Date-Filled Cookies, GF

One of the best Christmas presents I ever got was a cookbook that my Grandma L made for each of her grandchildren containing all of her recipes.  It is such a treasure.  I especially like how she would write comments in them, or telling the story about the recipe. 

I was looking through all of the recipes the other day and came across this recipe for Date-Filled Cookies.  The part that grabbed my attention was what she wrote after.

“This is one recipe that Papa always took with him when they went on their annual Elk/Deer hunting trip. They stay very moist. If you like dates (the kind you eat), you will like this cookie.”

This gets me not only because of the comment about specifying the type of date she was referring to, but I also like the mention of Papa.  Because he passed away when I was barely 4, I never really knew him, nor do I have any real memories of him.  So with this recipe, I saw an opportunity, in a very small way, to connect to him. 

Date-Filled Cookies, Gluten-free
Yields 36
Write a review
  1. 10 ounces pitted dates, chopped fine
  2. 3/4 cup water
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. 1-1/4 cup sorghum flour
  2. 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  3. 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  4. 1 cup potato starch
  5. 1-1/2 teaspoons xanthum gum
  6. 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 cup shortening (non-hydrogenated if possible)
  9. 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  11. 6 tablespoons warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  12. 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Place dates, water, and sugar in a small pot. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest and cinnamon. Set aside to cool (I wanted a smoother texture, so I used a stick blender to smooth it out).
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, starches, xanthum gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Mix in vanilla extract, flax seed mixture, and orange zest. Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/4" thick. Cut into 2 inch rounds. Place a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of filling in center of one round. spread filling to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with another round and use a fork to crimp the edges. Cook in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set. Cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.
One Fine Tomato
I did change the recipe a little bit (other than the obvious to make it gluten-free).  I used less sugar (if you can believe it), and did away with the eggs.  I also changed the recipe by adding some orange zest and cinnamon.  I wonder what my Papa would’ve thought of these.

Grandma’s ‘Cheese’ Soup

This cheese soup recipe is another comfort-food classic for our family.  This is surprising since there are quite a few vegetables in it, but then I do remember my brothers would take their time ladling the soup to try and get as few vegetables as possible.  

While I can no longer serve it in the bread bowls we’d usually have it in, I was able to figure out how to make it without the original recipe’s cheese whiz, half and half, butter, and flour. 

Grandma's 'Cheese' Soup
Serves 8
Write a review
  1. 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1" cubes
  2. 1 cube non-hydrogetnated vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
  3. 3/4 cup sweet rice flour
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (largely for color, so it's optional)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  11. 5 cups So Delicious Coconut Milk, unsweetened (or other non-dairy milk)
  12. 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  13. 1 16-ounce bag frozen California blend vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  14. 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  15. 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, reduce to simmer and cook until just tender. Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
  2. In a separate pot, melt Earth Balance over medium heat. Sprinkle in rice flour. Cook for one minute. Whisk in mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, and nutritional yeast. Cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, and coconut milk. Add vegetable blend. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add some of the reserved potato water if a thinner consistency is desired. Serve.
  1. Depending on the brand of vegetable blend, the vegetables may need to be thawed slightly and cut into smaller pieces. I once got a blend that had broccoli florets over 3" wide; not exactly bite-sized
One Fine Tomato
According to what my Grandma wrote on the original recipe, this recipe freezes well.  I can’t attest to that, however, because with our family, there were never leftovers to freeze.

Pumpkin Blondies, GF/DF/EF

Since the beginning of the year, my mom has been off of sugar.  She has much more self control than I do.  Maybe if I didn’t have to be off of gluten, eggs, and dairy I could do it, but 3 major food avoidances is all I can handle.

The only treats she has had are clementines, a piece of toast with jam, or some date balls I had made.  I wanted to see about making her a real treat.  I had seen a plethora of posts about brownies or blondes made with beans, so thought I would give it a go.

I tried a garbanzo bean blondie recipe once before, and I don’t know if it was all in my head, but all that I could taste were the beans.  Consequently, I was hesitant to have another go at it, but  I decided to try it again, this time using more spices to conceal the pungency of the garbanzos.  

So I knew I was going to use spices, and what better ingredient to go with spices than pumpkin?   I looked at a half-dozen recipes for bean blondies.  Many called for sugar, which I had to avoid for my mom’s sake.  Many also called for oil and/or peanut butter, which I also wanted to see if I could avoid.  To solve those problems, I substituted maple syrup for the sugar, and a little extra pumpkin for the fat. 

Like what I do with my pumpkin cupcakes, I cook the canned pumpkin and spices for a few minutes so they don’t taste like a can or jar.  I also used currants instead of the typical raisins because they can be more evenly distributed in the batter.  If sugar isn’t a concern then using Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips would be a delicious choice.

This recipe doubles well (as long as your food processor has the capacity, of course).  I just use a full can of pumpkin when I double it. The blondies also freeze well.  I cut them into square and put each square in a little snack bag.  Great for a little guilt-free treat.

Pumpkin Blondies
Write a review
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  2. 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  3. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 cup gluten-free oats
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  8. scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 teaspoon vanilla
  10. 1/2 cup currants
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, place canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Cook for 5-7 minutes until very fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place pumpkin mixture, and remaining ingredients (except currants) in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Stir in currants. Place in a greased 8x8 baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. They should pull away from the sides of the pan. Place pan on cooling rack to cool.
One Fine Tomato
These were a hit not only with my mom, but also with my dad.  I didn’t tell either of them at first that there were beans in it, and when I revealed the ingredients, they were shocked, but they still went in for seconds (and in my dad’s case, thirds and fourths).