Gluten Free 1:1 Baking

Gluten Free baking has been somewhat of an obsessive journey for me for the past 9 months.
In January we had to switch our son to a Gluten Free diet because of some health issues and realized he was very intolerant to it… poor kiddo finally felt better after years of tummy aches #momfail

I cook and bake most things from scratch, which is awesome, except trying to find Gluten Free baking Recipes that weren’t Vegan (Sorry I like my Butter, eggs and milk!) or crazy ingredients, or just plain terrible tasting has been hard.

So I’ve done loads of testing recipes many fails, and slowly figuring out how to convert regular recipes successfully into Gluten Free friendly versions with out having to think too hard.

Here are some steps to getting prepared (especially if you are just starting your Gluten Free baking journey) and diving in!

1. Pantry stocking!   
So far I’ve been able to accomplish most recipes with these few (and cheap) ingredients in my pantry:

-Tapioca Starch
-White Rice flour
-Brown Rice Flour
-Potato FLOUR (not starch) ** I had to buy this on Amazon, but you can find it some places ** This particular item is not super cheap, but you use so little it will last a LONG time**
-Xanthan Gum

For the Cheapest versions of this stuff check your Ethnic food isle in your grocery store.
I was able to get the Cornstarch, tapioca starch, white rice and brown rice flour for less then half the cost of name brands that were marketed to the Gluten free Market

2.  1:1 Gluten Free Flour

Not All Gluten Free flour is created equal… I’ve tested a few and they were terrible… AND expensive. The amount of baking and cooking I do would completely break the bank having to always buy pre-made flour mixes.

Here is the 1:1 Flour mixture I was given by a group of lovely experienced Gluten Free ladies. Only using the cheap pantry items above. I make a BIG container of it up in advance and keep it in my baking cupboard so it’s always ready to use.

1C White Rice Flour (can sub 1/2 of this for brown)
1C Tapioca Starch
1C Cornstarch
1T Potato Flour

double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you want, Mix well and store in a container.

3. A Good Recipe.

Not all recipes are a good mix for gluten free flours. Because they have so much starch and rice flours are a bit more “grainy” there’s a few things to know when looking at a recipe to see if it will convert well as a 1:1

Find recipes for breads (banana, zucchini, etc.) and Muffins that have OIL or MELTED butter or margarine listed in the recipe.
This helps the xanthan Gum work better and helps the flour mix bind better.
Ones with just butter or margarine or shortening can work fine, just see the tip below about extra mixing.

For Cookies find recipes with a minimal amount of butter or margarine. Things like snickerdoodles or double chocolate cookies that tend to have almost double the butter/marg from most recipes with end up being a crispy cookie puddle because the 1:1 flour doesn’t bind the same way glutenous flour does!
{Example: snickerdoodles have 1C butter and 1.5C sugar… Cut the butter in 1/2 and the recipe works great. keep the ratio and it’s a puddle cookie}

4. Tips 

A few tips I’ve learned…

– Gluten Free flour is “thirsty”
This means that often you’ll add your gluten free flour and it will look way too thin of a batter. Resist the urge to start dumping in added flour! Let the batter rest for 3-4 minutes and then mix some more, and you’ll find the batter will have thickened up a lot!

I’ve made more then my share of “dense” everything by jumping the gun and adding extra flour.

– MIX MIX MIX.. again because gluten free flours are “thirsty” they require more mixing. when you add your flour to a recipe mix it till it thickens, or see the above noted step of letting it sit a few min then mix again.

– Xanthan Gum, You add it to things that you want to have a bread/cake like texture…. So banana breads, muffins, cakes etc… Some GF flours have it included in their mix. if you use the one listed above I add about 1tsp per 1.5C of mix to a recipe. This helps create a “glutenous” binding effect in the baking process that otherwise is missed
– Extra Leavening is important!  Gluten Free recipes don’t rise the same way Gluten ones do. Adding a little extra baking powder to a recipe has been key to getting a nicely risen muffin or bread.
I add 1tsp extra of baking POWDER to every conventional recipe I use the Gluten Free 1:1 with, and have yet to be let down!

I hope these steps will save some of you a lot of failed recipe attempts! I’m going to start a series of Gluten Free Favorites so use the “search” field to find them. They are all tagged with the Key word “Gluten Free”

Happy Baking!


Gluten – Free Perogies

Gluten Free… a Phrase I never wanted to be using in my house.
I love gluten, butter, lard, sugar, eggs… all those lovely things that make food taste amazing… I LOVE me some carbs!

But my poor son’s body has had other ideas. Over the past 6 months we’ve had to overhaul our eating to accommodate my son being able to eliminate Gluten from his diet due to a pretty significant intolerance to it.

So off I dove in to the crazy intimidating world of Gluten free Baking and cooking.
I love to scratch cook… and I love a challenge… So I dove in to far too many hours of reading up on gluten free baking, and thankfully was connected with some lovely local ladies who have had great tips and advice. I finally started getting comfortable with experimenting with different flours and starches! {so be prepared for a bunch of Gluten Free recipes coming}



On ward and upward!

Gluten Free Perogies… we LOVE perogies… We ate them a TON prior to Eli going Gluten free, So after reading a million recipes and mashing them together, we have a winner!

To Start:
Make your filling. {I’m not linking a filling recipe because there are HUNDREDS… but the basis of it is literally mashed boiled potatoes with cheese…that’s it!)
While your potato filling is cooling Start your dough.

1/3C Sour Cream,
1 Egg
1/4C Milk
1T oil
Mix these ingredients together WELL… Use a blender is my recommendation

1/4 C tapioca starch
1/4 C Cornstarch
1/3 C White rice flour
1/2 C Brown Rice Flour
2 T Potato Flour (NOT starch)
1 t Xanthum Gum
1/2 t Salt
Mix together in mixer (or in bowl) till all blended well.
Slowly add in the wet ingredients till well incorporated. Once mixed let dough rest for a few minutes, then mix again for 1-2 min. Dough will likely be a bit sticky, add a little bit of rice flour 1T at a time (only if needed) till the dough is no longer sticking to the bowl.

**I highly recommend mixing the wet and dry ingredients together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you don’t have one, no worries… just get your muscles ready to mix well, or use a dough hook on a hand mixer. **

This dough does not feel like traditional dumpling or bread dough. It ends up being a very dense gummy texture… don’t worry! It’s alright! It will soften up and become very pliable as you roll it out.

Take your prepared filling (I took russet potatoes, boiled them, mashed them with a hand mixer and mixed in Grated cheese till the potatoes and cheese resembled playdoh and added some gluten free ranch seasoning)

Divide dough into thirds or so to make working the dough easier.

Lightly flour the surface of the counter with rice flour and pat out your dough portion. Make sure to continually dust counter with rice flour to ensure it doesn’t stick as you roll it out.
I would do a few passes with the rolling pin then dust the top of the dough, flip it over and repeat.

Roll dough till it’s as thin as you’d like (about 1/8th” thick)
Take a circle cookie cutter (I used a 3″ round cutter and it yielded about 65-70 perogies) and cut circles, take dough scraps, and keep combining with remaining dough till it’s all used up.

I worked in batches of about 20sih circles at a time. Cutting circles, filling and pressing closed. You will have to experiment with how much filling you can fit in your circle… It will completely depend on the size of your cutter.

To close, fold circles in half over your filling, wetting the edge of the circle with your finger dipped in water, and using the edge of your thumb to press around the curve in a fluted shape (like shaping a pie crust edge) you want the dough to pinch together to seal so they don’t pop open when you boil them.

The Second batch I did, I used a fluted edged cutter and it made for very pretty looking perogies!


I laid the Perogies on a tray lined with parchment paper and they dried a bit as I worked on the rest of the batch.

At the end I placed the whole tray in the freezer till they were partially frozen then transferred to a Ziploc bag to keep in the freezer.
If you can’t fit a whole pan in your freezer (lets be real, most people can’t) just let them sit on the pan till the dough has gotten just a wee bit dried out, then put in a ziploc bag in layers, layering parchment between the layers so they don’t stick together as they freeze.

To cook them, add Perogies to boiling water, once they float they are ready to either eat or Fry in butter in a pan.

We eat ours with fried Onions, Garlic sausage, sour cream and mustard!

