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Gluten Free Cornbread Muffins mmm April 15, 2012

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , add a comment

I was ready for something different after a year of GF Betty Crocker brownie mix, cake and cookies. I was surprised to read the words “wheat flour” on the labels of cornbread mix. I thought it was made from cornmeal? No, not Jiffy and the like. I suppose I could buy cornmeal and make up a concoction. Nah, being the lazy baker I am I went on a hunt for a GF cornbread mix on Amazon.com. Without hesitation my magical one-click shop had a case of Bob’s Red Mill on my doorstep.

We made a batch of standard cornbread with no special modifications except substitution of soy milk for milk. Boy was it sweet, moist and delicious. I was in heaven. I decided to play around with the second batch. I made over-sized muffins and sprinkled walnuts and dried cranberry on top, plus, a drizzle of agave sweetener before putting them in the oven. It was delish but I learned a few lessons:

1. Muffins have a shorter cooking time and so does the convection setting. I left them in for the package directed 25 minutes. Next time I’ll check them at 18-20mins do they will come out moister.

2. Sprinkling nuts and fruit on top looks pretty but it creates a burnt taste. Next time I’ll mix it into the batter. That was a bad lazy baker move.

3. Agave is magical.

I’m not sure if I love cornbread so much for the bread as the butter. It’s a warm means for cool slightly melted butter delivery or sure. I use a vegan butter called Earth Balance or another olive oil based whipped butter spread because I’m also lactose free. Insert “fake” in front of every one of my butter references.

Next experiment: almond milk, honey top, lavender sugar butter or chocolate chips. My mouth is already watering, I’m glad I have a case of mix to play with.


The Best Gluten Free Zucchini Bread Recipe October 11, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , add a comment

organic zucchini from Sage Mountain Farm CSA

I’ve had a big bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour in my pantry for months without a clue of what to do with it. Maybe it was more like no motivation to figure out what to do with it and get off my butt and bake something from scratch.

But I did it! And, it was amazing. I’m sharing the deliciousness with you here in a recipe I modified to incorporate my fresh off the farm zucchini I received last weekend in my CSA box. Note: the photos of the lovely lady holding is featured from the Sage Mountain Farm website to show the green zucchini used in this recipe. That’s not me, but that’s the look on my face when I open my CSA box at the Farmers Market to discover the seasonal surprises inside. The round variation of zucchini (Eight Ball maybe?) I used in this recipe can be substituted.


Zucchini Bread Recipe

Gluten Free/Lactose Free

What you’ll need:

Preheat oven to 350º. Use convection if available. Grease one 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Use a spray of PAM to ensure it doesn’t stick. (For smaller loaves, use three 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. I personally avoid non-stick pans when ever possible because I do not like cooking on chemicals. I go old school like my Grandmothers and use a glass pan. A metal loaf pan would work well too.

Pre-prep: Peel and  section your apple removing seeds and stem. Using a food processor puree your apple or finely dice it, measure a half cup and set it aside. If you have full clove pieces use a mortar pestle or a mini food processor to grind them up, measure and set aside. Cut your zucchini into large pieces and grate them using a large food processor or hand grater. You’ll need about 2 1/2 large ones to make two cups. Chop the walnuts (you can put them in your mortar pestle or a plastic bag and pound them), measure and set aside.

In large glass or metal mixing bowl, cream vegetable oil, all sugar, eggs, and vanilla with and electric mixer until smooth. Adding your apple puree at the end. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and ground cloves. Mix it up on medium speed until completely combined. Gently stir in zucchini and nuts. Turn batter into prepared pans. Bake a 8 x 4-inch loaf for 55-65 minutes (convection bakes faster); 5 x 3-inch pans for 35-45 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cool before slicing. I found that it was crumbly the first day and the bread begin to bind and become moister on day 2 and 3.

The results!

