holiday chocolate mousse

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

The Choco­late Mousse recipe below is not a tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing dessert, but since the kids in our fam­ily request it each year, it’s found a per­ma­nent place on the menu. I finally got smart and used old fash­ioned, shal­low dessert cups.

Make these a day ahead of time (steps 1–5) and cover tightly with saran, then whip the cream Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing and serve with huge dollops.

My kids also request this recipe for Christ­mas din­ner. And Valen­tines Day. You get the pic­ture. Silky and sub­lime, it might sneak its way onto your Thanks­giv­ing menu too.

Prep time: 20 min­utes
Total time: 4 1/2 hours (includ­ing refrig­er­a­tion time)
Yield: 8 serv­ings
Spe­cial equip­ment: stand mixer or hand mixer; indi­vid­ual ramekins or dessert dishes

3 large egg yolks (save whites for another use)
pinch of salt
2/3 c. whole milk
12 ounces good qual­ity semi-sweet choco­late (cut from a block or from chips in a pinch)
1 1/2 c. chilled whip­ping cream, divided
1 T sugar

  1. Whisk yolks and salt in medium bowl.
  2. Bring milk to sim­mer in sauce pan.
  3. Grad­u­ally whisk hot milk into yolk mix­ture, then return to the same pan. Stir over low heat until cus­tard thick­ens, about 1–2 min­utes. Do not let it boil. (If you think you’ve over­cooked it and the yolks have cur­dled, strain your mix­ture through a fine mesh sieve).
  4. Remove from heat and add choco­late, whisk­ing until smooth. Cool 40 minutes.
  5. Beat 3/4 c. cream in bowl until peaks form. Fold cream into mousse base. Spoon into serv­ings dishes and cover and chill at least 3 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, beat remain­ing 3/4 c. cream in bowl along with sugar until peaks form. Drop a dol­lop onto each serv­ing dish. Gar­nish with shaved chocolate.

Posted in desserts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

thanksgiving desserts

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

The meal after the meal, if we’re being hon­est. I can’t think of another occa­sion when desserts are so heav­ily fea­tured. We love to eat half por­tions of every­thing, so we can taste every pos­si­ble sam­pling. That’s just com­mon sense. Here are a few gluten-free items that won’t leave you feel­ing deprived. The best thing — you can do them all at least a day in advance.

Pump­kin Banana Mousse Tart
Apple Crisp
Pump­kin Bon Bons
Pump­kin Spice Cookies





Make more desserts that you think you’ll need. If your fam­ily is any­thing like mine, dessert is a per­fect leftover.

Posted in desserts, holidays + special events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

an electronic free day

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

We allow our son a des­ig­nated amount of recre­ational time on the com­puter each day. Tonight, he fin­ished up and asked if he could play on my smart phone. He didn’t imme­di­ately under­stand the phrase “that totally defeats the pur­pose”. I was in the mid­dle of mak­ing din­ner, so I gave my hus­band one of those looks.

To my delight, moments later, I found them at the kitchen table play­ing Uno. After a round, my 14 year old daugh­ter mean­dered in, ask­ing if she could play. Forty-five min­utes later, they were hard at it and I couldn’t put din­ner off any longer. After a relax­ing din­ner, my son gave me a raised eye brow look that said, “it’s Fri­day night…no school tomorrow…can I return to the brain-sucking computer?”

I, in turn, gave him one of those looks that said, “I want you to be a con­tribut­ing mem­ber of soci­ety who can string a vari­ety of mean­ing­ful sen­tences together.”

As I write, a rous­ing game of Bat­tle­ship is ensu­ing back on the kitchen table. And I am happy.

I grew up with­out a tele­vi­sion and as a result, my sib­lings and I are all pro­lific read­ers, card and game play­ers. We rode bikes, hiked down the cliffs in from of our house to explore the tide pools, and we worked in the gar­den with our dad. Any­thing elec­tronic sim­ply wasn’t on the menu.

Often times, I think we for­get about the board games of our past, and some of the won­der­ful newer games that pull a whole fam­ily together for laugh­ter and fun. Here’s a few oldies, but goodies:

You can be way behind, catch up and win at the last moment. Very satisfying

Every lit­tle boy should play bat­tle­ship with the man in their life.

Play­ing to everyone’s entre­pre­neur­ial spirit, this is one of those games that can span an entire weekend.


