Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

Last week I tested 3 different recipes for gluten free chocolate cookies that you cut out with cookie cutters.  I temporarily eliminated one of the recipes as soon as I tasted the batter- it just wasn’t worth the calories!

That recipe was one that I had made years ago and thought it was good at the time.  Semi sweet chocolate chips provide the chocolate flavor and it just isn’t enough.  I am going to try it again sometime and use a better type of chocolate- that will be it’s last chance!

I am going to post both of the other two chocolate cookie recipes because my neighbors who tasted both of the cookies were divided on which they preferred.  Here is the second recipe- Cocoa Shortbread Cookies

The cookies in this first post are called Chocolate Sweet Hearts and I got the original recipe recently from  It is actually a Martha Stewart recipe.

I converted the recipe to gluten free by just switching out the 1 cup of flour for a cup of my GF flour mix.( If you don’t have issues with gluten, just use “regular” flour.) The recipe called for cocoa, so I used Droste cocoa.  It called for 4 oz of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and I used a 3.5 oz box of Droste Extra Dark Chocolate Pastilles instead.  That is the same chocolate that I use in my Chocolate Mousse, so I always have some around.

Beef Mushroom Soup

This Beef Mushroom Soup is great the day that you make it but it will be even better the next day.

I used a more expensive cut of beef and it made all of the difference in the flavor.  I used beef chuck boneless country style ribs that I got at my Safeway store.  I think it was $5.69 a pound which is a crazy price for something you are making soup out of but the recipe makes about 10 cups which should serve 6-8.

I spent some time trimming all of the gristle and pieces of fat off of the meat before cutting it into chunks but it was the nicest marbled beef that I have seen at Safeway in months.

Besides fresh mushrooms, this soup has dried wild mushrooms, leeks and a few carrots.I bought the big container of dried mixed wild mushrooms at Costco.  I have to tell you that I hesitated buying them there for several months because the mushrooms are sourced from China.  No offense to China, but their track record has not been very good the last few years!

Easy Gluten Free Pizza With Italian Sausage

This gluten free pizza recipe is easier because it uses Trader Joe’s Rice Flour Tortillas for the crust.

Before Trader Joe’s offered Rice Flour Tortillas I used to make it with their corn tortillas, but the rice is much closer to a real pizza crust flavor because it is neutral.

I have not played with gluten free pizza dough yet but it’s on the to-do list!

In this recipe you make a simple tomato paste sauce with a few other ingredients and then you cook some good Italian sausage to use along with a good dry salami that is not too greasy or salty.

I found the Columbus brand  at Trader Joe’s.  It really is incredible and way too easy to eat!

You could eat slices of this pizza as an appetizer since it is a smaller than normal, or you could use it as a main course with a nice salad.

I shared this recipe with This Weeks Cravings at From My Tiny Kitchen, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar And Gluten Free, Gluten Free Wednesdays at The Gluten Free Homemaker

Easy Gluten Free Pizza With Italian Sausage


Make tomato paste sauce first:

1- 1/2 Tblsp olive oil

2 Tblsp garlic, minced

3/4 cup onion, chopped small

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano

1/2 teaspoon dry basil

dash black pepper

Saute sauce ingredients for a couple of minutes then add:

7 Tblsp tomato paste   (there are 10 Tblsp in a 6oz can- spoon the remaining

3 Tblsp out in 1 Tblsp scoops onto a piece of wax paper and freeze. When frozen place into a freezer ziplock in your freezer and use as needed)

Add 1/4 cup of water and cook down some to marry the flavors until the sauce is spreadable and not too thin.

Adjust with a little bit of sugar if too acidic.

Set sauce aside until you assemble pizzas.

Remove casing from 1 pound of mild (or hot!) good quality Italian sausage.

Break sausage into small pieces and cook in saute pan with

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, sliced

about 1/4 cup white wine added in several small splashes (I use a Reisling that is low in alcohol)

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (more to taste)

chopped fresh basil to taste (I use lots but save some to sprinkle on top of the pizza)

Cook sausage until just barely done- it will finish cooking when you put the pizza in the hot oven.  If you cook it too much it will be dry)

Set sausage aside when it is done.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

4 Trader Joe’s Rice Flour Tortillas arranged on 2 cookie sheets

brush tortillas lightly with olive oil on both sides

spread tomato sauce over top of tortillas with spatula

spread 1/2 of a 8oz package of Columbus Dry Salami slices over the 4 pizzas (1 oz per pizza) (I buy the sliced salami at Trader Joe’s)

sprinkle cooked Italian sausage pieces over salami on pizzas (you won’t use it all)

sprinkle small slices of mushrooms over top

I added a few slices of fresh Roma tomatoes to each pizza

I grated a little bit of Jarlsburg cheese over that because that’s what we had

and a little bit of Reggiano cheese over that

use the last bits of chopped fresh basil on the very top and that’s it unless you think of something else to put on!

Bake the pizzas on the 2 pans for about 6 minutes- just until the cheese melts and it all starts smelling yummy!

This recipe makes 4 little pizzas.  I cut them each into 4 pieces for serving.

You could probably serve 1-2 slices per person as an appetizer or 2-3 slices per person as a main course with a nice salad.

Welcome to Andreas Kitchen!  If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to my blog to get updated whenever I post a recipe.



Kitchen Renovation Companies: Scams You Should Avoid

Fact – No matter how careful you are, there are still some kitchen renovation companies in Calgary that may scam the life out of you. It is a common practice. However, such contractors are not inevitable.

You will still hear and read about unsuspecting homeowners who don’t get their money’s worth when having their kitchen remodeled all thanks to opportunistic kitchen renovators. While there are still far more professional companies that get the work done, you still can’t be too cautious.

Separate the reputable Calgary kitchen renovation companies from the bogus ones by reading these common red flags:


  1. Contractor Asking to Be Paid in Full before Commencing the Job

No professional renovation company will ask you to shell out the full amount before they even start the remodeling of your kitchen. Therefore, if the contractor you are talking with demands this, it is time for you to say au revoir. Most experts will advise you not to pay more than a thousand dollars. Some would say don’t go beyond the 10% of the total service cost. The said amounts are enough for you to ensure the contractor that you are a sincere client and at the same time, it’s not too much money you’re losing in case the company does not deliver on what was promised.


  1. Contractor in Words, Not on Paper

There are contractors who are very well versed at voicing out their goals for your kitchen renovation. They even have their own fantastic ideas to suggest. However, take everything they say with caution because as long as these designs aren’t specified on the contract, there’s a 50-50 chance you won’t see their fruition in your remodeling project. Hence, if you fell in love with the contractor’s ideas, insist on having them included in the contract before signing. This will give you the guarantee that the company is not just good with words, but actions as well.

  1. Contractor Insisting You Apply for Permit

If you are hiring, you should never be the one applying for the permit. Sometimes, small interior renovations can get away without a permit. However, it is in the law that whatever renovations you’re doing, you should have pertinent documents to carry out the work. If your contractor insists you should be the one doing the application, then you should never hire the person. It is always the company’s job to process the necessary papers. This will give you the idea whether it is actually a legit business or not.


  1. Contractor Not Being Upfront with the Exact Price of the Renovation

A few kitchen renovation companies in Calgary may not be totally honest when you ask them for the price of the remodeling. This is the reason why: It gives them an opportunity to rip you off with additional charges after the entire renovation has been made. Usually they would start the conversation with ‘we ran into problems while working in your kitchen.’ Sometimes, some of the problems they are saying is legit but the rest will be made up excuses just to raise the real price of ‘unforeseen issues.’ To avoid this red flag, you may want your kitchen to be assessed by an expert before pushing through renovations. This way you will have an idea what problems the contractor might face. Once the assessment is done, you can discuss the issues with the contractor. This will allow the company to adjust the real cost of the service before the starting the kitchen remodeling.

If you notice the following red flags when meeting with some kitchen renovation Calgary companies, don’t hesitate to terminate the meeting with them and find a more reputable contractor that can answer your remodeling expectations.

Gluten Free Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Last weekend was the first time that I had converted my old Apple Oatmeal Muffin recipe to gluten free.  I’m happy to say it only took one try!

These muffins start with homemade applesauce that still has some small chunks of apple in it.  I used Granny Smith apples with just a little bit of cinnamon and brown sugar.  I didn’t want the applesauce to be too sweet.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal, plus my usual flaxseed meal, almond meal and GF Flour Mix.  There is a little bit of apple juice in these muffins just to add a little more apple flavor.

If you do not have issues with gluten, you can just replace the GF Flour Mix with regular flour- that’s the only change.

This recipe makes 36 mini muffins, which is the size that I always make for all of my muffins.  I usually bake 2 or 3 kinds of muffins at once, and when you make the mini size you don’t have to feel guilty for having a couple at a time!

I’m sure this recipe would be the right amount for 12 regular size muffins if you would rather make that size.

Last weekend I made these muffins, plus Zucchini which I’ve already posted and also Banana Chocolate Chip which have a little bit of almond butter in them.  The 2 neighbor families that I gave samples of all of these muffins to liked the Apple ones the best!  I liked them a lot too.

New Giveaway! Organic Meyer Lemons

I am excited to announce a new giveaway on my blog! This giveaway is for a 7 pound box of Organic Meyer Lemons, which is valued at over $50 including shipping.

