Category Archives: corn free

Bumps on a Rock & Bumps on a Stump

bumps on a rock

Bump on a Rock

bumps on a stump

Bumps on a Stump







This is a play on the great snack from my childhood “bumps on a log” made with celery, raisins and peanut butter. Unfortunately, celery is too hard for Manimal to chew, but I have found a fun solution he loves – and it’s gluten-free, corn-free and top-8 free to boot!

Finding fun, healthy, allergy-friendly snacks for little ones can be difficult. Also, because peanut butter is a no-no for my kids, I often have trouble getting them to eat protein during the day without busting out the leftover meat from the night before.

I love making this snack for Manimal – he loves that they are bite sized, and I love that they are healthy and safe for him (Lil Z likes all three ingredients, but won’t eat it unless it is “deconstructed” because he has aversions to mixing of foods… sigh).


  • Sliced bananas (the stumps)
  • Rice Chex (the rocks)
  • Raisins (the bumps)
  • Sunflower seed butter (I have been using Sunbutter’s, and it is really good, but soybeans are roasted on the same line and I think it has been bothering Manimal… so I am on a quest to find a new version).

Do I really need to explain how to make it? Just look at the pics!

Manimal enjoying bumps on rocks

Manimal enjoys his bumps on rocks.

What are some allergy-friendly, kid-friendly snacks you make at your house?

Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers – Gluten and Top 8 Free

deconstructed bell pepperThis is a recipe The Hubs created and makes frequently at our house. I love it because it is just as delicious as the original, but you are not stuck with a big bell pepper you have to “power through” at the end.  He loves it because it is faster than the original, and is half the work.

It is gluten and top-8 free; please note that if you want this to be corn free, you must choose a tomato sauce without citric acid. If it is slightly tart at the end, add a tablespoon (or two) of sugar to take the edge off.


  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce (16 oz)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups rice, prepared
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sugar to taste

Brown the hamburger and onions in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. In a separate pot, boil the bell pepper for 20 minutes, drain and shock with cold water. Add the bell peppers and the remaining ingredients to the hamburger and heat in the skillet (about five minutes). Add sugar to taste.

Crispy Chicken Under a Brick (or Cast Iron Skillet)

I tried this recipe by Tyler Florence tonight, and it was really fun to make and tasted delicious. I was skeptical that chicken on the bone would be able to fully cook in 30 minutes or less, but it did. And the skin was so crisp – it was amazing. The original recipe calls for toasted cumin seeds, which I don’t have. Instead, I simply used ½ teaspoon ground cumin. I was a little intimidated about making this dish, but it turned out to be much simpler and faster than I thought it would be. I will definitely make this dish again!!!

I had never heard of “brick chicken” until I saw Melissa D’Arabian from the Next Food Network Star make it in a challenge (she won the competition, BTW). Instead of using a brick, she recommended using a cast iron skillet. How simple! I just put a little olive oil on the bottom of my cast iron skillet before I placed it on my chicken.

3 lbs chicken on bone
3/4 cup olive oil
2 oranges, juiced and zested
½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper, to taste

In gallon zipper bag, mix together 1/2-cup olive oil, orange juice and zest, cumin, curry, brown sugar, garlic and parsley. Marinate the chicken in the mixture for 1 hour, covered in the refrigerator.

Place an ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Put the remaining 1/4-cup olive oil into the hot skillet and wait 1 minute for it to heat up.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, season all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken halves in the skillet, skin side down. Wrap 2 bricks in aluminum foil (or us a cast iron skillet) and set them on top of the chicken. The weight will flatten the chicken resulting in a very crispy skin.

Cook on the stove top for 10 minutes, then transfer the weighted skillet to a preheated 450° oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to pry the chicken from the pan so not to tear the skin.

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Fantastic Herb Marinade

At our house, we have a tight grocery budget, so we don’t eat steak very often. When we do, it is usually the cheaper cuts, and they need a little “love” to make them taste really good.

This is a marinade that I used on last night’s charcoal steak and they tasted fantastic. Actually, fantastic doesn’t do it justice. It was fantastic to the 3rd power. When I grilled my steaks last night, I also tossed a couple of small pieces of firewood on top of the briquettes, which really gave the meat a smoky flavor.

1½ to 2 lbs steak
the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic

Place steaks and all ingredients in a plastic gallon bag. Seal and shake and massage meat until all ingredients are mixed and cover the steaks equally. Place in fridge and marinate for several hours. Grill to your liking.

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Superfine Sugar, Corn-Free Powdered Sugar, and Corn-Free Baking Powder

Superfine Sugar: A lot of recipes I have been looking at lately call for superfine sugar. I had a heck of a time of a time trying to find it, and finally just Googled it to figure out if I could make it, and what it exactly was. It is finer than regular granulated sugar, but coarser than powdered sugar and helps make smoother batters. It also can support a higher fat content. I ended up making my own by putting a ½ cup of regular sugar in the food processor and pulsing it for a few minutes. I made several ½ cup batches so that I don’t have to make it again for awhile. A bonus: it is much cheaper to make your own!

Corn-Free Powdered Sugar: The ratio is 1 cup regular sugar to 1 tablespoons arrowroot starch or tapioca starch

Mix in food processor or uncontaminated coffee grinder until it is fine and powdery. Store in an airtight container.

Note: sugar often contains corn or corn derivatives. Please be sure to contact the manufacturer to verify if your sugars contain corn or not.

Corn-Free Baking Powder: I use featherweight, but you can also make a corn free substitute.
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp tapioca starch/arrowroot powder

Bravo Brownies

These were really easy and fast to make. Bravo Brownies have a chewier texture than “normal” brownies, but they are a great alternative to the wheat version – and they taste really good, and are very moist. Little Z ate them twice today, and threw a tantrum each time we had to cut him off.

This recipe is from “Bravo Brownie Cut Ups” in Cookies for Everyone! (p. 184)

1 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup white rice flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup applesauce
¼ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract (leave out if you have a corn allergy, or make your own)
½ tsp baking powder (use featherweight if you have a corn allergy, or make your own)
¼ cup powdered sugar (has corn, you can make your own)

mix all dry ingredients together (except powdered sugar) and add wet ingredients and blend until smooth. Line an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil (extend foil over the sides). Pour batter into pan and bake in a 350° preheated oven for 30 minutes (or until edges are firm). Cool completely in pan (for easier cutting, you can freeze for 15 minutes or so). Remove from the pan using aluminum foil and cut into squares. For a fun twist, cut using cookie cutters.

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Lemon-Lime Cilantro Chicken

This was a really nice dinner to enjoy on a summer night. I paired it with Cilantro and Lime Rice, and it was a really refreshing meal.

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic powder
crushed red pepper
black pepper
the juice from a whole lemon
the juice from a whole lime
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Place chicken in an oiled baking pan and drizzle oil over it. Squeeze the lemon and lime juice over it. Sprinkle salt, garlic powder, red pepper and black pepper over the chicken. Rub spices in gently, and spread freshly chopped cilantro over the top of chicken. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake another 20-30 minutes until golden and cooked through.

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