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread   Slice of Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Friend Lasagna – Gluten Free and Vegan September 19, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , 1 comment so far

I fell victim to my latest documentary addiction this weekend, Forks Over Knives. The concept is that by eliminating animal products for a whole foods, vegan diet people significantly avoid, reduce or even reverse disease. I’ve always been a big believer that food has everything to do with sickness or lack there of. I was excited to find documentation of historic facts, science, and real stats from real doctors to back up what I (and many others since the beginning of time) already knew. It’s unfortunate that the medical community, in large part due to the U.S. health system and the pharma industry, refuse to recognize food as having any impact on wellness. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Go watch the movie or look it up.

After considering my own eating habits I found that I’m not that far away from a vegan diet; I eat chicken and fish, but my elimination of lactose puts me at arms reach. I love vegetables and am interested in exploring new dishes.

I know I won’t give up sushi or the occasional savory chicken dish. And, I know it will be impossible to eat anywhere but home with both a vegan and wheat restriction. Part of the vegan staple is wheat and it’s mixed into many products. But, I also know I can do a little better. So here’s my shot at just that.

I call it Friend Lasagna because it won’t hurt my tummy, it’s made for sharing with friends and it’s planet friendly. I made the recipe up after referencing others and my own traditional meat and cheese lasagna recipe (God it was good, those were the days). I do have to say that my first shot at making vegan lasagna was pretty delish.


Friend Lasagna Recipe

Gluten free, lactose free, dairy free, vegan

Prep time: 2hrs

Serves: an entire family! 6-8 people

Box of rice or other gluten free lasagna noodles
Red pasta sauce (use your favorite marinara recipe or grab a jar of high quality sauce, I like Mezzetta brand)
Can of sliced olives
Olive oil
6 Zucchini sliced lengthwise
1 Yellow bell pepper sliced lengthwise thin strips
1 Large beefsteak tomato thin full slices
Shredded soy cheese (I like Trader Joe’s)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Faux cheese sauce:
1 pack of firm tofu (I use non-GMO)
1/2c Tahini
3TBS Yellow miso
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
Sea salt
Fresh parsley and thyme

1. Sauté garlic, onion, parsley and thyme, 3TBS olive oil, on low heat until soft and aromatic.

2. Drain tofu, use a potato masher and a big bowl to break it up. Using a wood spoon slowly add sauté, tahini, salt, allspice and miso. Mix well and set aside.

3. Toss sliced zucchini and whole yellow bell pepper in olive oil and sea salt. Grill turning once for 5-10 mins or until char marks appear. Do not overcook. Thinly slice the cooked bell pepper into strips. Set aside.

4. Preheat oven an get out a large glass rectangular pan, oil bottom and spread 1/4c sauce. Read package and prepare noodles as instructed, most rice versions are not precooked. Layer noodles with 1/2 of faux cheese mixture, and a sprinkle of olives. Add another layer of Noodles, spot pasta sauce on noodles, add a single layer of zucchini and tomatoes, spread the rest of faux cheese over the tomatoes and sprinkle olives. Top layer; noodles, the rest of the pasta sauce (about 1 cup), yellow bell pepper strips, sprinkle one light layer of grated soy cheese, and the rest of the olives. Make sure the pasta sauce is spread evenly and there are no exposed, unsauced noodle edges. Salt.

5. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before cutting into it to allow it to set. That way it will keep its shape.

Serve with a light salad.


Vegan, gluten free lasagna dish

Friend Lasagna and Salad

Gluten Free, Lactose Free Lasagna and Salad

Friend Lasagna and Salad

Friend Lasagna before it goes in the oven.

Ready for the Oven

Mezzetta Pasta Sauce

Mezzetta All Natural Marinara Sauce mmm

Easy Quinoa Recipe September 9, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , 1 comment so far

gluten free quinoa

Finding new grains to replace wheat is an adventure. Quinoa is an ancient grain “the gold of the Incas”. (Doesn’t that sound sophisticated?) It’s an amino acid-rich protein that is closely related to spinach, beets and, ummm, tumbleweeds. It’s essentially a seed that is cooked like rice. The texture is different than rice; it starts out looking like bird seed and plumps up into moist little sticky balls that bond together. Some describe it as having a smooth, nutty flavor. For me it is savory. It will absorb the taste of just about anything you mix with it.

