Gluten Free Date Balls

Gluten Free Date Balls

I like novelty. I like to travel and move and meet new people and try new foods. But at Christmas I like tradition. Part of my Christmas tradition as a little kid was date balls. My grandma made them. Your grandma probably made them. They were one of those things that only grandmas made and only at Christmas. The gluten in original Rice Krispies has kept me from enjoying date balls for almost a decade, so I was thrilled to be able to buy (cue angelic choir) gluten free Rice Krispies. If you make these make sure you use the gluten free Rice Krispies (clearly marked on the box). Regular Rice Krispies contain barley malt, and barley malt has gluten.


When I made these I had two little kitchen helpers, so I put the butter on the stove on low to melt while they beat the egg and mixed the sugar in with it in a bowl, then I poured the egg sugar mixture into the pot and added the cup of dates. I bought “dried hard dates in a box” so after they softened a bit, I needed to mash them with a potato masher. If you buy the gorgeous sticky dried dates from the produce section they'll melt more easily.

Gluten Free Date Balls – recipe adapted from everybody's grandma's



  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3 cups gluten free Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup shredded coconut for rolling



  1. In a medium sized sauce pan combine melted butter, egg and sugar and stir until well mixed.
  2. Add dates and stir to coat.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until dates have mostly dissolved (this could take 10 minutes) Use a potato masher if necessary.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in gluten free Rice Krispies until completely coated.
  5. Let cool for about 20 mins. Mixture should be cool enough to touch and should hold together when you form a ball. (It gets stickier as it cools).
  6. Form into 1 1/2″ balls and roll in coconut.
  7. Store in an airtight container.



Basic Gluten Free Banana Bread

Every week we buy bananas. It’s what responsible grown up people with children do. And some of the bananas get eaten. Maybe 3 of the bananas. The rest of the them sort of sit on the counter waiting to be eaten. Continue reading

Roasted Winter Vegetables, Vegan, Gluten-Free

Meeting multiple dietary needs in one family (or one person) can be a challenge. In our house, I’m gluten-free and my daughter has recently gone vegetarian, for health reasons. She’s always struggled with just not feeling well, and by experimenting a bit with the food she was eating she has been able to identify meat, fat and sugar as the main culprits. Her decision to cut out meat has changed things up in our kitchen. When we all have dinner together as a family, I make a main dish that is both vegetarian and gluten free, usually a fancy vegetable dish, and then have sides of meat and vegetable based proteins (legumes, soy). Continue reading

Grain Free Cashew Flour Pancakes from

Gluten Free, Grain Free Cashew Flour Pancakes

I am incredibly happy. I have finally found a grain free pancake recipe that I LOVE!! When I was a little kid my dad would make pancakes from scratch. Amazing fluffy, sweet pancakes. And we didn’t eat them with cheap old table syrup. We’d eat them with butter and lemon juice and a little bit of icing sugar. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Caramel

This caramel uses only 2 ingredients and is done completely on the stove.

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Just sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter!

You just pour two cans of sweetened condensed milk into a sauce pan, bring it to a slow boil over medium-low stirring constantly, until it’s nice and thick and bubbly (like a thick cake batter). (This step is easy, but it takes FOREVER)

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Thick and bubbly

Then remove it from heat and stir in a cup of peanut butter.

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Stir in the peanut butter

Pour it into a parchment lined cake pan and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

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Caramel in a pan

This caramel is really hard to mess up. Even if you slightly burn the bottom and have little brown flakes floating around in it, you just end up with a bit more of a marshmallow flavor caramel.

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Photo enlarged to show brown flakes.

I almost called this Idiot Proof Peanut Butter Caramel. Every single other sweet thing I’ve tried to make this week has resulted in a total inedible failure, but I was actually able to make this one work. Twice. I can’t in good faith call it totally idiot proof, because the caramel gets really hot and an idiot might scoop the hot caramel off the spoon with her finger and then pop her burning finger into her mouth. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ouch.)

So, a more appropriate title might be Super Easy But You Might Burn Yourself Peanut Butter Caramel.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Caramel

Click here to download a printable recipe.


  • 2 14oz (397g) cans of sweetened condensed milk like Eagle Brand
  • 1 Cup of peanut butter


  1. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a sauce pan
  2. Stirring constantly, bring to a slow boil over medium-low heat
  3. Heat until milk is light brown in color and as thick as a thick cake mix
  4. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter
  5. Pour candy into a parchment lined cake pan
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, candy will firm up but will still be soft

Chicken Noodle Greek Salad

We had company last night. It was way too hot to cook so we ordered McDonald’s for some; but for me, and everyone else who wanted, I made salad.

This salad was inspired by my craving for spaghetti coupled with my heat induced laziness. I had some left-over grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. For the noodles I used individually packaged mung bean vermicelli (because you can soften it with hot tap water- no cooking), one pack per person, but you can use rice vermicelli instead, about 2oz or about 1/2 cup per person.(Unless you’re starving. Then throw in as many noodles as you want. No exact measurements here.)

I called it a Greek salad because I happened to have feta cheese in the fridge and some of it ended up in the salad. (And maybe I ate the rest with my fingers.)

This would be amazing with black beans, so if you want to make it vegan, substitute black beans for the chicken and leave out the feta.

Chicken Noodle Greek Salad

Click here to download a printable recipe.