I know there are dairy alternatives etc, and I haven’t tried them (and likely won’t because we love dairy !) but if you try a modification post it in the comments!

Easy as Pie — Crust!

Easy as Pie.. What a dumb saying! Pie for the majority of people is NOT easy! (it should be easy as EATING pie) Pie crust can be a finicky thing.

My family LOVES Pie. When I say loves I mean LOVES! There have been years where my Mom made 5 Pies (YES 5) for 8 people at Christmas or Thanksgiving because we couldn’t decide on which ones to make!

I have made lots of pies in my short (26 year) life, and out of all the pie crust recipes I have made I Love my Grandma’s the most! (sorry Mom!)

My Grandma has this great, simple, don’t need much ingredients recipe (my favorite kind!) and it’s almost fail safe… Almost.

Pie Crust:

2 C flour (scant cups… meaning fill up your measuring cup and then scoop out JUST a little with your finger)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 C Crisco

6 Tablespoons COLD water

Mix your four, salt and shortening together with a pastry cutter. If you don’t have a pastry cutter you could use a fork… it’s just a lot more work. Dough should resemble small-med crumbs when it’s all thoroughly mixed together. If you don’t mix it well enough you’ll get these pockets of shortening that will melt and make the weird.

Next add your water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Add in 1, then lightly mix it around with your hand, then add another till it’s all at least clumping together. One of the KEY things with Pie crusts (and biscuits) is to Not work the dough too much (unlike bread dough) you want to mix it just enough that it all sticks together, but not so much that it is hard when it bakes.

Once the dough has all the water mixed in Take about 1/2C extra flour and dump it on the counter, then take your hand and spread it around so the entire surface you will be working your dough on is lightly covered in flour (this keeps your quite wet dough from sticking to the counter)

Place your dough on the counter.

Divide in to 2 equal parts.* Roll dough out on floured surface till it’s slightly larger then your pie plate. (I typically just flip my plate over and place it on top of the dough to see if I’ve made it large enough)

This is where most people get super frustrated… Pie dough is slightly sticky.. so it sticks to the counter, your hands, and your rolling pin. The key is to keep lightly flouring the dough as you roll it out. I tend to do 1 or maybe 2 passes with the rolling pin. then sprinkle a little flour on the dough and then another 1 or 2 passes till it’s the right size. OR Keep flouring your rolling pin (dip your hand in flour and rub your pin all over) as you roll out. Only roll ONE direction. If you roll away from you, then back towards you (over the same area) it WILL stick to your pin!

Making sure the entire counter is floured well before you start rolling will make it not stick to the counter when you try to remove it.

Removing the crust from the counter and transferring it to your pie plate can be done a number of different ways. My favorite is to just fold the dough over it’s self and slide my plate under and flop the other half back down.

This method doesn’t always make the most beautiful interior crust.. but seriously. NO ONE WILL SEE… or care, I promise. The beauty of a pie crust, is only the edges are visible! SO get your crust into your plate in whatever way you think is easiest. Pie crust is like playdough. you can easily mold it together.. so if your dough tears or breaks, don’t freak. Just get it into your plate, and use extra dough from the edges to mend the middle.

*This recipe makes 2 pie crusts worth of dough (so if you are making a pie with a top like an apple or cherry there is enough to top it, if you are making crusts only you can cut this recipe in half, or make the entire recipe and freeze half the dough)

Meatballs M2F


I Love love love this recipe… It freezes amazing… It’s SUPER easy to make, but it does require getting your hands a bit messy with raw meat, so it that’s not your thing maybe plan for gloves!

I love Meatballs with Sweet and Sour sauce (see our favorite recipe for this here! psst.. it’s also a GF and DF recipe!) Or with your Favorite Strogonoff recipe! (our favorite one will be on here soon)


1lb Hamburger

2 Eggs Beaten

½ C milk* (see DF sub below)

½ C Parmasean Cheese* (see DF sub below)

1C Panko Bread crumbs * (see GF sub below)

1 Onion minced

2 Garlic cloves (or 2 tsp jarred minced garlic in oil)

½ t oregano

1 t salt

¼ t pepper

Put ALL ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon or (my fav) your Hands! Mix until everything is well incorporated form meat into Pingpong sized meat balls

Bake on cookie sheet at 350 for 20-25min till internal temp is 165. No need to turn meatballs.

