Monster Cookies {gluten-free}

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for a long time, but I’ve been waiting until I had the chance to actually make the cookies, so that I could take pictures of the process. Since we had a pretty calm weekend last week, I hit the kitchen.

These are my favorite cookies, EVER. This recipe is similar to my chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter cookies, but better. It comes from Paula Deen’s Monster Cookies recipe. I made a few minor adjustments, so that they are gluten-free (and so that they are more chocolaty).

I like this recipe, because you don’t have to go out and find a lot of gluten-free substitutes. The only ingredient that needs to be switched out is the oats. Not only is this convenient and easy on the budget, but they taste great too.

Ingredients (makes 3 dozen cookies)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 bag multi-colored chocolate m&m’s
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oats


1.  Preheat oven at 350 ° F.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugars. Mix well.


3.  Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter and butter. Mix well

4.  Stir in the m&m’s, chocolate chips, baking soda and oatmeal.


5.  Drop large spoonfuls several inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.

6.  Bake for 10 minutes. Do not over-bake. The cookies will appear soft and not fully cooked. As they cool, they will firm up.


7. Enjoy.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies. Score. But in the off chance that you don’t want to have a bunch of cookies sitting around, you can freeze these cookies and save them for later. They are still delicious.


Gluten-Free Game Day Nachos

Football season is here. With it comes game day junk food. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I decided to find a recipe that would work easily with the gluten-free diet.

I found this nacho recipe, and I think you will enjoy it. It is fairly easy to make and very satisfying. Also, it’s always a hit.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans (GLUTEN-FREE)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce (GLUTEN-FREE)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • corn chips, 1 large bag
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • jalapeno pepper rings or diced jalapeno peppers
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • chopped cilantro

Optional Toppings and Sauces

  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • guacamole


1. Preheat oven at 375° F.

2.  Prepare the fresh ingredients to specifications above. This step involves chopping the veggies.

IMG_09703.  Brown the ground beef and onions over medium heat until beef is cooked through and onions are softened.

IMG_09834.  Add bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, refried beans and tomato sauce. Simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed.

IMG_10085.  Arrange a row of chips on the bottom of a large baking dish. Cover the chips with beef and bean mixture.

IMG_10106.  Sprinkle the layer with a little of the diced tomato, sliced green onions, jalapeno peppers and cheese. Repeat steps five and six to create another layer.

IMG_10187.   Bake 8 to 12 minutes, sprinkle on the cilantro and serve.


Top 3 Gluten-Free Fast Food Options (other than salad)

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, one of the hardest things I had to deal with was figuring out what I could eat on-the-run, when traveling or when I was feeling lazy.

I quickly learned that Wendy’s has several gluten-free options. Recently, I decided to do a little more research and learned that there are in fact other options out there. YES!

Here is my list of the top three fast food restaurants that offer gluten-free options:


Like I mentioned, Wendy’s was the first fast food restaurant I found with gluten-free options. They have chili, great salads and several other choices for gluten-free eaters.

I almost always order a chili-cheese baked potato. I like this option, because it is a lot cheaper than a salad, and it really fills me up.


I also enjoy getting a frosty. It is so satisfying and great on a hot summer day.


According to Wendy’s website, which has a very impressive gluten-free section, their fries are also gluten-free.


I also found out the Chick-Fil-A offers a few options that are gluten-free. First, Chick-Fil-A has a few gluten-free salads to choose from. I normally order the Market Fresh Salad. It definitely does not taste like something you would get from a fast food restaurant, because it really does taste fresh.


Second, I was very excited when I found out that Chick-Fil-A’s waffle fries are gluten-free. So rather than just getting a salad, you can also get fries. There is just something so satisfying about their waffle fries. According to their website, they even fry them their own fryer so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.


Taco Bell

The third fast food restaurant that I found to have a good gluten-free option is Taco Bell. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I was sure that Taco Bell would be safe for me, since mexican food is a staple in the gluten-free diet. Sadly, that is not so. Turns out Taco Bell’s beef is not gluten-free (kinda makes me wonder why – hmm…).

However, Taco Bell recently came out with the Chicken Cantina Bowl, and according to their website it does not contain gluten. Score.


* I had a hard time locating a gluten-free menu for McDonalds, but my overall gut feeling is to avoid them all together. If I have to go to McDonalds, I normally get a smoothie or a fruit and yogurt parfait (without the oats.)

The Best Gluten-Free Salsa Recipe Ever!

Last weekend, my husband and I visited his hometown. While there, my hubby and mother-in-law made my favorite salsa. It also happens to be my husband’s favorite salsa, and I think it’s safe to say that it is everyone in his family’s favorite salsa. It’s darn good!

I jumped at the opportunity to take some photos of the process, so that I could share the recipe with you all! This recipe comes from Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, but the recipe I am sharing is slightly modified after some adjustments suggested by my mother-in-law.


  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, stemmed seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 jalapeno pepper, deveined, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 3 cups chopped fresh or canned peeled plum tomatoes, drained of excess juices
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • A few drops of tabasco or other hot pepper sauce (optional)



1. Prepare ingredients to specifications above. This step involves peeling and cutting the onion, smashing and chopping the garlic, chopping the peppers, tomatoes (if you are using fresh tomatoes*) and cilantro, and squeezing the lime juice.

*If you are using fresh tomatoes, make sure to remove the seeds from the tomatoes, so that the salsa is not runny. Think more veggie, less water.


2. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.


3. Pulse to combine and coarsely chop. The mixture should be coarse and irregular.


4. Taste the salsa and season as desired.


5. Cover and allow the to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Serve with gluten-free chips and enjoy.


In the photos above, we doubled the recipe, so don’t worry if your food processor looks a little more empty then ours did. We were cooking for a large group, so doubling the salsa was a must!