Richard and Susan Burchiel have a small family owned farm called Birch-Hill Organics in Atascadero California, which is on the Central Coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The photos below show Richard and Susan, and Winston who is their chief lemon retriever!  Truly a small family farm!

The Burchiels started their farm in 1998 and have been committed to organic and sustainable farming practices since the beginning.

Birch-Hill organics has 5 acres of Meyer Lemons under cultivation and they also raise and sell kiwis.  In addition, the Burchiels grow a miniature Meyer Lemon.  The wedges from these miniature lemons are perfect for garnish for cocktails or desserts.  The price per pound is the same as the regular size Meyer Lemons

Drawing For A $50 Gift Certificate From Andreas Jewelry!

I have a couple hundred pieces of jewelry to choose from in the $50 and under price range!  You can choose something for yourself, or maybe pick out the perfect holiday gift for someone special!

My jewelry features semi-precious stones combined with hand made beads and pendants created by artists from all over the USA.

To enter, simply subscribe to Andreas Kitchen and then leave a comment at the bottom of this post saying that you are a subscriber and would like to enter the drawing.

Giveaway Drawing For Authentic Foods Gluten Free Products

I am having a new drawing for a selection of products from my favorite gluten free flour producer- Authentic Foods!

Steve at Authentic Foods has graciously allowed me to select the items in this giveaway.  Included are:  a 3 pound bag of AF Classic Flour Blend (this is the same blend that I use for my baking), a 3 pound bag of AF Sorghum Flour, AF Xanthan Gum, AF Guar Gum, plus 3 baking mixes that Authentic Foods has developed: Double Chocolate Brownie Mix, Vanilla Bean Cake Mix and Blueberry Muffin Mix.

The retail value for this great Authentic Foods giveaway is over $50.00 (more than that if you count what you would spend for shipping!)

This drawing is open to residents of the United States only.  The Gluten Free Giveaway will end October 22, 2010.  One winner will be chosen on October 23, 2010.  I will contact the winner via email and the winners name will be posted on my blog

Green Bean Salad With Fennel, Dried Blueberries And Blue Cheese

I try to make all of my salads very interesting and flavorful (and pretty!) because sometimes when I eat a salad I start with very good intentions but tend to get bored before I am done with it.   Not this one!

This salad is made with fresh steamed green beans and fennel.  If you don’t care for fennel, you can just double the amount of green beans and/or use some fresh or canned yellow wax beans for more color.

This salad has dried blueberries, pecans and a touch of blue cheese for flavor.

If you are very allergic to gluten you should not use blue cheese because the mold in it is started with flour (sorry!).  You can substitute any other cheese that works for you or no cheese at all- this salad will still be great!

I hope that you can find really fresh fennel bulbs because the flavor is much better.  They get bitter as they age but it is hard to find them really fresh because a lot of stores don’t sell them fast enough.

If you are not going to serve this salad right after making it, wait to add the blue cheese and olive oil.  Add those ingredients right before you serve the salad and don’t stir too much, otherwise it will look “oily” from the blue cheese.


Gluten Free Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe uses two different kinds of chocolate plus eggs and butter along with some expresso coffee powder for the mocha part.  Please don’t try to use instant coffee crystals instead of the expresso powder- the flavor outcome is too intense and tastes bitter.  Expresso powder is easily available now and actually costs less than a little jar of instant coffee.

This recipe uses a very small amount of flour- either gluten free mix or even “normal” if you do not have gluten issues.  Either way, this recipe will make any chocolate lover very happy, I’m sure of it!

Last year during the holiday season I made a few hundred of these to include in home made cookie gift baskets for my husband’s top clients (one basket even went to Canada!)

I made all of the cookies gluten free because it was the flour that I had and also because I had a few more recipes that I wanted to convert from “normal” to gluten free.

I ended up including 5 different types of cookies in the baskets.  For all of the chocolate lovers that received them, these cookies were usually the favorite.

I also included some called Cappuccino Thins which are a refrigerator cookie that you slice; Coconut Dried Cranberry Cookies; Molasses Cookies and a Peanut Butter Cookie that has chopped Butterfinger candy bars in it.

I am not going to try to tell you that my cookies are especially healthy but they are gluten free and they will make you happy!

These Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies are very easy to make.  The dough does need some chilling time in the refrigerator to firm up since there is not much flour in it.

Gluten Free Coconut Cake

This cake is very rich with of all of the coconut and coconut cream.  There is no added sugar because it has a can of coconut cream and a cup of sweetened shredded coconut in it.After blending, fold the mixture into the beaten egg whites along with 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut and then bake.

I got the idea for this method from a cake recipe that Elana of Elanas Pantry posted.  Thank you Elana!  I love browsing recipes for time saving easy methods that I can tweak into my own recipe vision!