Fresh baked brioche and multi grain bread from Revolution Bakery (100% gf bakery in Santa Fe)
  • Fresh Vegetable plate with hummus (trader joes)
  • Herbed Potato salad adapted from Cooking Light (recipe below)
  • A few decorations including fresh flowers and a name banner

herbed potato salad 
cheese plate
chocolate cupcakes 
mimosa bar
bowl of fresh apricots
a personal name banner
beautiful peonies from the garden. classy. 

Herbed Potato and Green Bean Salad

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup french green beans (blanched and cut in ½" pieces)
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Place potatoes into a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, and cool for 10 minutes. Cut potatoes into about ½" pieces. Place potato slices in a large bowl and add green beans.
Place wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 6 minutes). Transfer wine to a bowl. Add vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic; stir with a whisk until well combined. Drizzle wine mixture over potatoes/green beans; sprinkle with chives, parsley, and dill. Toss gently to combine. Serve salad warm or chilled.



5 years and still celebrating!

April 2015 marks the five year anniversary of my Celiac Disease diagnosis. I thank my lucky stars that I live in a community that for the most part accepts a gluten free lifestyle and is knowledgeable of celiac disease. I miss Santa Fe and my dear family all the time, but I love the gluten free food options and the beauty that Colorado has to offer! It makes life away from New Mexico a little more tolerable. My hubby has been the most supportive and number one advocate on this journey. It hasn't always been easy but I've never felt healthier and more loved. True true :) I do miss a good sopapilla and wheat beer, but I definitely don't miss the horrible intestinal consequences. You know what I mean?!?!

In the last 5 years I've become a better gluten free baker than I ever was a traditional "wheat" baker and I've discovered awesome foods and recipes from all over. I even got to work for an incredible gluten free company before my attention shifted to taking care of my beautiful babies. Lately it's been hard to bake and cook as much, as I have two little ones keeping me incredibly busy.  

In my down time (what does that even mean?) I am scouting new places to eat and new products to try. I mean where else can you go to a MLB game and have a beer, hotdog and snacks...all gluten free (Yay CO Rockies! Section 142 at Coors Field )! My go to lunch these days is a simple spread of cream cheese and fresh chopped veggies all wrapped in a Toufayan gf tortilla. It's the best and easiest. Win! Sometimes I even chop the veggies one handed because the baby is crying in my other arm :) 

There's an abundance of places to eat in Colorado and some are even 100% safe for those with Celiac. Did someone say chocolaty chocolate and Italian Cream cupcakes from Kim and Jakes? Or how about veggie tacos, burgers, flank steak, roasted chicken, and fancy salads at Fresh Thymes Eatery? Yum yum yum. 

Hopefully I will be able to update my blog a little more often this year..but no guarantees. Until then, have a cappucino or wine or a cold GF beer. I know I need one today!



Gluten Free Gnocchi with Sage, Roasted Butternut Squash and Ricotta

This recipe was inspired by a pasta recipe in Martha Stewart Living. I made some tweaks and served it with gluten free gnocchi. It's a perfect autumn recipe, warm, comforting and full of flavor.

Gluten Free Gnocchi with Sage, Roasted Butternut Squash and Ricotta

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
12 ounces of gluten free gnocchi (I used Delallo brand)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved and flesh cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3-4 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed fresh sage leaves
1 cup whole-milk ricotta, for serving
Pine nuts, for serving

1. Roast squash
Drizzle olive oil on diced squash, season with salt and pepper.
Roast in large roasting pan in 400 degree oven for about 30 min or until fork tender. Remove and set aside.
Once squash is done, make browned butter sage and gnocchi.

2. Boil water for gnocchi-
Follow directions on box of gnocchi (they only cook for 2 min in salted boiling water!)

While water is boiling....

3. In a large skillet, over medium heat add butter, melt. Add sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 2 minutes.

Turn down heat, Add squash to skillet and warm for a minute, stirring gently.

Gnocchi should be done now. Drain gnocchi and add to warm skillet of squash and butter. Stir together gently so the flavors marry together.

Remove from heat, serve on plate and add a dollop of whole milk ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of pine nuts.

Enjoy this warming, autumn comfort food!


Baked Gluten Free Vanilla Donuts with Chocolate Glaze

I haven't updated the blog in a long time. Life has been very busy.  I do apologize! Last week I had a craving for a donut. I wasn't a huge donut aficionado before going gluten-free, but it was a nice treat once in a while. These donuts are cakey and flavorful! Hope you enjoy the sweet chocolaty goodness!

I adapted this recipe from the Baking Beauties. The pictures of her donuts are beautiful. Check them out!

For the Donuts (makes 6)
1/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbs dry instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
butter for greasing donut pan
donut pan

Vanilla Doughnuts:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.
  • Spoon the batter into a large resealable bag. Cut a hole in one of the corners of the bag, and pipe the batter into the prepared/greased doughnut pan.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the doughnut bounces back when gently pressed on.
  • Let the doughnuts sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack.
  • Let cool slightly before icing.
Chocolate Glaze/Icing Recipe
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs milk or water
2 tbs vanilla extract

Mix together the sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Slowly stir in the milk and vanilla, a little at a time, to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Add more milk a little at a time if needed. Drizzle over donuts and enjoy!


Vanilla Bean Macaroons Drizzled in White Chocolate

The holiday cookie baking continues... These macaroons are really simple to make. I highly recommend investing in vanilla bean paste. It's so fragrant and gives the beautiful little specs of vanilla in every bite.  

Vanilla Bean Macaroons Drizzled in White Chocolate

1 tbs vanilla bean paste
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3 ounces white chocolate (Hershey's white chocolate is gluten free)

Preheat your oven to 325º F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Add vanilla bean paste to a large bowl along with the egg whites and sugar and whisk until blended. Stir in the shredded coconut until completely coated.

Scoop the coconut mixture onto the lined baking sheet with a cookie scoop or spoon, creating balls about size of heaping tablespoon. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the coconut starts to turn a golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate in a double broiler. Add the warm chocolate to a ziplock bag (this is a good alternative to a pastry bag). Squeeze all the chocolate into the corner of the sealed zip lock. Cut off a tiny corner of the plastic bag and pipe/drizzle the chocolate over the macaroons. Let chocolate harden and enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen macaroons.

after baking 



Gluten-Free Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

This is a delightful cookie that many people usually only eat or bake once a year, including myself.  These cookies have the festive holiday flavors of ginger, cinnamon and molasses with just the right amount of chewiness. I'm sure Santa will love them with a cold glass of eggnog! 

Gluten-Free Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies


1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
     (my personal favorites are Pamela's Baking Mix, Bella All Purpose Baking Mix, and the GF Bistro)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup black strap molasses
*white granulated sugar for rolling cookies 


In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and xanthan gum. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses. And beat on medium until combined. 

Next, add the dry mixture to the wet until combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat. 

Scoop out tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball between palms of hands then roll dough into granulated sugar to lightly coat. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy! 

Makes about 24 cookies.


Gluten Free Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of year again! These cookies are perfect for holiday baking or a cookie exchange :)

                                          Gluten Free Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups GF Flour (I used Cup4Cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbs bourbon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Andes Creme de Menthe

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. Beat butter and both sugars until well blended. Mix in vanilla and eggs until creamy. Add in flour, salt and baking soda just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and andes mints by hand. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment. Bake 14-16 minutes  or until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely. Enjoy!


Gluten-Free Bourbon Chicken with Brown Rice

I was in the mood for Chinese American food, so I quickly searched Pinterest and found "the best bourbon chicken" recipe! It's pretty delicious and easily satisfies the Chinese take out craving (and guaranteed to be better for you and safe to eat for those with gluten issues)!

Gluten-Free Bourbon Chicken with Brown Rice 

2 lbs boneless,skinless chicken-thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup Tamari sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 scallion chopped, plus more for garnish 
1 tsp ginger powder
2 tbs peanut oil, or other high heat oil of your choice 

In a bowl, mix together Tamari, sugar, bourbon, garlic, scallion, and ginger. Set aside. 

Heat oil in skillet or wok until hot, add chicken pieces. Sauté in very hot pan until browned slightly. Add liquid mixture to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered until liquid is reduced to a glaze and chicken is cooked thoroughly(mine took about 25 minutes).

Serve with cooked brown rice and steamed veggies!