One of my favorite things to make with over-ripe bananas is banana bread. Back in my gluten-eating days, I had a delicious recipe that I always used. Now that I’m gluten-free (and cutting other things like processed oils and sugar out of my diet), this is my new go-to recipe. It is jam-packed with delicious ingredients and makes for one pretty healthy banana bread. Hope you enjoy!

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Healthy Banana Bread (gluten-free)
recipe adapted from this one

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups mashed over-ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
-1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
-3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 cup oats, ground in food processor (a little more coarse than actual oat flour)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 cup flaxseeds (whole or slightly ground)
-1/3 cup shredded coconut
-1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Grease one large 9×5″ loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350º F.
2. In a large bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients (mashed bananas, honey, applesauce, eggs and vanilla).
3. In a separate bowl, combine the ground oats, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, flaxseeds, and coconut. Add to the wet ingredients.
4. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake about one hour and fifteen minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
6. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

These white Cheddar crackers are a nice, crisp, crumbly, buttery stack of goodness. An easy, homemade snack great with cheese, dips, or by themselves! I particularly like this recipe because it is easy and uses simple ingredients that I always have on hand in my kitchen (and can easily be tweaked to make various other flavored crackers!). These are so much cheaper to make than your typical $5 box of gluten-free crackers!

One thing to note– the texture of these crackers is a little more buttery and coarse (sort-of like shortbread without the sweetness), so it might be a little different than your gluten-containing cracker of choice. I really happen to love that crumbly texture though!

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White Cheddar Crackers (gluten-free)

makes about 50 bite-sized crackers; original recipe from this cookbook

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-1/2 tsp salt
-6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes
-3/4 cup finely grated sharp white Cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup cold water

Directions:
1. Combine brown rice flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt in a food processor and process until well blended.
2. Add butter and cheese, pulse until coarse crumbs form.
3. Add water; process until dough forms.
4. Divide dough into 2 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Place each ball of dough between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out to 1/16 inch thickness, and then refrigerate another 5 minutes.
7. Cut dough into squares and place squares onto prepared baking sheets.
8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Enjoy!

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I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I really love Thanksgiving and think it is such a needed holiday. Everyone needs to be reminded of all they have to be thankful for and I’m happy that Thanksgiving gives us a chance to focus on our blessings from God.

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Isn’t that table gorgeous? I love it! My dad just put it into the kitchen of my childhood home and it is over 100 years old! It is the old meeting table of our local Moose lodge that my great-grandpa Wallace was a part of. I love the imperfection and character of it.

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As I get older, it seems our Thanksgiving traditions seem to flux and change with different family needs. I really love tradition though, so I’m happy that it seems I’m still able to cherish traditions while also making way for new ones as well.

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My younger sisters, my husband and I made Thanksgiving for our family. I love cooking and we had a great time getting everything together. We made most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods, but the majority of everything we made was gluten-free. Mashed potatoes, homemade turkey gravy, baked sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese, caramelized broccoli with garlic, GF cornbread, baked ham, deep fried turkey, sweet tea, and my Mamaw’s apple salad. Kelsey and Jill also made crescent rolls, apple dumplings, and pies that weren’t gluten-free. I was traveling there the day before or else I would have made GF pies (I just didn’t eat any, I ate apple salad for dessert instead).

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My younger sisters and I with my grandpa (above) and my dad (below).

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It was also nice to get to visit and chat with one of my best friends, Tonya, and her mom while I was in town.

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I also made a leftover turkey pot-pie complete with a homemade GF pie crust, rolled out with a can of tomatoes. I also got to visit Fergus, my little sister, Jill’s, goat, who has packed on a little winter weight since I saw him this summer.

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That weekend we also had a wedding celebration to help out with and attend for Drew’s brother, Wes, and his wife, Trang.

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Drew made (and hauled all the way from New Orleans) two different home-brewed beers and a homemade Root Beer.

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It was  a lovely and fun evening with friends and family under glowing twinkly lights.

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Since we live in New Orleans, ten hours away from the rest of our families, it is always such cherished time when we are back in our familiar hometown, back in the country where you can see all the stars at night. I’m so thankful for my family and I’m so happy I got to spend much-needed time with them. I only wish it was longer! Christmas will be here soon though!

How was your Thanksgiving?

One of Drew and I’s favorite homemade weekend breakfasts include pancakes and crispy bacon. I had a good homemade pancake recipe down pat that I had used for several years, then I found out I needed to eat gluten-free. I’ve tried a ton of  GF pancake recipes since then and this one is one of my favorites. These pancakes really have a delicious, sweet, nutty flavor all on their own, but are great topped with maple syrup as well. They are fluffy, but also really filling, and are so much better than normal gluten pancakes, in my opinion. One thing I also love about this recipe is that it uses pretty basic GF ingredients that I always keep on hand (pecans, oats, brown rice flour) rather than a million different flours or expensive all-purpose GF flour mix.

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Maple Pecan Pancakes (gluten-free)

Recipe adapted from original, here. Makes about 6 normal-sized (but very filling) pancakes.

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
-1/2 cup oat flour (you can use store-bought or pulse oats in food processor until it forms a flour)
-1/2 cup brown rice flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-3/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
-1 large egg
-2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
-1 Tablespoon water

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse chopped pecans until they form a course, meal-like consistency. (Don’t pulse too long or you’ll end up with pecan butter/paste!)
2. In large bowl, mix pecan meal with oat flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In smaller bowl, stir together egg, sour cream/yogurt, maple syrup, and water.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
5. Scoop about 1/4 cup batter out for each pancake onto heated, buttered, pancake griddle or skillet.
6. Cook several minutes on each side, until done.

Enjoy!

P.S. Best and Easiest Way to Cook Crispy Bacon

I absolutely love potato soup and although I had tried several recipes over the last few years, none really blew me away. Then one day, a few weeks ago, I threw this one together, spur-of-the-moment, and it turned out great! I’ve made it several times since then. It’s a simple, easy, delicious, gluten-free, and inexpensive meal.

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Loaded Potato Soup
Gluten-Free. Makes about 5 servings.

Ingredients:
-3 Tablespoons butter
-1 medium/large onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, diced
-4-6 large russet or baking potatoes (2 1/2 – 3 lbs), cubed
-5 cups chicken broth
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-salt
-pepper
-Italian seasoning
-shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, for topping

Directions:
1. Melt butter in soup pot.
2. Stir in diced onion, cook until soft.
3. Stir in diced garlic, cook a couple minutes longer.
4. Add in cubed potatoes and chicken broth.
5. Add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.
6. Place lid on pot and cook until potatoes are soft (about 30-40 minutes).
7. Once potatoes are soft, use a handheld potato masher to break up some of the larger potato chunks. You don’t want to turn it into mashed potatoes, but rather you want to break up some of the potatoes to help thicken the broth, while still leaving some larger potato chunks.
8. Stir in heavy cream.
9. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon pieces (best & easiest way to cook bacon).
10. Enjoy!

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