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Ginger Lemon Creme Cookies-3

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling

Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling

This is the first time I’ve actually been excited for January. Usually I’m like, “Ugh. Can we just fast forward through January, February, and March and get to the nice weather?” But then last year I fell hard for citrus of all kinds and citrus time is here once again! Nature’s gift to get us through the cold weather doldrums. In this month’s #EatSeasonal roundup, you’ll find quite a few citrusy recipes. Friends after my own citrus-loving heart. My contribution is a recipe for Gluten-Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling. And holy moly are they tasty cookies!

GF Ginger Lemon Creme Sandwiches-3
But first, the gorgeous recipes made with January’s cold weather produce. So many good things to love! Follow along on social media using #EatSeasonal.

EatSeasonal recipes for JanuaryOatmeal and Citrus Smoothie by Floating Kitchen
Butternut Squash, Carrot and Orange Detox Soup by Vintage Mixer
Winter Minestrone Soup with Pancetta by Flavor the Moments
Broiled Grapefruit by Bless This Mess
Gluten Free Gingersnaps with Lemon Cream Filling by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Tart by Kitchen Confidante
Potato and Leek Soup with Kale by Mountain Mama Cooks
Grapefruit and Avocado Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette by Food for My Family
Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
Blood Orange Brûlée Upside Down Cake by Suitcase Foodist
Maple-Cayenne Sausage, Brussels Sprouts and Potato Sheet Dish by Project Domestication
Pink Grapefruit with Brunt Honey Custard by Letty’s Kitchen
Yogurt Brûlée with Winter Fruit by Completely Delicious
Grapefruit Pound Cake with Ginger Marshmallow Icing by Climbing Grier Mountain

And now about those cookies of mine. . .

Years ago I fell in love with Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. They quickly became my very favorite store-bought cookie, a) but they are difficult to find and b) they are not gluten-free. I’ve actually never found a gluten-free equivalent, so it’s been quite a long while since I’ve enjoyed those cookies! This year I decided that I wanted to tackle finally making a homemade version. I’ve tried so many different recipes for ginger cookies over the years. I love a good ginger cookie whether they are light and crisp, dense, or chewy. It’s all about the molasses and ginger for me. I found a recipe from Martha Stewart that promised thin, crisp ginger cookies. I modified the recipe a bit and came up with a simple lemon cream filling that is perfectly tart and lemony.

Ginger Lemon Creme Cookies-5

It can be really difficult to make chewy gluten-free cookies. Almost impossible at times. It’s just the nature of gluten-free cookies. BUT these can be chewy or crisp. I discovered that under-baking just a bit left the cookies nice and chewy. And baking them a little longer gave me crisp cookies like the Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes. Woohoo!

candied and gresh ginger

I combined my favorite gluten-free all purpose flour mix and almond meal for the dry ingredients. I like using a really deep, dark blackstrap molasses. I feel like the deeper flavor is just a wee bit better, or more pronounced. And I like that. The other awesome thing these cookies have going for them is three kinds of ginger. Are you a fan of ginger? Because I don’t think it’s possible for these to have too much ginger, so I used ground, freshly grated, and chopped crystallized ginger. Also, I should mention that this recipe make A TON of cookies. Like 6 dozen which makes 3 dozen sandwiches. That’s a lot of cookies. But that’s a good thing if you need to make cookies for a crowd, or just want to keep your cupboard stocked up for a long time. (Unless you have three children who are equally addicted to ginger cookies like their mother.) ANYWAY.

lemon fillingginger cookies and lemon filling-2

The filling needs to be loved on a little bit too. Guys and gals, three ingredients are all you need. For reals. Just powdered sugar, good butter, and fresh lemon juice. I say “good butter” because not all butters are created equally. The flavor of the butter comes through. That goes for butter that’s been hanging around in the freezer too long.You know when you forget about a pack of butter and it’s been hanging out next to the salmon for a few months? Yeah, don’t use that. Get some fresh butter.

If I could only have one cookie for the rest of my life, I’d probably choose these.

Gluten-Free Holiday Appetizer | Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Flatbread

Gluten-Free Holiday Appetizer: Flatbread with Roasted Butternut Squash

GF Butternut Squash Flatbread

When I catered holiday parties in the past, the menus usually centered around appetizers and salads. Those are my favorite party foods – always. And I think after all the sweets, people crave more savory party foods. I love, love, love using cheese in appetizers, especially for the holidays, for several reasons. First, most people love cheese. Or at least like it. Second, it creates a more filling, satisfying appetizer. And third, it goes well with just about everything. I’ve teamed up again with my friends at Pamela’s Products to create a gluten-free holiday appetizer using their fabulous pizza crust mix, and I create a simple Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Flatbread that uses fresh goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, almonds, and sprouts. (p.s. I’m giving away some of my favorite Pamela’s mixes – scroll down to enter!)

GF Butternut Squash Flatbread-9
The holidays are always my favorite time for entertaining. I always dream of having my own big, lavish holiday parties, but in reality: I’m not Martha Stewart. I have to bring it down a little bit and think in realistic terms. I’m actually pretty introverted, so I much prefer being behind the scenes doing the cooking. When you come to my house, it may not be spotless and I may not be mingling much, but you can be sure there is always something delicious to eat and drink! In any case, I love this time of year because there are so many delicious ingredients to use in all sorts of ways. But as is always true, simple food tastes the best. And this may seem like a complicated recipe, but it’s actually easy to make and focuses on seasonal ingredients that are in their prime.

GF Butternut Squash Flatbread-2
I’m calling this a flatbread, but it’s basically a fancy pizza. The gluten-free crust is super easy to make. I like being able to pull out a bag of Pamela’s when I’m making pizza or flatbread because it makes a delicious, chewy crust that is also sturdy enough to hold up to all those toppings!

