almond berry crumble, gluten free

...with no special gf-flours and you absolutely do not need to be eating gluten-free to love this dessert!

I was craving a berry crisp the other day and of course I wanted to make something that Bjørn would be able to enjoy too, so I decided to play around and see what I could come up with!

I thought about using an all-purpose GF flour mix, but I decided to go with ground almonds because I just love the flavor and texture they give...  especially to such a simple dessert.

And it turns out I actually think this might be my new favorite crumble or crisp topping all together...  regardless of gluten-free intentions!

Gluten Free Almond Berry Crumble Recipe

for the filling:
8 cups mixed berries (any)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
for the topping:
1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds* (almond meal or almond flour)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 cups GF old-fashioned rolled oats (can use regular if not serving this to gf-eaters!)
1 cup butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter a 9x13" baking dish.

In a large bowl, toss together the berries (if frozen, don't thaw!), cornstarch and sugar.  Dump this mixture into the baking dish.

If you're worried about leaks/bubbling over at all, place the baking dish on a foil-lined baking dish before baking, just in case!

In another large bowl, stir together all the topping ingredients except the butter.  Dump in the butter and mix well until moistened and crumbly (Use your hands!  The best kitchen tools you have!).

Crumble this mixture all over the berries in the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until the topping is golden and filling is bubbling.

Let sit a few minutes before serving and then serve warm with ice cream (Breyer's Vanilla is Gluten Free!) or lots of fresh whipped cream!

*I buy my ground almonds (almond meal) at Trader Joe's but you can also just grind up some almonds in your food processor or blender until finely ground...  or substitute almond flour if that's what you have!


sesame orange meatballs

I am a huge asian-food fan.  I have loved pretty much everything I have ever tasted, and orange chicken is no exception!

I wanted to make meatballs for dinner the other day but I wasn't in the mood for my usual meatballs and gravy, and kept coming up short on new ideas...

My sweet friend Charisa and I were sitting at the kitchen counter trying to decide what direction to take them when we found a bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce that I had bought at Costco a while ago, and these delicious little bites where born!

These sweet, savory, asian meatballs would also be great made with ground turkey or chicken!

Sesame Orange Meatballs Recipe
serves 4-6

2 pounds ground beef
1 large egg
1/4 cup prepared orange sauce*
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons minced dried onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated ginger
*more orange sauce to heat and serve the meatballs with

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently and quickly mix together all of the meatball ingredients with your hands.

Form the mixture into golf-ball-sized balls and place them on the baking sheet.  (The easiest way to do this is with clean hands dipped in cold water in between formings!)

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the meatballs are golden and no longer pink in the center when you cut one in half.

***This is the place to stop if you are making these ahead of time or to stock your freezer.  Cool the meatballs completely and then place them in a single layer in freezer-safe Ziploc bags and freeze for up to 3 months!***

When you are ready to serve them, heat the meatballs covered in more of the orange sauce in a dish in a 350ºF oven or in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through.

Serve with rice and your favorite veggies!


baked quinoa mac & cheese

For some reason, I always seem to forget about quinoa.  And then I am pleasantly surprised every time I remember to make something with it again.

This quinoa 'mac' & cheese was such a delicious treat!

I saw the idea and knew that it was something my mac & cheese loving family had to try right away...  And I'm so glad we did!

It was a hit with everyone except picky 3 year old Bjørn, who I'm sure just wouldn't eat it because he saw me make it (He doesn't like to know what's in his food!).

This dish has all the rich, gooey flavor of your favorite mac & cheese with a whole lot less guilt in a healthy, protein-packed punch.

If you've never tried quinoa before, because you're not sure how you'd like it...  this recipe would be a great place to start and give it a try!

Baked Quinoa 'Mac' & Cheese Recipe
adapted from Monica Nelson Fitness
serves 4-6, and can be easily doubled into a 9x13" pan!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar & pepper jack are great!)
1 cup shredded cheese, for topping

Heat the oil in a medium skillet.  Sauté the garlic for a few seconds and then add in and sauté the quinoa for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the chicken stock, salt & pepper, and onion powder, stirring well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease an 8" or 9" square baking dish.

When the quinoa is done, let it sit off the heat for about 5 minutes while you whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl.  Quickly stir the liquid into the pan of quinoa with the 2 cups of cheese and dump it all into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the oven to bake for 25-35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown!


gluten free cinnamon chex bars

I was so excited when I found out that Kraft Jet-Puffed marshmallows are gluten free!

(It's the little things, right??)

Marshmallows are one of Bjørn’s favorite treats ever (oddly enough he has always called them “booah’s”, which is the same name Haakon has for his beloved blankie!).

The rest of us love rice krispies treats, so I knew they would be an essential part of our gluten-free happiness around here!

Chex cereals are all (except Wheat and Bran, of course!) gluten free and the cinnamon flavor is so good (I think it tastes like cinnamon toast crunch, only crispier and better!)… so they were the obvious solution to our Rice Krispies dilemna.

(Yes, I know that they make Gluten Free Rice Krispies, but I have yet to see them in any of our stores and I look all the time!)

I can’t wait to try this with all the different Chex flavors (chocoalte anyone??) and someday with the GF Rice Krispies if I can ever find them!

Now, obviously these are just as great for gluten-eaters...  They don't have any tricky ingredients and they taste amazing no matter what your reasons for making them.

I just love that they are gluten free for my gf-for-now boy!  :o)

Gluten Free Cinnamon Chex Bars Recipe

2 tablespoons butter
20 large Kraft Jet-Puffed marshmallows
4 cups Cinnamon Chex cereal (or any gf Chex flavor!)

Butter an 8” or 9” square pan.

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in the marshmallows to coat and cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal until well coated.

Press the mixture gently into the greased pan. (Get your hands damp with cold water to keep the bars from sticking as you press them down!).

Let them cool for a few minutes before cutting. Store in an airtight container for best results!

(This recipe can easily be doubled… Tip: 40 large marshmallows equals one 10oz bag!... I just find that we will eat however many of these I make, so I try to help us all out ahead of time unless we are having company!)


spicy pesto chicken with wilted fresh baby spinach

This meal was a delicious surprise born out of necessity.

I need to eat more greens and protein for this baby and I have been having a hard time doing that.  Nothing sounds or tastes good.

Until this, that is!

I made my homemade pesto sauce, but loaded it up with crushed red pepper flakes because I love a kick.

Then I warmed some of it up on the stove with some grilled chicken breast and tossed in a ton of fresh baby spinach until it was all coated and jut barely wilted with the warm pesto sauce.

I was so worried that all would be able to think about was the noodles that I was wishing were on my plate with this, but I didn't miss them at all!  In fact, I made it again the next day and ate it twice!!

Try this sometime if you need a good protein/greens meal and are getting tired of cold salads like I am!  :o)

Spicy Pesto Chicken with Wilted Fresh Baby Spinach Recipe
serves 2

1/4 cup or so homemade spicy pesto sauce*
1 chicken breast, grilled or sautéed and sliced
3-4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach

In a large pan over medium heat, warm the pesto sauce and chicken together.  Once they are both nice and warm, toss in the spinach, turning and stirring often until coated with the pesto sauce and just as wilted as you like (I prefer mine barely warmed, and not too soft!)


*Spicy Pesto Sauce Recipe

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup (or so) extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

In your food processor, place the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Turn the food processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.
Store any leftover in a small jar in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil poured on top.

Or you can freeze leftover pesto to use later!


gluten-free chocolate chip almond cookies

Well, I made my very first gluten-free dessert yesterday!

I wanted to make a special treat for Bjørn to help offset all the "no's" he has been getting when asking for all of his favorite foods.

I wasn't sure how these would go over, but he absolutely loved them and I thought they were great too!

(Don't you just love the fashion-sense of a 3 year old?  
This kid always has to have his hood up, 
and the goggles were just a random addition 
he decided he had to wear today.  So funny!)

