Gluten-free Pumpkin Cheesecake

IMG_0275Last week I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry that wasn’t yet spoken for, so I asked people on my Facebook page what they thought I should make with it. One idea from Kate B. really tickled my fancy, especially since she included the recipe, so I tried it the other night. My whole family went crazy for it — plus my brother-in-law, who is a cheesecake fanatic. It’s the perfect blend of pumpkin pie and cheesecake flavors, and was gone before we knew it…

The original recipe was for this double layer pumpkin cheesecake from AllRecipes.com, but I made some changes to it, which you will see noted below in bold type:

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (To make a gluten-free crust, I used an entire bag of Pamela’s Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies, crushed, plus 2T butter and a sprinkle of sugar, mixed together and patted into place. You can do the same thing using GF graham crackers if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (I used ginger instead)
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (I just put a dollop on each piece for those who wanted it, as opposed to covering the whole thing)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. (I didn’t do this last step — I just mixed the batter all together w/ the below ingredients, instead of removing a cup and putting a white layer on the bottom. Either way will work.)
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool (very important) then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

This is the first cheesecake I ever made, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how well it turned out. Will definitely make this again….  Enjoy!

Advertisements

Lazy Mom’s lasagna rollup recipe (gluten-free, of course)

IMG_6537

Gluten-free lasagna is one of our favorite meals, and it just keeps getting easier. When making a regular tray of lasagna, I always thought it was tricky to spread the cheese layer across 3 cooked lasagna noodles, which slide all over the place. But once I tried lasagna rollups I found it’s much less daunting to make, and easy enough for kids to help with. Here’s what you do:

Step one — Get your ingredients together:
• 1 box Tinkyada lasagna noodles (you’ll use 12 of the 13 noodles in the box)
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1 (16 oz) container of ricotta cheese
• 1 lb. of ground beef, cooked & crumbled (or other fillings- see comment at bottom)
• 1 egg
• parmesan cheese
• 1.5 jars of pasta sauce
• Italian spices of your choice, to taste

Step two — Add all noodles into boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes. You want them soft but not falling apart. While the noodles are cooking, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella & egg.

Step three — Remove cooked noodles and lay in a single layer on a sheet of tin foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step four — Spread cheese mixture divided evenly onto 12 noodles, sprinkle ground beef and a few blobs of pasta sauce & spices onto each flat noodle. Roll up all noodles.

Step five — Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with Pam and spread a thin layer of pasta sauce onto the bottom. Place rolled noodles in pan in 4 rows of 3 and cover with rest of pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. Cover pan with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

IMG_0234

IMG_0240IMG_0241

IMG_6537

And that’s that.  You can add whatever you want to the rollups, like spinach or chopped artichokes, or top them with things like toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese, like in the above photo.  Just use this basic recipe and adjust as you’d like.  I also like to make this the day before and let it set in the fridge for a half day or so, after it’s cooled. Like many Italian dishes, this tastes even better the next day.

And lastly:  these freeze REALLY well, and are perfect to pull out of the freezer for that last minute meal where you have no idea what to make.  Just heat and serve — almost every food group is covered!  🙂  Enjoy!  ~Katie

Van’s New Products Review and Giveaway

One of my family’s go-to brands has been Van’s Natural Foods for as long as my daughters and I have been gluten-free….going on 6 years now. You can check out our review of their waffles and french toast sticks at this link, if you haven’t tried them yet.

We recently tasted some of Van’s new products and wanted to tell you what we love about them…

First: their new cereals. They are really good. Simple as that. We tried both flavors: Cinnamon Heaven and Honey Nut Crunch. They are a little smaller than Chex squares and have a nice, crispy texture that doesn’t soak up milk too fast like other cereals do. Sometimes I expect Cinnamon cereals to be too sugary, but both kinds have just the right amount of flavor— not overpowering yet not too subtle. These cereals are tasty, substantial and give us long-lasting morning energy, which is especially important for kids.

IMG_8430

I am guessing some of the reasons for this “staying power” is how much fiber and whole grains are in these cereals.  According to their website, Honey Nut Crunch cereal is packed with 19g of nutrient-rich whole grains (Cinnamon Heaven has 17g) and both have 5g of fiber per serving. When it comes to fiber, my family can never seem to get enough, so this is a welcomed addition to our “regimen of regularity.”  🙂  Below is their nutritional information. Both cereals are Non-GMO Project verified and free of top allergens.

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 8.46.05 PM

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 8.46.24 PM

Be advised that, despite the name, Honey Nut Crunch does NOT contain nuts. While I doubt anyone with nut allergic kids would buy this on account of confusing their kids, I still wanted to make sure you knew… For more info. on allergens, see their FAQ page.

Now, on to Van’s crackers:

One word, “WOW.”

We took a few boxes of these crackers up to Maine with us last month and enjoyed them on our trip. This photo below was taken a minute before a huge bald eagle flew over our heads and caught a big seagull down by the water! Anyhow, after things calmed down we had a really nice picnic on this rock and enjoyed these crackers with cheese, turkey and pepperoni on them. They held up great and tasted even better.

IMG_9722

My opinion:  These are by far my favorite crackers to date. If I’m eating crackers, I’m putting cheese & other toppings on them, so I prefer the larger square ones: “The Perfect 10” and “Fire Roasted Veggie”, the latter of which is probably the most “adult” flavor. Besides the great taste and texture of these crackers (every single kind) I love the fact that they are soy-free. This 42 year old doesn’t need her hormones messed up any more than they already are, so soy-free foods are key.  🙂

IMG_9791My girls enjoy them topped w/ cheeseball spread (above), dipped in dill dip, or stacked with deli cheese and meat, as a sandwich alternative. But they prefer just snacking on the smaller ones which are more kid-friendly (they are currently the most-requested school snack), especially Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers. They are the closest thing we’ve found to Cheez-Its, and have a very similar crispiness and cheesy taste, and are also available in snack size bags for your convenience.

As you can tell in the comparison shot below (no, I’m not a hand model, thank you very much) the smaller ones are thinner and crispier than the larger ones, so they both serve their purposes well.

IMG_9921

Here is information on Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers from their website. The other flavors are all dairy free…

Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 8.07.01 AMIf you really want to knock your g-free kid’s socks off, try this new take on chicken fingers, using Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers as breading. We tried this recipe last week (it’s a winner) but ate it before we remembered to take a picture, so this one is courtesy of Van’s:

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 9.58.17 AM

If you’ve had bad luck with crackers so far and are starting to think that all gluten-free products still taste and feel like eating cardboard, then you’re in for a real treat!  The flavor and texture of all of these crackers is right up there with the best of regular crackers, gluten-free or not. Seriously. Try them. You’ll love them…

If you don’t win the below giveaway, just head to your nearest Walmart, Safeway, or Sprouts store to pick up these products for your g-free kiddo.  You can also join the Van’s E-club which keeps you up to date on new products, and makes you eligible for special offers and coupons. And don’t forget to Follow Van’s on Facebook for plenty of kid-friendly, gluten-free meal and snack ideas.  This is one company you can count on to keep coming up with great new products!

And now for the giveaway:  TWO random winners will each win THREE “FREE PRODUCT” COUPONS (cereals, snack bars or crackers: retail value up to $4.49 each) courtesy of Van’s Natural Foods. 

To enter, simply leave a comment below, letting me know which of these Van’s products you think your g-free kid will love the most.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, October 20, 2013. Then the 2 winners have 24 hours to get back to me, otherwise new names will be chosen. U.S. and Canadian residents may enter. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Van’s sent me free products to try for this giveaway.  I only promised an honest review and was not compensated in any other way. Opinions are my daughters’ and my own.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter,
and be sure to check out the online photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.