Category Archives: Holidays

One Year Ago Today

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One Year Ago Today, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Forgive me… I *do* have recipes to share…but THIS is consuming me.

Today is our One Year Family Anniversary.

One year ago today, we held our little imp on our arms for the VERY first time. She played with my jade donut-shaped necklace (worn in honor of my in-laws who could not make it to see her) when we first met. She would slide the necklace in/out of my mouth. And then, she met her daddy… where she decided she would like to get a little more up-close-and-personal… so she slide her fingers in to his mouth and played with his curly dark hair with her other hand.

So much has happened in the year since this bright, little light came in to our lives. And so much more is yet to come.

I have never been more thankful in my life.

Happy Family Day, Chicklet!

Mama & Baba

Here’s a picture of her from this morning… one year later.  She raced down the stairs ( fast as 23 month old legs can carry you) and had to check out the window bird feeder.  And then she turned around and gave me this grin.  Gotta love that grin.  (And forget the hair…. LOL… I tried!)

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip & Tahini Cookies

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So life is exciting around here.  Sorry for the lack of posts, but my body just hasn’t had the energy I’ve needed to keep up with working full-time, grading papers at night, playing with my Chicklet/toddler and managing a household of illnesses in the last several weeks.  I’m thrilled to tell you that we are all healthy again, but now in recovery mode.  Time to get the laundry, grading, etc back up to speed!  I hate it when we fall behind like this… it’s completely normal, but when I’m so stinkin’ tired, I don’t have the energy to catch back up.

Ah, but I did have the energy to make cookies!  Actually, in the last several weeks, my niece has been over to stay a couple nights on the weekends.  (She and her mom just recently moved to our little town.)  She has helped me make gluten-free cupcakes (experimental recipes… not quite ready for posting yet) and I swear she now believes that every Saturday is GF Cupcake baking at my house.  In fact, that is what she told my sister (her other aunt who lives in town here too) when she was staying with them.  She told her that she had a “gluten free cupcake baking date” with me.  Ay!  There are only *so many* cupcakes a girl can eat/bake.  (And I’m a cupcake lover… don’t get me wrong.. but the rest of my family does NOT eat sweets! They’re weird, I know, but I love them.  LOL).

To take a break from cupcake baking, I made a batch of these delicious cookies to share with colleagues on Monday.  None of my colleagues thought the cookies were GF until they saw me munching away on a cookie too.  They looked SURPRISED to say the least.  I actually like the way this recipe turned out so much that I am posting it after only the second batch and I can’t wait to make variations for future batches as well.  I think you will find that this recipe satisfies the need for a chocolate chip cookie with a subtle delicate and creamy finish.

Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds into a creamy paste.  While it is similar to the idea of peanut butter, it is more creamy and less thick.  You can find tahini made from roasted sesame seeds or plain.  Typically, tahini is used when making things like hummus or other Middle Eastern foods.  It makes a fabulous addition to salad dressings, sandwich dressings, etc.   Normally, you find tahini combined with flavors like:  garlic, lemon, olive oil, chickpeas or mashed eggplant – or even honey!  It is not a sweet flavor, but rather nutty.  If you can’t find tahini, you can substitute with peanut butter, sesame butter, ground hazelnuts, etc.  (See!  An easily adaptable recipe from a flavor profile point of view!  Now you know why I’m excited to try more!)

I think the next batch of cookies that I make will used roasted sesame tahini as it is the batch that I am enjoying the most.  After that, I shall venture forth with this recipe with other flavors – like adding almond butter and a splash of almond extract maybe.  Hmm.. the possibilities are endless.. much like my waistline if I keep baking these!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip & Tahini Cookies

You can print a copy of this recipe by clicking here.
Recipe makes two dozen (or 2 baker’s dozen)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter
1/4 cup tahini
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups GF Flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, tahini and butter in the bowl of your mixer.  Beat until fluffly (3 – 4 minutes).’
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Beat again until fluffly and even. (2 minutes)
  4. Dump in your dry ingredients (all but the chocolate chips) and mix again until even.
  5. Add chocolate chips.  Mix until well distributed.
  6. Form into balls (about 2″ for semi-large cookies) and place on parchment paper (or a silpat baking mat) about 2 inches apart.  The cookies will spread when baking.
  7. Bake at 325F for 9 minutes or until the top becomes slightly golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the cookie pan before lifting gently with a spatula to your cooling rack.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Happy Cookie Baking, All!

Gluten Free: Jalapeño-Popper Dip

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Gluten Free: Jalapeño-Popper Dip, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Okay…. so I’ve been on a baking and cooking spree lately. I swear my Mom inspires me to get things moving and done – I’m so glad she and my Dad have been here for Christmas/New Year’s with us! We – especially Zoe – is SO lucky to have time with them. It’s been great!

In the last two weeks, I’ve been making flat breads, poppy seed bread, the best gingersnap cookies (rivaling my grandma’s I’ve been told!), some killer rolled sponge cake (comes together SO fast, I made it for our dinner party last night AFTER everyone ate!), and my own version of Chebe bread – or “Pao de quejo”. Really, I’ve saved myself some serious cash not buying mixes this winter even though at first, I was quite tempted. My energy is coming back now, which is quite helpful! (I’ve been sick for several weeks without the energy to do much at all. It’s nice to be pulled back in to the kitchen.)

On New Year’s Eve, my Chicklet was baptized at a family home with her “Aunt Molly” (really, my sister’s sister-in-law, if you follow that) who is a Pastor. It was so much fun. We got together for dinner, games, etc. My mom and I were in charge of dips and appetizers. Between the two of us, we brought several dips and quite a few other munchies. Oh, it was fun. But as usual, I made a HUGE amount of food and we ended up using this dip for sandwiches on Pao-de-quejo (cheese bread/”Chebe” bread) the next day…. and finally finished eating at our “Leftover Smash” dinner party last night. (We served tortilla soup and everyone brought their leftovers to share… LOL – it was great fun and now we’ve all gotten rid of whatever needed to be eaten. Perfect!)

I’m going to share this dip recipe as I think it will become part of the traditional rounds in the family. It’s perfect – and will surely make it to the next SuperBowl Party in February. Since I made WAY too much, I’m listing the recipe as HALF of what I made. So, don’t be afraid that you will have to throw your own Leftover Smash, unless you want to, of course. :)

Gluten Free Jalapeño – Popper Dip
8 ounces of whipped cream cheese (or whip your own to make it lighter)
4 ounces fire-roasted, diced green chiles
2 ounces (or more) diced jalapeño
1 – 2 cloves of crushed, minced garlic (or more, to taste)
1 Tablespoon Pasilla Chile Powder (less if you are using regular chile powder! Pasilla is much less hot)
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dried green onion


  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Taste! Adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Set in refrigerator for at least an hour (if you have the time) for the flavors to really come together.
  4. Stir and serve.

Serve with Gluten-free bread/crackers or corn chips. (We even loved it on the veggies from the veggie tray!)