X: Xanthan gum in gluten-free pancakes #recipe #AtoZChallenge

Xanthan gum is a great ingredient to use in gluten-free food, with a few caveats. First, you only want to use a small amount or you’ll be subject to it’s laxative qualities. The good news is that you only need small amounts to use as a thickening agent. Second, it is sometimes derived using wheat. In most cases, the amount of residual gluten is so small as to be negligible. However, if you are very gluten sensitive, make sure you know the source of your xanthan gum.

While I don’t eat exclusively gluten free, we generally limit consumption in our household. I’ve found I actually prefer this pancake recipe to the gluten-filled variety I used to make.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp. almond flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp. sugar (or a bit more if you want a sweeter pancake)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking poweder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 cups water

Sift together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until few lumps remain. Cook like any other pancake.

F: Caramelized French Toast #recipe #AtoZchallenge

Before it goes in the oven.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite brunch recipes. I can’t remember where I came across the basis for this recipe, but I think it was from a recipe listserv from the late 1990s.

Caramelized French Toast

  • After it’s cooked. I would’ve taken a photo after I dished some, but I’m horrible at plating and tend to just lob stuff on my plate with great impatience to get to the eating part. 🙂

    1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 baguette, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I also find using 1 cup milk and a 1/2 cup of Irish cream or Kahlua to be yummy)
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour into a 13X9-inch baking pan.

Lay pieces of baguette in pan over sauce. In medium bowl, stir together eggs, milk, and vanilla until well blended. Pour mixture over bread. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake until well browned, about one hour. Serve hot.

B: Bananas as an obsession and in a #recipe #AtoZChallenge

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According to my mom, when I was a small child I couldn’t get enough bananas. I ate so many that I came to hate them instead of love them. I wouldn’t eat them for years. Not by themselves, not in Jell-o, not in a smoothie. It took well into adulthood for me to give them a try again. Shocker: I no longer hated bananas. They never did become my favorite food, but they have their uses. One is as a base recipe for two-ingredient cookies. Full disclosure: I’ve never made these with just two ingredients.

Two-Ingredient Cookies

  • Mix two smashed bananas (peeled, of course 😉 )with one cup of quick-cook oatmeal.
  • Spoon onto greased cookies sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

Now for the fun part. Mix-ins take these from basic cookies to specialized goodness. Here are two of my favorite combos, but I encourage you to get creative.

Chocolate Chia

  • Chocolate Chia

    basic recipe

  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chia seed
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

Blueberry Delight

  • basic recipe
  • 1/3 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of shaved white chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Wednesday Words: Pfeffernusse #recipe

Pfeffernusse (literally translated from the German as pepper nut) is a holiday favorite in my family. While the most traditional recipes include both pepper and nuts, in modern times the recipe often consists instead of a blend of spices akin to what you’d find in pumpkin pie. My family’s recipe is in the latter category. Do a quick Internet search though and you’ll find a lot of variations.

It is often made into a flat-ish round biscuit cookie but my family roll them into balls to cook. In addition, we don’t serve them right away. Instead my mom hid them away in a cupboard to let the spices settle and the cookies harden for a week or two before eating. 

I have eaten the cookies both fresh and after some weeks of resting, and I can’t honestly tell you if they really taste better a bit more stale and crunchy or if it is simply the gemütlichkeit of childhood memories that make me prefer them that way.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. lemon peel

Beat eggs and sugar until thick. Add dry ingredients and blend. Chill overnight. Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls. Bakes on a greased cookie sheet at 350º F for 25 minutes. Best stored for one to two weeks.

Wednesday Words: Sour Cream

Since this is the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and this holiday is centered around food, I thought I’d share one of my favorite cookie recipes. This is a classic that my family has made for a long time. According to my search on the Internet, this recipe first appeared in Family Circle some 40 years ago. I found the exact recipe my mom gave me on Food.com.

The key ingredient is sour cream. I often have sour cream left over from Mexican dinners at my house, and it’s actually a wonderful ingredient for baked good to make them soft.

Sour Cream Softies

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (8 ounce carton)
  • cinnamon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Measure flour, salt, baking powder, and soda into a sifter.
  2. Cream butter or margarine with sugar until well blended in a large bowl: beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift in flour mixture, adding alternately with sour cream to make a thick batter.
  4. Drop by by rounded Tablespoonfuls, 4 inches apart, on greased cookie sheets; spread into 2 inch rounds; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. [I generally don’t bother to flatten them and they come out just fine as a regular drop cookie does.]
  5. Bake in hot oven (400°F) 12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. [Although I find 10 minutes is good enough for me, as I like them not very browned on the bottom.]
  6. Remove from cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks.