Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lighter Grandma's Granola gluten free dairy free

Have you tried my recipe for Grandma's Choice granola? If you haven't made it yet, please drop everything and whip up a batch. You'll be so glad you went to the trouble. It is, hands down, the best granola. Ever. This verdict has been reached by numerous class attendees, past clients, and current friends as well as family members.

Now, sometimes I want all of that, but a little more fiber, a little less sweetener, and a little less oil. Here is another recipe that is almost JUST as good as the original, but delivers a slightly healthier version. To make things simple, I call it "Lighter Grandma's Granola". Enjoy!

  • 3 ¼ Cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 Cup milled flax seed
  • 2 Cups chopped whole raw pecans (unsalted)
  • 1 Cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1/4 Tablespoon salt (or less, this is pretty salty, but that is how I like it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 Cup flattened rice (optional) or flattened quinoa flakes (optional)*
Mix dry ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients and mix by hand.

Spread onto a large baking dish. (I use a 12x12 glass baking dish and it is the perfect size!)

Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes. (You CAN bake it at 325 for 25-35 minutes, but it is easy to burn, so you have to watch closely and pull it out before it browns). You don't want this to looked browned when it comes out of the oven. Just a touch darker than when it went in. By the time everything has browned, it is burnt. Also, let it cool completely before transferring to storage. It will set up as it cools.

Where to buy flattened rice? It used to be that EnjoyLifeFoods sold flattened rice as a great alternative to oats for gluten free baking. I buy mine from Indian food stores, and it is labeled at Poha. You can omit this ingredient if you do not have it, and the granola will still be a delight.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Cookies Gluten Free and Dairy Free

I am doing some recycling this year...recycling recipes! Here are my cookies from last years gift giving tins. I haven't shared the last recipe yet (need to tweak it slightly) but it is on my list of things to do in December. In the mean time, if you are like me then you are ready to start baking and freezing for holiday gift giving!
Here are some of our favorite cookies to share.

Merry Christmas Cookie Tins - Gluten free and dairy free

I have been baking up a storm the past few weeks, getting ready for the holiday gift giving. The results are in, and it's a sweet success!

My freezer is loaded with plenty of sweets to share with friends and loved ones in the days to come. What better way to share in the season then to pass the recipes along to all of you!

1) Peanut Butter (Nut Butter) Chocolate Chip Cookies - gluten and dairy free. Can be peanut free
This is the easiest recipe! Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
1 cup nut butter/seed butter (natural - no added sugars)
1 cup lakanto, sugar, or sugar substitute of choice
1 egg (can be omitted for egg allergies)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix in Enjoy Life Food mini chocolate chips to taste.
Mix with fork, spoon onto stoneware baking pan, and flatten slightly with fork.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, check for doneness. Cookies should just begin to brown, lightly, around the edges. Let cool before removing from pan.

2) Mexican Wedding Cookies - gluten free and dairy free - adapted from Living Without Magazine
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 cup earth balance butter sticks, melted (they make soy free, now, in the tubs!) or coconut oil or palm shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 tsp flax seed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnut flour or coarsely ground walnut meal
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
First mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with melted 1 cup butter and vanilla. Then add all ingredients and mix well. Let it chill for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Scoop into 1 inch balls and leave them rounded up, not flat.
Cook for 20 minutes at 325. They should not really turn brown, but they should be set. I let mine just start to get a tad golden on the edges.
Then, scoop them into a bowl of powdered sugar and coat them, once, while warm. Layer them for freezing and enjoy!

3) Mini Chocolate Cupcakes: head on over to my mix review page if you're not sure which cake mix you want to buy. The ones in this photograph are the new mix by Betty Crocker for chocolate cake, gluten free. Follow package directions.
To frost these cupcakes, I melted Enjoy Life Food chocolate chips in a double boiler with just enough coconut milk to soften and smooth. I drizzled the chocolate ganache onto the muffins, and put them in the freezer to set. Easy and delicious. No one will know it's a gluten free dairy free mini cupcake treat!

4) Choclate Coconut Candies rolled in Cocoa Almond Crumbles - gluten free dairy free candy
In a double boiler, heat water over low-medium heat, and let Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips begin to melt. Stir constantly. For aproximately 1 cup of chocolate chips, add 1 tablespoon of coconut milk (or more as needed to make chocolate smooth). Remove from heat, and continue to stir. Drop into balls onto a sheet lined with crushed cocoa almonds (I used the Blue Diamond brand and crushed them in a mini food processor). Place in freezer to set.
Alternate candy treat - roll pitted dates in melted chocolate mixture, and cool.

5) Ginger and Spice - Here are two recipes we've used for the holidays and both are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free.

a) Lebkuchen
These rolled out well and made great looking dark brown crisp cookies with a strong spice flavor! Good for turning into ornaments, decorating, or possibly using as gingerbread house material (though I haven't tried it).
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup earth balance butter (soy free) or palm shortening or coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup vanilla pancake mix - gluten free (I used the Maple Grove variety for the batch in the photo, though I think the kinnikinnick would be yum! Try an all purpose flour mix here, if you prefer.
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
pinch of clove powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix ingredients together in bowl. Chill dough. Roll out 1/4" thick (use extra flour for your counter top if needed (or pancake mix gluten free). Cut out shapes and transfer to baking pan.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 7-8 minutes, or until golden. I strongly prefer using a stoneware pan for cookies. They can cook evenly without burning on the bottom! Highly recommend getting a stoneware pan and seasoning it, then enjoying it for years to come.

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix and top when cookies have cooled completely.

The review: Now, this is a strange flavor combination, but I liked it! If you like bold flavors, lemon, and spice then I recommend this cookie for your roll our efforts. The batch is small enough that it makes a good first run effort, too.

b) Gingerbread Cookie that is really a Spiced Sugar Cookie
This recipe was an adaptation of the Disney posted gingerbread recipe, and it is not a gingerbread cookie at all! It's a sugar cookie with spices. But it does roll out and it will work for making a gingerbread house. It will just be lighter colored that what you're used to. Works well for a spicier version of a sugar cookie (which I prefer!)

1 cup softened earth balance butter (soy free) or palm shortening or coconut oil
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 regular eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 2/3 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used the Stashu's mixture, which is not vegan as it contains gelatin, but you could use any all purpose gluten free flour mix)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
Blend the butter sub and sugar. Add ingredients bit by bit until well blended. Let dough cool in fridge for 1-2 hours before rolling out aprox 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. I had to cook mine longer than that, as I was using the Stoneware pan and it took closer to 22 minutes! If you are using a glass or tin pan, check for doneness early on.

The Review: Remember those cookie stores that sell giant sugar cookies arranged on sticks in a basket? Well, this tasted like one of those...the spice version. But gluten free. So that is a good thing, but it wasn't the gingerbread flavor.

6) Truffles - Let's not forget these delightful dessert gifts!

  • 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup of coconut milk
  • additional 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 6 ounces of gluten free dairy free chocolate chips
  • 12 additional ounces gluten free dairy free chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Mix the coconut, 2/3 C coconut milk and let sit, covered, for an hour at room temperature for the mixture to blend.
Melt the 6 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler, uncovered. Stir constantly and remove from heat when chocolate begins to melt. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and mix in well. Add the coconut mixture and stir thoroughly. Chill for an hour, or until firm enough to scoop and retain shape. Scoop the truffles with a small cookie dough scooper and place on a glass pan in fridge.

In a double boiler, melt remaining chocolate, holding back 1 ounce of chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. As the chocolate begins to melt and soften, remove from heat and add remaining chocolate. Remove from heat element, yet leave over the double boiler or warm towel. Mix in with the heat of the melted chocolate, and stir constantly until smooth.

Scoop out the truffles, drop into melted chocolate, roll quickly and remove with fork. Place back on glass pan and move onto next truffle, quickly. Continue until all truffles are coated. Let chocolate cool to room temperature and harden, and enjoy!

Easier method: make the truffle inner, but instead of doing the chocolate dipped outer, roll the truffle in crushed pecans, cocoa powder, or finely shredded coconut flakes.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie - Easy traditional method

Ok, so if you've been following my favorites, you know I LOVE Rachel's recipe for crustless squash pie.(scroll down that link to Squash Pudding Pie recipe - you won't regret it!)
For a quick, easy, and totally normal "Pumpkin Pie", here is a recipe that will make it too easy to refuse.
Start with your favorite gluten free pie crust mix.  The one I used (pictured) is Breads From Anna (Now just "from Anna") found here.
Other gluten free pie crust mixes work well, such as gluten free pantry or a graham cracker crumble made from gluten free gingersnaps. I love Anna's mixes because she utilizes healthy ingredients that incorporate whole grains and a variety of beans, millet, chia and natural sweeteners.
I mixed the pie crust with oil and water and 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, then pressed it into a 9" pie pan. I pre baked it at 425 for aprox 10 minutes, or until it began to look a bit cooked (not browning at all).
While that was pre baking, I mixed a 30oz can of Libby's Pumpkin Pie mix with the recommended egg called for on the can. Instead of 2/3 cup of evaporated milk, I used 2/3 a cup of coconut milk. I added 2 teaspoons of tapioca starch and mixed the ingredients, then poured them into the pie dish and baked.  Following the directions on the can, I baked 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then lowered it to 350 where I baked it for one hour.
The result? Delightful.
I love pumpkin pie, and this is as simple as it comes. While I still prefer the crustless squash pudding pie recipe made with roasted butternut squash, this quick recipe comes in handy for holiday visiting on short notice.
Need more recipes to help create a fantastic Thanksgiving meal? Follow this link for my gluten free stuffing recipe as well as instructions for the turkey and gravy. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Creamy potato soup dairy free gluten free

