Monday, December 30, 2013

Most Popular Recipes

Happy upcoming New Year everyone! I love starting a new year because it is a great time for reflection. When I was first diagnosed with celiacs, I thought it was a terrible thing, but I've learned to be grateful for it.

I never imagined myself being able to cook. 

Learning to cook and creating recipes has been a wonderful (and delicious) creative outlet for me. I've also really enjoyed making my recipe posts, re-creating and sharing other people's favorite recipes, and becoming a part of the gluten-free community. 

I've gotten fantastic feedback about my blog, and I've realized I need to organize my recipes differently on my site so people can find what they are looking for more easily. So that is my blogging New Years resolution. In the meantime, I want to share with all of you my five most popular recipes, by page views. In the next few days I'll post my top five personal favorite recipes! 

Wishing you happiness and health this New Year!

Most Popular Recipes on Celiac Sanctuary

Friday, December 27, 2013

Parmesan Garlic Brussels Sprouts

"Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." - G.K. Chesterton

Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that I refused to touch as a kid (like broccoli *shudder*), but have come to absolutely love as an adult. Not only are they tasty and healthy, but they're also too darn adorable, aren't they? They look like baby cabbages!

One of the things I like most about brussels sprouts is that they sort of take on the taste of anything that you cook them in. Kind of like how the point of plain old spaghetti noodles is to get that delicious tomato sauce to your mouth--the point of brussels sprouts is to get that amazing fresh Parmesan into your belly!

By the way, I'm still learning to appreciate broccoli. Maybe that will be my New Years resolution...learn to love broccoli! If you have a great broccoli recipe, please send it my way!

10-15 brussels sprouts
1/8 cup fresh grated parmeasean cheese
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic


Step 1: Wash the brussels sprouts (if they haven't been pre-washed) and carefully cut them in half, lengthwise. Set aside.

Step 2: Warm a skillet on low/medium heat. Add grapeseed oil and minced garlic to the skillet and heat for 1-2 minutes. 

Step 3: Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet, cut side down. Cook covered for 3-5 minutes and then carefully flip. (Don't stir, if you stir you will lose leaves!) Continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Continue to cook and flip every 3-5 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through (approximately 10-15 minutes of total cooking time). 

Step 4: In the last two minutes of cooking, sprinkle the brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese. 

Serve while warm and melty! Enjoy!

Makes 3-4 sides. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Made Simple

"To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through: that is what it means to be a nurse." - Rawsi Williams

I'm a nurse, so I work a lot of holidays. About half of them, actually. This year I'm working Thanksgiving. I also recently moved, so instead of doing Thanksgiving "potluck style" like I usually do with my large family back in the midwest, I prepared the whole meal myself! As a result, I didn't make everything from scratch, but I did make a darn good meal. I am calling this my "express" Thanksgiving, because it only took 3 1/2 hours total, and most of that was turkey cook time (and I did all my shopping in the morning before I started cooking!).

Feel free to steal any of my secrets--after all, the point of Thanksgiving isn't to make a bunch of complicated recipes from scratch, but to spend time with people you love. So I'm personally giving you permission to cheat a little this year, and spend more time loving, and less time cooking!

Last year I made my first Thanksgiving turkey, which was a combination of recipe suggestions and tips from family and friends. It was absolutely amazing. It was a little time consuming, but man was it delicious! This year I decided to try something else, and used a turkey bag. It was easier (which is what I wanted), but not nearly as good. If you have the time to baste, and want to make a perfect turkey, follow this recipe. 

I love how there are so may easy gluten-free options available these days. This year, I tried Glutino's Cornbread Gluten-free Stuffing. It was great! I highly recommend it, especially if you are pressed for time. Otherwise, if you have time to make your own stuffing, here is my personal recipe. I really enjoy changing my recipes up, based on my mood, which is a little more tricky with a box. In general, I prefer using my own recipe and adjusting it, but overall I was impressed with Glutinos and would try it again.

Green Bean Casserole
This has been the hardest recipe for me to "get right." I have adjusted my recipe about six times, and this is the best version. One of the tricks to this casserole, and really almost any casserole, is to let it cool before serving. Otherwise you won't give the casserole time to thicken up. Have your own great green bean casserole recipe? I'd love suggestions!

The Rolls
One of my goals this year is to perfect gluten-free rolls. I'm definitely not there yet. So for Thanksgiving I tried Udis Gluten-Free French Rolls. They were fantastic! They only take 5 minutes to heat up, and they went amazing with my orange marmalade. A simple, yummy add-on to any meal.

