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I am always on the look-out for a new way to make quinoa. I love it so much that I even have a separate category in my bookmarks for quinoa. I love how easy quinoa is to make, and how nutritious it is. So of course, when I saw this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck, inspiration struck again.

We have eaten this salad three times in the past three weeks. Once here at home, just for us, then once for a potluck at work, and then for our monthly celiac support group potluck meeting. It has gotten rave reviews from all!

Lemon Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Inspired by and adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa *

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups tomato, chopped *

2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 avocado, diced *

Dressing:

5 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp honey

1-1/2 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Cook quinoa in water according to directions. Cool. Combine with other salad ingredients, except the avocado. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Gently stir in dressing. Top with avocado.

Notes:

* I buy Bob’s Red Mill quinoa from Costco in the large bags. It says that it has been rinsed already. Some quinoa will need to be rinsed to remove the saponin from the surface of the grains, check the box or bag.

* At this time of year I can usually find tasty cherry tomatoes.

* It is best to not mix in the avocado unless you know you will be eating it all since the avocado turns brown after a bit.

* I think this salad tastes best at room temperature.

Do you love quinoa as much as I do? If so, be sure to check out my other quinoa recipes, especially one of my most-viewed and most commented-on recipes – Sweet Potato, Quinoa and  Black Bean Burgers.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. Check it out for more inspiration!

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Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of dishes using the produce coming out of our garden and what I’ve found at the farmer’s markets. One of my favorite summer meals is pasta with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Below I present you with two variations on a theme, both of which are deliciously simple.

I intended on getting this post up for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free since the theme was “Dishes so Simple, No Recipe Required” but alas, I procrastinated and didn’t get it up. Regardless, go over to GF Easily and check out the other un-recipes.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Quick Summer Pasta

Original by Renee

No measurements here, just go with what feels and tastes(!) right.

Gluten Free Pasta, my favorite brand is Tinkyada (which is also sold cheaper as Trader Joe’s house brand of brown rice pasta).

Chopped heirloom tomatoes (Yay for Green Zebras – the birds don’t try to eat them since they’re green, and leave half-eaten, beautiful red toms hanging on the vine)

Chickpeas, cooked/canned, drained and rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled – I had picked up some lovely marinated goat feta from Sweetwoods Dairy at the farmer’s market

A drizzle of olive oil

Fresh basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Original by Renee

Again, no measurements but I wanted more vegetables than pasta in this one.

Gluten Free Pasta – see above

Onion, halved and thinly sliced, either red or white will work

Balsamic vinegar

Chickpeas, canned/cooked, rinsed and drained

Heirloom tomatoes, chopped – lots of them!

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Olive oil

Basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta (gluten free pasta needs a lot of water to move around in!). Drain and rinse.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and cook over medium heat. Turn down and let the onions start to carmelize a bit and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over them. Add in the chickpeas and let them heat through, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more balsamic if you want.

Toss onions and chickpeas into a  large bowl. Add in the tomatoes, basil and feta, toss gently. Add in pasta (I wanted more veggies, less pasta in this version). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper (and/or more vinegar) to taste.

Notes:

* Sometimes I also saute a red sweet bell pepper with the onions.

* Kalamata olives and/or toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

* Parmesan cheese instead of feta or goat cheese works too. So many variations!

* Mix it up to fit your taste buds!

What’s your favorite quick summer pasta combination?

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This week my eyes were bigger than my tummy while shopping and I picked up too many delicious peaches. Of course they all ripened at the same time and I needed to do something with them quick. That was when I remembered one of my wonderful, old standby recipes. One of the first gluten free recipes we ever made sixteen years ago when I was first diagnosed. And it is one that I find myself coming back to again and again because it is simple and requires no special ingredients. A perfect dessert for someone newly diagnosed and overwhelmed.

Now, I am not sure where this recipe ultimately originates so I apologize to whoever that might be. Over time I have changed the original recipe; this one has less sugar and more fruit. And I think I would like to try less butter the next time.

