Category Archives: bento

YumYum Spareribs

Drat. They liked it so much that there are no pictures to post.  But it was beautiful and very tasty. I don’t know if they actually licked the plates clean…(I did run them through the dishwasher before I put them back in the cupboard), but there weren’t any leftovers. Forget about that it was also completely gluten free. What? yes. Healthy, and safe to eat, and tasty. What? yes. Funny how that works out.

When I cook, I typically use a recipe. I have a ton of cookbooks and recipe files and usually just go with whatever it says to do. Tra-la. But now and then, I get a wild idea with ingredients that I find at the store and tonight’s dinner was just toss it in a bowl and see what happens. I purposefully started with no recipe and hoped for the best. Some sort of chef channeling thing probably. I might be watching too much Food Network programming…. what? yes. Here’s a close approximate of what happened.

YumYum Spareribs Stirfry

Mix in a bowl:

  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 2 T worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 C gluten free tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic toes,  minced
  • 1 small onion, minced

Pour  this mix over the spareribs in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Uncover and turn the meat over. Spoon sauce over meat and leave uncovered. Return pan to the oven, and bake another 15 minutes.

Slice the meat,  and add to stir-fry pan. Add one entire bag of pre-sliced coleslaw mix – (cabbage and carrots),  and spoon some of the sauce from the baking pan over all of that to season and help steam the veggies, being sure to include the onions and garlic from the baking pan in with the cabbage. Stir until the cabbage is steamed to your liking. Serve over rice. We like Jasmine rice the best… make the kind you like.

Other veggies to mix into all of this would be great, too. The farmer’s market’s are bursting with amazing veggies this week. Throw some in and see what happens!

Tomatoes, squash, broccoli, peas, green beans or some sort of rice noodle will probably be in the mix next time I make this. It was pretty tasty, and it might make a good taco filling too. Next time, I will double the portions and hopefully have some left overs!



Coast-to-Coast Pork

When I was newly married, a billion years more than 30 years ago, we lived in the middle of nowhere at least 35 miles (in any direction) from any other restaurant except for the Dairy Queen, which was, of course, delightful.. but sometimes you need some Chinese take-out or other “real food”. Anyway, there was a Chinese restaurant on the way to visit our families, which made a nice stop for supper on the way home, or for special occasions. They made a BBQ pork appetizer plate that was pretty delicious and, that by one recent account- was not available anywhere between the West Coast and Vermont, so her mother had some mailed. To Vermont. From Oregon. Delicious. Legendary BBQ Pork.

Well fine. How did they do it? I have never had it anywhere else. I remember it being somewhat dry as far as the meat went, but the sauce was amazing. What on earth did they do to make it like that? Well, here is a pretty darn good replica of how to make it for yourself. Really. It turns out to not be all that hard, and since I made this batch today for less than a dollar a serving???, that restaurant was making a FORTUNE on this stuff. Too bad they didn’t pay their taxes with all that money, because they went out of business.

Legendary BBQ Pork 

  • 24 oz pork loin, separated into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 C Gluten-Free Tamari Soy sauce
  • 1/8 C Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Blend all these together and marinate the pork loin pieces at room temperature for about an hour. Place pork on a wire baking rack over a baking pan. Bake at 350, turning and basting with the leftover marinade every ten minutes for 1/2 an hour, then let bake another 1/2 hour. Remove and let the meat rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve with rice. The fresh pickle recipe is delicious with this as well.

The great thing about this recipe is that the leftovers are even better in a bento box with some rice for lunch the next day. Ask me how I know this.

Perfect Pickle

I like pickles. It’s true. And making them has always been fun, so why not change it up a bit and switch out some of the cucumbers for some carrots?

Sure. Why not?

Pickled Vegetables

  • Step one: make the pickle
  • Step two cut up all the veggies
  • Step three: blanch the veggies
  • Step four: pack in a jar and cover with pickle juice.

Pickle Mix: Stir together and bring to a boil:

1 1/2 C water

3 C sugar

3 C vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Take off the heat and let cool.


Cut up lots of veggies into matchstick size pieces, enough to fill a quart jar or two.

  • Carrots
  • celery
  • green onion
  • cucumbers
  • napa cabbage -rolled and sliced
  • chinese radish


Bring enough water to cover the veggies to a boil. Turn off the heat, add veggies for two minutes. Drain veggies and let cool.


Pack veggies into clean jars. Cover with the pickle liquid. Add 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator up to a week.


Helpful hint:

Adding a spoonful of veggies and pickle juice to a small serving of rice for lunch in a bento is quite nice.


Go have a picnic

..or something. sheesh.

The “GoPicnic” people have a great product. We love several of the gluten free options. Annnnnnd if you take their current survey on FB, they give you a coupon for 40% off. yep. Here’s my opinion! and thanks for the $$ back. : )

I would have bought these this week anyway, but by using the coupon and because one of the ones I ordered was on sale as well….. I saved $35. whoa. even with the shipping this was a great deal.

I love it when that happens.


Costco Rocks!

Hey look what I found at Costco this afternoon!! and they both say GLUTEN FREE right on the front labels. Be still my heart. No searching the ingredient list to see if it looks like it MIGHT be gluten free. Oh, no- it’s right there up front. LOVE IT.

We tried the dip plain on crackers. It is yummy. Then we mixed it into some  cream cheese and dipped some that way too. Wow. So yummy!  Go get some. The Superbowl food fest just got more tasty.