Additional Sides
Corn, canned cranberry. Sadly, I didn't make my own mashed potatoes this year. My family recipe is literally the best mashed potatoes you will eat in your life. I will make them and post it eventually, because it is a recipe that has to be shared. This year it was just a matter of time, which is why I bought mashed potatoes from Whole Foods instead. They were divine.

Not pictured: Whole Foods Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Also not pictured: Me drinking a ton of red wine and wearing reindeer antlers while cooking...I wish I was joking.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grateful Green Bean Casserole

"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land." - Jon Stewart 

I still don't feel like I've perfected the traditional Thanksgiving green bean casserole (gluten-free style), but this recipe comes close! If you have your own, leave it in the comments!

3 cans of french style green beans
1 can of gluten-free cream of mushroom soup
1T gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of crushed Funyuns 


Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce, diced onions, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper.

Step 2: Slowly stir in drained green beans until they are completely covered in sauce. Transfer mix to 8x12 or larger oven-safe container.

Step 3: Bake casserole for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and top with crushed Funyuns. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 6-10 side dishes. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Family Recipe: Fried Peanuts

"Adventure is out there!"

My grandpa is one of the sweetest people alive. Doesn’t he remind you of the guy from UP in this picture?

I absolutely adore this pic, which was taken on my visit last weekend to the assisted living where he lives in San Antonio. I spent four days with my grandpa sitting on his balcony drinking wine, eating big wonderful breakfasts, and watching him tease the other residents by pretending he was going to run them over with his scooter. They shook their walkers back at him threateningly, then they laughed together. My gramps is kind of hilarious, and a joy to be around.

(me, grandpa, melanie, and joe (cat) on the balcony drinking wine)

One thing I distinctly remember from my childhood was my grandpa making these awesome fried peanuts. We made them together on the last day of my trip. He said they are a family recipe passed down from my late grandmother’s father. I won’t even try to pretend that they’re healthy, but some things are worth spoiling your diet over <3

1 container raw peanuts (spanish are best)
2 cups canola oil (or enough to cover peanuts in saucepan)
sea salt


Step 1: Bring canola oil to a boil in small saucepan. Add peanuts and boil 5-15 minutes, until they are golden brown (or darker, depending on your preference).

Step 2: With a straining spoon, remove peanuts from the sauce pan and place on paper towels to dry. Immediately shake salt liberally over peanuts.

Step 3: Wait for peanuts to cool (I like to eat them warm), then enjoy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Succulent Split Pea Soup

"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice." - Robert Frost

A lot of people consider soup to be a winter food, or just for when you're sick, but I think soup is a perfect summer food!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you say. Hot soup? In the summer? Blasphamy! 

But hear me out.

Like many people, I feel summer clothes aren't always...forgiving. Tank tops, shorts, bikinis, Oh my! As a result, I generally eat "better" in the summer. Smaller portions, lighter foods, you get the idea. About mid-September I let my hibernation fat begin to build again, but in May it is all about healthy food choices. Soup is typically a great choice if you are wanting to eat slimmer.

Also, soup is a lighter meal, which makes it more compatible with the outdoor lifestyle than typical "summer foods." For example, have you ever tried to play beach volleyball after a large hamburger and hearty helping of potato salad? I'm cramping up just thinking about it. But eat a bowl of soup for lunch instead and you're ready to run in less than an hour.

So, hopefully these two arguments will make you rethink some of your soup prejudices. Besides, everything is worth trying at least once. (At least that's what I tell myself every time I convince myself to attempt another doomed craft on pinterest).

Add caption

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup baby carrots
2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 lb ham (shredded or diced)
1 package split peas (drained and rinsed)
salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Add garlic, baby carrots, and grapeseed oil to a medium to large pot. Saute for 5-10 minutes. 

Step 2: To the pot add chicken broth, water, onion powder, ham, and split peas. The water should be covering all contents. If not, add more water. 

Step 3: Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Simmer and cover for 2 hours. Stir every 20 minutes or so, adding water when needed. Peas will eventually liquify, and add water based on how thick you want your soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Italian Broccoli Slaw

"Luckily my kids love broccoli, and although we sometimes enter into UN-like negotiations about how many 'trees' they need to eat before they partake in the ice cream, it is a vegetable that they tend to embrace." - Gwyneth Paltrow

This is an incredibly easy side dish that goes great with any summer BBQ (just don't grill your vinyl siding, like I did...). It is also very healthy and quick to make, so its perfect to make last minute for potlucks. My future mother-in-law taught me this recipe when she visited, and I've made it many times since! It is always a crowd pleaser!

