Quick Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Banana Bread with Cocoa Powder

This week, I’ve been getting over being accidentally glutened.  Sometimes when you travel, it’s pretty difficult to not eat gluten somewhere along the line.  I made a weekend trip to San Francisco, rode the trolley to the end of the line, and ate seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf…. where the nice server guaranteed gluten-free grilled Halibut with summer veggies and rice.  I’m REALLY sure that wasn’t the truth.  Or maybe my troubles were caused by a different meal away.  I don’t actually know.  But I do know that after I got home, I wanted to treat my symptoms with banana bread, because bananas and rice are two things that seem to help the belly.  Here’s the quick recipe that I came up with:

Quick Gluten-Free Banana Bread

2 bananas

3 eggs

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup gluten-free Bisquick

1 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)

Mix it all together with a spoon and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes (until it’s golden-brown and done in the middle).

Optional: sprinkle with equal parts brown sugar and white sugar before baking, for a faux-streusel crust on top!  YUM.

Banana Bread Sliced



Peach and Mozzarella Salad with Fresh Basil

Here’s an easy one that’s a great way to eat that home-grown basil crop:

Peach and Mozzarella Salad with Fresh Basil

1 peach, diced into large pieces

mini mozarella balls, marinated (easy to find at the grocery store)

2 fresh basil leaves


Put the peach into a bowl.  Slice the mozzarella balls into 4 sections; add to the bowl.  Thinly slice the basil leaves and sprinkle into the bowl.  Add freshly ground black pepper to the top.

Makes 1-4 servings, depending on the meal.


Coconut Clouds

I like gluten-free, but not the weird gluten-free baking ingredients.  I’m particularly grossed out by xanthan gum.  Therefore, this is a perfect recipe for me.  It’s the traditional sugar, butter/shortening, egg combination we’ve all been putting in our cookies for years.  I based this recipe on something I found online for donut holes.  But then I went and adapted it and ended up with cookies.  Delicious, ephemeral, happy-dance cookies.  I hope some of you also like coconut as much as me.

Coconut Clouds

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

5 Tablespoons coconut flour

10 Tablespoons fine macaroon coconut

Cream the sugar, salt, shortening, and vanilla.  Add eggs.  Mix in the coconut.

Drop with a cookie scooper onto a baking stone.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

(Makes about 2 dozen cookies)

Coconut Cookies

Peanut Butter Meltaways

These cookies were a mess.  It began when I tried to make a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies that I found online.  It’s common knowledge that 1 cup of peanut butter, plus 1 cup of sugar, plus 1 large egg makes a great cookie, but they are more dense and crumbly than I like for my cookies.  So, I tried that recipe I found online, the one that told me to add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to that traditional recipe…plus one more egg, to give the cookies a more airy texture.  And I improvised by replacing 1/2 cup of peanut butter with Nutella.  The first batch ended up looking like tiny souffles while they were in the oven.  And, of course, they all fell into flat but tasty brownie-pancakes.  I forgot to account for the extra oil and sugar that Nutella adds to the mix.

With half of the dough left, I couldn’t let all that peanut butter and Nutella go to waste, so I added another full recipe of the traditional peanut butter cookies plus a little bit of cornstarch.  They’ve ended up being a delicious accident that melts in your mouth like a plain spoonful of peanut butter itself.  We all know how much I love peanut butter.  If I could walk around like Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black with just my spoonful of peanut butter and extreme curiosity about life in general, but not seem crazy, that would be pretty great.

Anyway, I’m calling these cookies Peanut Butter Meltaways.  They’re still pretty dense, but once they’re in your mouth, you don’t really care.  It’s such a happy accident in the kitchen.


Peanut Butter Meltaways

1  1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (something with sugar such as Skippy or Simply Jiff)

1/2 cup Hazelnut spread (Nutella)

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon cornstarch



Mix everything together.  Drop by cookie scoop onto the baking sheet and mark with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Make sure you store them in an airtight container.

That’s it!

Peanut Butter Meltaways


Apple Cheesecake Bars

This past weekend, I was fortunate to experience three major conversations with statistician-extraordinaire, Joe Hilbe.  We talked about a range of topics, from philosophy and law, to politics, and even book publishing.  He was in town to visit my dad and attend their 50th high school reunion from Paradise High School.

The first night of the weekend called for a BBQ at my parents’ house, so I provided this dessert.  It was very much spur-of-the-moment, last-minute, and a total experiment.  It’s REALLY not the healthiest treat around, but it was a success!  Joe, above everyone else, couldn’t compliment it enough and he kept proclaiming how much fun there is in food chemistry!  My dad’s only feedback was “Yum!  Capital YUM!!”  Based on their reactions, I’m sharing this 3-layer recipe with you all now.  Enjoy!

Apple Cheesecake Bars


One package of sugar cookie mix (I like Pure Pantry because it’s gluten-free.  You could only put half of the mix into the pan, if you prefer).  Prepare as directed and press into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cheesecake Filling:

2 packages Philadelphia 1/3 less fat cheese (Neufchâtel)

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

splash of vanilla

Beat the filling ingredients together and spread evenly over sugar cookie mix.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


1 can of apple pie filling

Place slices gently around the top with a spoon.  Bake about 25 minutes longer, until the custard (cheesecake) part is golden or barely starting to crack.

Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top of the apple streaks.

Let the dish sit out until it’s cool enough to handle, then cool completely in the refrigerator.

Serve in small portions.  [It’s awesome with a dollop of Cool Whip on top too.]

Variations:  any type of pie filling would work!  Let me know what you decide to try.

P.S. – I’m still trying to remember to take a photo of the next serving!  It will be here soon. :o)

Tahini Genies

This is my new favorite cookie.  It is also the second recipe I’ve tried from my copy of La Tartine Gourmande by Béatrice Peltre (www.latartinegourmandebook.com).  She gets all the credit for my new-found best-est love, which she titled “Chocolate Tahini Cookies.” Of course, I changed it.  And what I got is the best combination of crispy nut-butter cookie (peanut butter, cashew, etc.), brown sugar cookie (like chocolate chip cookies), and snickerdoodle (cake-like) that anyone could ever imagine.  I immediately tried one and then ate three more, just to be sure that they taste so great!

Here is my modified version:

Tahini Genies

6 Tablespoons salted butter, softened

2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 Tablespoons tahini (i.e. “sesame butter”)

A splash of vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup white chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes (my oven cooks really cold, so you might only need 8 minutes).  When the cookies turn golden, take them out!

French-style Sweet Honey Chicken with Peach Salad

I finally went ahead and ordered my copy of La Tartine Gourmande by Béatrice Peltre, which you can find here: www.latartinegourmandebook.com   I have never been so much in awe of a cookbook as I was when I unwrapped this one.  The colors are muted but attractive; the food is French but approachable; the presentations are simple yet exquisite.  I have spent a lot of time with this cookbook since I first laid my hands on it last week.  The narrative pages about Ms. Peltre’s personal experiences with food and family are just as enchanting as her recipes.  And the best part is that every single recipe is made from scratch with fresh, easily organic ingredients that are naturally gluten-free.

For anyone who does not know: La Tartine Gourmande is a well-established food blog and this book is merely a companion.

My first meal worth blogging about from this cookbook is a rendition of the “Lemon and honey-flavored chicken” on page 175.  I was so excited about eating that I forgot to take any photos of this one, but trust me, it looks good.

French-Style Sweet Honey Chicken and Peach Salad

juice of 1/2 of a large lemon

2 Tablespoons honey

1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano

sprinkle garlic powder to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin (tasting) olive oil

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

8 chicken tenderloins or 4 chicken breasts


Layer the chicken pieces in the bottom of a stoneware french oven; you could also add green beans.  In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey, oregano, garlic powder, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken.

You could either let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes or just put it right into a 375 degree (F) oven for about 50 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve with bread, potatoes or rice.

Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

You can find a really tasty side dish (a pairing I recommend) online at Real Simple:



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