The best part?  These cookies don't even use all the fancy expensive flours and stuff that most GF recipes call for.

Ground almond (almond meal...  I buy mine at Trader Joe's usually, but sometimes just grind up almonds in the food processor!) is the base instead of flour, and it adds a great nutty flavor and chewiness to these simple, gluten-free, egg-free cookies!

And in case you're wondering, Bjørn handled day 1 of his gluten-free diet month pretty well!!

I forgot to check the snack at my mom's-group this morning, so he did have some animal crackers which means GF didn't start officially until about 11am.  But we're doing good besides that and I'm pretty sure I won't forget that again!

He had some quinoa/corn noodles for dinner and loved them (I tasted one...  not bad at all!!) and since his favorite fruit snacks are already gf, that helped a lot with the denied requests for all his favorite treats.

I definitely need to hurry up and find him some cereal though...  He absolutely loves cold cereal with milk and has been having withdrawals today already.

Which reminds me, do any of you happen to know which regular cereals (as in cereals you would find in the regular cereal aisle at the grocery store at regular price!) are gluten-free???

Give these a try sometime, if you want to surprise a special gf person in your life, without breaking the bank on expensive flours!

Or if you just love almonds like I do, these are chewy, delicious cookies!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies Recipe
adapted from une Gamine dans la Cuisine

2 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (or maple syrup would work here too!)
1 teaspoon gf pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the almonds, salt and baking soda until combined.  Then the butter mixture has cooled, pour it over the almond mixture and stir well to combine.

Stir in the chocolate chips and then place the dough in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown around the edges.  Let them cool a bit before trying to move them from the baking sheet.

Serve warm, or store in tupperware!


homemade chicken pesto pizza

I really do think this might be the best pizza I have ever had.

Yep, I said ever.

We couldn't stop eating it, and after each bite Andrew and I kept looking and each other and saying "oh!"

Juicy, delicious grilled chicken... fresh garlicky homemade pesto... mozzarella & parmesan cheeses... toasted pine nuts... and lots of fresh basil and crushed red pepper make for a combination that just explodes in your mouth.

I am still drooling just thinking about it!  (It's a good thing I didn't make 2 pizzas like I was originally planning!)  

(It's also a good thing I did make extra pesto and put 3 more pizza crusts in the freezer so I can make this again very soon!!)

Homemade Chicken Pesto Pizza Recipe

one pizza crust (homemade or store bought)
pesto (homemade* or store bought)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 chicken breast, grilled, cooled & sliced (rotisserie chicken would work great here too!)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
crushed red pepper flakes
lots of fresh chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 500ºF.  Shape your pizza dough onto a parchment lined board that has been sprinkled with flour or cornmeal.  Brush the edge of the pizza lightly with olive oil.

Spread a generous amount of pesto (as much as you'd like!) onto the center of the dough.  Top with half of the shredded mozzarella, the chicken, the rest of the mozzarella and the parmesan.

Bake the pizza on a preheated baking stone (very important!) for about 12 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with the toasted pine nuts, crushed red pepper to taste and lots of fresh basil!


*Homemade Pesto Recipe

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup (or so) extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

In your food processor, place the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Turn the food processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.

Dump the pesto into a bowl, stir in the parmesan cheese and salt & pepper to taste!

Use about 1/3-1/2 of this for one pizza.  Store the rest in the fridge, or freeze for later use!


a rhubarb roundup...

Because I just can't seem to think about anything else these days...

And because everyone else seems to be doing it (check out this great bunch of rhubarb recipes from two peas & their pod!)...

Here are a few of my favorite rhubarb treats!


Rhubarb Crumb Pie with a hint of Cardamom

Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Sauce (for Rhubarb Yogurt!)

Rhubarb Fool Tart

Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Rhubarb Crumble

& Rhubarb Coffee Cake!

(I gotta say, if I could magically have one of these appear in front of me right this second, it would be the Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble!  Yum!!)

What's your favorite way to enjoy rhubarb??


Hip! Hip!...


Happy Syttende Mai friends!

(That would be Norwegian Constitution Day for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about!)  :o)

If you're celebrating today like we are, I hope you have a wonderful time!

(Here's a few snapshots from past years at the parade!)

(I realized that I quit taking my camera when I had kids because it was just one more thing 
to take care of.  :o)  I need to work on that.  Or at least get a phone with a better camera!)

If not, maybe you should at least have a hotdog with us in celebration?

(The ones we will be enjoying this afternoon will be wrapped in lefse with brown mustard and fried onions!  Yum!!) 

Doesn't that look amazing?

If you are feeling festive today and want to make some lefse for your hotdogs, click here for the recipe!

Whether you are Norwegian or not, celebrating or not...  I hope you all have a beautiful day today!

Hip! Hip! Hurrah!!


sunshine, spring cleaning, gluten-free diets and other scattered thoughts...

Well, as you can see I haven't been doing much in the kitchen these last several days...

Wanna know why?  (Besides the usual pregnancy exhaustion/laziness?)

Spring has FINALLY come to the northwest!!!

We have had beautiful warm summery weather for the last several days and I have been enjoying every last second of it.

Mostly working on my tan while playing outside alternately with my boys and with my new favoritest toy ever.  Ever ever.  And it's not even a kitchen gadget (shocking, I know!)...

It's a pressure washer!!

We got a new electric pressure washer this spring since our old gas one died last year and for some reason (nesting maybe?) I asked the husband to show me how to use it a few days ago.

I was immediately hooked and have been pressure washing just about everything I can get close enough to (until my hips give out each day that is!).

Who knew that this city girl who hates to get dirty and doesn't have much use for outside 'stuff' would find a new love of pressure washing stuff outside?!

It is so much fun though!

I think I figured out that it's the instant gratification of cleaning stuff so perfectly, every little nook and cranny, without having to use chemicals or a scrub brush.  I just love seeing all the old, dirty, gross-looking stuff become brand new again right before my eyes!!

So, our backyard is getting cleaner and cleaner every day and we are getting more and more ready for summer.

I plan to take full advantage of these last few months of enjoying my big boys without a tiny newborn to take care of.

As much as I would love to be holding my sweet Baby Girl right now, I am going to enjoy this time with my boys and we will be playing like crazy 'til she gets here!

I promise I will be back in the kitchen plenty though.  Every time it rains or is too cloudy or cool for sure!  :o)

Oh and the latest tidbit I think I haven't told you guys yet...

We have to put Bjørn, our 3 year old, on a gluten free diet (trial, for one month) to see if that will help his issues.  Mostly digestion, but other things included.  I'm sure I will have lots more to say about this soon...

As it is, I am busy researching, shopping and stressing out as I plan to start his new diet on Monday!

Please, please share any tips, tricks, favorite products, recipes, etc. - especially toddler-friendly stuff - if you have them!  

I need all the help I can get.  I am totally out of my comfort zone here!!


rhubarb crumb pie with a hint of cardamom

I. Love. Rhubarb.

I really, really do.  I absolutely love and adore everything and anything having to do with rhubarb!

Rhubarb pie, rhubarb sauce, rhubarb yogurt...  rhubarb candles, rhubarb lipgloss...  I really can't even imagine something rhubarb that I wouldn't like.

Does anybody know if someone makes rhubarb perfume?  Because that would be amazing!

Growing up, we always had rhubarb plants to enjoy and the first sign of those bright red stalks made me smile every year.

I have a few plants in my yard now, but unfortunately only one has survived my horrible care-taking, which leaves me without a lot of stash to bake with.

I did happen to find some beautiful fresh rhubarb at the store the other day though, and splurged on several pounds to try and satisfy my cravings!

The first thing I decided to make was some rhubarb scones, but I was so disappointed when they didn't turn out like I had hoped.

I guess maybe one day I will learn not to try baking something new when I am so exhausted I can barely string two thoughts together!  :o)

I still had a bunch of rhubarb left to use and I didn't want to risk it going to waste on another screw-up, so I went for a classic treat...  Rhubarb pie.

This is a very simple, delicious rhubarb pie with just a hint of cardamom for a little fun and a buttery crumb topping.  Perfect for breakfast with a big cup of coffee!

Wait, doesn't everyone eat their pie for breakfast?!

Rhubarb Crumb Pie with Cardamom Recipe
adapted from AllRecipes
6 servings

Single crust for an 8" or 9"pie
for the filling:
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 tablespoon butter
for the crumb topping:
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup cold butter, diced

Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat the oven to 450ºF with the pan inside.

Line a glass pie plate with a crust and flute the edges (or use a frozen-store bought pie crust for a super quick and easy treat!).

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 1/3 cups sugar and 6 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom.  Sprinkle about 1/4 of this mixture evenly into the bottom of the crust.

Pile the chopped rhubarb on top of that and then sprinkle the rest of the sugar/flour mixture evenly over the fruit.  (Don't worry about tossing this...  it's not necessary at all!)

Cut up 1 tablespoon of butter into small bits and dot it over the filling in the pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the first 3 topping ingredients until combined.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle this evenly over the filling in the pie pan and press down gently to keep it from crumbling off all over your oven!

Place the pie into the oven, directly onto the hot baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450ºF and then lower the heat to 350ºF and continue to cook for about 45 minutes, until the bottom crust is nice and golden (that's why I like glass pie plates...  so much easier to check for a done crust!).

Check the pie a few times through the baking and if it's getting too brown, place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top.

Serve warm or cold with lots of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

(Oh, and if you don't care for your rhubarb straight, you can use half rhubarb and half strawberries or raspberries instead!)  Enjoy!


pasta with browned butter and parmesan

We're back, We're back, We're BACK!!!

That was a great vacation, but driving over 3,000 miles with 5 people in a little Prius is not exactly relaxing and we are so glad to be home in our own beds (and kitchen!) again!

As much as I wanted to crawl straight into my bed when we got home yesterday, I had kiddos to feed and clean, and laundry and unpacking to do.

At least the feeding part was painless, since I went for one of our favorite standbys...

This meal is one of our ultimate comfort foods.  Noodles of any shape or size tossed in a delicious, toasty browned butter sauce with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

(Sometimes with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil for the adults!)

I used to always just stir a pat of butter into the kiddos' noodles, but this browned butter treat is much more decadent with hardly any more work, and I get just as excited about having it for dinner as my kids do!

Try this next time you are cooking for a picky crowd, or just want to throw something super simple together for dinner.  You may never go back to plain buttered noodles again!

Pasta with Browned Butter and Parmesan Recipe
serves 4-8, depending on appetites!

1 pound pasta
1/2 cup butter
freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium skillet (light colored works best here so you can see the color of the butter easier, but it's not necessary!) over medium heat.

Let the butter continue to cook, stirring or swirling occasionally and watching closely until it is filled with golden brown bits and smells toasty and fragrant.  Pull the pan off the heat before it burns!

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.  Pour the browned butter over the noodles, dump in a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately with a bit more parmesan sprinkled on top!


almond joy granola cookies

I know I told you there wouldn't be any more recipes until I got home but, while I was supposed to be packing in the last hours before we left for our trip the other day, I was overcome with an incredible urge to bake.

I don't usually ignore those urges.  And that is usually a good decision!

This is a recipe of my Grandma's that I have passed over in my recipe book for years, but for some reason have never made.

Now I am just baffled about what took me so long...

These cookies are soft, chewy, moist and chock-full of energy and deliciousness!  They travel well, and pack more of a filling-punch than a most cookies.

We all loved them!

My grandma's original recipe (not sure where she got it from!) called for raisins and pecans instead of coconut and chocolate... but since I was using my homemade Coconut Almond Granola and needed a bit of chocolate in my life, I made a switch and it was a good one!

Almond Joy Granola Cookies Recipe

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granola
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the water, egg and vanilla until smooth.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix into the butter mixture until just combined.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Scoop the dough out onto your prepared baking sheets and bake for 13-15 minutes, until light golden brown on top.

Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely and store in tupperware!

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