For easier clean up, place a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet before putting meatballs on it.

*For GF option use GF Bread crumbs, or in place of breadcrumbs you can crush up GF rice cripies!

*For Dariy Free ( DF ) Sub parm cheese for for extra breadcrumbs (use half the amount so 1/2c = 1/4c subbed in breadcrumbs) and use your fav UNFLAVORED dairy substitute for milk

For an extra level of flavor especially if you are using the meatballs with gravy or stroganoff, add 1 packet of Ranch Dressing powdered seasoning… you’ll never go back!

Once they are fully cooked, allow them to cool and place in ziplock bags to freeze.

I often portion them into full meals along with Rice or Noodles and either gravy or Sweet and Sour sauce too and freeze it altogether for a quick and easy dinner that just needs to be heated up!






Sweet and Sour Sauce M2F

So here is the first segment in our Meals to Freeze ( M2F ) series

Maybe your looking at this title thinking “How on earth is sweet and sour sauce a meal”… well I’ll tell you… it just is.

My favorite way to eat it is over rice, or with meatballs, or to use it as dip for your Frozen Asian appy package you picked up at Costco on a whim but used all the good sauce it came with in the first day (not that I’ve ever done that)

So needless to say I LOOOOOOoooooooove sweet and sour sauce… But I’m picky about it!

It’s got to be just the perfect amount of sweet and a bit of sour… and has to be thick enough to stick to everything!

My mom makes THE BEST sweet and sour sauce growing up, though I’m probably slightly bias.

So I called my mom today before writing this up, figuring I should ask the source of the recipe before I spread it into the world wide interweb. This originated from an elderly Chinese Lady my Uncle knew… who gave it to my Aunt, who gave it to my mom… (which makes sense why it’s so good!)

It is SO simple.. basically if you can cook KD (or even if you can’t) you can cook this.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

¾ C sugar

1/3 C White vinegar

2 Tablespoon cornstarch

1C water

¾ C Ketchup

1 Small can of pineapple chunks (optional)

In small saucepan add all ingredients other then pineapple and cook on Med heat stirring while it cooks and cook until it turns translucent

Add pineapple and simmer till pineapple is heated through

That’s it, and I promise you won’t regret this one!

it’s Gluten Free and Dairy Free, super cost effective to make in large quantities, and Freezes like a dream. It can be served over almost anything, or used as just a straight dipping sauce!







Meals to Freeze (M2F)

So it’s been over a year since I added anything here!

As it seems to go with my grand plans, I last posted about “2015” from scratch… that night.. literally after I posted, I was in a car accident… and that kinda kiboshed any of my grand plans on sharing recipes!

So here we are in 2016… School is just starting for my kids and I’m hoping to have more time to plug into here a bit!


I Love to cook for others… it’s probably one of my favorite ways to serve others in my church and community. I am so thankful that I had the blessing of growing up in the family I did (my Miller and Nicolaye family) that knew how to take care of others well… and FEED others well!

I often get asked for the recipes I use to make freezer meals. Things that are easy and Cheap.. er.. “cost effective” to make (especially when you are trying to stretch ingredients for helping others out with meals) but still taste great! Not all of the Meals I’m going to be listing are huge cost savers but some of them definitely will be and I’ll make a note of it.

So I’m going to start a series here called “Meals to freeze” I’ll tag each title with M2F so they are easy to find!

I’ll add variations as I can to them to help accommodate Gluten Free meals (search GF ) and Dairy Free (search DF )

So here we go, I hope you enjoy them




Last year I started with a post called “2014 from scratch”

I was extremely successful for the first 2.5 months, making bread every week from scratch, buying relatively nothing in a package, and cutting my grocery budget to around $250 for a family of 3 including diapers and garbage bags…!

Then I got put on Bed rest with my 2nd and all hell broke lose… we ate out… Lots… I bought easy pre-packaged everything… it was horrible. But if my family was going to eat while I was off my feet I needed to.

Then our daughter was born and we had 2 weeks of blissful newborn snuggles, and I had SO MUCH ENERGY after being so restricted and I baked up a storm!…

Then she started screaming…and screaming…and continued to scream till 12 weeks.

SO needless to say, I completed 2.5 months of what was supposed to be a 12 month challenge, so I’m back to it, to try again.

I’ve built an arsenal of ideas off Pintrest (check out my board here!)

I’ve already tested a few new recipes I’m going to post shortly, and I am So excited to try this again!

A few things I did learn last year though:

1) Bagels are 10x better made from scratch (and easy peasy)

2) Lots of make ahead recipes (especially breakfast wraps, and sandwiches etc..) need a toaster oven to remain “convenient” I tried microwaving so many things that ended up being so soggy… and really, who has time to turn on the oven in the morning when you are trying to run out the door! So I have a toaster oven en route from Amazon right now to make sure I’m best equipped this year for success!

3) Sometimes Pintrest sucks… many peoples ideas of “An amazing recipe” is NOT the same as mine… maybe I’m picky… but I can tell you that panko crusted zucchini (and a number of “amazing” recipes) are not worth the effort HA!

I hope you all have fun reading my posts and adding some great, staple recipes to your arsenal of meals!

Thanks for reading!


Cornbread Mix

Trying to do 2014 from Scratch so far has been fairly successful. I’ve purchased a few “non ingredient” items this month but about 80% less then normal.

I’ve tried a couple of the base Mixes I intended to make so far, and this one will definitely be staple in my kitchen.

I love cornbread, and have an excellent recipe I’ve been using for years… but this one takes 80% less time to make, and tastes just as good. It produces moist cornbread that isn’t too crumbly and you can bake it into muffins or in a pan cut in to squares.

Cornmeal Mix:

4 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Tablespoon Salt

3/4 Cups Sugar

1/4 Cup baking powder

4 1/2 Cups cornmeal (make sure you get finely ground stuff rather then stone milled med ground our your cornbread will be very crunchy… I’ve made that mistake before)

1 Cup Shortening

Mix all dry ingredients together and stir. Mix shortening in with pastry cutter till it’s evenly distributed and resembles little crumbs.

Makes about 10 1/2 Cups of mix, that will last 10-12 weeks in an airtight container in your cupboard.


To use the mix add 2 1/2 Cups cornmeal mix with 1 egg and 1 1/4 Cup Milk. Mix together till smooth. Bake at 425 for 15-20 min

Alternatively to regular muffins or cornbread, you could use this cornmeal mixture poured over tomatoes, hamburger and peppers for a casserole

or add in scrambled eggs (cooked), Cooked bacon pieces, and peppers and make breakfast cornbread muffins… or sausage… or cheese…

Again this is a base mix, so you can be creative and add most anything to the mix to fancy it up.



White Sauce Mix – Cream of Anything Mix

** This post has been edited and tested as a gluten free option as well. See notes below **

At the beginning of January I posted about doing 2014 from scratch (see post in link)

So far I’ve tested half a dozen new recipes, including 2 “Mixes” from the Make a mix cookbook I linked in that post.

I made one large shopping trip to a grocery store and picked up a long list of dry ingredients for making up most of the recipes…

Side note* Bulk doesn’t always mean cheaper! I made the mistake of purchasing powdered milk in the bulk section and accidentally bought $30 in dried milk, when the prepackaged bag of it was half the cost (thankfully the store let me exchange it). So do your due diligence and check the prepackaged area first (and bring a calculator if you are buying bulk)

The first Mix I tried out is a White Sauce Mix. My Mom Raves about this mix… and from year of listening (and not) to her I figured this would be a good one to start with!

Mix Makes Aprox 5 Cups total dry mix

2 Cups Instant non fat dry milk, or 1 1/2 Cup Regular non fat dry milk

1 Cup All Purpose Flour* ( for Gluten free, this recipe has been tested with the Gluten free flour mix posted in our 1:1 gluten free baking post)

2 teaspoons salt

1 Cup butter or margarine

In large bowl combine all dry ingredients, mix together. Add in butter/marg and cut in with a pastry cutter till the mixture resembles little crumbs.DB4B248C-519F-4638-9C78-F24C5CC55742

The better you mix it in (ie the smaller the crumbs) the less chance of lumps you’ll end up with in your sauces.