This is a quick, throw-it-together recipe – great for unexpected guests, if you happen to have ripe fruit on the counter. Or use frozen fruit, there is no reason why it wouldn’t work.

Peach Cobbler

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

1 cup gluten free flour mix

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

2+ cups fresh fruit, I used peaches and blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 9″ square pan. Mix sugar, milk, flour and baking powder together. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Place the fruit on top of the batter evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top begins to lightly brown.

Depending on the flour mix you use, sometimes the fruit sinks to the bottom and the cake portion is on top when done. As you can see in the photo above, my fruit stayed partially on top this time. So it goes!

Notes:

* I’ve never used dairy substitutes in this recipe but I think they would work fairly well. I would use a neutral tasting milk alternative.

* Use any of your favorite flour mixes. I often use the Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread mix as my flour mix for a lot of cookie recipes and it works great. Yes, it is a highly refined flour mix but it is one that works for me. But it is easy to find and use and it was one of the only mix companies around for years. Old habits die hard. If you use another (more) whole-grain flour mix, let us know how it works!

This recipe is also posted over at Seasonal Sundays at Real Sustenance.

This recipe is also linked up to Book of Yum’s Cobbler Carnival.

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The nights are getting cooler and the days are not quite so warm. The sun is sinking low in the sky earlier. And the corn stalks in the garden are drying up.

Autumn is coming and with it, my food cravings are beginning to change. The past week or two I have been craving some of those autumn foods, like pumpkin and cozy soups. And it may be because I have a couple of pie pumpkins and butternut squash ripening in the garden. But those pumpkins can’t ripen fast enough for me, so I went to get some canned pumpkin…

Have you been able to find canned pumpkin lately? Normally the stores carry it year-round and I can get some anytime I want, but this past year was different. No pumpkin to be found. Did you know there was a pumpkin shortage this past year? Last year in Illinois, where most pumpkins are grown, there was excessive wet weather which caused a particularly bad harvest. But things are going better this year and they are expecting to have a good harvest. Thankfully! And thankfully there will be pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, no worries!

Since I knew pumpkin has been hard to find, I asked my buddy Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, also known as Gluten-Free CNN, if she had seen any around town. She gets around to all the stores and I knew that if it was to be found, she’d know where! Sure enough, she said that Whole Foods had some this past week. It wasn’t Libby’s but Farmer’s Market brand, which I had never heard of – but it was pumpkin! Heidi said she had left me a few cans, so I ran over there and grabbed some.

I had plans to make my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins but thought I would change things up a little. I decided on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies instead! If you have never tasted pumpkin and chocolate together, you have to try it – absolutely delicious!

Last night I was trying to decide what to make for our monthly celiac support group meeting/potluck and I knew I needed to use up some of the Gluten Free Pantry mixes that I had bought at our local Smith’s in the clearance baskets (I can’t resist buying gluten free items when they end up in there!). My favorite chocolate chip cookies are made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza mix, so I figured I would start there. I looked around a bit and came up with the recipe below.

As I was making them, my husband stated that I had to leave half of them at home! He hates it when I make sweets for an event and take them for others to eat and leave him none at home. Oops! But oh-so-much-better for my waistline! So since I was playing with the recipe, I went ahead and ended up with almost a double batch. So he got some of his own. But there are still too many on the counter for my comfort, so I anticipate some will be going to work with one or both of us on Monday!

We had lots of delicious things at our meeting today. Heidi brought some delicious Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies that I am hoping she will post on her blog soon! These cookies were devoured at the meeting today, so I hope you will enjoy them too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Inspired by many, but an original by Renee

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups of The Gluten Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza Mix

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

a generous pinch of each: ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together with your hand mixer. Add the egg and thoroughly combine. Then add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a teaspoon, scoop out small balls of cookie dough onto your greased cookie sheets. Use wet hands to smooth the cookie dough, if desired. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly. These cookies will be soft and more cake-like than most.

This recipe is cross-posted over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

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