1 bag broccoli slaw
3/4-1 cup Italian dressing* (verify it's gluten-free)
1T rice vinegar


Step 1: Toss broccoli slaw, italian dressing vinegar, until all pieces are covered. Let marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. 

Serves 7-10 sides. 

*use low fat or fat free dressing for an exceptionally healthy dish!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicken Mushroom Casserole Comfort Food

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." - Voltaire

This was one of my favorite comfort foods growing up. It was also the first meal I ever made myself! It is very simple, and extremely good. If you want to make it more healthy, throw in some carrots or mixed veggies.

3 defrosted chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups rice
1 cup condensed mushroom soup (make sure it's gluten-free)
1 cup water
1 1/2-2 T of Cavenders greek seasoning
1T garlic grapeseed oil


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350F. 

Step 2: In a casserole dish, add rice, mushroom soup, water, greek seasoning, and grapeseed oil. Stir. Place the defrosted chicken breasts on top of the rice mixutre.

Step 3: Bake for 50-60 minutes. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blame it on the Books

As much as I love coming up with new gluten-free recipes, lately I've been on a reading kick and neglecting the rest of my life...

I blame these books:

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Gone Girl by Jillian Flynn

Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death, and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years by Michael Collins

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Enough Motivation for Me....

This made me laugh. Perfect motivation for those of us with celiacs.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

"Age is not important unless you're a cheese." - Helen Hayes

Last weekend my sisters and I went down to my grandparents house to visit. While I cleaned, my extremely talented sister Melanie cooked and froze meals. She adapted this recipe to be gluten-free, and I think it's fantastic (and super healthy too!). It is a great "hidden vegetable" recipe--perfect for kids but that adults will love too.

3 cups of butternut squash (diced)
2 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cup skim milk
2 cloves minced garlic
2T plain greek yogurt
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
16 ounces uncooked gluten-free brown rice spiral pasta
cooking spray
1-2 T dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large saucepan mix chicken broth, milk, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Add squash and cover, cooking on a low boil for 20-25 minutes (or until squash is tender).

Step 2: Put the contents of the saucepan, and greek yogurt, into a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture reaches a thick, liquid consistency. Transfer the liquid into a large bowl and mix in 2 cups cheddar cheese and rice pasta, stirring until all pasta pieces are covered.

Step 3: Spray a 13x9 oven safe dish with cooking spray. Transfer the contents of the large bowl into the oven safe dish. Top the dish off with the last 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the top of the dish with parsley and salt and pepper.

Step 4: Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and browning at the edges. Enjoy!

Serves 8-10. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Steamed Lobster Tails

"The world is my lobster." - Henry J. Tillman

The first time I had lobster was when my fiance convinced me to begrudgingly try it. I always claimed I wasn't a "fish person," but one bite of lobster and I was hooked! I think lobster is one of those foods that tastes great without a bunch of extra spices to change the flavor, so this is an extremely simple recipe that lets the natural lobster flavor shine.

2 lobster tails
2/3 cup water
1 lemon
salt and pepper (pinches)
1-2 T of butter


Step 1: In a large frying pan add water and juice squeezed from half the lemon. Bring water to a boil.

Step 2: Cut the lobster tails down the middle (in a butterfly cut). Carefully partially separate the shell from the meat and rinse off any broken pieces of shell.

Step 3: Add the lobster tails to the pan and cover, steaming for 8 minutes. 

Step 4: Microwave the butter for 30 seconds in a small bowl. Squeeze the other half of the lemon into the bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Step 5: Remove the lobster tails from the pan and serve immediately, using the melted butter for dipping.

Serves 2. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Best Gluten-Free Beer?

I never cared for beer before my Celiac diagnosis, but I did have to try this! 

"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." - JK Rowling

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

"Life itself is the proper binge." - Julia Child

I went to dinner at my sister's house a few weeks ago and she made incredible quinoa stuffed peppers. I didn't have the ingredients to make the same recipe a few weeks later, so I made up my own. It is more of a mexican quinoa stuffed pepper, and I also cut them a little different (pictures of both types below). I encourage you to play around with ingredients and shaping your peppers, it's a lot of fun and quinoa is super versatile!

