While rhubarb is still in season..

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Here is a must try recipe for Rhubarb Cream Bars while fresh rhubarb is still available and in season.  And it won’t be long before its done now.  My plant has already sent up its seed head although the stalks are still juicy and tender. Of course rhubarb is also delicious when made into a fruit crisp or combined with other fruit in a crisp. In fact I always add some rhubarb to apple crisp in the spring. It can really perk up the flavour as the apples are usually a bit tired in the spring, so that added tang from the rhubarb is really nice.

 

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Fresh, local asparagus…

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Asparagus is ready!  Yum!  I’ll be making some daily now until the season’s done.  Hopefully that won’t be for several weeks, but its been so hot that the season may be shorter than usual.

Asparagus is so quick and easy to prepare.  After trimming off any woody end bits, all I do is lightly steam it for about 5 minutes and then top with some butter, sprinkle it with some salt and pepper and its ready to serve.  That’s our favourite way of eating it, but it also tastes great brushed with some olive oil and then either grilled or baked in a 400 degrees oven for about 15 minutes.  Either way, its so delicious and nutritious too!

Holiday goodies

GF Christmas squares

Christmas is not too far away now so its time to do some baking.  After all  some holiday treats make the season feel even more special. Some of my favourite wheat free, gluten free sweet treats are brownies, and butter tart bars, and who can possibly resist delicious, homemade shortbread cookies? These are the easiest gluten free recipes and they are so good that nobody will ever know they are eating gluten free goodies.

Cherries, cherries, everywhere…

and everywhere there could be a cherry, there was. The sour cherry tree was loaded with sour cherries again this year.

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What does one do with all those cherries? You make cherry pies! So that’s exactly what I did.  Sour cherry pie just happens to be my favourite fruit pie and this time it turned out sooo good!

Sour Cherry Pie

It took several tries before coming up with this lovely pie crust. The first few pies were duds. I first tried a purchased gluten free crust and it was terrible! Then I tried my old fail proof pie crust recipe which just didn’t turn out very well either. After a bit of experimenting I came up with this recipe for pie crust that is flaky and very tasty. It is trickier to work with though than a regular wheat flour crust so you do need to take more care in rolling it out and handling it.

So many ways with leftover chicken…

A Baked Stuffed Potatoes

If I have leftover chicken in my fridge I know I have a delicious meal on the way.  One of my favourite ways with leftover chicken is BBQ Chicken Stuffed Potatoes.  Its so simple, very quick to put together and really yummy.  You can even substitute leftover pork or turkey for the chicken with good results.  I usually serve this dish with a nice light salad.

Other great ideas for leftover chicken are curries, salads, casseroles, soups, or even Chicken Enchiladas.  These chicken enchiladas are tasty enough to serve to company.  My son used to ask for these regularly and when he went to college he made sure to pack the recipe along with him.

Tuna makes a wonderful light appetizer…

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Tuna is great both as a main course or sliced and served as light appetizer.  Either way you serve it, this recipe for Sesame Tuna will impress your family and friends. I like to use Ahi tuna for this dish and I have only been able to find it frozen or previously frozen but thawed. The mix of black and white sesame seeds makes the dish really special but I’ve also made it with just the white sesame seeds and it’s still delicious.  Be sure to buy only sustainable and ocean friendly caught tuna like the kind with the Ocean Wise label.

Quick and Easy Gumbo

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I found myself short on time but craving something yummy and warming for a cool day. Gumbo in less than an hour? There are many variations of gumbo and my version is light and flavourful, made with chicken breast, sausages, prawns and lots of fresh veggies. The thickener in this gumbo is okra instead of flour.  So, try my recipe for Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and let me know what you think.  It’s so easy and can be made in under an hour from start to finish.

Locally Grown Strawberries …

10 - StrawberriesWe happen to be fortunate enough to live right beside a strawberry farm and our neighbours grow the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted!  Nothing beats the taste of a fresh, ripe and juicy strawberry just plucked from the plant.  The supermarket variety just doesn’t compare so if you’ve never tasted a real strawberry head out to your nearest strawberry farm or local farmer’s market before strawberry season is done.  I picked up two flats of strawberries and froze them for winter eating.  What I do is remove the green stem and slice or dice the strawberries into small pieces and place them into small and medium size freezer bags and stack them in the freezer.  I don’t fill the bags very full though, just a thin layer so that its easy to break the chunks of berries apart when you want just a small amount to make smoothies or a larger amount for desserts such as a strawberry cheesecake.

 

Put your muffin pans away and try a better way with zucchini …

 

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Yes, its that time of year again!  But wait… there is a better way. Give that zucchini muffin recipe a rest. When zucchini starts overflowing your garden be sure to try my recipe for  gluten free breaded zucchini sticks . You’ll be so very glad you did. I’ve been making these several times every summer for over twenty years and my husband still never seems to get enough.  They’re way better than the deep-fried variety and soooo easy to make. The dip really adds a lot to this dish so be sure to include it.

Sooo good Strawberry Cheesecake…

This creamy light tasting cheesecake is the perfect dessert for a special company dinner. It’s so delicious! The topping here is a tangy strawberry sauce but other frozen fruit such as sour cherries, blueberries or peaches can be used in place of strawberries.

cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 15 gluten free gingersnap cookies, finely ground or crushed to make 1 cup of crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 – 8 oz. packages Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 c and 1/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. gelatin powder
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 4 c frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Method:

1.  Combine cookie crumbs with butter and 1 tbsp. sugar and press firmly into a round spring form cheesecake pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 6 minutes. Set aside until cool.

2.  Beat the whipping cream in a medium bowl with an electric beater until thick. Add 1/4 c sugar and beat until blended into the whipped cream, about 30 seconds more. Set the bowl of whipped cream aside.

3.  In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar and vanilla until smooth, for about 2 minutes and set aside.

4.  Place the 1/4 c milk in a microwave oven and heat on high for 30 seconds.  Remove and whisk in the gelatin until the mixture is smooth.  Pour mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and beat with the electric beater until combined.  Add the whipping cream to the bowl and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture until mixture is well combined.

5.  Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cookie crumbs in the spring form pan and place into the refrigerator for at least one hour to set.

6.  To prepare the topping, place 3 cups of the strawberries into the microwave and thaw on the high heat setting for one minute or just until strawberries have released their juice and are just barely thawed. Be careful not to “cook” the berries.  Drain the juice into a small saucepan.  Add the 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch and whisk together.  Cook on medium high heat until mixture is hot, bubbling, thick and glossy. Remove from heat and first stir in the remaining 1 cup of frozen strawberries and then add the thawed strawberries and gently stir them in being careful not to mush them.

7.  To serve the cheesecake, remove the sides of the pan and slice the cheesecake into wedges and place onto a dessert plate.  Spoon topping over each piece before serving.