Grandma’s Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe, Gluten Free Option

      This recipe is for a very special sweet potato casserole, one that was served to us by my husband’s late step-grandmother; our beloved Grandma Fountain! It was made and served with love! Although originally not gluten free until I altered it, this casserole is amazing both ways; so creamy and delicious, and a must on our holiday dinner table whether it is Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. The whole family looks forward to this luscious side dish to go with our turkey or ham, and other sides such as green bean casserole! Two new versions of green bean casserole, served for the first time this past Thanksgiving, are likely to become standard dishes for our holiday family dinners from now on, as we really enjoyed them. Here are the links to my posts on those: Creamy Green Bean Casserole and Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, and also the fabulous Gluten Free Crisp French Fried Onion topping! Both casseroles were made gluten free, as this sweet potato casserole easily can be as well by simply substituting the flour for gluten free flour. We tried it and did not notice any difference. Even though my immediate family does not need to be gluten free, we have other family members who do. You can also make this casserole low fat or low sugar. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps […] Read more »

Butter-Crunch Caramel Corn Recipe; Quick, Easy Crowd Pleaser

Crunchy Caramel Corn Recipe, Naturally Gluten Free

  Butter-Crunch Caramel Corn Recipe; Quick, Easy Crowd Pleaser Crunchy, golden caramel corn, made with real butter, is so easy to make at home! This recipe is truly delicious, and a snap to make! I’ve always loved Cracker Jack’s, but this recipe beats Cracker Jacks any day! And it’s naturally gluten free, too! I had never even considered that caramel corn could be made at home, until my friend Shari Fletcher impressed me greatly by serving a big bowl of it to a crowd of kids and adults. When she shared the recipe with me and explained how quick and easy it was to do, I was truly amazed! Shari is a wonderful cook with so many awesome ideas, and “quick & easy” along with “flavorful” seems to be her specialty. I love getting recipes from her! Thank you, Shari!! If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance!   How to Make Crunchy Caramel Corn at Home You start out by popping popcorn; you’ll need approximately 4 – 5 quarts popped. Spray the inside of a large paper bag (a shopping bag is perfect) liberally with cooking spray, then pour the popped popcorn into the bag. You make the caramel by combining real butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a heavy sauce pan. Bring […] Read more »

Decorating for Christmas, Family Fun

Decorating for Christmas

  This year for Christmas, I had decided to do something new regarding our tree. I thought our tree, the way we used to decorate, looked too random and not stylish enough. (See my older post, Simple, Fun Christmas Decorating.) So I decided to get rid of a lot of the old ornaments and replace with new ones. I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a bunch of red, white, and silver ornaments, some frosted and some shiny. In addition, I thought I’d add snowflakes and icicles. Then, much to my surprise, and dismay at the time, my husband came home with a string of colored lights, which clearly wouldn’t work with my new theme. At the same time, I had also struggled with the fact that a theme like this would restrict us to certain colors and shapes, and make us feel like we couldn’t add other decorations that may be fun, adorable, or much loved, because it wouldn’t fit with the theme. Even though colored lights are not that high up on my list, I decided to ditch my bright idea of a new theme, and let this be the family tree that it’s always been, which allows everyone to put something on it that they feel is special. So, with renewed excitement in my heart, I took my kids to the store and purchased some new Christmas ornaments that we found cute and special, to replace […] Read more »

Making Homemade Soft, Spreadable Butter. Recipe

  For several years we have made our own soft spreadable butter to use on our sandwiches in place for margarine. Even though we keep it in our refrigerator, it stays soft, unlike regular hard butter. It is ready for use at any time. This homemade “margarine” is very convenient to use, and has also saved us money by stretching our butter to last twice as long. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! I grew up using margarine to spread on my sandwiches. It was nice and convenient to be able to grab the tub of soft spread right from the fridge and use it without crumbling my slice of bread. It was also believed that margarine was better for us than real butter. After I grew up, I have come to believe that it’s the opposite way, butter being the healthier alternative as it is a natural product, unlike the heavily processed margarine. That doesn’t mean every natural product is good for you, but being that margarine ingredients after processing are altered, and in my opinion not natural in any way, I can’t see how margarine can possibly be better for the body than butter, or equal to it. When we first started using butter for our sandwiches in place for margarine, we would […] Read more »

Gluten Free Cheesy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

    This green bean casserole, which can be made with regular all purpose flour or gluten free flour, is a cheesy and creamy side dish that can pass for comfort food any day.  When I made it for the first time for Thanksgiving this year, using gluten free bread mix in place for wheat flour, my husband’s family absolutely loved it! Even one of my brothers-in-law, who considers himself extremely picky, raved about this green bean casserole! I will definitely be making it again, this recipe is a keeper! If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! As this side dish is different from Campbell’s green bean casserole, you really need to keep that in mind when trying it, and not expect it to taste like Campbell’s. The only thing it has in common with the ol’ cream of mushroom casserole, is that both of them contain green beans. I found the original version of this recipe on Pinterest via allrecipes.com, but I made a lot of changes to reflect reviewers’ likes and dislikes. It was my impression from the original recipe that people either loved it or hated it, but with the changes added, everyone at our Thanksgiving table raved about this casserole! In addition to this Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, I also tried a […] Read more »

