Friday, November 30, 2012

Extraordinary Life's Cookie Recipe Collection 2012

Cake Mix Cookies: 
For the EASY Baker

Paleo/Primal Cookies: 
For the PALEO Baker

Made from Scratch: 
For the From Scratch Baker
Drop Cookies

Roll Out Cookies

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Thinking about getting a head start on your holiday baking?  How you store your made ahead cookies for the holiday is probably a matter of experience.  I have read a few different methods over the years.  I personally like to make the cookie dough up ahead of time and freeze until baking day .  In my opinion, a fresh baked cookie ROCKS!  I will either shape the dough into disks for roll out cookies and freeze, drop cookies onto a baking sheet, freeze and bag, or just roll dough out into a tube to slice and bake later.  Make sure to wrap your dough well.  Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.  Follow recipe according to directions for that particular cookie.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roll Out Butter Cookies

These are more than your ordinary roll out cookie!  The magical combination of ingredients make this buttery good with an incredible texture.  It is now my GO TO cookie for any occasion.  They keep their shape nicely.  Not too kept tho, as I have found that cookies with sharp edges are too dry.  Not these cookies!  You can both see what you cut out as well as enjoy the buttery goodness.

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, Room Temperature
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1-1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour (Superfine)
3/4's cup Arrowroot (or Potato Starch)
3/4's cup Tapioca Starch (also called Tapioca flour)
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Flavored Instant Pudding

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is an important step, don't rush it!
  • Add egg, vanilla, almond extract. Mix until fully incorporated. 
  • Add dry ingredients (salt, tartar, gum, flour, pudding) to a small bowl off to the side and mix well. 
  • Add to wet ingredents and mix until dought JUST starts to putt together.  If you squeeze dough together with your hands, it will hold onto its shape. 
  • Spilt batter into two balls. Roll out batter between two parchment papers to a 1/4's inch thickness.  alternatively I will sometimes cut my shapes out first and then chill the cookies on the sheet.
  • Chill batter for 10 minutes
  • Take batter out from fridge and cut into shapes.  
  • Promptly put into preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Allow to rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Print

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 26th, 2012

The theme for this weeks menu swap is Thanksgiving Leftovers.  I have some of my ideas in my menu plan for you.  Over the weekend we tried Urban Poser's Chicken Turkey Pot Pie.  The crust was a bit dense for our linking but the creamy insides were heavenly. Amazing since there was no cream in it what-so-ever.  A dead ringer or the stuff you used to make with the cream, I swear! We also made Chicken and Rice Soup on Black Friday ~ its a tradition.

Well, I made it though the holidays without gaining weight!  Whoo Hoo!  I did not loose weight either but its a trade of, ya know!  I did use sugar in my recipes the form of Coconut Sugar but also used Stevia whenever I could (like in the cranberry).  I also tried to be real strict in the times between the holiday events!

Turkey Croquettes (a Philadelphia Favorite!) ~ I would use Against All Grains Mushroom Soup Recipe from our green bean casserole and some leftover Almond Flour bread crumbs that was made for the stuffing!  In order for my kids to eat it tho, I will have to make it look like a breaded chicken patty (flat and round).  LOL!


Turkey and Dumplings ~ My children LOVE this dish and actually requested it very recently.  I suppose they were looking at the hot turkey sandwiches I served them up and thought they would give me a suggestion for a dish they actually LIKED! LOL.   I would use the turkey carcass for this recipe instead of the fryer pieces suggested.  Use the meat that comes off the bone and save the whole pieces or another dish.

Photo courtesy of
Leftover Turkey Burgers ~ Seems a bit like the Croquettes with less breading and creaminess.  But go ahead and add that slice of cheese on top and serve it like you would a regular old hamburger!  We are turkey burger enthusiasts here in our house.  I purchase them over beef most times.  


Lets have some steak after all this turkey, okay?  LOL.  I am going to grill up some Strip Steak, Sauté mushrooms and Butternut Squash puree.  Let's not forget the broccoli.

Pizza and Caesar Salad with cold turkey bits!



Looking for inspiration? I can help in three different ways.
  1. Head on over to and visit Laura's Menu Plan Monday.
  2. Visit Heather at Celiac Family, the Gluten Free Menu Swap headquarters!
  3. You can also view my past menu plans here 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 19th, 2012 (Thanksgiving Week Menu)

This is my friend Alison from Under The Big Oak Tree's clip.  Isn't it cute?  I swiped it from her blog.  Will she sue me for stealing her artwork?  Don't know, lets wait and see!!! :-D.    Guess what, guess what?!?!?!  Hubs and I both lost a pound this week for like a day.  LOL.  This week if I am really careful with all the other moments in time leading up to Thanksgiving, maybe I will break out even.

Sautéed Ham and Cabbage
We had a ham for dinner last night and this would be the perfect place to put the leftovers.

Nope, beans are not on the diet!  LOL.  I am eating them anyway.  :-)
I happen to have a huge hambone leftover from that Sunday's dinner as well!

Pizza. Something easy while I prepare for Thanksgiving.
Cheese gives me a headache so I'll have leftovers!


Leftover Hot Turkey Sandwiches with Turkey Gravy on White Bread
Served with Leftover Sides

This is Urban Poser's Incredible Pot Pie Photo!
and this is her recipe!  Since it requires Cashew Cream and I never got around to making it all the other times it showed up on my menu, I will most definitely have some this time from Thanksgiving!!!

Looking for inspiration? I can help:
  1. For the roundup of menu plans this week, visit Angela’s Kitchen. 
  2. Head on over to and visit Laura's Menu Plan Monday.
  3. Visit Heather at Celiac Family, the Gluten Free Menu Swap headquarters!
  4. You can also view my past menu plans here 


An Extraordinary Low Carb Thanksgiving

This is my old house, my old dining room.  Man, I miss that place!  This is our very first low carb thanksgiving.  We are still eating the traditional foods and making the substitutes where needed.

What is Thanksgiving without the turkey? Well that is what I think anyway but I just learned that a large portion of Southerns actually prefer HAM for dinner instead.  OK, ok I can respect that, but we need the turkey.  I save eating turkey all year for this day.  Riverside brand (Walmart) and Butterball are the gluten free options in our neck of the woods. Riverside has gluten free printed right on the package. I always feel good when I see that. We brine our turkey.  It really does make the turkey extra moist. The brine we use is half of Alton's Brown's recipe.  We leave out the aromatics portions and will switch out the brown sugar for Coconut Nectar Crystals instead to make it Paleo.  OR maybe I will just leave the sweetener out all together!

as an alternate you can make: Gluten Free Copycat Stovetop Stuffing
I am not putting the Sausage, Mushrooms and Apple in my stuffing like Dinielle suggests, I will modify it to suite us, as I usually do.  Danielle says this recipe tricked regular SAD diet eaters so I have high hopes for this recipe.  I am actually not even trying this out ahead of time so all or nothing here.  LOL.

as an alternate you can make: Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
This year we are serving both versions so the non dieters wont throw a hissy fit! LOL.  Check out this mock version, looks good.

Cranberry Port Conserve 
is a recipe from Bon Appetite that we have been using since the very beginning! I have seen recipes posted as Paleo using Orange Juice as the sweetener, pureed apples as the sweetener.  Neither of these is Rosedale Diet approved. My new favorite sweetener to use these days is Coconut Nectar Sugar because of all the minerals in it.  I am pretty sure this would not be Rosedale diet approved either!  It does seem to be the most healthy sweetener available.  The taste is good and in moderation I am sure you will be fine.  They key is not to eat so much that you kick yourself out of fat burning.  This year tho, I will add some extra unflavored gelatin so it jells properly!

This, my friends, is Urban Poser's picture of her Green Bean Casserole recipe!
Awesome, right?
Paleo Green Bean Casserole
Dosen't this look outstanding?  The idea of making and keeping this dish on the menu started with the Urban Poser's Green Bean Casserole recipe which I found totally by mistake.  She is using Ina Graten's Crispy Shallots instead of the french fried onions that are traditionally used.  I think that is a wonderful idea.  I will use Against All Grain's Creamy Mushroom Soupas the base, tho, because her soup looks a bit more creamy and that is how I like my casserole.

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole
This is sort of the recipe I will be using.  I like to add Cinnamon and Nutmeg to my potatoes and it gives them this slightly darker color.  I am also switching out the sugar for Coconut Nectar Sugar. My new favorite sweetener to use these days is Coconut Nectar Sugar because of all the minerals in it.  It seems to be the most healthy sweetener available.  The taste is good and in moderation I am sure you will be fine.  They key is not to eat so much that you kick yourself out of fat burning.  I just can't leave it off the menu tho, it is a tradition to serve sweet potatoes at our house.

Mmm... hot cloverleaf rolls
Biscuits or Cloverleaf Rolls

 None of the Paleo Biscuits I have ever tried turned out right.  No offense to my favorite blogs.  I am trying to decide to either make my own Gluten Free sweet potato biscuits, Shirley's gluten free sweet potato biscuit that used half almond flour and half gluten free flours.
I had a reader make Clover Leaf Rolls out of a Modified version of my bread recipe by adding 1/4 cup of Almond Flour to the mix and forming into 2 1/2 inch balls and placing into a muffin tin.  I will have to try this, I think. this year.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gluten Free Copycat Stovetop Stuffing

In a hurry to meet up with my daughter for Thanksgiving Dinner at school, I created this Gluten Free version of an old favorite.  Triple or Quadruple he batch and make this dish ahead up until the last two ingredients (water and butter). Store it in your pantry to make a great quickie side dish anytime.  My daughter loved this!  I found it to be a dead ringer for the boxed stuff.

1 1/2 teaspoons Parsley
1 Chicken Flavored Bouillon powder (or Cube that has been fully crushed)
2 Tablespoons Onion Flakes
1 Tablespoon Celery Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sage
1/4 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
6 Slices of Udi's Bread of my Udi's Copycat Bread (diced small)

1/2 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

  • Place bread cubes on cookie sheet and spray with Olive Oil.
  • Bake cubes for 10 minutes until just hard on outside, and slightly soft on the inside.
  • Crumble bread crumbs a bit with your hands.
  • At this point you can add spices and bread crumbs to a ziplock baggie to store or 
  • Comine in a small Bowl for immediate cooking.
  • Boil water and butter over medium heat.
  • Add bread/spice mixture and stir well.
  • Allow to sit covered in pan for a few minutes.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes

I really enjoyed eating these cupcakes.  You know, I really do not like coconut four but I did like these.  They stayed moist until the very last cupcake a week later. I love how you use such a tiny bit of ingredients to achieve so much yield.  They kept nicely both on the counter overnight (I accidentally left them out) as well as a week uncovered in the refrigerator.  In fact, I wish I had one right now!  Aren't these cupcakes cute?  They were made to look like a spider with a dark chocolate truffle on top. My son seen it somewhere on facebook and insisted I copy it for Halloween! LOL.

1/2 Coconut Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
5 Eggs
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (or Butter)
1/2 cup Honey (or Agave Nectar)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Add the first three ingredients into a food processor and pulse until fully combined.
Add the next four ingredients and mix until fully combined.
Full muffin tins 3/4' of the way up.  This batter makes about a dozen cupcakes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Other GREAT Paleo vanilla cupcake recipes on the web:

The Wannabe Chef makes a Vanilla Cupcake
The Silver Spatula has a nice collection of Vanilla Cupcake recipes too
Check out Comfy Belly's Very Vanilla Cupcake


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

California Wine Club Review and Giveaway

Are you a Wine enthusiast like my husband and I?  When we first started dating, having a glass of wine during a business dinner was a must.  Why was it a must?  I suppose a glass of soda would have been good enough.  Why not?  I was just the kind to order a soda at first too.  I never drank a day in my life before my hubby and I met.  My step father knew I was just the kind to order a soda at these "fancy" dinners he took me to. When I was leaving out for one of my fancy business dinners he commented, "You should drink the wine along with everyone else.  It will be okay to have one glass. Just order what somebody else is getting"  That night I took his advice and drank a glass along with everyone else.  It was a bold cabernet sauvignon. I think the best first impression was interesting and different.  I came to learn after that night that the bitter taste of the red wine such as Cabernet was called "tanins".  Each red wine had different levels of them.  It was not long before I had experimented with all the common types of wines and developed a preference.  I found the new experience exciting.  As we continued to date, my hubby and I learned of our love of cooking.  We wanted to have fancy dinners at our own at home.   Of course there had to be wine offered at dinner because that is what you do at fancy dinners right?.  So we would go to the Wine and Spirit shop and stroll down the wine isles.  Oh me oh my, was there ever a selection.  We really had no idea what we were doing! LOL.  Then is when we decided to allow somebody to do it for us.  We joined the once a month wine club.  I think we received 3-4 bottles a month?  Wines that were selected by folks who knew MUCH more about wine then we did.  It enabled us to try new and exciting flavors and brands.  Wines we probably would have never chosen just strolling through the isles the way we were.  It was an exciting and rewarding experience that my husband and I always enjoyed.
Some states require you have somebody home to sign for a package with wine in it.  Occasionally when we were not home I would have my friend sign for the package for me.  When she realized what was in the package she commented at what a great idea it was.  That it would make a good gift.  It was this memory that was triggered when I was presented the opportunity to review the Wine of the Month Club for the California Wine Club.  All over again I was reminded of how nice it was to have somebody select a wine for you to try.  The first bottle my husband and I opened, we immediately smelled the cork (pretending to be professionals ~ LOL).  But in our defense you just had to.  You could immediately smell the wonderful fruity aroma of the wine. It was really good.  So good you want to go look it up and figure out how to purchase more! :-).  This wine of the month club would definitely make a great Christmas gift. is where I suggest you go to give it a try.  Why?  A few reasons really.
  • The most important part....Membership Costs Nothing
  • Wines that are selected are handcrafted by REAL mom and pop wineries (you guys know me well enough to know I love this part right?)
  • You get to try award winning limited production wines
  • Holiday gift prices are low, starting at $49.95

I want you to know a few things about the owners of the
Since 1990, club owners Bruce and Pam Boring have traveled California's wine country searching for limited-production wines from small, family-owned wineries dedicated to the art of making fine wine. Whether for yourself or a gift, CWC membership is an adventure in wine tasting that will not be experienced anywhere else. More than three-quarters of California's 3,500+ wineries are small, boutique, mom-and-pop operations whose wines never travel beyond their local markets and private customer lists. Come discover them with us!
I have one more package of wine to arrive and next month be on the look out for part two of this review where I will be offering you a gift pack of your own.  Here is a few more places you can find the on the web:

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a 2 month Membership to the California Wine Club for the purpose of this review.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Menu: Week of November 12th, 2012

This week at the Gluten Free Menu Swap we are talking about Thanksgiving Side Dishes.  I am afraid I am going to be predictable.  I make the same meal every year and that is just the way I like it.  Change it up and I WILL get upset.  LOL....

I love making Mashed Potatoes, I alternate between Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Candied Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing (or dressing if you will).  We also make our own Cranberry Sauce.  Stick around this week as I update some of these old favorites into a more diet friendly version.

If you notice that my menus are pretty much the same things over and over you are correct.  My plans can be pretty boring sometimes.  This is why I always include the links at the bottom where you can find more inspiration.  Here is what we are having this week.

Doesn't this look good?  I remember eating roast pork sandwiches in Philadelphia where I grew up.  
This picture is from Pork Knife and Spoon and she has a wonderful article on what to do with leftover pork loin.  I happen to have tons of leftover so I think I will sauté the peppers, mushrooms, some cabbage and serve it without the roll.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Church

Children's Program at Church will have dinner. 
I will grill up so Strip Steaks for the Adults and serve it with Spinach 


This pizza crust was good!  We are starting to add back just a tiny bit of dairy now.


Herbed Butter Spaghetti Squash

Sunday: TBD

Looking for inspiration? I can help:
  1. For the roundup of menu plans this week, visit Gluten Free Goodness
  2. Head on over to and visit Laura's Menu Plan Monday.
  3. Visit Heather at Celiac Family, the Gluten Free Menu Swap headquarters!
  4. You can also view my past menu plans here 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Melissa and Doug have asked me to tell you all about their Terrific Twenty Holiday Gifts for 2012.   I was glad to do so.  I have been loving Melissa and Doug toys for my kids since they were babies.  I guess I was first directed towards Melissa and Doug because of their wonderful selection of wood based toys.  In my mind wood toys are the kind Santa makes and I wanted to make sure there was something wooden under the tree each year.  Over the years we have accumulated their awesome wooden puzzles, arts and crafts easel, their band in a box, building blocks, pretend play food. These are the toys we still have and still play with to this day. Timeless wooden treasures!

There are lots of great toys on the terrific twenty list, even for older kids like mine.  I have my eye on the suspend game for my older son.  I like a few things for my younger daughter.  I like the dress-up sticker set, the tea set and the stamper set. Seriously guys, I need help. If you had to choose one toy for a 7 year old girl, which one would you choose?

And oh hey, do you remember those Fashion Plates we played with as a kid?  Well check out the Fashion Designer Activity Kit!  Its a mini version of the timeless classic I knew and loved.    I love this toy! $16.99, a price you just can't beat!   There are lots of toys on this list that are great toys at great prices!  This is a great place to order up some wonderful yet inexpensive toys and get some of your Christmas shopping done.  Use the code FREESHIPFIFTY and receive free shipping when you spend $50.

OK, so lets just say for a minute I talked you into loving their toys too and now you want one.  Great, I gave two bits of news for you.

#1) To celebrate their announcing the Terrific Twenty list for 2012, Melissa and Doug is having a “20 Days of Terrific Twenty” Giveaway on their Facebook page! Every day (starting yeserday, November 6) they will be giving away one item from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of their lucky Facebook fans! Just head on over to their Facebook page and enter to win.

#2) I have one of their awesome toys to giveaway too!  :-).

Just leave me a comment below letting me know what toy you would choose.  Make sure I know how to get a hold of you.  Nothing is more sad than a winner I can not get a hold of!  I will choose a winner on November the 12th.  Winner has 2 days to respond or I will choose another winner.

* * * * * * * * * *

Disclaimer: Melissa & Doug provided me with a free product, not only for myself, but for one of our lucky readers! All opinions in this post are both honest and my own. Individual results/experiences may vary. Print

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of November 5th, 2012

Hey guys, I finally lost a few pounds.
And I ate pizza all week, go figure! Hubby came home from Italy and gained 3 pounds.  I TOLD my doctor it could be done!  LOL.  Truthfully, 3 pounds is not that bad considering he "had" to eat wheat.  It's so much easier for Celiac's to go Paleo,  no way we could eat wheat, even if we had do.  :-D

It is Thanksgiving Dessert week over at the Gluten Free Menu Swap.  I am actually starting to get my mind wrapped around the idea of Thanksgiving. It needs some extra thought this year because it will be paleo.  In fact, I started a pinterest board with my ideas.  Next is to try out and make these ideas my own.  My mind wanders back to my first gluten free Thanksgiving and the challenges I experienced back then.  My biggest challenge at our first Gluten Free Thanksgiving was the pies and the stuffing.  The pies were an easy fix, I simply went to the Whole Foods market and purchased like 6 of their Gluten Free pie crusts.  They were awesome.  If you are new to either making Thanksgiving dinner or being Gluten Free, go pick up their crusts and I promise you, you won't be sorry.  Otherwise head on over to Celiac Family where she lists all the great gluten free crust ideas on the web today!  

What do we like to have for dessert on Thanksgiving?  Our preferences are an eclectic blend and I try and accommodate everyone for Thanksgiving Dinner.  What ends up happening is we have way too many pies.  My mom and son likes Coconut Cream Pie, I like Pumpkin Pie, my brother and sister like the Cranberry Walnut Pie.  Sometimes I like to add a Pumpkin Cheesecake in there too.  


Green Leaf LettuceTaco Dinner Night with Guacamole
Maybe I will try to make my kids a Taco Bowl with our
Enjoy Life Tortilla's!


Church Night
Hayride, Roasted Hotdogs and Marshmallows over Campfire
(Making Marshmallows and Graham Crackers again!)

Crock Pot Roast Beef, Mashed Cauliflower, Broccoli


Pan Seared Strip Steak, Sauteed Mushrooms, Butternut Squash Puree


Looking for inspiration? I can help in three different ways.
  1. Head on over to and visit Laura's Menu Plan Monday.
  2. Visit Heather at Celiac Family, the Gluten Free Menu Swap headquarters!
  3. You can also view my past menu plans here 

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