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I was fortunately to be invited to my dear friends’ house for Passover dinner while I was in Atlanta.  Rebecca is a fantastic cook, and they always serve the most wonderful food.   The best part about it was that it was all gluten-free (and soy-free), because neither of which you can have on Passover!!  And on top of that, two of their kids have Celiac Disease, which just means I can eat with them and always feel good!

This recipe has been adapted from both my mom’s version (which usually uses Ramen Noodles) and Rebecca’s version with candied nuts.  I had leftover chicken to through in, which just made it even better!  This is a great, fast dish to take to potlucks and parties.

On a side note, my husband who had refused to eat it upon hearing its name, decided it was delicious and really enjoyed the candied nut addition.

Oriental Cabbage Salad with Candied Nuts Recipe

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Oriental Cabbage Salad

Serving Size: If used as a side dish about 12 people

Storage Note:  I store the chicken, nuts, and dressing separate from the other salad ingredients to keep them from getting soggy and gross.

Ingredients for Cabbage Salad:

(feel free to leave off or add any ingredients as you see fit)

  • 1 cabbage, shredded or cut super thin
  • 4-5 carrots, grated
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped (but since I didn’t have any, I used about 1/2 an onion)
  • *Optional: pre-cooked chicken, chopped into small pieces (I used grilled chicken from the previous night)
  • candied nuts (click here for recipe) – (*If vegan, just toast nuts instead*)

Ingredients for Oriental Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup of  safflower oil (or some other non-tasting oil)
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of honey (you can substitute this for sugar as well)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

Directions for Cabbage Salad:

  1. Mix together cabbage, onions, carrots in a large bowl.
  2. When ready to serve, add chicken and candied nuts.
  3. Pour dressing on last, so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

Directions for Salad Dressing:

  1. In a large measuring cup, pour in the vinegar and sugar/honey and whisk it till well combined.
  2. Add in the cider vinegar a little at a time while continuing to whisk.
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Oriental Salad Ready to Eat!

Candied Nuts

Candied Nuts

So I had eaten at my dear friends’ house over Passover and had the most amazing Oriental Cabbage Salad.  Rebecca’s secret ingredient was candied nuts.  I decided I was going to replicate her dish, but first I had to candy my nuts.  (I’ll post the oriental cabbage later).

There are two ways to candy nuts.  I did mine in the oven, but you can also just put sugar and nuts in a saute pan and saute them.  Once the sugar has melted and is well coated, you then spread the nut mixture on a baking sheet with parchment paper to cool and then break it into pieces.

However, this was the recipe I found years ago and adapted it slightly.  I have no idea where it came from, so I can’t take credit for it.  I love to mix different kinds of nuts together.  I think this recipe can double as the makings of a granola bar.  Let me know what you come up with!  I also like to just eat it as snack.  I have tried it substituting honey for sugar.  It’s just as tasty, but doesn’t quite have the crispness or the crunch I was looking for.  If you try different things, let me know what you enjoyed!

Candied Nuts Recipe

Serving Size: 1 pound

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound nuts, crushed or halved
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300*F (150*C).
  2. Lay parchment paper over a baking sheet.
  3. *If using whole nuts, crush prior to using.  Place in ziplock bag and smash with mallet.*  I of course didn’t have anything else when I was having a craving, so it’s what I did.

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    Crushing Nuts

  4. In a bowl, mix together sugar, salt and cinnamon;set aside.
  5. Beat egg white and water together just until frothy, not stiff.
  6. Add nuts to egg whites and stir until well coated.

    20130410-142201.jpg

    Nuts Added to Egg White Mixture

  7. Add sugar mixture, mixing nuts until well coated.
  8. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and separate pecans as they cool.
  10. Store in tightly closed container.
Candied Nuts

Candied Nuts

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Gluten Free Conscious Box

Are you ready for your FREE 3-month  subscription to Conscious Box?

If so,  join in the giveaway. . .

from Monday, April 15, 2013 – Monday, April 22, 2013 

TO SEE ENTRY RULES, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Not sure if you want a Conscious Box yet?  Keep reading . . .

I was so excited to receive in the mail my first GLUTEN FREE Conscious Box!  Remember when you were little and you use to get grab bags, just for the surprise of not knowing what’s in them?  This is the adult version! It’s like getting a monthly present to yourself in the mail, full of surprises!!!  And I LOVE surprises!!  (If you want to see what was in my box, scroll down to the bottom.)