For the older kids, but when you play with young ones, pho­netic spellings are per­fectly accept­able. I played this game with my mom and only ever beat her when I was in my 30’s (she was in her 70′/80’s), and that was rare. Try  Scrab­ble Junior for the younger ones.

C’mon. You gotta get your kids started on poker sometime.

And the newer games we love…

It’s like gin-rummy with tiles. We change the rules and play simul­ta­ne­ously with­out tak­ing turns. Prob­a­bly my favorite game.

Apples to Apples
Designed to make you laugh. Sour Apples will make you laugh louder (for big­ger kids).

Wildly cre­ative, fun game your kids will love.

My newest fav. A Swedish game of wooden pegs that must be knocked over. My Ger­man nephew Bern­hard intro­duced us to this game and we played this all sum­mer at the beach. Half a dozen peo­ple asked us for the name as they watched us play. Addicting.

And while you’re play­ing games, have a few snacks on hand.

Oven Apple­sauce
Almond Flour Choco­late Chip Cook­ies
Pump­kin Spice Cook­ies
All Fruit Smoothie
Choco­late Puffed Rice Treats





What are your favorite games?


Posted in lifestyle | Leave a comment

tips for surviving the holidays

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I love the hol­i­days. LOVE them. I know the house will be clean, the sil­ver pol­ished, the stemware shinny and the food deli­cious. How­ever, for me to truly enjoy the hol­i­days, I always employ a few time tested strate­gies because if we’re being hon­est, the hol­i­days can bring a cer­tain angst with them. Look at it this way. If you have twelve peo­ple at your din­ner table, you have 144 sep­a­rate rela­tion­ships all hap­pen­ing at the same time. Peo­ple might bring a lot to the table — fam­ily pol­i­tics, unful­filled expec­ta­tions and pol­i­tics of the other kind. Here’s a few tips to make sure you enjoy your hol­i­day sea­son, no mat­ter what gets thrown at you.

Mar­tini, any­one? Please?
If you are host­ing a big event at your home, like Thanks­giv­ing or Christ­mas din­ner, please, please, do the sen­si­ble thing and con­sider the mer­its of a full bar. You might belong to one of those fam­i­lies who rep­re­sent every polit­i­cal party on the bal­lot. Green Party, tree-hugging, bleed­ing heart Demo­c­rat, mod­er­ate Demo­c­rat, mod­er­ate Repub­li­can and peo­ple who fol­low the mus­ings of Sarah Palin like a stoner fol­lows the Grate­ful Dead. Hence the full bar because as my sis­ter Car­rie says, “you can always drink ‘em pretty.” Not that I’m sug­gest­ing a drink­ing binge. Not really. Well maybe kind of. It depends on your def­i­n­i­tion of “pretty.”

Hedge your bets
Have either a dis­tant fam­ily mem­ber, friend or total stranger attend your hol­i­day. It’s what Jesus would do. But that’s not why I’m sug­gest­ing it. Uncle Floyd, who delights in telling offen­sive, racially charged jokes will think twice in front of a stranger. I don’t think the hol­i­day table is the right place to dis­cuss the NSA, the NRA or any other polit­i­cal acronym, but in case it hap­pens, hedge your bets with a few guests.

The con­ver­sa­tion killer
If tips 1 and 2 have failed, remem­ber that hol­i­days are a time of grat­i­tude and reflec­tion. And patience and kind­ness. If you are the bleed­ing heart lib­eral and some­one tells you how affronted they are at the lim­i­ta­tions of gun laws, may I sug­gest my favorite response? Here it is. “Isn’t that some­thing?” It flows really well. Here, let’s run it all together like this:

Uncle Floyd: “I don’t know what the big deal is about women earn­ing 77 cents on the dol­lar com­pared to men.“
You: (Take a sip of your mar­tini) “Isn’t that something?” Now turn head and talk to the per­son beside you.

It’s a polite way of say­ing absolutely noth­ing. Don’t spend time, energy or angst dis­cussing some­thing with some­one who does not have the capac­ity to under­stand you. Besides, its not your job to enlighten any­one with your own par­tic­u­lar brand of wis­dom. It’s your job to wear a stretchy waist band so you can eat an obscene amount of food and fall into a tryp­to­phan coma.

If you can deliver this line grace­fully, no one will ever know you’ve mor­phed into the con­ver­sa­tional angel of death. Instead, feel grat­i­tude that Uncle Floyd has given you a post-holiday story for your friends. And remem­ber, he finds your views equally objec­tion­able. Dang women’s lib­ber.

