Winter Tummy Warmer: Italian Lentil Stew

Okay, I have one more yummy soup recipe for these cold winter days.  I took a basic Italian lentil soup and kicked it up a bit with some changes and additions.  My daughter loves the Italian sausage in it and I love kale added to the mix.  Increases the nutritional value and the flavor.  I also like how easily it goes together.  Lentils are very earthy and very good for you. I have to say that my daughter loves this recipe; I made it because she was talking about it last week. Perfect to enjoy during this frigid weather.

If you hate kale leave it out; fresh baby spinach might be tasty too in it.  I like my kale fresh when making stews and I usually cut off any tough stems.  This recipe is naturally gluten free.  Do be careful about the broth you use.  Make sure it is labeled gluten free.


It could be made vegetarian; use vegetable broth and leave out the sausage.  I don’t always have the parm cheese on it but it is very tasty with it.

Lentil and Sausage Soup


¼ cup EVOL

1 cup diced yellow onion

2 large carrots diced

1-2 garlic cloves minced

1 can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste dissolved in ½ cup water

2 cups dried brown lentils, washed after measuring

1-2 quarts chicken broth, I prefer Kitchen Basics

1 lb Italian sausage

1 lb fresh or frozen kale.  Fresh is best; chop it up but frozen will do

½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional (for topping)

2 tbsp chopped parsley; can leave out if adding kale.



Sauté the onion and carrots in the olive oil in a big heavy bottomed soup pot.  I use a heavy bottom as your soup will be less likely to burn.  Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sausage; push the onions to the pan’s walls so they don’t burn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add the garlic as you are turning or stirring .

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Add tomatoes and stir up well, add the tomato paste in water and cook 10 minutes.  Add broth and season with salt and pepper; remove sausage to a plate to cool. Bring the soup back to a boil and then add lentils.

yogurt and apple crisp 021 Cook about 45 minutes to 50 until lentils are done to your taste.  Stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

Add the kale and cook 5-7 minutes then add back the sausage.  While the lentils are cooking you should cut up the sausage into rounds and add them to the stew when the lentils are done.    Let the soup stand at least 15-20 minutes once it is done.

Serve in a wide soup bowl with a good sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese on top.  Perfect on a cold winter night to warm you up from  your tummy to your toes!

I only made a half batch this time as that was all the lentils in the house. We ate it all up before realizing I had forgotten to take a picture of a bowl of hot soup, ready to dive my spoon into it’s tasty depths.  Next batch!

Apple Cranberry Crisp is Awesome!

Apples are the heart of this recipe but the cranberries add snappy flavor to it and some great color.

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If you can, get organic as the sprays they use on growing apples are not good for you.  I made this last weekend with some golden delicious apples from a local orchard.  South of Hellertown is Bechdolt’s Orchard which grows many apple varieties.  Go there if you want the freshest tastiest apples in this geographic area.  The variety is up to you but I would not suggest red delicious as they are for eating only.

This recipe is out of Gluten-Free Baking Classics Cookbook by Annalise G. Roberts with a few additions.  Her flour mix appears to be identical to that of King Arthur Flour’s gf mix. I am betting you can use any GF flour mix in this recipe, not like a cake or other baked goods that have very specific flour requirements.

I have made this recipe several ways.  But it works best in the melted version below. I have made it egg free but it really somehow needs that egg to pull it together to mimic a wheat flour based crisp.  The oats can be left out if you don’t like them. I personally love oats in my crisp.  I don’t like it too sweet so I use the lesser amount of sugar.  This is entirely a personal choice.

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For those who love a topping and want to go low fat, this recipe is absolutely perfect with a big scoop of lowfat plain organic yogurt on it.  I love crisp warm from the oven but it also is tasty cold the next day, if you have any left over that is!

Angie’s Apple and Cranberry Crisp

3/4 cup GF flour (mix below)

½ to ¾ sugar (I used ½ a cup)

½ cup dry old fashioned oats

1 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt

1 lg egg

5 cups thinly sliced apples

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/3 cup butter, melted


Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Put rack in center level of oven.  Lightly butter a 9 inch square pan or spray with cooking spray.

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Combine all the dry ingredients.  Add egg and stir to mix well.   Place half the apples in the baking pan, top with cranberries and then the rest of the apples.

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Sprinkle with the dry mix and sprinkle with the melted butter.  Bake 40 minutes until bubbly and the topping is browning.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix [you can use King Arthur’s GF mix; identical to this recipe]
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

Not Grandma’s Rice Pudding

I always loved rice pudding as a child, creamy custard studded with raisins and topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  But the rice itself was kinda drab.  A few years ago, I found a recipe that caused a rice pudding revolution in my kitchen: it used sweet rice which is a white short grain oriental rice.  You could substitute Arborio rice if you like.  I buy this rice in oriental grocery stores but I think Wegmans may carry it too.  Each grain absorbs the milk as it cooks and releases a lot of creaminess as well as providing a soft squishier rice that gives the pudding a more blended feel than my mom’s usage of long grain rice that stayed firm and separate from its pudding surrounding.

arborio rice

This recipe is naturally gluten free.  No one eating it will think, “Oh, darn, another of those weird GF recipes!”  They will just think, “I wonder if she will think I am piggy to want seconds of this?

I think in a pinch you could skip the second part where you briefly bake the pudding but I never do, I think it helps the pudding form the best texture.  Do sprinkle the top with cinnamon unless it is something you despise.  I recommend whole milk as it makes pudding taste so good but if you prefer two percent that will work.  I do not recommend skim milk for pudding. Ick on the texture and flavor of such a mutant pudding!  And this recipe is great with chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins, or even currents or in it instead of raisins. My original recipe had lemon peel and apricots in it. Recently I put a few long orange peelings in it and a cinnamon stick while it cooked on the stove top which gave it a delicate orange flavor which played well with the raisins. So, you can alter it to suit your mood and your ingredients.

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This snowy weekend adds more really cold days.  What could be more comforting after a chilly time shoveling than a bowl of wickedly creamy homemade rice pudding?

Best Ever Rice Pudding


¾ cup sweet or Arborio rice

1 quart whole milk

1/3 cup raisins

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, this depends on your sweetness needs!

2 egg yolks

2 whole large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

A good sprinkle of cinnamon


Rinse the rice in a strainer briefly, place in a heavy bottomed 1 ½ quart saucepan, pour in the milk (4 cups) and stir frequently as it heats on medium to a bubbly simmer.  Add the raisins and turn down the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir it every 5-9 minutes to separate the rice and keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Add the sugar, stir well.  Mix up the egg yolk and whole eggs in a bowl with a whisk and add in some of the hot mixture; maybe 1/3 to ½ cup.  Dump it all back in the pot and stir well.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a low ceramic or glass baking dish. I like an oval myself, that shape is what my mom usually used!  Pour in the pudding, removing any lemon or orange peel and the cinnamon stick if you used such and sprinkle it well with cinnamon to dust the surface.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sometimes I put it in a hot water bath created with a 9×13 cake pan and some hot tap water.  This can produce lovely delicate custard if you don’t mind the extra fuss.

It is tasty warm and wonderful the next day.  Some people guild the lily with toppings of whipped cream, grated lemon or orange peel or even whipped mascarpone cheese.  Up to you how you dress it up!  I occasionally serve a homemade cookie on the side for added crunch value.  Enjoy!

Chicken Paprikash, Its For Supper!

Burrrr it is cold, too cold for anything but comfort food.  If you have ever had chicken paprikash at Elizabeth’s Diner here in Hellertown, you know it is really tasty.  I was very sad when I had to give up their mouthwatering paprikash for my new gluten free life.  Thinking back, I liked the dark meat version but their white meat was also yummy.  Still, what was important was the little dumplings and sauce: Best. Ever. tiny dumplings and great sauce, rich and flavorful.  Gosh I miss it.

So…no more eensy weensy dumplings but maybe some day I can have the chicken paprikash? A few months ago I got this new cookbook; “The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Carrie S. Forbes.  Everything I make is delicious.  This chicken paprikash recipe I am sharing, I have made it both in a slow cooker and on the stove top.  So I added directions for both versions.

You can use full fat sour cream but it works fine with a name brand light sour cream. Do not use non fat; it won’t taste like it should. I like both Daisy and Breakstone brands of light sour cream.

I have had it with white rice, brown rice and with gf noodles.  All yummy.  All easy.  Just add a vegetable or salad and you have a well balanced, tasty gf meal.

This picture, was taken the meal I enjoyed it with some brussels sprouts sauteed with shallots, garlic and some olive oil.  Great combo.

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Chicken Paprikash


1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. EVOL

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken thighs

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp. paprika

½ cup gf chicken broth

¼ dry white wine or vermouth

1 pint light sour cream

4 cups cooked rice or pasta

In a large sturdy sauce pan add the butter and EVOL, heat, add onion and cook 3-4minutes, add garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Put in slow cooker or leave in sauce pan if you are doing it stove top.

Cut the raw chicken thighs into bite sized pieces; ½-1 inch chunks.  Add to slow cooker or sauce pan.  Stir and add the salt, pepper, paprika, chicken broth and wine, cover and cook on high 3 hours, or low 6 hours.  Or 45 minutes on low in covered saucepan.  For the stove top version stir it every 10 minutes and add more broth if it gets dryish.

Stir in the sour cream, cover and cook 15 minutes on low on stove top or 30 min more in slow cooker.  Serve over your choice of starch.  The sauce is divine; can sprinkle extra paprika on it when you plate each serving but I never need to do that.  The chicken comes out so tender; great both done in slow cooker or on stove top.  Do use a thick bottomed sauce pan; I have a double bottom one I like for such things.

Great winter fare and fairly healthy. Enjoy!

Fastnacht Day is Here!

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Happy Fastnacht Day! How ever you spell it; there are several versions out there: also spelled Fasnacht, Fausnacht, Fauschnaut, or Fosnacht. Anyway, today is Shrove Tuesday which is Fastnacht or donut Day in Pennsylvania.  A true fastnacht has some potato in it and the texture should to be light yet substantial and moist. It can have a hole or not but no filling or fancy sprinkly crazy donut flavors.  It is a basic old school donut and people around the Lehigh Valley love them.  I can guarantee you that hundreds, no thousands, of fastnacht donuts are being munched on as I type this!

I pretty much gave donuts up a number of years ago and only ate them on Fastnacht Day. They are so fattening and oinky plus I never eat many so making a batch, even a half batch, used to leave me with a lot of donuts to give away. When I went gluten free exactly 2 years ago today I gave them up totally.  It wasn’t the biggest food sacrifice I made (there are too many choices for that award to even mention here!) but I do miss that treat on this special day.

Yesterday I looked at recipes, wanting to find a donut recipe for which I had the ingredients and could make within the time frame of the day, meaning no 12 hour to 2 day rise recipes.  The best looking and sounding recipe had just that; a minimum twelve hour rise.  Nixed it and went for a version that was made from extra flaky buttermilk biscuit dough.  No yeast, no rising. Some freezing and a lot of folding and rolling was part of the deal. No sweat, just make sure you have two cups of the special gf pastry flour recipe made up plus some for sprinkling on your bread board.

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I can’t share the recipe; created by Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring fame, she does not allow recipes of hers to be shared in blog posts like mine.  You can get it right from her website:  The dough goes together fairly easily.  I found it best to use my pastry cutter to blend in the flour properly.  I froze most of it rolled and cut into round and rectangular biscuits for later use.  I only made 4 donuts and 4 donut holes.  Containing my donut possibilities down to something manageable! I probably should have smoothed my dough more; it is a bit craggy, reminds me of sour cream cake donuts…. Next time….

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I made one change to my donut finishing; I added a good sprinkle of nutmeg to the granulated sugar and thus gave them some of the flavor of my mom’s lovely yeast donuts.

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Next Fastnacht Day I will create Nicole’s yeast raised donuts – just have to plan a few days in advance so her amazing dough has time to organize itself properly in the cold raising phase in my fridge. Do check that recipe out in her book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, along with many other tempting breads.  It is not too late to whip up a batch of oinky donuts that are gluten free and yummy.

Happy Fastnacht Day to all my donut loving friends! Time for my fastnacht!

Italian Peasant Soup…Winter Tummy Warmer

Yet more snow, high winds, and frigid cold….perfect soup weather.  Yeap, I have another soup to share: rib sticking winter fare – on my menu today. I’ve been making this recipe for a long time; it is a favorite for me.  This Italian Peasant soup hits the spot. chocolate heart cake 016 It is full of flavor but is fairly cheap to make: doesn’t have any meat or pricey ingredients.  If you use vegetable broth your soup can be vegetarian. It isn’t tricky either to throw together and it is naturally gluten free.

Do make sure your broth is safe; most of the brands out there are not suitable for use by anyone with celiac; they somehow seem to have some small measure of gluten in it rendering the soup uneatable for those of us with celiac disease.

I strongly suggest that you make your own beans from dried ones; much more flavor than canned already cooked beans, cheaper and really not much trouble.  Savoy cabbage, located right next to the usual green cabbage: it is a bit pricey than regular cabbage but the green crinkly leaves are a big part of the flavor appeal of this soup so get a small head for this recipe if at all possible.  Oh and, you really need the Arborio rice as it won’t be right with regular rice; Arborio rice soaks up liquid and is creamy with a different texture than long grain rice.  arborio rice

This recipe makes a lot of soup and is great leftover for lunch.

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Italian Peasant Soup

1 cup dried navy beans

2 quarts chicken broth

1 bay leaf

¼ cup EVOL

1 cup red onion, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley; flat leaf

1 lb Savoy cabbage

1 cup Arborio rice

1-2 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper.


Soak 1 cup dried white beans in water to cover; I use the quick method; bring to boil, boil 2 minutes, let stand 60 minutes.  Rinse really well and clean the pot too.  Then return the beans to the washed pot and cover with fresh filtered water.  Cook beans with the bay leaf for 1-2 hours until tender but not mushy. Puree half the beans in a blender or food processor.  I have used either; both work.

In a big, heavy bottomed soup pot heat the olive oil, add the onion and carrot, stir a minute, add the garlic and stir a minute.

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Add the parsley. Cook 5-6 minutes.  Add the cabbage which you have diced fine.chocolate heart cake 010

Stir well for a minute or two, add 1 cup chicken broth. chocolate heart cake 011

Cover and cook 10 minutes.    Add the rest of the broth, bring to a bubble; add the pureed beans and whole beans.

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Cook 10 minutes, stir 2-3 times as it cooks.  Add the Arborio rice and cook 12-15 minutes; until tender but al dente. Stir it 3-4 times so the rice stays blended and doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let rest 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a drizzle of EVOL on top.  Great with a slice of hearty bread, gf of course!chocolate heart cake 016

Apple Crumb Pie Please!

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Apples, the quintessential fruit; the Bible says Eve tempted Adam with an apple.  Not surprising as a just picked, ripe, organic apple is a yummy treat. If you ever walk through an apple orchard about to be picked the delicious scent in the air will overwhelm you and cause your purchase of even more apples than you planned for.  A hot apple pie will delightfully scent your house for hours, acting like a magnet for children, friends and men of your acquaintance!

I generally put this pie together in a certain manner; make the crust dough; put it in fridge to chill while I peel, slice and cut up the apples. If I have time I throw together the crumbs too before rolling out the pie.  If you plan to pre-bake your crust that ten minutes is a good time for making the crumbs and preparing the apples too.

It goes without saying that this pie is great with a slice of vanilla ice cream.  Winter is still a good time for an apple pie but by spring the apples are iffy and I stop baking pies with them.  Be seasonal whenever possible when it comes to fruits and you will get the best flavor and taste in your fruit based desserts.

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Apple Crumb Pie


1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice


Spray a nine inch pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. Set aside.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.

Roll out the flattened ball into a pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in the pie pan, be sure to center it.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.


6-8 medium-large sized apples, I like a mixture of yellow delicious and at least one other cooking variety; red Rome, Jonathan, empire, Courtland, or any tart apple you like to bake with.

Peel apples, quarter, cut out core, slice into 1/3 inch thick slices. Mix in a large bowl with:

¼ cup brown sugar

3-5 tbsp. granulated sugar (3= tart, 5 if you like it sweet)

1 tbsp. minute tapioca, or cornstarch, or sweet rice flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

A good sprinkle of ground nutmeg

A small sprinkle of ground ginger

1 tbsp lemon juice

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Heap in pie crust. winter salad, apple pie 003

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks.

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Sprinkle the top of the pie with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about 2/3 of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste…  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 55-60 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  You can cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes.  I have a bottom heat oven so my crust gets crisp but if you have issues with soggy bottom crusts; pre-bake your crust for 10 minutes; then fill and bake immediately.

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Cool the pie at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: The crust and crumbs are from Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook: Gluten-Free Baking Classics. My filling is slightly different.