So good! Cook 4 pieces of bacon over medium heat 5 minutes. 
Add 1/4 cup chopped leeks and 1/4 cup chopped onion and cook 5 minutes more.
Add 2 tablespoons gluten free flour (Namaste all purpose or other) and stir well.
Add 6 cups chicken stock, stir well.
Add 3 large chopped peeled potatoes.
Bring to boil then simmer 45 minutes.
Add 1 tub of Toffuti Sour cream, stir and serve.
Optional- garnish with bacon, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Turkey, Gluten Free Stuffing, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Gluten Free Gravy

Because let's face it...I'm thankful in September, too. The weather has finally dipped down into fall temperatures and suddenly, I'm craving turkey. Well, to be completely honest, I was craving the STUFFING and GRAVY, but usually those accompany the turkey meal.
So, I wake up and toss together a feast for our Saturday (and plenty of left overs to feed us all week!)

The turkey: I don't do anything fancy. I just follow directions, keep it covered for most of the cooking time, and so far I haven't had any bad turkeys. I do tend to pick 20lb + birds, and then I invite as many people as I can to help us eat that much food!

The stuffing: This time, I whipped up a batch of Breads From Anna dairy free, gluten free, soy free bread mix. I truly love Anna's mixes. Now that I am feeling the fall, I will begin baking again! So, the can add all your stuffing spices to your bread (Or buy Anna's herb mix), but I wanted some plain slices, so I didn't do that. Instead, I chopped up the loaf (all but four slices) into large cubes.
In a pan on the stove, I sauteed some earth balance butter with
  • 1 chopped small onion
  • 5 chopped stalks of celery
  • 1 tsp sage (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock - gluten free
I cooked these on low heat, covered, until tender. Add this to the
  • cubed gluten free bread and mix around with hands.
  • Add more chicken stock to moisten. (aprox 1/2 - 3/4 cup)
This time I stuffed the bird, which added at least an hour to the cook time. If you have time, go for it, but if you find yourself impatient (as I typically am) cook the stuffing on the stovetop or bake it side by side with the bird (keep the stuffing covered).

If you like your turkey golden, take the lid off for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.

The green beans: in a pan on the stove sautee at low heat
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cups green beans
You can start these early, while the turkey is cooking, and just cook them low and slow. Turn heat off when they are finished, and let them sit, covered, on the stove. Warm a bit just before serving if needed.

The mashed potatoes: Not too much to say about this. Cook potatoes in boiling water, peel them if you like, or leave the cleaned skins on if you like. Mash them up well and add rice milk, salt, and earth balance butter to taste.

The gravy: As SOON as your turkey is done, carefully remove it form the pan and get started on gravy. In a small dish mix together
  • 1/4 cup corn starch or rice flour (white)
  • 1/4 cup water
Put your turkey roaster pan over the stove burners on medium heat (this is assuming your pan is meant to be put over open flame!). Add some of the cornstarch mixture and whisk your turkey juices until they begin to thicken. Add more cornstarch/water mixture as needed. You want to bring this to a boil in order to thicken quickly and easily. As soon as it is to your liking, pour it into your gravy boat and go eat!

Carving the turkey: I highly recommend you watch this short video on how to carve the turkey. It's very effective and easy, plus it makes clean up a breeze!

Now, enjoy and look forward to many wonderful foods you can create with the leftovers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Disney's Be Our Guest lunch fast pass pre order with allergies - wheat and dairy free

 With an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, I was excited to try out the new Be Our Guest restaurant. I was unable to secure a reservation at this popular destination for dinner, but I did manage to grab a lunch fast pass reservation. To bypass one step upon ordering, you have the option of selecting your meal in advance. I was curious if this was something that would work for people with basic food allergies, and here is what I uncovered.
When you have a fast pass reservation for lunch, you will have the option to choose lunch menus for your party. There is a "Filter" button on the bottom of the ordering screen. Click that button to see the window titled "Allergens". If your allergens are among this list, then you may feel comfortable pre ordering. There is an allergen disclaimer at the bottom, and I am sure you are welcome to wait and order at the restaurant where you can speak to a chef and ensure safe meal options.