Store in fridge for up to 2 months, or in your freezer for 6-8. If you decide to store in your freezer I recommend dividing it in to 1/2C or 1 C amounts (depending on family size) so it’s easy to use.06044E1E-B1F8-49A9-830D-46B783F63D9D

To use your mix simply add 1/2C white Sauce base with 1 C cold water, wisk on med heat till mixture thickens. For a thicker sauce reduce water by 1/4 C or for thinner sauce increase water by 1/4 C.


You can add Anything to this base! I have used it many times and each time it produced an amazing tasting sauce. I added chicken bouillon cubes, salt, pepper and garlic for a basic cream of chicken soup base, which I poured over perogies and baked.

The second time I did just the base and added salt and garlic and poured over pasta,

The third time I made Potato Corn Chowder with it…which turned out AMAZING! (Potatoes, Bacon, Onions, corn, and then make base out of chicken stock instead of water)

the variations listed in the original recipe are these:

1. Substitute milk, tomato juice or chicken/beef stock for all or part of the water

2. Add 1/2 to 1 Cup Shredded cheddar cheese after mixture has thickened, stir until mixed for Cheese Sauce (for homemade mac n’ cheese)

3. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder to thickened sauce for curry sauce.

So SO SO many more things you could add to this depending on what your taste is.

You will never again have to buy Alfredo or cheese sauce with this base in your arsenal of ingredients!

Have fun creating (and eating!)



3 ingredient Sponge Cake!

I Love simple Recipes… Mainly for the reason that I tend to be a spur of the moment baker, so when I get and idea in my head I want to do it now! So many times I’ve gone to make something and been missing an ingredient.

Never again!

I have made this sponge cake probably 50 times and love it more each time I do. You don’t even need measuring cups! You just need Eggs, Flour, and sugar, and you can modify its flavor with whatever your heart desires!

This Recipe is a Finnish Recipe (Original post found here) I found on Pintrest.

Start with 2 identical see through containers. I use Mason jars, but you can use cups or Tupperware.

First crack 3 eggs and put them into the first container, Then in the second container add enough sugar to match the volume of the eggs (hence why you need to be able to see through them)

Dump the sugar in to a mixing bowl, (keeping eggs in the first container) then use the empty second container (that your sugar was in) and match the volume of the eggs again with flour.

Add the eggs to the sugar (keeping the flour separate in it’s container) and beat the eggs and sugar together like there is no tomorrow… so ideally with an electric mixer on high… unless you are like my Amish Aunts who can whip a meringue up solely with arm power!

Your egg/sugar mixture should start creating a frothy goodness, and start to thicken up. Keep mixing until the mixture is thick enough to draw on the top of it with the batter. (you should be able to see the pattern sitting on the top of the batter) This beating is what makes the cake rise. Alternatively if you are freaked out that you didn’t beat it enough you can add 1/4 tsp of baking powder to ensure if rises when you add the flour.

Once your eggs and sugar are beaten together, GENTLY fold* in the flour. if you mix the flour in to vigorously you will loose all the wonderful air bubbles you just frothed into the eggs/sugar mixture.

*by folding in I mean, take a spatula and dump the flour in slowly, gently mixing in starting with your spatula at the bottom of the bowl, bringing the sugar/egg mixture over the flour you added (in a large circular motion), till it’s all incorporated with no lumps

Pour mixture in to a lightly greased bunt pan (the round one with the hole in the center) or any type of pan you want aprox 8″x 8″ in size

Bake at 350 for 12-20 min

I’m sorry for the large variance in time, but it will totally depend on the type of pan you use, and how much you beat the mixture.


You can add anything you want to this recipe! It’s such a good base.

for a citrus cake, add 1-2 tsp of lemon (or orange) zest and 1 tsp of lemon (or orange) juice


add 1-2 tsp of vanilla


add 1 tsp of cinnamon

or anything (just about) you can think of! (Please leave a comment if you tried something and it worked great, I’d love to know!)

My favorite way is to put some fresh or frozen fruit in the bottom of a lightly greased pan and dump the batter over top for the easiest cobbler ever!

you can increase the ratio to as large as you want. I typically do 4-5 eggs if I’m making a dessert for more then just my little family, and just match the volume of sugar and flour to however many eggs you decided to use.

Enjoy experimenting! (and eating!)