Most importantly, quinoa is gluten free.

This morning I wanted to mix things up as I’m getting a bit tired of rice this week. Although it was a meal saver during last nights power outage! I discovered on the back of the box that you can make it in your rice cooker. Fast, easy, today’s lunch, score!

Easy Quinoa In Your Rice Cooker

4 servings


1 Cup uncooked quinoa 2 parts water
2TBS Olive oil
3TBS Fresh chopped basil
Sea salt
Squeeze of fresh orange juice
2TBS Capers


Mix all ingredients in your rice cooker and hit the on button. After it has completed cooking let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then fluff it with a spoon or fork. Salt to taste and be sure to mix it up to evenly disperse the flavors.  Serve hot or cold.

More Ideas:

easy quinoa recipe


Where to buy this grain: Trader Joes or Henry’s in the box, Henry’s from the bulk bin, many national grocery chains in the grains aisle where you’d find your rice. Online.

 Nutrients chart

Gluten Free PB S’mores August 29, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , add a comment

I was ecstatic to find a box of gluten free (dairy free) graham crackers on the store shelf. Not only because I haven’t had it in years, but I had a craving for s’mores after visiting the Hershey S’mores room at BlogHer. This magical room had every possible way to cook s’mores available from a BBQ, to a firepit to little burners that would never get you out of your Laz E Boy. I was a good girl and skipped out on having any but it was a treat to watch everyone else enjoy it. S’mores seem to bring about the communal nature in us. Shared cooking, lounging and conversation.

These pics of the Hershey’s S’mores room from Danelle on Home Ever After sum up the experience.

I enjoy s’mores but don’t always have access or energy to deal with a campfire so I have an alternative delicious snack I came up with. It takes 1 minute to make, it’s office friendly, kid friendly and filling. Did you know dark chocolate has health benefits? In moderation of course. This is a creative way to get your healthy 1 piece of dark chocolate in per day.


PB Smores Recipe  

gluten free peanut butter s'mores

Peanut Butter Smores

Considerations: gluten free, dairy free, 50% organic


Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa dark chocolate (contains cocoa butter and NO dairy)

S’moreables Graham Style Crackers by Kinnikinnick

Organic Creamy Peanut Butter from Trader Joe’s


How-to: Take a square of graham cracker, spread on 1 TBS of peanut butter, and top with a square of Lindt chocolate. Done. Yum.



If you do decide to fire up some traditional s’mores you’re in luck, marshmallows are generally gluten and dairy free. A go-to brand is Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows. 



It’s Dessert Time – Go For It August 10, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , add a comment

Food restrictions like gluten, lactose and soy result in skipping dessert A LOT. Having the double wammy of being both lactose and gluten intolerant, I rarely get dessert in a restaurant or at an event. Nor can I walk into a bakery like Extraordinary Desserts and grab a cupcake off the shelf. It sucks! So when I do dessert I do it big. No counting calories. No guilt. Just go for it!

Last Saturday I pulled out my gluten/lactose free inventory out of the cupboard and begged my daughter to bake for me. She loves me after all and this is what we snacked on all afternoon.


ice cream sandwich gluten free

Gluten and Lactose Free Ice Cream Sandwich

gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten free carrot cupcake with dairy free frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcake w Lactose Free Cream Cheese Frosting



GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

GF Carrot Cake Mix (you will need fresh shredded carrots too)

Izalia Bakes



Magical Mujadara Recipe June 22, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , 1 comment so far

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan

Lentils and rice might not sound very exciting but I’m telling you, you will be hooked. This is how my addiction began. The cafeteria in my building where I try not to eat at too often serves this dish. One of ummmm, none other, that I can eat off the menu given my gluten and lactose free requirements. I tried it one day and my avoidance soon turned into a once per week visit. Three words to describe it: healthy, fresh, and filling.