GF Pamela's Products Pizza Crust Mix

This mix only requires warm water and olive oil – a yeast packet is included in the package. That hard work of coming up with the perfect blend of gluten-free flours and starches is done for you. All that’s left to do is mix it up, let it rise, and bake it. So it’s perfect for everyone, whether you are a master cook or a beginner! (more…)

Fresh Tomato Juice Dressing Recipes

Tomato Juice Dressing and Vinaigrette Recipes

Tomato Juice Dressing and Vinaigrette 3 Ways

You may remember earlier in the year when I teamed up with award winning Natalie’s Orchid Island Company to create a new recipe using one of their amazing juices. This time using their newest squeezed fresh juice – tomato! And we’re making Tomato Juice Dressing and Vinaigrette 3 Ways. That’s three delicious, refreshing, flavor ways to perk up your salad.

Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Fresh Tomato
I am a big fan of Natalie’s for so many reasons, not the least of which that the company is a owned by women! One of the things I love most is how fresh and delicious the juices are. They are squeezed fresh from locally sourced produce and flash pasteurized to maintain flavor, quality, and nutrition. Of course, drinking tomato juice has a lot of health benefits because it is rich in lycopene and other antioxidants. Natalie’s tomato juice is just tomatoes. No artificial flavors. No salt. No GMOs.

Natalie's Tomato Juice Info
I know it’s December, and freezing cold in my neck of the woods, and summer is a bit of a memory at this point, but a glass of this tomato juice brings those memories screaming back. Summer in a glass. And honestly, I’ll take any summer vibes I can get! More than that, this juice tastes like the sweetest, freshest, juiciest ripe tomato right off the vine. When I had a garden of my own a few years back, I would juice or puree our fresh garden tomatoes all the time, and this squeezed fresh tomato juice from Natalie’s tastes just as fresh and delicious.

Fresh Squeezed Tomato Juice


Natalie's Orchid Island Fresh Tomato Juice

The thing that makes this tomato juice different from other kinds you can buy is that it is squeezed fresh and flash pasteurized, not canned or bottled to give it a cooked taste.

Fresh Tomato Juice

I sat down to brainstorm different recipe ideas that wouldn’t compromise the fresh flavor of the tomato juice. The idea of tomato juice dressing or vinaigrette came to me and I knew that was  what I wanted to do. So, here we are. I came up with three variations that are equally tasty, flavorful, and unique. Three is better than one, right?

Fresh Tomato Juice Dressing Recipes
From left to right: Tomato Basil Vinaigrette, Cumin-Lime Tomato Vinaigrette, and Creamy Dill Tomato Dressing.

Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette with Basil
The Tomato Basil Vinaigrette is fantastic drizzled over a Mediterranean or Greek-style green salad. The one picture above has wild arugula, grilled marinated artichoke hearts, chickpeas, cucumber slices, fresh tomato slices, Kalamata olives, and crumbled goat cheese. Hold me.

Mexican Tomato Vinaigrette
I wanted to definitely create a variation with the flavors I love from Mexican cuisine. I am an avid fan cumin. I added ground cumin, along with fresh lime juice to create this Cumin-Lime Tomato Vinaigrette. It was so, so good on top of a Southwest-style salad of baby spinach, corn, black beans, avocado, diced cooked chicken, crumbled queso fresco, sliced tomato, and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. I could eat this salad every single day.

Creamy Tomato Dressing with Dill
My favorite of the three (it was hard to choose!) is the last one  – Creamy Dill Tomato. I made a variation on homemade Ranch dressing that includes mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk with a bit of fresh lemon juice, fresh minced dill, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. This salad has baby lettuce leaves, (gluten-free) croutons, sliced cucumber and tomato, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a few more sprigs of fresh dill. Incredible. The tomato juice makes the dressing light pink in color and tastes like fresh tomatoes drizzled with Ranch. (I used to so not be a Ranch fan until I started making it from scratch!) Bonus: my kids loved it too.

Natalie's Orchid Island Juice
Natalie’s is available in the U.S. and Internationally. By the way, Orange Beet is another new flavor and it is outstanding, just like the other flavors. Seriously these are the BEST juices we’ve ever tasted. EVER. To keep up with Natalie’s follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. #DrinkNatalies

Tomato Juice

Fresh Tomato Juice Dressing 3 Ways

Creamy Dill Tomato Dressing
1/2 cup Natalie’s Tomato Juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh dill
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the tomato juice, buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, and dill. Season well with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Transfer to a jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups.

Notes: For a thicker dressing, use 1/2 cup sour cream and omit the buttermilk.

Serving suggestion: Basic Green Salad with lettuce or any choice of greens, sliced vegetables, sliced tomatoes, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and croutons.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup Natalie’s Tomato Juice
1/4 cup vinegar (red wine, balsamic)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch sugar or honey
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon freshly minced basil

Place tomato juice, vinegar, mustard, pinch of sea salt, black pepper, and sugar in a jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the olive oil. Shake the jar vigorously. Add the basil and shake again. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Mediterranean Salad with arugula or baby lettuce, chickpeas, sliced cucumber, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, sliced tomato, and crumbled fresh goat cheese or feta.

Yields: about 1 1/4 cups.

Cumin-Lime Tomato Vinaigrette
1/2 cup Natalie’s Tomato Juice
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 large limes)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Place tomato juice, lime juice, and spices in a jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake well to dissolve the salt. Add the olive oil and shake vigorously until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed, according to preference. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Southwest-Style Salad with leafy greens, corn, black beans, queso fresco or cheddar, diced cooked chicken, sliced tomato, avocado, and fresh cilantro.

Three tomato dressings and vinaigrettes
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice as part of an on-going partnership. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. I only work with brands I truly LOVE and recommend.