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About Beth

Beth created one of the first gluten-free companies in the US, wrote books, and now shares 40 years of living well without gluten in her latest book, The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free. She believes no one should go without because of gluten. Through her cookbooks, lifestyle book and essays, she shows us how. Travel, restaurant dining, parties, dating, raising kids – she’s been there and takes celiac disease and the gluten free diet along for the ride. Join her as she answers all your baking and lifestyle questions.

Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 36 cookies

These chewy cookies are laced with brown sugar and sweet butterscotch chips.  Adding a sea salt topping creates an explosion of flavors.  Easy to make, these are perfect for holiday cookie swaps and gifting but you’ll want these on your table for every occasion.

sweet and salty butterscotch cookies

2 cups gluten free cake and cookie blend (below)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup gluten free butterscotch chips such as Hershey or Guittard brand
Sea salt, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Place butter and brown sugar in the large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients. Mix until the just combined. Stir in the butterscotch chips.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, form tablespoons size balls of cookie dough. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Press into the dough. Place on balls on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Do not over bake. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Cake and Cookie Flour Blend

This makes enough flour blend for several of your favorite holiday cookie recipes.

2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
2 cup white rice flour
1 ½ cups cornstarch
3 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix to combine.  Store leftover blend in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

Recipe by Beth Hillson
Makes 30 to 32 cookies

holiday sugar cookies

These rich, buttery cookies are slightly crisp on the outside with a chewy center. They have quickly become my favorite cookies; they’ll be yours, too.

Dip dough in colorful sanding sugar to turn them into beautiful holiday cookies.  Top with chopped pecans or fold chopped, toasted nuts into the batter to create another variety. Perfect for cookie swaps and gifting, you’ll be making these cookies for occasions all year long.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cookie and cake flour blend (below)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
Sanding sugar or sprinkles (optional)

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides with spatula. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, and baking soda. Add half to wet ingredients, mixing on low speed. Then add sour cream and combine. Finally, add the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough is well blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Roll dough into walnut-size balls.  Dip one side in sugar (if using). Place sugar-side up on parchment-lined baking sheets, two inches apart as dough will spread.

Bake for 15 minutes, until edges start to brown slightly.

Cool for 10 minutes in pans before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Cooled cookies will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for several days and can be frozen for up to 2 months.

TIP:  Can’t have dairy products?  Replace butter with dairy-free buttery sticks from Earth Balance and sour cream with dairy-free sour cream from Tofutti or Follow Your Heart.  For lactose-free sour cream, check out Green Valley Organics.

Cake and Cookie Flour Blend

This makes enough flour blend for several batches of your favorite cookie recipes.

2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
2 cup white rice flour
1 ½ cups cornstarch
3 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix to combine.  Store leftover blend in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

 

Recipe by Beth Hillson
Serves 4turkey pumpkin chili

This is an easy chili that everyone will love.  Don’t tell them it’s healthy, too.  You can double or triple this to feed a crowd and up the spices if your guests like the heat. Try replacing pumpkin with butternut squash, too.  However, do not add brown sugar as the squash is much sweeter than pumpkin. Top with sour cream or cheddar cheese.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground dark meat turkey
2 teaspoons fajita or taco seasoning
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cups cubed fresh pumpkin or butternut squash
2 tablespoons brown sugar (omit if using butternut squash)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Cooked brown rice
Sour cream or grated cheddar cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; brown turkey, stirring often, until crumbly and no longer, pink, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard any fat.  Add the spices and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining olive oil in the pan and add onion and garlic.  Sauté over low heat until the onion is translucent.  Add back the turkey.  Stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, pumpkin, sugar and vinegar to the pan.  Cook, covered, on low heat until pumpkin is tender and has started to break apart, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Add the beans and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if desired.

Serve with rice and sour cream.

Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 4 Go-Stick Treatsbanana go sticks

Here’s a great grab-and-go breakfast or snack that’s healthy and loaded with fiber and potassium, too.  Whether you use unsweetened cocoa, coconut, or ground nuts, you’ll be getting lots of nutritional bennies in each treat.

Make a batch ahead of time so they are ready for school or breakfast on the run.  You’ll swear you are biting into a chocolate bar when you try the bananas coated with unsweetened cocoa; the coconut variety tastes like coconut cream and the nuts will make you think you’ve bitten into a nutty ice cream treat. What could be better?

No need to add fruit preserves if using the nut or coconut coating.  However, the preserves are a nice touch to cut the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate.

2 large organic bananas
¼ cup plain yogurt, preferably organic
2 teaspoons fruit preserves (no sugar added), optional

Toppings: (Choose your preference)
4 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa
¼ cup unsweetened coconut
¼ cup chopped unsalted almonds or peanuts

4 skewers or long toothpicks

Line a large plate with wax paper.  Peel the bananas and cut in half through the center.  Place a skewer through each banana half lengthwise.

