Menu Monday March 17 and Dinner with Friends

It's been weeks since I've planned some menus. I really have missed having them to fall back on! I tried to come up with some easy things this week since Easter is at the end of the week.
This weeks swap is being hosted by Sea over at Book of Yum. Please check out her colorful blog. I love her vegetarian recipes with all the beautiful pictures. 

The ingredient of the week happens to be coconut. I am excited about this because I just happened to order some coconut flour from Amazon last week and was wanting to try it out and review it.
Coconut flour is made from the meat of ground coconut after the oil has been extracted. It is high in fiber, high in protein, gluten free and low in carbs. You can replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe with coconut flour, adding an equivalent amount of liquid to the recipe. Coconut flour is very absorbent. 

I have been really curious to try this flour for a while. The brand I purchased is Bob's Red Mill. It has the color and consistency similar to that of sorghum, but it smells like coconut. They recommend to store it in the refrigerator. For my test recipe, I made the Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies on the back of the bag.  These were really good.  Crispy on the outside and chewy inside.  This is one I will make again.
I can't wait to try more things with this flour.  If you have used this with success, please share what you have learned about it with me by leaving a comment.

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies 
Recipe courtesy of renowned vegan culinary artist, Chelsea Lincoln. 


1 c. Sugar 
1/2 c. Margarine (Non-hydrogenated) 
1/3 c. Soymilk 
2 tsp. Vanilla
 3/4 c. White Rice Flour 
1/3 c. Organic Coconut Flour 
2 Tbsp. Potato Starch 
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda 
1/2 c. Almonds (Sliced) 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream together sugar and margarine with an electric mixer and beat for two minutes. Add vanilla and soymilk and beat for an additional minute. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, except Almonds. Add dry mix to wet ingredients and briefly mix, then add the almonds. Continue mixing until just blended. The batter should have a moist and fluffy consistency. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies 

Each cookie contains Calories 130. Calories from Fat 45, Total Fat 5g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 35mg, Total Carbohydrates 22g, Dietary Fiber less than 1g, Sugars 17g, Protein 1g. 


Here are my menus for the week: 

Pork Chops, baked sweet potatoes, Strawberry mozzarella salad 

Baked Salmon with orange glaze, rice, salad 

Pizza (trying a new crust!) 

Eat out with friends 

Easter dinner- Baked Ham, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, GF Mommy's Honey Almond Bread


A couple things I have to mention here. Natalie at Gluten Free Mommy has another bread recipe that is fabulous. I tried her recipe for Millet Oatmeal bread about a month or so ago and it has become my go to, stand by bread recipe. It has turned out wonderful every single time I've made it. So when she had a new recipe on last week for Almond Honey Yeast Bread, that she said was her favorite, I knew I had to try it. 

I was so confident in her recipe skills, I made it to take to a friends home for dinner along with a loaf of the millet bread. Let me just tell you it was fabulous! I can't wait to make some for Easter. It will go perfect with Easter dinner. It has just a hint of sweetness and a wonderful texture. Thank you Natatlie for another great bread recipe! 

I also wanted to give a big thank you to our friends Tony and Carrie for having us to dinner. Carrie was so wonderful in checking out what I could eat and made a fantastic feast for us! Tony and Carrie enjoy drinking wine like we do. So they planned by pairing the food with the wine. We had several kinds of wines to taste along with the food. 

It started with cheese, then crab cakes and cream of asparagus soup for starters. For the main course we had beef tenderloin with a burgundy sauce and baked potatoes. I brought along Natalie's bread and a Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle for dessert. Goofy me. I forgot my camera or I would have had pictures of this feast to share. 

I hear so many stories of gluten free folks who don't get to go anywhere because no one wants to cook for them. Not even their own family! That's sad really because it shouldn't be that hard. I think if friends and family understand to one, keep it simple, and two, communicate with the gluten free eater it will be easier than it sounds. What Carrie did was to email me what she was making and what ingredients were to be used. That way I could explain to her brands to buy and what to look for. With some simple modifications the meal was planned. 

I think sometimes family could be afraid they will make us sick or it will be too hard. Also, I know sometimes as the gluten free eater, we can be afraid to eat somewhere else. We are afraid of cross contamination or that the host will not understand how to fix what we eat. That's where communication comes in.
If you are invited to someones home and you are the only company, talk to your host. Offer to bring with you the things that would involve buying lots of special ingredients, like bread or dessert. 

This is obviously much harder to do if there are many people coming to the same dinner. If that were the case, I would simply talk to the host to find out what she was having. Decide if I could eat any of it. Let's say he or she is making Lasagna with salad and bread sticks. I would explain my dilemma. The first thing I would do is ask what's in the salad. If I think the salad will be okay to eat, I could offer to bring some chicken parmesan with me to share and maybe a loaf of gluten free bread. That way the host doesn't really have to change anything she's doing. And, she ends up getting extra food! 

I know these social things get very tricky. It's especially hard the first couple invites. It's hard being a newbie at this. I have been asked to peoples home just a handful of times since going gluten free. And luckily, each time has been with a close friend so I have felt comfortable talking with them about my needs. I have had all the holidays at our house since my diagnosis on my side of the family, but I know my brother and sister-in-law will be great when it's their turn!
Where it will get awkward is when someone asks us to their home that I do not know well. That has not happened yet, but I know it will. This is all a process of learning and adjusting. I'm sure I will figure this out as well. 

Easter is my favorite holiday. I feel more reflective at Easter than any other time of year. It is all about hope and new life. I feel truly blessed. Beth Moore, a well know Bible study teacher has a saying at her house…..things are either a blessing or not a blessing. At first, having to live gluten free seemed like not a blessing. But you know what, it is. It is because I have found out what a blessing my friends and family are. Tony and Carrie, they are a blessing. My Wednesday mom's Bible study group who always makes me choose the place we eat, they are a blessing. My mom is a blessing. My brother-in-law and his wife who made us a gluten free Christmas are a blessing.  My crazy husband and kids that eat all my experiments are a blessing. All of you  bloggers and recipe makers are such a blessing.  Know what was making me sick and getting well is the best blessing!
Wishing you all a most joyful Easter!


Filed under Coffee, Entertaining, Menu Monday

16 responses to “Menu Monday March 17 and Dinner with Friends

  1. Sue from NY

    I have long suspected my husband was glutin intolerant. He was sick all last summer, then when we went on phase one of the South Beach diet his symptoms disappeared over night. I enjoy the challenge of making tasty dishes out of not-so-common ingredents and it is easy to work the recipes you post into the South Beach way of life. So please consider your blog a blessing.

  2. Glutigirl

    Aww Cassandra, Poor thing! Morning sickness is rough isn’t it!
    Thank Terri, they were very yummy. Crispy outside and chewy inside.

  3. those cookies look awesome i will have to get my mom to ship me some coconut flour so i can give them a try

  4. Cassandra

    Oh my goodness – Easter? I’ve been so caught up in being sick, that all I’ve thought about is that I’m supposed to sing at church. I’ve not even thought of food! Well, maybe my mom will invite us over.

  5. Those cookies look fabulous! Can’t wait to try them.
    Your Easter menu sounds the same as ours – right down to GF Mommy’s bread.
    We are having a slew of people over – any suggestions for how to prepare the ham?

  6. How great of your friend to make sure and fix a wonderful meal that you could eat. I too have been worried about going to different functions and eating out for fear that I might get something I should not have. So for right now I just avoid it. Maybe in the future I will follow your advice and try.

  7. Hi Glutigirl –
    I have really enjoyed your website as well. Look forward to reading future post.
    We are up to 9 adults and 9 kids now for Easter! Make that two hams.

  8. Those cookies look amazing!

  9. Pat

    The cookies look awesome – I will give them a try.
    This blog is a blessing. Blessings are everywhere, we just need to open the eyes of our hearts to see them!
    I am making gf rice pilaf along with a ham for easter. So simple, economical, and most of all everyone loves it. Oh….I’m also making your cheesecake!

  10. those look like some cookies that I made a couple of weeks ago. Are they kind of sandy in texture? Those cookies were SO good! i really like coconut flour too! i hope you have a GREAT easter!!

  11. Glutigirl

    Sue, thank you. I love South Beach recipes because they are simple and so many are naturally gluten free!
    Jamie, Oh my gosh you are going to be doing a lot of cooking!
    Thanks Pat! Let me know how the cheesecake turns out 🙂
    Carrie, The cookies are only slightly sandy. But that could be because I use super fine rice flour when anything calls for rice flour. I just like the finer texture. These cookies just out of the oven were crispy outside, but very chewy inside. Two days later after being in a container, they are like a soft sugar cookie which my kids love. It seems like everytime I make a cookies its more crisp than chewy. I like a crisp cookie, but the kids don’t. So they loved this cookie. You can taste the coconut in it but it’s not overwhelming. I think it would be great with some lemon flavoring in it. Or use peanut butter instead of butter. I am going to experiment with this recipe a bit! The one you made lookes really good to by the way!

  12. Cassidy Stockton

    Thanks for trying our Coconut Flour. The recipe is delicious, isn’t it! Your picture is fabulous. I’d like to see if we could use it on our site for the recipe. Please get in touch.
    Cassidy Stockton
    Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

  13. Kristina

    Thanks for the info on coconut flour! That’s a flour I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it.
    I just found your blog recently and tried your triple cherry cheesecake- one bit and I knew that I definitely needed to bookmark your blog! (A non-GF co-worker even asked for the recipe after trying a piece!)

  14. Glutigirl

    Kristina, Cool! I love hearing that the recipe worked for you!

  15. Melanie,
    Can you email me ASAP?? I need your help!

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