Tag Archives: sides

Celiac-happy potlucks

My church has a thing for potlucks. Not a-couple-crockpots-and-a-veggie-platter, but the good old-fashioned 10-foot-spread of casseroles and hotdishes and three kinds of that fruit-marshmallow-pseudo ‘salad’ stuff and fruit punch and coffee and FOOD. Call it a Midwestern thing, or some weird holdover from our denomination’s Lutheran roots (which is also arguably a Midwestern thing), but we like finding excuses for a potluck.

Congregational meeting? Potluck!

Baby shower? Potluck!

Pastor needs to talk to more than three people in the same room without them getting distracted by shiny objects? POTLUCK!

However, when I found out that the pastor’s son-in-law is a fairly sensitive celiac, suddenly I felt guilty for every potluck we threw. I mean, what’s the point of hanging out in the church basement with massive sprawls of food if you can’t eat it? If you have to make your own little snack and bring it just so your stomach doesn’t scream “FEED ME, SEYMOUUUUUR!” while you’re chatting it up with people? For a long while, my mom and I discussed bringing something that he could eat, but since we knew next to nothing about gluten issues, we were always too scared to try it. Plus, there’s probably some special hell reserved for people who mess with a preacher’s family (right next to child molesters and people who talk at the theater.)

This last Easter Sunday was different.

This time, a tray of fruity bread sat at the end of line, pieces all buttered and laid out, and a little sticky announced “Gluten-free cranberry-orange bread.” The pastor’s SIL took a piece, nibbled it, took another piece, and then scooped as many as he could fit in his hand.

And then he went back for a second round.

Plenty of non-celiacs partook of the bread too, because maybe 3 pieces were left by the end. Because I will be DANGED if I cannot enjoy a potluck!

(And I take twisted pleasure in making others submit to my dietary restrictions, even if they are nummy and secretly good for you.)

Oh yeah, I'm going to the special hell.


  • 2 cups flour or GF baking mix, sifted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp orange zest (grated orange peel)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (Dried cranberries work too)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x5x3″ bread pan (i.e. a normal-sized loaf). I just lined it with wax paper.
  3. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the egg, orange zest, orange juice, and veggie oil. Mix together, and then add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir all ingredients by hand just until moist. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.
  6. Pour batter into bread pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until done.
  7. Remove from pan and cool.

Makes 1 normal-sized loaf, or a couple small loaves.

By the way, if you want to be able to cut the bread into slices thinner than 1/2″, let the bread cool completely. As in overnight. Or it will crumble as your nom-happy family attacks the loaf and it’ll be half-gone before you can take it in for the church potluck that you specifically baked it for.


Of books and bread

If you couldn’t guess by the title of today’s post, I finally saw The Hunger Games over the weekend.

Didn’t quite make it during opening weekend because, well, ICFA(!) was all last week, and I’m not too keen on crowds. Agoraphobic, not quite, but I’m from the upper Midwest. Our idea of a ‘traffic jam’ is a line of cars waiting to pass a combine on a two-lane highway. However, the massive turnout for Hunger Games warms the cockles of my heart. After all the (undeserved) hype for Twilight in the last couple years, I am glad to see a decent book series finally grab the spotlight again. It gives me hope that yes, America’s youth can recognize good writing when they encounter it.

[Before the flame wars begin…I taught first-year English at a local university for three years, one that so loved its English dept (and Psychology dept) that it let our building collapse. While we were still using it. Over Christmas break. I had some really awesome students, some really horrid ones, but most broke my heart because they excelled at nothing but mediocrity. I’m still recovering from the bitterness.]

[Also, vampires don’t sparkle. Makes it easier for Buffy to find them.]


The movie was awesome, and did very well by the book. Pacing was rushed in places, but ok. The casting was amazing, with the exception of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. He was great, don’t get me wrong, but Haymitch is all about falling down drunk and staggering upright. Which to me means Robert Downey Jr. Or Tim Hutton from Leverage. Both of those men can play drunks, and drunks with gusto!

But the one who caught my attention the most and wouldn’t let go? Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Such charisma! Such sincerity! THAT is Peeta.

The last book-to-movie character who so embodied the character for me was Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. Now that says something.

One of the main themes of The Hunger Games is food as a form of power, of control, even of obsession. And the longer I watched the movie, the more I thought about that, and of how I would so not survive living in Panem.

Why? Because BREAD is the main staple of district diets. And is the one food group that I can barely touch without getting sick.

So, in defiance of gluten and of the fictional Capital, I whipped up these little beauties to go along with my plethora of soups and stews.

Drop biscuits that would make even Peeta proud!

Again, these drop biscuits from Betty Crocker can easily be made with regular flour or the Simply Savory GF mix. The GF ones will be extra tender.


  • 2 cups flour or Simply Savory GF baking mix
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp shortening, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • garlic powder
  • 1-2 cups sharp cheddar, grated (NOT the finely grated stuff)
  • chives


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sift flour/baking mix, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. Melt the butter and shortening together in a small bowl and add to dry ingredients.
  4. Add milk. If the dough looks too dry, add a little more milk, but no more than 1 cup total.
  5. Add garlic powder, cheese, and chives to preference.
  6. With a spoon, scoop up hunks of dough and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Use the spoon to help shape the dough into rounder blobs.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.
  8. Brush biscuits with butter upon removing from oven.

Makes about 2 dozen biscuits, depending on size.

Goes great with beef stew. Probably even Greasy Sae’s.

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