Honey Mustard-Cream Cheese dip for crackers 

  • 1 part Honey Mustard gourmet dip
  • 1 part room temperature cream cheese

Mix and serve with gluten free crackers.



There Might Be Cake In Your Future

There might be cake for breakfast. Or, for snacks. Or, your lunchbox. Whatever. Let them eat cake. All day, everyday if I have anything to say about it. Who doesn’t like cake? Really. Need to make it gluten free? Oh, you can’t have eggs? Me either.  No problem!! really, it’s just not that hard. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have what you want. You can. I promise.

This gluten free spice cake is DE_LI_CI_OUS.  It looks like cake. It tastes like cake. It must be cake. Eat it.

Let them eat cake! SPICE CAKE

Spice cake cleverly disguised as cupcakes

  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1/4 C palm shortening
  • 1 C hot water
  • 1 C molasses
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 2 eggs (replace with flax meal “eggs” )
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 3/4 C gluten free flour (I used equal parts brown rice flour and potato starch)

Mix. Bake as 24 cupcakes at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool. Serve with Cool Whip dollop on top. I am sure that some sort of cream cheese frosting mixture would be crazy good on this too. Probably mix that up next. mmmm


Secret Ingredient

Do you know why your food tastes good? It’s because there is a secret ingredient in mix.

Love. ❤

How do I know that?  Because I put it there. Yep.

Cooking for a family is not always sunshine and lollipops, nope, and it’s not always fun either. The lists, the shopping, or “the wrangling of who needs to be where and when with what and then when do they eat before they have to be there with what they need to take with them” kinds of management that happens in kitchens all over the world. At least that’s what happens in my kitchen. Sometimes it’s like herding cats. Sometimes it’s easy. I don’t really know what anyone else is doing, but I try to put some fun into the mix.

This is love.

Eat your veggies. I love you.


Chickeny Goodness

We loved the chicken lettuce wraps that we had in Minnesota last month, so much that I have been trying to recreate them at home. For one thing, it’s a fairly long drive (900 miles) back to that particular restaurant – so that’s part of it. But, for another thing – we don’t have anything remotely like this being served at any restaurant near us. Silly  restaurants.

Besides, this was cheaper. And guaranteed to be gluten free, although the restaurant, to be fair, did sell them to us as GF, it’s just fun to actually make them totally GF at home. This is our official tornado watch snack of the month,btw, if you are keeping score at home.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

  • 3 chicken breasts- cubed, although if I could have found ground up chicken meat at the store tonight, then I would have used that. Whatevs.
  • 2 T oil

Brown chicken cubes or mashed meat. Add:

  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Stir until the onion looks sorta cooked through

Mix together:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Thai chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp GLUTEN FREE soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C hoisin sauce. (read the label, get the gf kind)

Pour that into the pan and stir it up with the chicken. Cook another couple of minutes.


  • handful of bamboo shoots
  • sliced grape tomatoes
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Optional: something crunchy – sliced water chestnuts, or some celery, or chopped peanuts would have been great on this. Don’t get me wrong.. it was delicious, but next time I will add the crunchy angle to the madness.

We served this mixture up on big green lettuce leaves. It was super messy, and oh, so tasty. Napkins, please! This was so delicious. Really. I am sad that I ever thought I had to eat out to find something this tasty. Yum.

The leftovers will be great in a bento! Or rolled up in a rice wrap, or sprinkled over tortilla strips as a nacho kinda thing.


Ginger Molasses Buttons

Yummy. I don’t know how anyone lives without cake. Srsly. LET THEM EAT CAKE. Even celiacs. yup.

Ginger Molasses Muffins

  • 1/2 C palm shortening
  • 4 tsp molasses
  • 2 eggs (flax replacement)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 3/4 C potato starch
  • 1/4 C tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp vanilla (GF – vanilla found at Costco)
  • 2 tsp powered ginger
  • 2/3 C milk (hemp, coconut)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp soda
  • handful of golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350.

Spoon batter into mini-muffin cups. Bake 10 minutes. It’s possible that a swirl of melted chocolate would make these more gorgeous.

Tea time anyone?



Before I knew anything *at all* about Celiac, I liked GORP as a fast and tasty snack. Easy to mix up, fun to find in my lunch. Easy to keep a small container of it in my purse, easy to take on camping trips. Kinda all purpose snackable. And one serving of it actually has a big dose of protein. Some sugar too… so don’t go crazy, but I was surprised at the protien amount.

It is amazing to me how I had somehow negotiated my way to a general menu that really was pretty well free of gluten before I had to go gluten free. It was just a few things that I had to either give up (beer) or find new substitutes (pretzels).

My advice to new celiacs, besides “don’t cheat”, is to figure out what you are ALREADY eating that is gluten free, then find new stuff to fill in the other areas of the menu. It is soooooo much easier now to find acceptable food in regular grocery stores than it was even a few years ago. Online ordering rocks when you can’t find it anywhere near you.

Stick to the meat and veggies and you really can’t go wrong. Until you need a snack. This is where the gorp comes in. *GORP=Good-Old-Raisins-and Peanuts*-mmmmm                   Stock up.


This is the ratio that I use, the bag of M&M’s in the picture is larger… please note.

  • 1 – 19 oz bag of plain M & M’s “large”
  • 1 – 16 oz can of salted Planter’s peanuts
  • 1 – 15 oz box of golden raisins

Mix. Pack. Snack.

Oh my.