In a small plate, combine yogurt and fruit preserves, if using.

In another plate, add cocoa, breaking up any clumps.

Spread the coconut over another plate, breaking it up with the back of a fork.  Spread the nuts over another plate, if using.

Coat each banana half in the yogurt mixture then coat it in one of the addition toppings.  Set on the wax paper lined plate and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 days.

When you need a Go-Stick, grab on out of the freezer and away you go!

Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 12 pancakesHealthy Banana Pancakes

Most pancakes are, by definition, heavy in carbs and sugar.  Add maple syrup and you increase that load of unfriendly calories.  No wonder you’re sleepy by 10 a.m.  Not these pancakes, however. They are light and filling and don’t use a speck of sugar.  Using bananas as a substitute for fat makes them diet-friendly, too, and the small about of flour comes from nutritionally-dense flours like buckwheat, oat and flax meal.

Best yet, these can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer for a healthy on-the-go breakfast.  If you are home, enjoy them with additional sliced bananas or strawberries and just a smidge of maple syrup, if you must!

The most challenging part of this recipe is keeping two bananas on the counter long enough to turn very ripe. (Someone always swipes them off my counter!) Make sure to select flours that are labeled “gluten free.”

4 large eggs
2 very ripe bananas, preferably organic
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons oat flour
1 tablespoon golden flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon of salt
Olive or coconut oil, optional

In a medium size bowl, thoroughly whisk 4 eggs until frothy.

In a second bowl, mash the bananas and add to the eggs.  With a fork, beat until any lumps are nearly gone.  Add the vanilla and set aside.

Mix together buckwheat flour, oat flour, flax meal, baking soda and salt.  Whisk into the egg and banana mixture.

Lightly oil a no-stick griddle or add a small amount of olive or coconut oil to a frying pan.  Heat to medium or 350 degrees F.

Spoon the pancake batter onto the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Top with additional sliced banana or other fruit.

On the go tip:  Roll each pancake in chopped fruit.

Recipe By Beth Hillson
Serves 3balanced breakfast sandwich

Breakfast can be a balancing act.  Trying to find something that contains protein and nutrients and has a good amount of healthy carbs is not the first thing you want to deal with in the morning.  But, let’s face it.  You stand a better chance at handling all those little daily challenges if you are fortified from the get go.  So, here’s a great twist on breakfast, a Balanced Sandwich, to help jumpstart the day. Besides, it’s a yummy meal that can be wrapped in waxed paper to eat on the way to work or school.  Now go get your breakfast on.  And have a great day!

3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 teaspoon white horseradish (from the jar)
3 Glutino or other Multigrain English Muffins
6 slices cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 large eggs
¼ pound Boar’s Head or other gluten free Pastrami Turkey, thinly sliced
½ cup coleslaw (optional, but I love cole slaw any time of the day)

Mix together mayonnaise, ketchup and horseradish. Set aside.

Separate English muffins and toast the halves.  When toasted, top each half with a slice of cheese.  Let it melt slightly and set aside.

In large skillet, heat the oil or butter. Crack the eggs into the heated pan and fry just until the whites are set.  Cover the pan and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until yolks are no longer runny.  Remove the skillet from the heat.

Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of the mayonnaise mixture over half the English muffins.  Top with turkey pastrami, coleslaw, and fried egg. Cover with an English muffin half that does not have mayonnaise on it.  Down it promptly or wrap in waxed paper and eat on the way to school or work.  Don’t forget the napkins!

From Beth Hillson

Move over lazy summer days.  Now that school is back in session, our lives are frantic again.  We are pulled between school schedules, sports practice, and our own routines.  The last thing we need to do is stop to fix a nutritious breakfast.  But maybe it’s the first thing we need to do, too.

Here are three nutritious grab-and-go breakfast and snack recipes that will help to fill hungry tummies with healthy food and jump-start the day.

(1) balanced breakfast sandwichCheck out the Balanced Breakfast Sandwiches I whipped up with Glutino English Muffins (one of my favorite prepared foods), fried eggs and breakfast meat.  This quick and delicious meal has lots of possibilities.  Add cheese, turkey, guacamole – you name it.

 

 

Healthy Banana Pancakes(2) Don’t think you need to pull up a seat and load the plate with a stack of pancakes to enjoy my Healthy Banana Pancakes.  A mixture of banana, eggs and a small amount of nutritionally-dense flours, these sugar-free pancakes can be grabbed from the freezer or the fridge and eaten on the go.

 

(3) Banana Go-Sticks are ready when you need a quick, healthy breakfast and don’t have a minute to spare.  Grab one or two from the freezer to eat on the way to work or school.  These filling treats will see you through to lunch. banana go sticks

 

 

 

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

By Beth Hillson

This time of year, rising high school juniors and seniors are starting to visit college campuses as they consider where they would like to spend the next four years.  In addition to curriculum, size, and geographical location, students who have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive also have to consider if campus food service can accommodate their diet.  Read on to see if your college prospects make the grade.

I interview Rob Landolphi, Manager of Culinary Development at the University of Connecticut.  Rob instituted a gluten-free dining option in all the campus dining facilities beginning in 2002.  (UCONN was voted the #1for gluten-free-friendly campus on UDI’s web site this year.)

Here are some of Rob’s tips to consider when you are looking at colleges:

  • Contact Dining Services or Residential Life directly.  (The name of the office will vary from college to college.)
  • Ask how they handle gluten-free diets.
  • Ask to set up a tour of the dining hall and the kitchen.
  • If their guard goes up or if they seem hesitant, be wary.
  • If they show you the kitchen and serve you a gluten-free lunch, that should put your mind at ease.
  • Ask if the college offers gluten-free foods in all the dining facilities. If not, find out how far the gluten-free dining hall is from your dorm and the buildings where you will be taking most of your classes.
  • Check the hours of operations.
  • Find out if gluten-free food is prepared in a designated area.
  • Does the college label all the food so it’s not necessary to locate a chef each time you eat in the dining hall?
  • Does the dining hall have a gluten-free zone?
  • Can you eat in the same area as your friends or is gluten-free food only served in a separate dining room?
  • What gluten-free brands are used?  Are they willing to bring in other brands?
  • What happens if you don’t like the option for that day?  Can you order something else?
  • Can you call ahead and order food?
  • Is there a web site where you can find out the options for the day?
  • Does the gluten-free option cost more money or is it included in meal plan?  (It should be included.)
  • What restaurants near campus have gluten-free choices?  Do they deliver?  (For times when your friends are ordering out and you don’t want to be left out.)
  • Ask to speak with a student who has been taking the gluten-free option.  Chances are at least one or two have offered to serve as a resource.

Reprinted with permission from Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free, by Beth Hillson, 2014, page 248.

Serves 8

This light, refreshing salsa is packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining.  Serve with sturdy corn tortilla dippers.  This way, you are guaranteed to get a big mouthful of deliciousness in each bite.  The salsa is great with grilled lamb, fish, and chicken, too, so you might want to make a double recipe.

3 cups finely chopped seedless watermelon, (about 3 pounds with the rind)
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantroWatermelon Salsa
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of one lime
Gluten Free Corn Tortilla Dippers

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the all ingredients except the dippers.  Toss gently to coat.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day. Serve with lots of chips.

 

Makes  9-12 Large Brownie Squares

Chocolate Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies

Decadent doesn’t begin to describe this luscious treat.  When you think about it, what could be bad about a treat that combines chocolate, salt, caramels and pretzels?  Perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue, you’ll be making these over and over in the next few months.  And no practice is involved, these are easy, quick, fun to make and always turn out well.  Even the kids can help.  Just keep little fingers away from the molten caramels.

I made these for the folks at Glutino/Boulder Brands recently.  I put out a giant platter and turned away for a moment.  Alas, only crumbs were left.  Make a platter for your family and watch them disappear just as quickly!

The instructions are for making a box of Gluten-Free Pantry Brownie Mix.  You could use any gluten free brownie mix that makes an 8 or 9-inch square pan of brownies. Omit the eggs and butter here and follow the instructions on the package.  I used Glutino Salted Caramel Pretzels and Kraft individually wrapped caramels.

1 box Gluten Free Pantry Double Chocolate Brownie Mix*
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/3 cups coarsely ground gluten free Salted Caramel Pretzels, divided
24 gluten free caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons cream or milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with aluminum foil.  Lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil or use no-stick aluminum foil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 2 minutes or until light and frothy.  Slowly add the brownie mix.  Beat to moisten.  Add the butter and mix to combine.  Fold in ½ cup of the chopped salted caramel pretzels.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and the cream.  When the brownies have baked 18 minutes, heat the caramels in the microwave for 1 minute at medium power.  Stir and heat another 30 seconds if the mixture is not melted.  (Don’t worry if you see small lumps of candy.  These will melt as you stir the mixture.)  Let cool 1 minute and spread over the top of the brownies.  Some of the mixture will swirl into the brownie batter.  That’s good!

Gently press remaining chopped pretzels into the caramel mixture with the back of a rubber spatula.  (Don’t touch the melted caramels with your fingers.  They are hot!)

Return the pan to the oven.  Bake an addition 17 to 20 minutes or until the center seems set and does not jiggle when you touch the pan.

Cool.  Lift from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Cut into squares.  Enjoy!

*Use any gluten free brownie mix that makes an 8 or 9-inch square pan of brownies and follow the instructions for preparation on that package.