Gluten Free Crisp French Fried Onion Topping, Recipe

  I never even considered that I could make my own French fried crisp onion topping, until I needed some that were gluten free for a green bean casserole. Now I know that these are really easy to make (though somewhat time consuming, but not bad…), and a lot of fun!  I was so proud of myself when I tasted them! “Wow, I MADE those!!” A ton of other people were impressed too, and it was so simple! Just like myself, I think people just don’t realize it can be done at home. It’s just not something you think about until there is a need for it. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! I sliced a large red onion into thin slices, and chopped them just a little bit to be more fitting as a casserole topping. Next, I put them all in a bowl, poured on enough milk to cover, and let them soak for a few minutes. If you need to watch out for dairy in addition to gluten, you could probably use broth instead, or even gluten free beer, as a couple of my readers have since suggested. This recipe shows you how to make the onions gluten free. If you don’t need to be gluten free, you can use regular white […] Read more »

Gluten Free Creamy Green Bean Casserole Recipe w/ Topping

    Gluten Free Creamy Green Bean Casserole Being gluten free during the holidays can be tricky. So many yummy foods to eat, and yet so much that cannot be enjoyed just because of a few tablespoons of wheat here and there, or something as simple as a teaspoon of soy sauce added to a casserole… YES, soy sauce, just like so many foods, has gluten in it! Gluten seems to be everywhere! Personally I do not have to be gluten free, even though I was for a period of time, but I have family members who really do need to stay away from it. I truly feel for them! Making all kinds of changes at home is hard enough, but being served outside of home is just plain sad. Sometimes there is no other choice but to bring your own food from home. It must be so hard to not be able to join in the food experience together with others! That’s why, for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to search for gluten free alternatives to my standard two casseroles: green bean casserole, and my much loved sweet potato casserole. It was my hope that this year, everyone, going gluten free or not, would be able to enjoy these wonderful dishes. And they did! Going into it, I wasn’t sure how the casserole recipes I settled for would turn out, and whether I would make them again for future […] Read more »

Norwegian Riskrem Rice Pudding; Christmas Dessert Recipe

Riskrem (Rice Pudding) is a traditional Norwegian Christmas dessert, made from leftover rice porridge (recipe in this link) and whipped cream, with some sugar and vanilla added. Topped with a red berry or fruit sauce, it is fluffy and creamy with a little tang from the sauce. This dessert should not be confused with the rice pudding often found in grocery stores in the U.S., which tends to be overly sweet, the rice not as tender, and sometimes cinnamon added. Cinnamon has no place in Norwegian riskrem! My recipe delivers fluffy, creamy, and pleasantly sweet vanilla flavored riskrem, the rice kernels cooked until completely tender. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance!   How to Make Riskrem / Norwegian Rice Pudding The first part in making this delicious dessert is to mix together a little bit of whole milk and 4 cups of leftover rice porridge, which should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Dilute with 1/2 cup whole milk, as rice porridge thickens as it sits. A rubber spatula makes it easier to mix together.   Next, prepare the whipped cream. Use well chilled heavy whipping cream, 2 cups in all, with 6 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla-sugar added. You may be able to find vanilla sugar at certain super markets […] Read more »

Traditional Norwegian Risgrøt, Rice Porridge Recipe

    A Christmas tradition in countless Norwegian homes is to prepare Risengrynsgrøt, or rice porridge, for lunch during the day of Christmas Eve. White rice is cooked in milk for nearly an hour until tender and thick, then salt and sometimes sugar and vanilla is added. Often shortened to say simply “risgrøt”,  this porridge is traditionally topped with sugar and cinnamon, and a dab of butter in the center. Often times red juice is served to drink with this meal. This rice porridge is also served throughout the year in Norway, often as a warm, comforting Saturday lunch. One important reason to prepare this porridge during the day of Christmas Eve is that the leftovers are used to make a traditional dessert commonly served after dinner. This desserts is called “Riskrem”, or Rice Pudding, in which whipped cream is added to the porridge. The mildly sweetened fluffy dessert is topped with a red berry sauce. A single blanched almond has been hidden inside, and whoever finds it in a mouthful gets a small prize!  Riskrem is soft and light tasting and nicely balanced with the berry sauce on top, and mostly served only for Christmas and New Year’s. Here is a link to this delicious dessert! If you do try any of my recipes, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! In this […] Read more »

Alternative Ways to Decorate, Using a Vase of Flowers

  This past summer we had a surplus of cucumbers growing in our garden, and we found ourselves with more than we could use. Sometimes I like to slice them up to use for cucumber water, or we eat them raw with dinner. Since even the scent of cucumbers is so refreshing, I one day decided to add some slices to a pitcher of water for my counter top, just to look pretty and for the pleasant scent. Then I changed my mind and put them in a vase instead. That would look even prettier, I decided. That same weekend we went to a wedding, and one of my daughters was given a flower to bring home. Instead of putting the flower in a separate vase, I decided to stick it in with the cucumber slices, and it was a perfect match! I thought it made for a beautiful center piece for my kitchen counter top. The following morning the water was looking a bit cloudy, so I emptied the water and threw the old cucumber slices in the compost, while adding fresh ones to new water in that same vase. I repeated it day after day until the flower started wilting. I thought it was a perfect combination!   Today I decided to take it a step further, purchased a simple bouquet of flowers, and sliced up a lemon and a lime to see how other combinations might work […] Read more »