Sincerely Carolina

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Day Three: Gluten-Free with RR Challenge — Pittsburgh Bound!

by caroline

Road trip!! Yesterday's drive to Pittsburgh wasn't too bad. We were glad that we didn't hit any bad weather and, of course, that we were able to stay pretty chatty the whole time. There's nothing worse than two tired people trying to slap each other awake throughout the course of a 4 1/2-hour drive. Talk about miserable.

Before we hit the road, we made a pit stop at a new Dayton restaurant, The Butter Cafe. It's a cute, little Parisian-style place that serves up some interesting dishes, including a few gluten-free options. I wanted to order the waffles, but that's not exactly an easy car food, so I got the gluten-free grilled cheese instead and Dan ordered a burger.

It was good … but just good. I felt like I needed a little more. More cheese, a mushroom or two, some grilled veggies … something. I hate when I pay for something that I feel like I could have made — and made better — at home. But, alas, it kept my tummy happy for the drive and that's always a good thing.

Dan also snagged me a gluten-free chocolate chip oatmeal cookie when he went in to pick up our order. Now this was tasty!

Let me tell you: It never fails to make me excited when we drive through the Fort Pitt Tunnels and I see my beautiful city.

Love you Pittsburgh.

I had the sense to know that we would be arriving at my parents' house around dinner time, so I prepared my recipe for Day Three of the Gluten-Free with Rachael Ray Challenge in Dayton and packed it up in my nifty Pyrex Portables Set.

The dish? Tex-Mex Bake!

Now, I'm not one to pat myself on the back (often), but if my family's reviews our any indication, then we've got a five-star recipe on our hands here, people.

"This is soooo good."

"Oh, my gosh, I love this."

"Care, that was REALLY good."

"I need the recipe for this."

I also enjoyed two (OK, 2 1/2 plates of this stuff). Here are the goods:

RR's Ingredients
The G-Spot Used
  • 2/3 cup barley
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free, short grain brown rice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/4 cups milk, warmed
  • 2 1/4 cups rice milk, warmed
  • 3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips



  1. In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil; add the brown rice, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.

  2. Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter over medium-high heat; add the sugar snap peas, scallions and 1/2 cup water. Boil to evaporate the water. Stir into the brown rice with the corn, black beans and tomatoes.

  3. Using the same saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter over medium heat. Whisk in the gluten-free flour for 1 minute; slowly whisk in the warmed rice milk and bring to a simmer, then cook for 1 minute more. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir this into the brown rice mixture; transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish.

  4. Cover with foil and bake for 18 minutes. Sprinkle the chips and remaining 1 cup cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the chips are toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.


This is a perfect family dish. Simple and easy to serve — and a total crowd pleaser. The toasty chips with cheese are deee-lish.

Note: This is a gluten-free, vegan recipe. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer’s products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)


Before we hopped into the car, I also put together this brownie mix for my brother, Isaac, who is struggling with his own severe gluten intolerance/possible Celiac disease diagnosis. He adores brownies, but he's also the average 16-year-old boy — baking is the last thing on his to-do list. Now, all he has to do is add the wet ingredients and bake!


I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday. Tonight I'm going to the Lady Gaga concert with my sister … bound to be a ton of fun! The Gaga fuels some of my best workouts. :) Happy day!