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 »

Candied Vanilla & Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Recipe

    Walking through the mall, smelling those freshly roasted candied almonds, a hint of cinnamon in the air mixed with vanilla sweetness…. Why are those little delectable things so expensive??? The senses are wide awake, there is longing, but the pocketbook tells you to walk on by. Ignore, ignore. If you can. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Well, long no more! Here it is, the recipe that allows you to enjoy the scent AND the flavor, without breaking your piggy-bank! Better yet, it is so easy to do at home you’ll never want to waste your money at the mall ever again! This particular recipe is especially aroma filled, and adding a little extra salt to these gently sweetened almonds helps to bring out various flavors. They contain more vanilla than almonds from many other recipes, as well as extra cinnamon as well, though tastefully so and not over-the-top. Just more of the good stuff, more of what makes roasted, candied almonds so special. Addicting, that they are; be warned! 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!   Here are the steps to take you through it; not that you’ll need it, as the recipe itself is quite self explanatory. But, being a visual person myself, I always appreciate pictures whether I need […] Read more »

Leg of Lamb for Easter Holidays, a How-To Recipe w/ Pictures

    A leg of lamb; just how do you prepare it? As I started reading about it on the internet, I found a lot of conflicting information. Some methods say to slow cook on low heat, others suggest higher heat. I cooked three boneless legs, around 4-5 Lb each, over a period of time using slightly different approaches, with only small differences in the results. All three ended up with tough connective tissues in them, which I later found out is just the nature of the leg portion of lamb. I also found out that leg of lamb is considered a lean and tender cut of meat, and dry, moderate heat is recommended to preserve that tenderness and moisture. This is confusing, since other sources say that with the tough connective tissues in leg of lamb, it needs to be cooked low and slow to help tenderize these tissues. I didn’t know any of that when I cooked up these three pieces of meats, so I cooked at medium heat once, and low heat twice, but all three methods were moist heat. The results? All three ways resulted in nicely moist  meat, though I thought the medium-well legs were a little less tender than the leg I cooked to well-done. This may have been a carving problem, as you are supposed to cut against the grain, and I’m not sure I did a very good job at ensuring that […] Read more »

Traditional Norwegian Food: Confectionery Cake / Bar Recipe

      This gourmet Confectionery Cake is made from a traditional Norwegian recipe, and is probably served in Sweden as well since IKEA sells their own version of the same cake. In Norway, this almond cake recipe goes by several different names, though “Suksesskake” (Success Cake) and “Konfektkake” (Confectionery Cake) are the two names I am the most familiar with. It is typically served during Christmas, weddings, on the Norwegian Independence Day (May 17th), or other special occasions. The base, made mostly from ground almonds, is naturally gluten free and is chewy and dense with somewhat of a crunch to it. It is not soft and fluffy like other cakes. Really, it is more like a dessert bar than a cake, but cake is still what Norwegians call this heavenly dessert. This dessert is topped with a delicious butter-egg yolk frosting, which is bright yellow and very flavorful. (Don’t let the yellow color trick you; there is no lemon or citrus flavoring added.) If you are looking for something extra, something exclusive, a dessert different from ordinary cakes and desserts, this is it! You won’t have to worry about whether someone else brought the same thing to the party when you bring this wonderful cake! 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! IKEA carries a […] Read more »

Brining and Slow Roasting for a Wonderfully Juicy Turkey Recipe

I have cooked turkeys for years now; for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, and anytime we run out of leftovers in the freezer. I always used to roast our turkeys on 325 degrees F, until fairly recently. After hearing about slow cooking at 200 degrees, I decided to try it and was very happy with the results. So this past Christmas my husband and I decided ahead of time that we should continue to roast at low temperatures. 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! A couple of important things to be aware of is never to add stuffing or anything else to the cavity of a slow cooking turkey. With temperatures as low as 200 degrees, the stuffing simply won’t cook all the way through to reach the necessary, safe temperatures. Additionally, USDA states that cooking a turkey at temperatures less than 325 is unsafe, so if you do want to try this method, do it at your own risk. Personally I have read enough about it to feel comfortable doing this for my own family, but please do your own research before attempting this method. Slow roasting is baking at temperatures between 200-325°F  (93-160°C). Meat baked at low temperatures does not shrink nearly as much, a lot more of the juice is retained in the meat, […] Read more »

Making Almond Paste Candies – Easy Recipe

Marzipan is a delicious, sweet, sticky substance made from almonds. It is often called almond paste and looks like a thick, white dough. It resembles fondant but is much more flavorful. In Norway it is often rolled into large disks to drape over cream filled cakes, making them beautifully decorated and also very tasty. Or you can mold it and make beautiful and fun creations. In Norway marzipan it is also sold as candy, in chocolate covered shapes during Easter and Christmas. Almond paste is made mainly from almond meal mixed with powdered sugar and egg whites. It is not easy to make good, smooth marzipan from scratch, so it is recommended to purchase it ready made for various recipes.   During holidays it is fun to roll it out into simple shapes to dip in melted chocolate for a beautiful and tasty treat. I’ve been able to find almond paste at our local grocery store, and Amazon sells it as well. The brand in this link seems to be very high quality and suitable for rolling, while Odense is a cheaper brand that will probably work well for making shapes. With Christmas quickly approaching,  I decided to purchase a piece from our local supermarket along with some delicious European chocolate from Aldi, a discount grocery store chain based in Germany. They have stores all over the U.S. as well, and I happen to live close to one of them and was thrilled to find […] Read more »