So, what is a Conscious Box you might ask?

It is a gluten-free box filled with ethical and sustainable products.  There’s food, cleaners, spice rubs, etc.  Conscious Box says it all.  The company is conscious of where it sources its products and even ideas of how to reuse the box!

I really liked the cleverness of the box design.  When I opened it, the first card I read told me how I could reuse the box to grow a flower right through the hole.

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First Conscious Box Impressions – Growing Flower Through the Hole

How Does Conscious Box work?

(quoted from the Conscious Box website:) Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

      • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
    • From organic food to vegan beauty products, you’re sure to find new favorites!
    • Discover ethical and purpose-driven businesses of all sizes!
    • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
    • Easily earn points you can apply to full size products for unbeatable discounts!

Do I have to get a Conscious Box Every Month?

With Conscious Box, you can sign up for just 1 month, 3 months at a time, six months at a time, or yearly.  You can choose from a classic, vegan, or gluten-free box for $19.95/month (which includes free shipping).

If I Sign Up, is there a Discount?

You bet! 50% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Use code: LOVELIFE

Here’s what came in my box:

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Inside the Box

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More Inside the Box

If you already get it, tell me what you think!

Entry Rules:

For each rule you follow below and then comment on this blog post, your name will be added that many times in the drawing.   So, you have 4 possible ways to comment on this post below, allowing you to have your name in the drawing 4 possible times.

  1. Go to ConsciousBox.com and create a profile.  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this, and what find thing you might hope to be in your box.
  2. Go to www.facebook.com/ConsciousBox and like the page!  Make sure to leave a comment about Gluten Freedoms blog, so I know you were there.  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.
  3. Go to www.facebook.com/GlutenFreedoms and like the page!  Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.
  4. Sign up for Gluten Freedoms blog by going to www.glutenfreedoms.wordpress.com and looking on the right hand side where it says Follow Blog Via Email.  Write your email address and click follow. Then comment on this blog post below that you have done this.A winner will be chosen on April 22, 2013 to win a Free 3-month gluten-free Conscious Box subscription.

And don’t forget to sign up for your FREE 3-month subscription to Conscious Box.  Entry Rules above!

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Loaf Cooked to Perfection!

After being gone for 10 days, I had these very sorry black bananas staring at me. Out of guilt for not wanting to waste them, I decided it was time to make banana bread. Then, I remember all my squash I roasted and froze in the freezer. I took it out to thaw, and decided to add it. These always come out amazing every time!! No one even knows they’re GF or DF for that matter.

There are TWO secrets to gluten-free cooking:

  1. Weigh your flour!! I like to use the conversion chart to convert regular recipes to those gluten-free.
  2. Always add extra moist ingredients to breads, whether it be more bananas or (cooked) winter squash or applesauce. It gives it the moisture that’s often lacking in gluten-free baking.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Banana Squash Bread

(this recipe can also make muffins as well)

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 1996’s Banana Bread Recipe

Serving Size: 3 small loaf pans or 1 8x4x2-inch loaf pan

Preheat Oven to 350*F

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Finished Loaf

Ingredients:

  • about 1 1/4 gluten-free flour blend = 187.5 grams
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 4 brown to black bananas (or about 1 cup. You can’t go wrong if you throw in more.)
  • 1 cup of roasted squash or pumpkin
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (with super ripe bananas, I find that 1/2 cup is perfect)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla *optional* – use Frontier Vanilla Flavor which has no alcohol
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (Enjoy Life are free of top 8 allergens) or nuts *optional*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Put parchment paper in the inside of the loaf or grease the loaf. If using muffin tins, grease the muffin tins or use muffin cups.

    20130405-210641.jpg

    Combined Dry Ingredients

  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine and mix together
    all the dry ingredients:

    • GF flour blend
    • baking powder (GF)
    • baking soda
    • cinnamon
    • salt
  4. In another bowl, combine and whisk until blended:
    • egg
    • bananas
    • squash, pumpkin
    • sugar
    • cooking oil (I use safflower, because I prefer non-genetically modified oils).
    • vanilla
  5. Add moist mixture to the dry one and stir until just moistened and blended. Batter should be lumpy.
  6. Fold in optional ingredients.
  7. Divide batter equally among loaves and bake at 350*F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If using different sized pans, then see note at bottom of recipe.*

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    Bread Divided Between 3 Loaves

  8. Cool and eat. Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

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    3 Loaves Ready to Eat!