Up to the point of sitting down to write this I knew nothing about the origins of this dish. In summary:

I experimented making this at home one weekend and my family loved it. My co-workers are now making frequent visits to the cafeteria because I got them hooked too. I think it’s that combination of hot and cold, plus savory that does it. The last batch I made was amazing and i can say that I’ve perfected my recipe for my taste. So you’re about to get mujadara with a little bit of Mexican, American, +yuppy food snob. Do not expect the traditional recipe but it’s close.


Servings 4

1 cup of brown lentils

1 cup of brown rice (the fat starchy kind)

1 tsp cumin

1 garlic clove

sea salt

white pepper (sub fresh ground black)

a bay leaf

1/8 cup good olive oil or sunflower oil (no substitute, a cheap oil will ruin the flavor)

1/2 diced red onion or 1 leek thinly sliced (white part)



  1. Soak the lentils in water over night. Put them in a large pot, in water (follow the directions on the bag, I fill the water about a half inch above the beans), add oil, bay leaf, garlic clove, 1 tbs sea salt. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add rice, 2 cups of water, cumin and white pepper to the pot and simmer 20minutes.
  3. Caramelize the onions in olive oil. This technique just means cook it on medium heat and stir it frequently until the onion is transparent and slightly browned, not charred. Add it to the pot, stir and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, ensure the rice isn’t hard and you’re all done. The more cumin and spices you use, the less salt you’ll need. And keep in mind you’ll be balancing the salt level with the salsa topping.


Salsa Topping

This is where the magic happens. Always store and prepare this separately from your mujadara.

1-2 medium to large diced tomatoes

1/8 cup diced parsley

1/2 chopped cucumber

1/4 of a finely diced red onion (sub white or yellow)

squeeze of lemon

1-2 sliced avocados



Mix together and serve on top of hot mujadara with slices of avocado. You can play with different toppings. I also like:


The cost will put you out about $5 and it will feed you for a week. It is protein rich however if you need animal in your food this would be great topped with grilled chicken. Make that grilled cage free, hormone free, organic chicken if you don’t want to get kicked off the food snob wagon. Enjoy.



The Best Gluten Free Cake at Home June 17, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , 2comments

Dessert is a challenge when you’re gluten free, and to add to that lactose intolerant. The only option I’m often left with in a restaurant is sorbet. I hate sorbet! So, I save my sweet tooth for my own kitchen where I whip together cakes, cupcakes and muffins.

I love cooking but I’ll admit that I’m not great at baking. It’s too exact, takes too long, it’s messy, plus becomes more complicated with gluten free flours. Cake batter is all about texture which requires mixing different GF flour to get the right one down. I prefer someone else do that for me. When I crave dessert I grab a box of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cake Mix. I heart cake in a box! It takes less than ten minutes to mix and throw in the oven. I also appreciate cooking from home because I can control the ingredients by substituting milk based ingredients for water, soy milk, or vegan margarine (I like Nucoa it is milk, casein, and whey free). Among the flavor choices chocolate wins over vanilla because it has stronger flavor to cover up the slightly off taste of the GF flour. The Bob’s Red Mill cake texture is light and a bit spongy, yet it holds up well and does not turn into crumbs as many GF flour products do. It’s a favorite and so is Betty Crocker’s great gluten free yellow cake mix. Betty Crocker is available in mainstream grocery store baking aisles, where Bob’s is more of a specialty store item.

If you’re looking for texture there are a lot of options out there for vegetable based recipes, including my favorite carrot cake. Since I avoid baking from scratch, I have a box of Simply Organic Carrot Cake mix in my cupboard waiting for me to try. I have to warn you, my fellow lazy bakers, that it calls for fresh shredded carrot. I don’t care to cut my finger so I’ll pick up a bag of shredded carrots at the store. Bonus – it’s also organic. My carrots will be too.