Really, what the hell is that?
If you have a fam­ily mem­ber who must, MUST eat one of those sacro­sanct hol­i­day dishes that isn’t on the menu, and you don’t have time to pro­duce it out of thin air, invite them to bring it. I, per­son­ally, do not delight in the gush­ing, burp­ing sound canned cran­berry rel­ish makes as it slides in a blub­ber­ing mass onto a dish, but hos­pi­tal­ity is the order of the day. Toss some mint around it, put it on your pret­ti­est piece of china and serve it with pride.

One big table
Don’t have a kids table. Really. My chil­dren and all my nieces and nephews are chief among my great­est bless­ings and joys and I bet they’re yours too. Hav­ing them part of the con­ver­sa­tion will add a dimen­sion and rich­ness to your day. It will also make the adults recon­sider that fourth drink and those off-color jokes. No one wants to scare the children.

Why do you always put me next to Uncle Floyd?
Place cards are lovely, for­mal and tra­di­tional, but they will haunt you like heart­burn from a bad street taco. If you put your squab­bling sis­ters next to one another, you might hear about it for weeks after. If you sep­a­rate them, they might take a moment to tell you they’re adults and you didn’t have to inter­fere. If you put any­one next to a food-throwing tod­dler, they might assume you’re hold­ing some sort of grudge and now it’s pay­back time. My hus­band, kids and I qui­etly stake out our spots near one another by cross­ing our sil­ver­ware over our plates and then it’s a free for all for any­one else.

Be grate­ful
Thanks­giv­ing at my child­hood home included friends and fam­ily, one huge table that seated eigh­teen, and the tra­di­tion of express­ing our indi­vid­ual thanks prior to the meal. One by one, we would relate those things for which we were most grate­ful. Our fam­ily, our friends and our free­doms were chief among them. Not much has changed for me except an ever bur­geon­ing fam­ily. 36 per side, if you can believe that. And that doesn’t include cousins. Just our sib­lings and their families.

So what­ever comes your way this hol­i­days sea­son, remem­ber what it is you love about the peo­ple you are with and embrace them with a lov­ing heart.

As for me, in addi­tion to my hus­band and kids, I’m grate­ful for and to my par­ents. That hasn’t changed since I was old enough to express my thanks at the Trimm fam­ily table. That’s them below. My dad is the brunette.

Happy Hol­i­days everyone!

Posted in holidays + special events, lifestyle | 3 Comments

applesauce cranberry muffins

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

This is a twist on my sta­ple muf­fin. I had some left­over apple­sauce and wanted to make good use of it. Adding cran­ber­ries with a layer of orange fla­vor adds another lovely dimen­sion. Soft and moist with a streusel top­ping, these freeze great and are an instant snack for the hoards of hun­gry kids that descend upon my house on a reg­u­lar basis.

When the kids needed a late night snack last night after they both swore to me they were full from din­ner, I served them these. First thing in the morn­ing or any time dur­ing the day, these muffins are packed with pro­tein and fla­vor and are my daughter’s snack of choice before a vol­ley­ball game. I hope you enjoy them — they smell like autumn!

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 35 min­utes
Yield: 12 muffins

1 1/4 c. almond flour
1 c. brown rice flour
1 c. 
quinoa flakes
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. bak­ing soda
1/2 tsp. cin­na­mon
1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 c. oil (I use grape­seed or wal­nut)
1/3 c. agave nec­tar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla 

1 c. apple­sauce
1  c. orange-infused cran­ber­ries*

Streusel top­ping (optional)
3 T oil
3 T brown sugar
3 T chopped pecans or walnuts

*If you can’t find these, use reg­u­lar cran­ber­ries and the zest of one orange.

  1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Soak dried cran­ber­ries in 1 c. boil­ing water to rejuvenate.
  3. Grease a muf­fin pan with oil and a paper towel.
  4. Mix the first seven ingre­di­ents together until well combined.
  5. In a sep­a­rate bowl, mix vanilla, oil, agave nec­tar and egg together. Add to dry ingre­di­ents until combined.
  6. Drain cran­ber­ries and add to bat­ter along with apple­sauce until thor­oughly combined.
  7. Using ice cream scooper, drop scoop­fuls into muf­fin pans. Sprin­kle with streusel and bake for 22 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 5 min­utes in muf­fin pan, then remove and allow to cool com­pletely on rack.

Posted in snacks + treats | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment