Monday, December 30, 2013

THE BEST Gluten Free Cheesecake

We don’t have to stop eating treats yet do we? I mean, it’s technically still “the holidays” right?!

Because I really want you to enjoy this recipe for Gluten Free Cheesecake!

Oh Cheesecake.

I don’t know about you guys, but I seriously LOVE cheesecake. The creamy, cheesy, tangy cake paired with a crunchy, buttery crust. Man. So good.

Obviously I don’t get to eat cheesecake all that often. If a gluten free gal wants cheesecake, then she has to make it herself! And while it’s not the most difficult recipe I’ve attempted, it’s certainly not quick.

But it is worth it. Oh yes. It’s SO WORTH IT.

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And friends, if I can make it – so can you!

The BEST Gluten Free Cheesecake; adapted from Tyler Florence’s Recipe here

You’ll need:

For the Crust:
2 cups Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Graham Style Crumbs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
2 (8-ounce) cream cheese blocks, softened
3 organic, free-range eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract (be sure to use a gluten free vanilla extract)

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F.

Then the crust!
In a mixing bowl, combine the graham style crumbs with the melted butter, and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Try to get the crust spread as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

While your crust is in the fridge, start the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. If your cheesecake pan is too large to fit inside of a roasting pan, simply place a casserole dish of water underneath the cheesecake while it’s baking.

Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes to an hour. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours


Friday, December 27, 2013

So. Many. Treats.

Happy Friday friends!

Did you have a good holiday? I hope so!

I had a fantastic Christmas! It was bursting at the seams with fun, food, and festivities. One of the good things about coming from a big family, is that holidays we get to spend together are always SUPER FUN!

And filled with delicious gluten free food!

I started Christmas Eve out with one of my favorites:


Coffee! Yeah….I may have had more than my fair share of coffee over the past few days. It’s a slippery slope my friends, it’s a slippery slope.


Parrish and I headed to my parent’s house for the day. Both my sisters were there with their husbands and kids – needless to say, it was a full house!

Like always, Bestie made some AMAZING dishes:

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Salami Cups stuffed with mozzarella and artichoke hearts – SO GOOD. I ate more than my fair share of these. I can’t wait to recreate this dish soon!

Bestie also made:

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Gluten Free Muddy Buddies! And since she is allergic to most nuts, she made this batch with Sun Butter. AMAZING! I literally couldn’t put it down. I packed up a small bag to take home and promptly ate it all on the drive home. The sad part….I MISS IT! It was so good.

Also good:

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Bestie’s version of Peppermint Crunch Cookies!

She followed THIS RECIPE and made a few switches to make it gluten free. She switched out the white cake mix with Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix, and left out the Oreo Cookies. She also added in a bit more dark chocolate chips to make up for the lack of Oreo.

I think this recipe would be great if you took out the peppermint completely and added in butterfinger bits. I just might try that…. after I’m finished detoxing from Christmas!

Speaking of which, I’m off to the gym! All of the above mentioned treats were totally worth it, and I’m excited to finally be in a place where I feel like I really have a balance in my fitness.

Parrish and I went to the gym the morning of Christmas Eve and I took Christmas Day as a rest day. But not today! Back to work!! (and you know what – I’m excited about it!)

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gingerbread Everything

Happy Tuesday friends!

I’m sure most of you knew that I wouldn’t be posting much here on the blog during December. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Work is CRAZY during December! I am SO LUCKY to have amazing co-workers and volunteers that actually make ALL THE CRAZY feel fun!

The hours are longer and the type of work a bit more exhausting. Not to mention I’m on my feet all day, so by the time I make it home the last thing I feel like doing is staring at another computer screen.

But I miss you guys!

I miss telling you about my day, and reflecting on things with you. Good thing I’m in the home stretch – the busy season is nearly over!

Yesterday was my last day off until Christmas Eve, so I spent the day getting ready for the week. I did load upon load of laundry, and prepped healthy food for meals and snacks. I made a batch of The Fitnessista’s Gingerbread Amazeballs – I can’t wait to workout this week just so I can enjoy them!


I also made a batch of Gluten Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies based on this recipe from Love and Zest. I made sure to use gluten free rolled oats, but I’m not sure if I love them. They’re not bad but I couldn’t get the banana to mash all the way so it’s not as moist as I would like. I think I will use super ripe bananas next time.

But I’m really loving pretty much anything Gingerbread flavored. It’s sort of like the “pumpkin” of my holiday season this year.

Celestial Seasonings gets BONUS POINTS this year for retooling their Gingerbread Spice Tea!


If you pick up a box, check to be sure that “Gluten Free” is printed on the box and enjoy! I’ve been sipping on it at night to help curb my sweet tooth!

What about you?

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gluten Free Sausage Balls

Tis the season of office parties, family gatherings, and having friends over for supper. And I don’t know about you guys, but all too often these Holiday Festivities are gosh darn FULL of GLUTEN.

And not just crackers or cookies, but the classic holiday favorites that you may have previously loved.

One of my favorites: Sausage Balls.

Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but I stinkin’ LOVE Sausage Balls! Pork, Cheese….what’s not to love?

When I first saw Gluten Free Bisquick, I instantly thought of Sausage Balls.

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My friends, that was a smart thought!

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Gluten Free Sausage Balls are a cinch to make and are positively delicious! Serve them with a honey mustard dipping sauce and friends, you’re in heaven!

Gluten Free Sausage Balls

You’ll need:

1 pound ground sausage (I suggest using Spicy – it gives the recipe a real depth in flavor)

1 cup Gluten Free Bisquick

1 block (8 oz) extra sharp cheddar (I used Cabot)

1/4 cup chopped chives (You could use scallions, but I would mince)

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (Start with 1/2 and see if you need a bit more liquid to get the ingredients to meld)

Start by handmixing all the ingredients in a large bowl. You want to get the ingredients fully incorporated, so this may take a few minutes. I started out with 1/2 cup milk but had to add another 1/4 cup to get all the gluten free Bisquick to meld.

Yes, your hands will be disgusting. It’s worth it!

Roll the dough into small one inch balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. I suggest a cookie sheet with raised sides if you have it. The sausage will express a bit of grease, so you don’t want it to leak in to your oven.

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Bake the balls at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. You want the balls to be golden brown on top without burning the bottoms. So check it at 25 minutes and if you can go an extra 5 minutes do it.

Serve hot! And….with mustard. I’m telling you. Delicious.

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The best part of this recipe? You can prep ahead of time!

You can make the “dough” a few days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. You can even roll out the balls and freeze them!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EASY White Bean Turkey Crock Pot Chili

I don’t know about you guys, but after I workout, I am STARVING! My late night Zumba classes on Tuesday and Thursday always leave me wanting to gnaw my own arm off, so lately I’ve been trying to be proactive with my meal planning.

In the past I would deem Tuesday and Thursday as “On Your Own” meaning that Parrish and I both would just make something from nothing out of pantry and fridge. But, when I get home and I’m starving, that can actually be pretty stressful.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I got home from Zumba last night and realized that not only did I have a delicious supper waiting on me, but it was a healthy choice hot and ready to go in the crockpot!

photo 3White Bean Turkey Chili!

It sounds silly, but when I toss things in to a crockpot, I’m always surprised when they turn out to be delicious! And this chili, it is DELICIOUS!

photo 1 This recipe comes from the Holiday Shred program I’m participating in, but since the recipe is from Tone it Up, I can share it with you guys!

And yes, you’re going to want to make this chili!

White Bean Turkey Chili adapted from Tone it Up!

You’ll need:

1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
2 Tbs.Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 White Onion, diced
4 Cans Navy Beans (15 oz.)
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 cup Sweet Corn ( I used frozen kernels)
1 Cup Pinot Grigio (or your favorite white wine)
3 cups Vegetable broth (Be sure it’s Gluten Free!)
1/2 tbsp. Oregano

Saute garlic in a large pan with 2 tbsp. olive oil for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add ground Turkey into the pan. Cook on medium heat while breaking the meat up with a spatula. Once cooked through, remove the garlic turkey from pan and place in crock pot. Saute onion in the same until it turns clear. Add to crock pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and give the pot a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients.  Cook on low for 6 hours or so.

Top with toppings of your choice! I chose half and avocado and a sprinkle of Cabot cheese. You could also use Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream and Cilantro.

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This recipe made 3 bowls and two large mason jars of leftovers!

It’s so yummy, I’m actually looking forward to my leftovers for lunch!

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