(my sister's turkey and quinoa peppers)

(my mexican quinoa stuffed peppers)

1/2 diced yellow onion
1T olive oil
1/4 cup cooked pancetta (can replace with ground beef or shredded chicken)
2 cloves diced garlic
1/2T cumin
7 ounces petite cut diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 bell peppers (any color, but I found red the tastiest) 
1/2 t salt


Step 1: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large pan cook onion, cumin, olive oil, and diced garlic on med/high heat for five minutes. Add tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes. 

Step 2: Add water and turn heat to high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Add the quinoa and cilantro. Let cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on the recommendation of your specific type of quinoa (on the book--mine was 20 minutes). 

Step 3: Once quinoa is cooked, add pancetta, salt, and parmesan cheese. Stir thoroughly. 

Step 4: Cut your peppers to the desired shape and de-seed and remove stem. Place the peppers on a cooking sheet covered with tin foil. Fill the peppers with your cooked mixture. Cover peppers with loose tin foil and cook in oven for 25 minutes.

Step 5: Remove peppers from oven and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cook in oven, uncovered, for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Serves 2-3. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Perfect Roast Chicken

"Is this chicken, what I have, or is it fish? I know it's tuna, but it says 'Chicken of the Sea.'" - Jessica Simpson 

There's a first time for everything, and today was my first time roasting a chicken! And I must admit, it was fan-freaking-tastic! I'm struggling right now not to eat the whole darn thing in one sitting. I wasn't planning on blogging this recipe, since it was the first time I made it and usually I like to try a different ways of making things before I pronounce it "the best"--but this chicken is amazing and must be shared with the world!


1 whole chicken (5-7 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
*1 tablespoon chicken seasoning
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag of baby carrots
1 large yellow onion


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 425F. In a small mixing bowl, melt the butter and mix with white wine, chicken seasoning, garlic, and salt.

Step 2: Remove the giblets from the chicken and rinse the chicken thoroughly. Place in a roasting pan and gently separate the skin from the breast while still leaving the breast intact.

Step 3: Rub the butter mixture inside the chicken and underneath the skin of the chicken.  Pour the remaining mixture on the chicken.

Step 4: Cut the onion into 1/4th. Stuff the chicken with a 1/4 of the onion.  Place the rest of the onion and carrots in the basting pan. Pour the chicken broth on top of the vegetables.

Step 5: Cook the chicken for approximately 80-120 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Baste chicken midway through cooking.

Additional Tip: I've read online that tying the legs together also helps ensure moisture, but I didn't try this. Also, if you stuff your chicken you'll need a longer cook time. My chicken was 6 pounds and took 90 minutes to cook.

Serves 4.

*Any chicken seasoning is fine, use whatever you prefer. Mine contained garlic, onion, thyme, pepper and lemon.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Easy Ham and Cheese Omelettes

"Omelettes are not made without breaking eggs." - Maximilien Francois Robespierre

The great thing about omelettes is that you can put just about anything in them that is going bad in your fridge and it will taste great. Chopped tomatoes, stuffing, bacon, sausage, onions, peppers, whatever sounds good to you! My fiance and I have been literally eating ham all week (the one I posted earlier!) so our omelettes tonight are ham and cheese, but feel free to add your own ingredients!

6 eggs
1/3 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 cup cubed or shredded cooked ham
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons margarine


Step 1: In a large bowl add eggs, milk, and garlic salt. Whisk for at least 2 minutes.

Step 2: Using a nonstick pan (6-8 inches), heat 1T of the butter on medium heat. When the butter is completely melted, add half the egg mixture to the pan. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes, then tilt the pan and redistribute any liquid egg mixture that is left for even cooking.

Step 3: Add half the ham, cheddar cheese, and chives to one side of the pan. Carefully fold the omelette in half. Cook for an additional minute, then flip and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until completely cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Repeat all steps for 2nd omelette.

Serves 2 large omelettes. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Honey-Pineapple Glazed Ham

"Carve a ham as if you were shaving the face of a friend." -Henry Charpentier (cook to J.D. Rockefeller)

This is an extremely easy recipe for delicious and cute ham! Enjoy!

1 ham (size your choice!)
1 can of pineapple slices
1 can of maraschino cherries
1/4 cup honey


Step 1: Drain the juice from the pineapple slices and pour into a small bowl. Mix 1/4 cup honey in with pineapple juice. Pour all over ham. 

Step 2: Using a toothpick, secure the pineapple slices and cherries to the ham (this helps keep it moist).

Step 3: Heat ham according to instructions (approx. 10 minutes per pound on 275 F). Baste every 30-40 minutes until completely cooked.