Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hummus at Pre-school? Really??

This past year, I have been helping my son's pre-school with their snack program. They went from goldfish and graham crackers to organic produce, yogurt fruit shakes and whole grain, high fiber crackers. The children are very happy and the parents are even happier.

I have a philosophy about kids and eating. Don't make assumptions. It really is true.

I had gotten some feedback from the teachers that the children did not like the hummus. I was confused because most children I know like it. Then I tasted the brand we were using and did find it to be garlicky.

So, today I tried making it with them as part of the "Cooking with Amy" program we've started. I go there about every other week and cook something with them.

Today, almost half of them helped and most of them tried it. Then, when we served it, there were many more that liked it. It was served with toasted whole wheat flour tortillas, sweet potato fries and apples on the side; very healthy!

Special thanks goes to the teacher who just plopped some on their plate and encouraged them to taste it. Oh, and we called it "dip" since we thought some might not like or know the term "hummus". These children really made me proud. It is so important to expose them to the different flavors and textures of food.

And who would have thought 3, 4 and 5 year olds would eat this? Remember, never make assumptions. I hope you will give it a try.


  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil


Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Rinse chickpeas with water. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Note: I removed the garlic for this recipe since it seemed to be too strong for these little taste buds. However, you can add 1-2 cloves depending upon your taste.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gluten Free Flaxseed Pancakes

Yum...who doesn't love pancakes with syrup? Many of us do. When I found out my daughter had food sensitivities, gluten was one of those no-no foods. I had spent the last year, making delicious, healthy pancakes at least once a week for my family. Now, I felt like I had to start over.

Some times changes is good for all of us. I didn't think I needed any challenges in the kitchen, but apparently I did! Cooking and baking gluten-free has opened my eyes to the day-to-day challenges of many. And if anything, it's forced me to look at how I cook for my family. Now I try to use healthier substitutions.

On this particular morning, I wanted pancakes. I really don't like to make two different meals so instead, I make something we all can have. Recently, I discovered ground flaxseed meal which I found in Trader Joe's. We've been hearing about the benefits more and more of flaxseed. One of the features is that it's "an excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and copper", according to the package. The bottom line is that I decided to bring these two things together (pancakes and flaxseed).

I have to say the result was quite delicious. It tasted more like a whole grain pancake. I hope you'll give it a try!

1 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix (you can buy this or make your own)
1/2 c ground flaxseed meal
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
3/4 cup soy milk (you can also use water or a combination; as long as it equals 3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl oil
1 Tbl agave nectar

Mix all ingredients. Place a non-stick, square griddle on the stove top and heat to medium. Pour batter onto griddle to make 4 pancakes (about 1/2 cup of batter per pancake). Cook until you see bubbles on top. Flip over and cook a minute or so. Serve with organic maple syrup and/or agave nectar. You can also add fruit like sliced bananas, blueberries, raspberries or thinly sliced apple. Enjoy!

And of course, I had to get the kids involved. I think they liked them as well...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gluten Free Carrot Muffins

Dealing with food allergies and sensitivities can be a difficult and frustrating experience, especially if it's for children. My daughter was diagnosed with a multitude of food sensitivities that we think are associated with her eczema. It forced me to rethink meals, snacks and parties.

After living with it for over 6 months, talking to various people and reading different web sites and blogs, I have found some great substitutes. The following recipe is one of my favorites. Whenever I've brought these muffins to a party or playgroup, no one can even tell they are gluten free. This is a real compliment!

One of my best resources this past year has been my friend Amy Andrews. You can check out her blog here. She provided me with the following gluten free flour substitution. I have found it to be very effective for baking:

3 cups brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups millet flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour

Put this in a bowl and combine with a whisk. Transfer to a container, like a qt sized mason jar. Use this as a flour substitute; it works great. For every 2 cups, she suggests adding 1/2 tsp of xantham gum.

Another advantage to this recipe, is that it has many uses; have it for breakfast, a snack or even use as a cupcake at a party. You could bake it as a carrot cake but use a different pan, increase the cooking time to 45 minutes. It's always been a hit in our house, even for the non-gluten free crowd! I hope you'll try it. Keep scrolling; there are some great pictures below.

Gluten-Free Carrot Muffins
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup white sugar*
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1 1 /4 cup gluten-free flour substitute (see above)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups packed grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
Optional: 1/2 c shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix well. Add eggs and water, and mix.
3. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix well then add raisins, making sure they are coated with flour.
4. Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients, then carrots. If using nuts and/or coconut, add with the carrots.
5. Pour batter into greased muffin tins. Bake 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center tests clean**.
*Note: you can decrease the sugar if you would like. I haven't done it yet, but I would imagine agave nectar would be a great sub or you could use all brown sugar (but probably less).
**Note: gluten-free baking is different from traditional baking. I have found that GF baked goods need longer cooking time, even if the toothpick comes out clean.

After I made the muffins, I shredded another carrot (per the request of my almost 4 year old). I couldn't resist sharing these. They crack me up! But it goes to show that you should never make assumptions about what they will eat. How many of you would give your children shredded raw carrot for breakfast? I never thought I would but the proof is in the pudding...or maybe the muffins!