These products can be pricey, ranging as much as$6-8 a box off the shelf. I order in bulk from Amazon to get the best deal.

What about frosting?

Most pre-made frosting products are gluten free and labeled accordingly. I don’t care for grocery store frosting. I think this is the element that really makes the cake. The best frosting is homemade. I’ve been experimenting with milk free recipes like Tofutti cream cheese frosting and powdered sugar bases. I haven’t gotten the texture right and the powdered sugar recipes come out too sweet for my taste. If you have a favorite gluten free, lactose free recipe for frosting please share. This is the part I won’t laze out on.

Now You Can Eat Pretzels, Gluten Free June 3, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , 1 comment so far

Welcome pretzels back into your life my friends.

I was shopping at Albertson’s last week and walked into half aisle stock full of gluten free goodies. I picked up this package of Glutino Pretzel Twists.

I’m not a huge pretzel fan and neither is my significant other. He can eat anything. But I am a big fan of snacking at my desk all day. I didn’t expect much out of this since most gluten free crackers taste like nothing with the consistency of tree bark. In the words of my other “These are the best pretzels I’ve ever tasted.” Light, airy, flavorful, just perfect. Plus points for also being lactose free.

I’m elated to see grocery stores giving us GFers shelf space. This is the first time I’ve seen this product in stores and I usually shop GF friendly spots like Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Henry’s Market. I wouldn’t count on every Albertson’s carrying Glutino so check the manufacturer’s website before making a big trip. Definitely try this. It’s a winner!



Where to Find Healthy Gluten Free Holiday Recipes December 23, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in : Dishing It , add a comment

As I launch myself into my first of this Christmases with different groups of family today, I am thinking about how I’m going to stick to my diet while making my food look as normal and delicious as I can. I’m getting a little tired of my food allergies becoming the topic of conversation during family meals. I understand why it is. But really, I have much more to talk about and catch up on with my beloved family.

Here are my top pics for recipe sourcing this Holiday. I hope you stay healthy, enjoy your family or friends, and find ways to stay on your eating plan.


Visit Dining Details blog

Dining Details






Follow @DDchefmom on Twitter and visit her blog for farm-to-table recipes that will blow your mind. I recently took a Thanksgiving class with Julie and had a blast cooking my version of dairy-free, gluten-free baked chicken. She even has a special gluten free section in recipes with chocolate quinoa brownies, cookies and curried lentil stew. Whoo hoo!



Visit Baby Cakes NYC

Baby Cakes NYC





This one is special to me. Not only because getting dessert is next to impossible on a gluten free diet, but for the dream. I picked up the cookbook for Christmas to give to my 17 year old daughter who is an aspiring pastry chef. Part of her dream is to bake gluten free goodies to serve in her own bakery some day. I have no doubt it’s to feed her mama and people like me. Baby Cakes is kind enough to share their recipe secretes and via @babycakesnyc with the world. And my little chef.



Visit Gluten Free Girl and the Chef blog

Gluten Free Girl





When I followed @glutenfreegirl on Twitter I had no idea that she was such a chef. I mean a serious one. When I discovered Shauna’s cookbook on the shelf at Borders of course I tweeted her with and OMG is that you?! And it was, and her recipes are awesome. Don’t be too intimidated, she is actually a regular person with an amazing story of a journey to health through changing her diet. And who, lucky her, is married to “the chef.” Get her blog, videos and recipes here.



Visit Izalia Bakes Blog

Izalia Bakes





How can I not tell you more about my little chef. OK, I know she’s not little but I’m a mom I can’t help it. You can follow her journey – it’s just begun she was recently accepted to Johnson and Whales University culinary arts program, and baking recipes – regular and gluten free experiments on her Izalia Bakes blog and @izaliabakes Twitter.