This is a recipe where you could certainly use cream cheese, however, in this household I always make Yogurt Cheese - or dripped Yogurt.  Recently, I discovered there is a company in California called Green Valley Organics that makes lactose free dairy products including sour cream and cream cheese.  Oh heaven!  It is very difficult to get these products into Canada, so until we can get it here or there is a Canadian company that can make a lactose free cream cheese - yogurt cheese it is.  Although, yogurt cheese is definitely kinder on the hips, plus it is also much more lighter in taste.  By the way, if feeding a crowd definitely double this will be gone before you know it!
To make 1 cup of Yogurt cheese use a 650 gram container of quality 3.5 % Organic Yogurt
1 cup of  Organic dripped yogurt:  line a large sieve with 2 coffee filters, split in half to fully cover the sieve.  Add the yogurt into the sieve then place over a bowl, and cover in plastic wrap.  24 hrs is sufficient, however, 48 hours of dripping is better as it will give you a thicker consistency.
4-5 Tblsp. Mayonnaise - check for taste
1 Tblsp. fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
a generous 1/4 cup fresh minced Basil
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
6 large sun dried tomatoes in oil, pat off oil with a paper towel and finely chop
3/4 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
fresh cracked pepper
Place all of the ingredients into a bowl, mix well.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours and serve with vegetables of choice.

The original recipe for this yummy dip came from our local newspaper.  I changed it up quite a lot - a great dip for veggies or a spread on flat bread or crackers.  If you read my blog, you will know I use dripped Yogurt, or Yogurt cheese often - it is such a great replacement for cream cheese.
2/3 cup of Yogurt Cheese (drip for 48 hours)
1/2 cup chopped roasted Walnut pieces
3 rounded Tblsp. real Mayonnaise
juice from a quarter slice of fresh Lemon
2 finely minced garlic cloves
3 Tbslp. minced fresh Basil
1/2 tsp. minced fresh Rosemary
1 Tblsp. minced fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
1/2 cup of crumbled Feta Cheese
salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste
Place the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat and lightly toast about 3-4 minutes.
Place in a bowl and set aside.
Finely mince the garlic, basil, rosemary, and place in a bowl.  Add in the yogurt cheese, lemon juice and the mayonnaise mixing well.  Then add in the cooled walnut pieces, feta cheese, salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Mix well to combine all of the ingredients and serve with fresh vegetables, crackers or flat bread.  Refrigerate for one hour so all the flavors will come together.

This curry pate is quick and easy to whip up - it begins like a dahl but ends up quite like a hummus.  Great as a dip with crackers, served alongside a vegetable platter, or as a spread on Dosa's - East Indian Flat Bread.  This also makes a healthy, hearty lunch too!
I used this Sprouted Bean Trio Mix, a mix of sprouted lentils, adzuki and mung beans but either of these on their own I think would work well.
1 cup of Sprouted Lentil mix
3 cups of water
1 Bay leaf
1 onion - quartered
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. of your favorite Curry Powder, I used Cartwright's Curry powder
1 inch piece of fresh Ginger
salt to taste
Olive oil
In a medium sauce pan, add the sprouted lentils, water, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, lid on, and turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, to let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain, discarding the bay leaf and set aside.
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat, with a good drizzle of Olive oil.  Add the onion and ginger to a food processor and pulse until chopped, then add this to the pan to saute until the onions are softened.
Sprinkle the curry seasoning over the onion, and season with salt.  Saute 2 more minutes until fragrant.
Return the onions to the food processor, add in the cooked lentils, and garlic cloves.  Pulse a few times, then turn on full drizzling in Olive oil. Scrape down the sides occasionally, and continue to add Olive Oil until you get a nice consistency.
Great served warm or cold, and it was even better the next day!

These are a yummy appetizer or even a great lunch.  The amount of stuffing I made turned out to be the perfect amount for these mushrooms.  Most recipes suggest baking for 10-12 minutes, with my strange oven, they needed a few more minutes.
15 fairly large mushrooms, Crimini mushrooms, about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter, wiped clean, stem removed (I saved the stem to roast with veggies for soup)
Olive Oil
1/4 cup yogurt cheese (I dripped my yogurt for 24 hours)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Fresh cracked Pepper
2 finely minced garlic cloves
2 Tblsp. finely minced fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 a generous cup of grated aged Cheddar Cheese
a generous 1/2 cup fresh cooked crab (I use this crab - love it!)
Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Brush the mushroom caps with olive oil, place onto the baking sheet empty side up, bake for about 8 minutes.
In a bowl combine all of the other ingredients, mixing well to combine, and refrigerate.