  • Mung bean vermicelli, about 1/2 cup per person
  • Cold chicken, sliced, or canned black beans, drained and rinsed, about 1/4 cup per person
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • l large cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Greek seasoning or your favorite dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta cheese


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions and divide evenly into bowls.
  2. Place slices of chicken in a line down the center of the noodles.
  3. Combine chopped vegetables, vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  4. Spoon vegetables over noodles on either side of the chicken.
  5. Add feta cheese to taste
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Yum! just like spaghetti only without the heat!

How to make Polenta

We started eating polenta when we moved back to the United States from Malawi, Africa. In Malawi we ate a corn mush called Nsima with a sauce made of fresh tomatoes and onions. Nsima flour is hard (but not impossible) to find in North America, but Polenta is in almost every grocery store. Even though polenta has a grainier texture than nsima it is an excellent taste substitute.

Polenta is also a great pasta substitute, especially if you use pasta simply as a vessel to transport sauce to your mouth. It’s amazingly easy to make, keeps well, and is even better fried in oil the next day.

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How to make Polenta, a step by step guide from Follow Me on Pinterest

Basic Polenta

Click HERE for a printable recipe: Basic Polenta


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil
  2. Reduce heat and whisk in polenta
  3. Continue stirring with the whisk until polenta thickens (this takes about 5 minutes)
  4. Pour into greased or Pam-sprayed 9″ round cake pan or pie plate
  5. Let set 10 minutes, polenta will become firm enough to cut slices
  6. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce or as a side to fried eggs
1 cup dry polenta Follow Me on Pinterest

1 cup dry polenta

Reduce heat and whisk in polenta Follow Me on Pinterest

Reduce heat and whisk in polenta

It's not quite thick enough Follow Me on Pinterest

Polenta, starting to thicken. Not quite ready.

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Polenta, finally thick enough!

Polenta in a pie plate Follow Me on Pinterest

Pour polenta into a cake pan. Let it sit at least 10 minutes. It will set as it sits.

Polenta, all that's missing is your favorite sauce. Follow Me on Pinterest

The polenta is set, serve and enjoy! I like mine in a bowl so I can spoon on LOTS of sauce.

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Brown Bag Lunch Chickpea Salad

Taking a lunch to work or school is one of the biggest gluten free struggles. If you have access to a microwave it’s easier, you can take left-overs from the night before. But what if you don’t? Or what if you’re going to an event and you know the food will be full of gluten and you want to bring your own?

My friend Joyce introduced me to this fast and easy chickpea salad that has the flavor of that pasta salad your mom used to make for picnics. I used tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions for the vegetables, but you can use whatever you have on hand, even left-over cold broccoli or asparagus.

Chick Pea Salad with tomatoes, green onions and cucumbers Follow Me on Pinterest

Chickpea Salad

Brown Bag Lunch Chickpea Salad

click here to download a printable recipe


  • 2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetables chopped to chickpea size
  • 1/2 cup gluten free Italian Dressing (or see dressing recipe below)
  • salt to taste


  1. Place chickpeas and vegetables in a large bowl
  2. Add salad dressing and stir gently to combine
  3. Place in serving size plastic dishes with lids to take for lunch
  4. Eat at lunch
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Chickpea Salad all ready to go out for lunch

Fast Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning or 1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh herbs of choice

Gluten Free Coconut Quinoa Porridge

My parents are coming to visit from Canada in two weeks!! We’re all very excited here; we haven’t seen them for six months. My mom is also gluten free, and she’s dairy free, and she’s one of those people who needs to eat breakfast every day. Living in Canada she has access to gluten free cereal and rice milk. Unless she’s going to survive on eggs, Thailand is going to be a bit of a breakfast challenge. I’ve only seen gluten free cereal at one grocery store. It’s ten dollars a box. So, I’ve been experimenting with quinoa. This morning I made a quinoa porridge with coconut milk and raisins. It was so good I made it again for dessert tonight. I topped mine with milk because I find plain coconut milk bitter. I’ll make fresh rice milk for my mom.

This recipe is made with cooked quinoa so it’s a great way to use up left-overs. I used raisins, but you can use any dried fruit, or omit it, whatever. If you’re not sure how to make quinoa, check out my quick tutorial here: How To Make Quinoa

Gluten Free Coconut Quinoa Porridge

  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Combine quinoa, coconut milk, raisins, sugar and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often until coconut milk has been absorbed
  4. Serve immediately topped with milk or a milk alternative and sugar to taste
quinoa porridge Follow Me on Pinterest


How to Make Quinoa

Here’s a quick easy tutorial on making Quinoa. I’m not a huge fan of plain quinoa, but I cook it ahead and use it in other recipes with !FLAVOR! as a side dish or a breakfast cereal.

Basic Quinoa

  1. Measure out quinoa and place in a strainer. You will cook it in twice as much water. (1 cup raw quinoa, 2 cups water makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa).
  2. Rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer. This removes naturally occurring bitter soapy stuff that the plant produces.
  3. Place quinoa and water into a sauce pan.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Quinoa is done when the balls are translucent and the half moon shaped husks have separated. It will still have some chew, like al dente pasta, and the balls will pop in your teeth.
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I use a really fine metal strainer so it doesn't fall through the holes.

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Here I have 1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup water

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    Cooked Quinoa