* Pan Size Baking Time

One 9x5x3-inch loaf pan 1-1 1/4 hours
One 8x4x2-inch loaf pan 50-60 minutes
Two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch loaf pan 40-45 minutes
Six 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch loaf pan 30-35 minutes
Twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups 15-20 minutes

Fridgigears

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Playing with Newly Acquired Fridgigear!

It was one of the first beautiful, warm, and sunny days outside, so why I ventured to the basement to find this newly acquired toy from a swap, I have NO idea!!  We still did make it outside to play.  I guess I was super excited about this toy myself.  (A good sign in my opinion).

Nevertheless, this fridgigear toy is made up of magnetic gears that double as a puzzle.  It also comes with one gear that’s a motor to operate the gears.  It was a good hour of GLUTEN-FREE entertainment!  Not only did we experiment with the gears, but the next level of fun was rearranging the puzzle pieces to form newly colored gears.

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Rearranging the Puzzle Pieces to form New Gears

After much searching, I have been unable to find the puzzle gears.  I have found fridgigears that glow in the dark and double as a picture frame, but no puzzle pieces.  I still highly recommend this toy as great entertainment in the kitchen while you’re cooking!

I just bought some extra sets for presents.  I found an AMAZING deal at www.scientificsonline.com for $19, and you can get another 12% off if you use the code TY2.  It’s also free shipping if you choose the slower route.

Let me know if you’ve come across other types of refrigerator fun that you love!

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Finished Matzah Brittle

When I was growing up, my mom always made us this delicious Matzah Brittle on Passover.  Ok, so now that I’m gluten-free and dairy-free, I begged her to make it for me again.  And my amazing mom did!!  It’s like heaven, melting in your mouth with a crunchy, sweet taste.  My only critique is that after a few days, the GF matzah doesn’t hold its crispness, but the taste is still there.  It can be used year-round on other kinds of crackers.  However, may family thinks there’s no better cracker on the market than using GF Matzah and/or GF Matzah Crackers from Yehudah.  The recipe I’m giving is a rough one since my mom never measures anything out.

The nice thing about Passover, is that anything that is certified Kosher for Passover (gebrocht), cannot contain any grain in it, which means soy is out, too.  This is a good time to stock up.

Matzah Brittle Recipe (GF/DF)

Serving Size: about 9 whole matzah, serving about 12 people
Prep/Cook Time: it takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish

Ingredients:

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Only 3 Ingredients

  • Yehudah GF Matzah (about 9 squares)
  • about 1 cup of brown sugar (or more if you’d like)
  • about 1 stick of butter = 1/2 cup of butter (I used Earth’s Balance, Soy-free spread)
  • Optional Toppings: Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life), Coconut Flakes, Crushed Nuts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.
  2. Using 2 baking sheets, spray with grease or rub your butter/butter substitute on them.  I prefer to put down parchment paper instead.

    20130401-131303.jpg

    Mom Putting Brown Sugar & Butter in Microwave

  3. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in the microwave for about 30 sec – 1 min (depending on the power of your microwave), or over a double boiler at a medium heat.
  4. While mixture is melting, lay out matzah squares on baking sheets.
  5. When mixture is melted, stir it together very well.  (Melted, it shows about 2 cups on the liquid measurer).  The Earth’s Balance doesn’t blend as well as butter, so you really have to stir it to keep it from settling.

    20130401-131317.jpg

    Melted Butter (or substitute) and Brown Sugar

  6. Using a spoon or ladle, pour mixture over matzah so that it is coating it.
    20130401-131329.jpg

    Pouring Mixture Over Matzah

    20130401-131245.jpgBrittle Ready for the Oven


  7. If adding toppings, add the toppings of your choice on top of the matzah and mixture.
  8. Bake in over for 6 minutes at 350*F.
  9. Let cool, and then break into piece.
  10. Store in airtight container.
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Matzah Brittle


Our Kid-Friendly, GF/DF Seder

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Having Fun with Friends and Family

Passover is one of my most favorite holidays.  It’s the celebration of the Jewish People leaving Egypt as slaves.  We get together to sing songs and eat and celebrate our freedom.  With several little people at the seder (the passover meal), we revised the way we did things.  We brought in Sammy the Spider’s Passover Haggadah, (the book we use for the order of the seder and the songs).  It was a big hit!!

The Haggadah with Sammy the Spider

photo 1

Sammy the Spider Haggadah

We will confess that though it was the perfect dinner, the haggadah was missing the 4 glasses of wine and the majority of the plagues, that we will add in next time.

The Seder Plate

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The Seder plate has food on that is symbolic of the Jews leaving Egypt:

  • matzah – is the cracker like bread that the Jews made before leaving Egypt, but didn’t have time to let it rise.  It baked on their backs.
  • the “roasted” egg (though this one was not) – symbolized the renewal and cycle of life generations later
  • an orange – symbolizing solidarity with the LGBT community
  • bitter herbs (usually horseradish) reminds us of the bitter times when we were slaves in Egypt
  • the shank bone (a bone from a lamb, but you can see the dog bone for this one) – represents the lamb that was the special  sacrifice the night before the exodus from Egypt
  • Charoset – the apple, nuts, and wine mixture that represents the mortar of the bricks the Jewish had to make as slaves in Egypt
  • Parsley or Celery dipped in salt water – to symbolize the tears shed by the Jews in slavery

The Matzah

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Yehudah GF Matzah

The best GF Matzah out there is Yehudah matzah.  It was marked on our table, because it technically can’t be used for sacrimental purposes since it does not contain any wheat.  However, it tastes far better than the gluten matzah (like potato chips) and doesn’t make you constipated!!

Lighting the Candles

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Lighting the Candles

It is customary to light the candles to welcome the holiday into the home.  Here my daughter and nephew were helping my mom.

Breaking the Middle (GF) Matzah (Afikomen)

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Breaking the Middle Matzah with Bop

During the Seder, from the stack of 3 matzah on the table, you take the middle one and break it in half.  The larger “half”, called the Afikomen, symbolizes the lamb sacrifice (which is sacrificed no more since the Biblical Jewish Temple was destroyed.  The Afikomen is then wrapped up in a napkin and hidden for the kids to find after the Seder is over.  It’s like their incentive to sit through the whole Seder.  Once it is found, money is usually handed out.  When my mom told everyone they would get a present, my daughter was super excited.  My mom handed out $2 bills and my daughter says, “This is not a present!!”

Appetizer: The Matzah Ball Soup

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Using Stickers while Awaiting the Soup

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Yum! The Delicious GF Matzah Ball Soup!

Matzah Ball Soup is on of the traditional foods served at Passover.  A thin chicken stock is used and the balls are made out of matzah meal (ground matzah).  These GF matzah balls were served to all the guests and no one knew the difference.  They were light and fluffy.  They were the best GF matzah balls I’ve had yet.  (See recipe for Gluten-Free Matzah Balls below).

The Meal

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Utensil-less Eating of the Delicious Passover Meals

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My Sister and Niece Eating a Yummy GF Meal

The whole meal was gluten-free (and dairy-free), and why not?!!  We had brisket, turkey, carrot souffle, green beans with almonds, and wild rice.  Feel free to ask for any of the recipes.

The Modern Seder

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My Gma Video-Chatting with her Newest Great-Grand Child

Write and tell me about your Seder traditions and experiences and ways of making it gluten-free and/or kid-friendly!

Mother’s Matzo Balls

adapted from Keneseth Israel Sisterhood Cookbook out of Louisville, Kentucky 1971

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GF Matzah Ball Soup

Serving Size: about 30, 1.5″ in diameter balls

Ingredients:

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  • 3 tbsp of chicken fat (skimmed off of the top of homemade chicken stock)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup matzah meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp of soup stock
  • pot of stock (we use chicken that we made)

Directions:

  1. Mix fat, eggs, seasoning and liquid.
  2. Add matzah meal and mix lightly until blended.
  3. Cover the mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Bring stock to a brisk boil.
  5. Make matzah balls using about a tsp to scoop them out and drop them into briskly boiling stock.
  6. Cover pot and simmer for 40 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

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