Once the mushroom caps have cooled, fill with crab filling, and place on another parchment lined baking sheet.  Add a little sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese on top of each mushroom cap.

Bake in a preheated oven of 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

I LOVE Hummus.  I have discovered though, my body is not happy when I eat garbonzo bean/chickpeas – just can’t do them.  So I thought why not try Pinto Beans?  Ohhh and was it good!  Served with fresh veggies, gluten free crackers, or even as a spread on gluten free bread – so healthy and filling.
However, today, I was inspired by a most delectable recipe over at the site Noble Pig, please check their recipe for the original.  It is a Greek Layered Salad - so, so good! I made changes that would work if you can not tolerate cream cheese, or chickpeas, as well, I marinated the vegetables.  Thank you Noble Pig - p.s. my daughter said she likes this better than Seven Layer Dip - which has always been her all time favorite!
Recipe for Pinto Bean Hummus:
1  398 ml. Can of organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 minced garlic cloves, roughly chopped
handful of Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
2 big Tblsp. Tahini
juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
1 rounded tsp. fresh  minced Rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Just put everything into the food processor – slowly drizzle in olive oil until you get the right consistency.  This was on the thick side – which I liked, but if you want it thinner, just add in more olive oil.

Recipe for Greek Layered Salad:
above recipe for Pinto Bean Hummus or your favorite Hummus
1 diced tomato
1 four inch slice of cucumber, de-seeded and chopped
3 Tblsp. finely chopped red onion
juice of half a lemon
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
handful of Kalamata Olives
a good sprinkling of Crumbled Feta Cheese
Mix the vegetables with the olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper, then set aside to marinate.
Cream Yogurt Cheese Base:
3/4 cup yogurt cheese (I drip mine for 24 hours)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
a generous 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. minced Fresh Rosemary
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, adding extra Parmesan to help thicken the cheese.
On a platter, spread out the Pinto bean Hummus.
Then add on the yogurt cheese mix, spreading over the pinto bean hummus.
Using a slotted spoon, sprinkle over the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, then a handful of olives, and the crumbled feta cheese.  We had these with organic corn chips - seriously delicious, I wanted to eat the whole thing!

This is a recipe I have been wanting to make forever!  And dang, they were good.  But, very rich too. I have listed them under "Appetizers" but these would make a nice lunch served with a salad.  I will also say they were somewhat of a process to make, but a really nice once in a while treat, so it was worth it.  Hope you enjoy!
Here is a list of ingredients, followed by the process I used. (Oh, I almost forgot, this recipe made 10 fairly large sausage rolls)
1 1/4 lbs. gluten free pork sausage meat
your favorite pastry - enough for 2 single crusts
1/2 of a small finely minced onion
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
2 Tblsp. finely minced Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
1 egg, whisked for an egg wash
Here was my process/method/tips for making gluten free sausage rolls:
A flaky butter pastry is a good choice to use, I used Bette Hagman's Dream Pastry from her book The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy.  I made enough pastry for 2 single crust pies.  This was also the first time I made her pastry without putting the dough into the fridge to get cold.  I rolled it right away. I just had the feeling that it would work better, and it did.  Now having said that, I am not the best pastry roller in the world, and I did find it a bit finicky in keeping a rectangle shape.  Using parchment paper, on the bottom and top of the pastry, I first shaped the pastry into a rectangle with my hands then rolled it out.  From time to time I would have to reshape the pastry, using my hands to keep a rectangle shape.  Fairly intensive, but in the end it came out nicely.
Now for the pork sausage.  You could totally start from scratch and make your own, but what I did was buy a 1 1/4 lb. package of Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Pork sausage meat.  It already had some seasoning in it, I just added finely minced onion, garlic and minced Flat Leaf Italian Parsley.  Mixed well then rolled out with my hands, spreading it onto the pastry:
Then, using a spatula, I lifted the edge of the pastry, and rolled to cover the meat.  Then cut with a knife, and cut the roll in half, and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet seam side down.
Once all the rolls were done, I whisked up one egg, to paint on a wash to each sausage roll.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven, for 25 minutes.  Half way through baking, I turned the pan around. At the 25 minute mark, I turned the oven off and left the sausage rolls in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Once the sausage rolls have cooled somewhat, I covered in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator, to lightly reheat later on.  I am pretty sure these sausage rolls would freeze nicely too.

Happy New Year to all - may it be a year of joy, laughter, and mighty good food!  Speaking of mighty good....
Gluten Free Homemade Crackers... Holy Mama, these are mighty tasty.  In no way do these look like their gluten cousins.  Not one bit.  But tasty?  With crispy deliciousness?  Lord have Mercy is all I can say. (dang! we think our camera is dying, so please forgive these pictures)
Baking Gluten Free has ALWAYS been a challenge for me.  Back in the day, before knowing I was a Celiac, I used to think of myself as the Baking Queen!  Life has an uncanny way of humbling you, at times bringing you to your knees, don't you think?  They say that baking is a science.  I believe this to be absolutely true.  Throw in Gluten Free Baking?  That not only equates to a Science, but an Art.  Truly it is.  I say this, because many a recipe, more than I care to acknowledge has ended up in the garbage.
But this?  Fabulous.  I found this at Katie's Blog, Thyme For Cooking.  She did a guest post from her friend, TikiPundit,  aka Dan - I think? Well... he posted a recipe for these crackers that I suspected would taste great Gluten Free.  He received the recipe from Palmabella's Passions. I followed all of the directions, e x a c t l y -  excruciatingly ignoring my impatience at a 2 hour fridge stint.  The only change was converting to gluten free and adding about 5-6 minutes extra cooking time.  All I can say is, thank you Katie for your guest post, and thank you TikiPundit, aka Dan for including the recipe and a thank you to Palmabella's Passions for sharing a great recipe!  For the original recipe please check out Katie's Blog Thyme For Cooking.
This is how I made these most wonderful crackers:
4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces of Parmesan, finely grated
3/4 cup flour: I used 1/2 cup Sorghum, 1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
fresh cracked pepper
4 Tblsp. butter (I used salted)
2 Tblsp. water (this was the perfect amount)
In the bowl of a food processor , place all of the ingredients except the butter and water. Pulse 5 times.  Add the butter and pulse again until the butter pieces are the size of BBs.  (I had to think about this...then I remembered back in the day my brother's had BB guns they shot at tin cans, ha!)  Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough holds together.  If the dough is still crumbly (mine was not) add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and pulse until the dough holds together.
Not only do we desperately need a new camera, but I could not take a decent picture today for love nor money.  Mercy!
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of waxed paper.  With your hands roll the dough into a log, 9-10 inches long,  squaring off the ends.

Wrap up, then place in a plastic bag, wrapping tightly, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Yes, 2 hours. If I did it you can too!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the crackers, cut the log into  1/8 to 1/4 inch slices. These were 1/4 inch slices, next time, I would go a tad thinner, and adjust baking time.  Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the pan around.  Bake another 10 minutes.  Depending on your oven, mine needed another 5 minutes baking time to turn golden and crispy.  I did the "finger" touch...if they feel firm and are golden they are done.  Cool on a rack.  These get even crispier when cooled. The other great thing with this recipe is you could change up the flavor by adding in fresh Rosemary, or Sesame seeds, fresh cracked pepper....Jalapenos, so many options. This recipe is definitely a keeper -  thanks again to all for sharing!

While at the grocery store the other day, I came upon some organic, local, green house grown herbs.  They will never taste quite as good as in summer, but honestly, they were wonderful in this dip with fresh vegetables.
Over the holidays, I received some much coveted kitchen tools I had been eying for some time.  Perfect way to use these tools in making this vegetable platter and dip.
I have never had or used a microplane before.  Wow.  This makes the nicest citrus zest - not too big, not too small.
The vegetable peeler, is actually a 3 in 1 peeler.  A regular blade for carrots, potatoes etc. but there is also a soft blade for peeling tomatoes, and peaches.  Plus there is a julienne blade as well.  It apparently was designed by a chef, who also made the handle very ergonomic - wonderful to use.
And finally, a 3 inch Wusthof  pairing knife.  I did have a paring knife, but it was not very good.  This one is not only razor sharp, but fits nicely in my hand, love it!  Tools to make anyone's kitchen happy!
Vegetable dip:  (I did not really use any measurements just went by taste)
1 cup of organic yogurt cheese (or dripped yogurt)
3/4  cup real mayonnaise
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tblsp. zest from an organic lemon
1 Tblsp. lemon juice
2 Tblsp. finely minced organic Basil, and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
2 finely minced garlic cloves
1 finely minced green onion
salt and pepper to taste
Add the yogurt cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese into a bowl mixing to combine.  Finely mince the herbs, green onion, garlic adding to the dip.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, mixing well and serve with your favorite vegetables.