Category Archives: Breads

GF Spinach-Cheese Buns

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Gluten Free Spinach Cheese Buns

Don’t worry.  I’m here.  I cannot believe it has been so long since I last posted.  In my mind, I’ve posted a dozen times since the last.  Hmm… that must be what happens when sleep deprivation takes over:  you dream that your blog posts are getting updated when really… you are just dreaming it to be so.  Sorry guys.  Life is hectic and absolutely fabulous.  I *DO* have a few posts in play, so please don’t fret.  The emails and comments are incredibly encouraging to this mom/blogger/PERSON.  Thank you.  You don’t know how much it helps to know that this little blog does indeed help someone else manage their own gluten-free journey.

Managing two little ones and working full-time has definitely made me become much more organized about our family schedule and menu.   We’ve always eaten together and we continue to do so.  Now the baby joins in with congee (rice porridge) and other such fabulous baby friendly foods.  I can’t wait until she can dive into a cup of greek yogurt with me for breakfast.  :)  Just a little while longer.

For now, I intent to savor the moments I have with my girls that happen when the cameras are far from handy and none of us are ready for a flash anyway.  I will treasure the laughter our little family of four shares while lying on the bed in our pajamas late in the mornings on the weekends.  I love hearing the girls squeal with delight while we lie about telling stories or talking about the “adventures” we will have during the day (even if the adventure is merely a trip to the grocer… it is always an adventure).

Or the moment this morning when I peered around the corner and spied Zoe laying at the edge of our bed with her hand jutting into the bassinet to hold her sleeping baby sister’s hand.  She smiled at me when she saw me watching and said “Mama, I’m blowing baby Ro-Ro kisses so she will wake up.”


Yeap.  My life is golden. :)

And as far as gluten-free baking and cooking go?  We are on a roll!  We’ve made some fabulous ricotta flatbread, perfectly balanced small peanut butter-oatmeal cookies (and froze the batch of dough for easy access in small quantities), etc.  Tonight, I thought I would post an easy bump to the cheese bread recipe I posted a year ago.  I know this recipe well now.  it is a go-to recipe in the middle of the week and leftovers are great for lunch (for me, as I have a microwave and a toaster (GF) at work in my classroom).  (JUST AN FYI for those of you who plan like I do:  The leftovers do need to be reheated somehow or they are dry in taste/texture.  So know that when planning for dinners that can be packed up for lunch the next day too.)

The Chicklet loves well seasoned spinach.  Particularly that found in her favorite Korean noodle dish:  jap chae.  Jap chae is made with GF sweet potato noodles and is fabulous.  However, it does contain soy sauce, so don’t order it when you are out and about unless you know they are using GF soy sauce (really UNlikely, FYI).  I will post a jap chae recipe in the upcoming weeks.  It’s easy and is a fabulous way to use up veggies too.

But because she loves spinach like that, and no other way.  I decided to make her some spinach-cheese buns for dinner one night.  In a way, I am lucky.  My girl doesn’t care for breads, pancakes, muffins nor cakes, etc.  She likes veggies, fruit, meat and the other basics.  But I knew she would like these.  I made rolls for us all and also smooshed some of the dough to make a mini-pizza crust for her dinner too.  (There’s nothing like cutting food into shapes to get a girl eating!)

If you are living a fast-paced week and looking for a quick recipe to incorporate veggies in a fun way, this is for you.  I can’t wait to hear what you all do with this base as well.  I am making some with sun-dried tomatoes this week.  And, I think they would be fabulous with pesto flavors too.  YUM!

Gluten Free Spinach Cheese Bread

Gluten Free Spinach-Cheese Bread Photo by Kate Chan


Gluten Free Spinach-Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls

1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch)
2 cups shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons dried chives


  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Quickly blanch your spinach leaves by dropping them into a pot of boiling water until wilted (2 minutes).  Remove from the water quickly.  Drain/strain the leaves.  Then squeeze the water out of the leaves.
  3. Finely chop your blanched spinach – or pulse them in a food processor/mini-blender.
  4. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  5. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. (Almost make them in to small disks, if you want them to look like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  6. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm with sandwich fixings or your favorite soup.

Please let me know what you serve with your buns.  I’m always on the look out for a great addition to our sandwich fixings.  Tonight, I am making these to accompany our chicken, mushroom and wild rice soup recipe that I have slowly cooking away at home while we are at work.  I can’t wait for dinner. :)

Hope you enjoy this recipe too!


Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

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GF Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

GF Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins, Photo by Kate Chan

Last week I couldn’t get enough pumpkin…. or chocolate… or sleep.  But that last one is definitely not worth blogging about (unless any of you have tips on easing a toddler out of nightmares or getting a baby to sleep longer than 6 hours a night – my ears are open!).

The Chicklet and her little sis The Peanut are definitely getting into more of a routine around here.  It’s often synchronous.  But the moments of synchronicity do not involve ones that are easy for Momma.  Other functions of theirs (those that would make Momma’s life easier) are out of whack.  For example: bodily functions/needs?  Synchronous.  Sleep?  Not so much.  Sometimes these asynchronous moments are the best of the best moments of the day, however.  I get time with each of them without the other feeling slighted or in need of attention when I can’t give it.  But mostly, it just keeps me busy, busy, busy, busy….. you get the picture.  I am fearful of the sheer exhaustion I am bound to feel when I return to work in a couple of weeks.  It makes me sad just to think about losing time with my girls and never getting these moments back.  But I have to work.  That’s just the way it is.  After all, diapers, wipes, and formula are not funded by the trees in my backyard.  No matter how hard I might wish that were true.

So, instead of being an Eeyore, the girls and I are seizing upon the time given and running with it.  This means that Zo and I are often in the kitchen creating something new (oh man – we’ve been on a roll lately too!) or in the living room creating new sensory experiences of my little wet-dirty-messy-phobic girl.  (Something tells me my mom never had to encourage me to get messy, by the way.)

Zoe has a new found love of pumpkins.  She points them out to me everywhere we go (much like a broken record until you acknowledge the appearance of yet another pumpkin).  Gosh, I’m glad it’s Halloween the season for pumpkins around here.  We are able to spot find them  at every intersection, store, package, flyer in the mail, and crack in the cement.  (I bet you don’t have a pumpkin-shaped crack in your driveway, do you?  I didn’t know we had one until the other day.  To be sure, I’m not certain we DO have one… but Zoe insists that it is out there…. somewhere.)

The other day, we made those delicious pumpkin pancakes because of her obsession with both pumpkins and the book.  The reason why I even had pumpkin (canned at the time, until she ate her way through that with pancakes, muffins, and yogurt-pumpkin smoothies) was because she spotted it at the grocery store

Cute grocery cart

Photo by MississippiMom on Flickr

Since she has been requesting to ride in the “special carts” at the grocery store, she has eye-level access to A LOT of things.  Thankfully, we skip a ton of the crap-filled gluten-filled aisles and hit the main drags and produce sections most often.  Truthfully, I hate these grocery carts.  It feels much like you are pushing a small bus without any turn radius down the aisle.  We used to indulge Zo when we would go out with these rides every once in a while.  She loves them.  But once Rory came along, there was no other option if I am alone.

Sometimes I carry Rory in a Beco baby carrier but sometimes…. it’s just too much.  I can’t bend over and get things off the bottom shelves very well with her in the carrier, so it’s not always the best option.  Putting the car seat on top of the traditional seat in the cart and Zo in the front of this thing makes seeing where I’m going nearly impossible.  Case in point:  two days ago I apparently pushed an orange caution cone about 50 yards before someone pointed it out to me.  Nice.  Zoe’s new job?  Advise mom BEFORE she hits something rather than sit in the Screamer-pose traumatized by the cone for 50 yards AFTER she hits something.  (Ooops.)

After that, we turned that freakishly giant cart around and Momma picked up two little sugar pumpkins to make some pumpkin fries (both savory and another bunch of sweet ones) for the babe.  Those were delicious too.  (That post will have to wait for another day.)  But the recipe we enjoyed that afternoon were these Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins.  OH, delightful!  They have just enough chocolate to let me ease my way out of guilty-Momma from the morning’s trauma (not the only one, mind you… she did get knocked down after walking in to a swinging door… and I couldn’t get to her in time).  BUT, it also has some decent whole grains and pumpkin to boot – so I don’t add to my guilt to think I’m serving complete junk to my babe.

Oh!  I am rambling today!  You didn’t come here for my ramble.  Just the recipe, right?  K… moving on then.  Here’s the recipe.  Do let me know how you like them!

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 standard muffins

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 – 1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup GF flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/3 cup cocoa nibs


  1. Preheat your over to 375F.
  2. Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Add pumpkin and mix again.
  3. Add eggs and 1/3 cup of milk.  Mix again.  (Reserve the remaining milk for the end, if you need it at all.)
  4. Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, GF flour mix, baking powder and cocoa powder.  Mix again.
  5. Check your consistency.  If  it is thin (like cake batter) DON’T add the extra milk.  If it is thicker than a regular muffin batter, add the remaining milk.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs.
  7. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until completely baked through and set.  (A toothpick test should only have ooey-gooey chocolate from the melted chunks, not batter goo if they are done.)  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before eating.

Try NOT to eat them all in the same day.  We barely managed to do that.  (Thank goodness!)

Happy GF Chocolate AND Pumpkin Joy from our house to yours!

Gluten Free Bran Buns… Yum!

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Gluten Free Bran Buns… Yum!, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I stopped over at my sister’s house a while back for an impromtu visit with the Chicklet and the Love. She was, as usual, busy, busy, busy and her family was too. Her honey had made quick sandwiches for everyone for dinner and her plate was waiting for her as she was at the neighbor’s house comforting the neighbor with the impending loss of her beloved pet. My sister is like that… always busy… and always doing for other people.

We visited with my brother-in-law until she came home. Once she got there, she and I chatted away while she ate her dinner sandwich. What got me was the YUM factor of her simple meal. They had used hamburger buns for their sandwiches. OH.. I *WANTED* a bite of that delicious, softeness!! It was quite the distraction UNTIL I thought about the pain and aftermath that one simple bite of bread can do to me or anyone else with Celiac Sprue or gluten intolerance. Instead of lingering on the thought of something I can’t eat, I challenged myself to go home and make a soft, delicious bun that I COULD eat.

To be honest, it was an easy task! Easier than I thought, anyway. I even made a batch small enough that I could blend the flours and bran together in a little mini-blender. (Something I use for morning smoothies with the Chicklet.)

I did use oat bran for this recipe, but you can easily replace that with rice bran. I know that oat bran can be difficult to find. I am so lucky to have a local gluten free store. Even better? They now SHIP things too! You can order a huge range of gluten-free items from GF Joe’s and have them shipped to you as well. So if you really want some certified gluten-free oat bran – which I am LOVING for a million things! – then PLEASE contact Joe at Gluten Free Joe’s for your order! (And no, Joe does not pay me to love nor endorse him/his store/his family. I just do.)

Here’s the recipe for you to try out as well. The photo above shows 4 buns made with this recipe. You can see that they easily rose to be 2 inch high buns which were a little tooooooooooo much for me. (I ended up cutting them in to thirds for my thinner, yet-still-fluffy bun sandwiches.) I used this same recipe with six rings to make the next batch and I will use it to make six every time now in the future. Whichever you chose, just watch your baking time (listed below for both 4 or 6 buns) to make sure the buns are just golden brown on top before you pull them out.

One other note: I also baked them on parchment paper which was placed directly on a pre-heated baking stone. I love my baking stone (and have only had it since going GF in 2000) and we use it for all kinds of breads, muffins, scones and pizza crusts. However, because GF dough is stickier and more wet than traditional gluten-containing bread doughs, we use parchment paper as both a barrier (so things don’t stick to the stone) and an easy way to transfer the to-be-baked items to the hot stone in the oven.

Gluten Free Bran Buns
You can find a printable copy of this recipe here.
Recipe makes 4 or 6 buns

3/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup GF oats or quinoa flakes (I used the oats)
1/2 cup GF oat bran or rice bran
1/2 cup sorghum or millet or rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil (omit and use 2 Tablespoons butter total instead)


  1. Combine warmed water, agave (or honey) and yeast in a small bowl to proof. Set aside.
  2. Process together in a blender or food processor: GF oats (or quinoa flakes), GF oat (or rice) bran, flour (sorghum, millet or rice) and potato starch until even.
  3. Dump dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer along with the remaining ingredients: xanthan gum, salt, egg, melted butter and olive oil.
  4. Pour proofed yeast mixture over the top.
  5. Mix together in your blend on medium-high speed for 3 – 5 minutes.
  6. Place 4 (or 6) muffin rings on parchment paper.
  7. Fill each muffin ring at least half way (for 6 buns) or two-thirds full (for 4 buns). Set aside in a warm place to rise until just over the top of the muffin rings (or your own preference). Rising time: about 20 minutes.
  8. While the buns are rising, preheat your oven to 375F.
  9. Slide the buns/parchment paper on to your preheated baking stone or slide your baking sheet into the oven. Bake until the tops are golden brown – about 15-18 minutes for 4 buns; about 12-15 minutes for 6 buns.


PS. You can find the muffin/bun rings here for purchase. (They are about $2/per ring.) We use them for everything from English muffins to hamburger buns.