 I selected 2 filter items, Wheat and Milk. I preceded to the next screen on entrees where I found several choices that would work for those allergy restrictions. I chose the Quinoa salad.
By adding the menu item from this "filter" window, it tags the foods as "wheat free" and "milk free" on the summary page to follow. If you order the same entree item without first applying the filters it will not mark it as "wheat free" or "dairy free". So, I would definitely do that step and ensure that label appears (see photo below for orange triangle followed by warning of "Does not contain: Wheat").

While there was a wonderful option for a gluten free dessert, there was nothing that came up as wheat free and milk free.  I did find two sorbet options that are marked dairy free and no sugar added (lemon and raspberry).
So, for others who were wondering if there is a process for those of us with basic allergens, the answer appears to be yes. However, note that they don't declare "gluten free" or "dairy free", so we will still have to discuss our options with a chef to ensure safety. We look forward to trying out this new restaurant experience and I will definitely come back with photos of our gluten free and dairy free final selections.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Corn Coconut Ginger Soup gluten free dairy free vegetarian version

My sister has made this soup for us over the years, and it is a family favorite. I'm posting the recipe here so that I don't have to keep bugging her for it each fall, when the weather cools. Now I can just grab and go. We love the gentle spice from the ginger and the sweetness brought in from the corn. I hope you like it, too!

  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely 
  • 2 cans natural coconut milk (not light)
  • 4 cubes of Edward and Sons Not Chick'n mixed with 8 cups hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 3 tablespoons dried ginger
Saute onions and oil in pan for 3-5 minutes over medium low heat. Add chopped red peppers and saute 3-5 more minutes. Add chopped garlic. Mix in dried ginger and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes more before adding 8 cups of broth, followed by coconut milk. Add salt, pepper, corn and stir. Let cook over low heat additional 30-45 minutes and serve.

Of course you can use any broth in place of the Not Chick'n. This just makes for a very easy to put together and delicious soup when you are serving vegetarians who need a gluten free safe soup. Enjoy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten Free Chicken Fried Rice Lunch Dairy Free lunches

My youngest likes chicken fried rice in her lunch, and what an easy quick lunch to throw together the day after we have had chicken and rice with supper.
In the morning, I take 1-2 cups of leftover cooked rice and start warming it in the pan with a splash of water. I add in thin sliced carrots and gluten free soy sauce. When the temperature is up, I mix in a raw egg, stirring as it cooks. Super easy. Once the egg is cooked, I then top with green onions and mix them into the fried rice.  This pairs nicely with a side of fresh fruit or a fruit smoothie in a thermos.

Squash Pie gluten free dairy free paleo option

This is one of my favorite desserts, ever.I just love the Garden of Eating recipe for Squash Pie, found here on Rachel's blog. I simply my preparation even a bit further by just cooking a whole butternut squash for 1 hour in the oven, then scooping the flesh into the VitaMix. I add these slightly modified ingredients
  • (3/4 C coconut milk, 
  • 3 eggs, 
  • 1/4 cup honey plus 
  • 1/4 tsp stevia, 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch which can be swapped for nut flour if you are going starch free, 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 
  • dash of salt 
 into the blender and mix. I dump it into my baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour. It's so easy, and so delicious! I recommend letting it cool completely, as the cold serving brings out the natural sweetness. Enjoy! I even love this more than homemade pumpkin pie, and that is high praise coming from me :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sushi and school lunch gluten free dairy free

So, I will be adding some new school lunches this year, now that my youngest is joining the middle school ranks.  She is currently requesting a variety of Asian food delights, and we have had fun making some new things together. For our first try, we made these Maki rolls. It is a very simple list of ingredients:
  • Sushi Rice
  • Nori sheets
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sliced cucumbers, carrots, leftover chicken or any filling you like
I bought 1 bag of Lundberg Sushi Rice and I followed the instructions for cooking 2 cups of rice, which involved
Lundberg Sushi Rice Directions:
2 cup sushi rice, rinsed well and soak for 30 minutes. Drain. Add
2 1/4 cup water and bring to boil with lid on.
Simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit another 10 minutes (leave lid of throughout).
Add mix of 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar, 1/2 Tablespoon salt, 1/2 Tablespoon sugar or honey. Stir into rice and let rice cool.

Now that the rice is ready, you can cut your veggies and proteins. You will need a bamboo mat to roll the sushi easily. I picked mine up at a bookstore for $5 with a step by step book on how to make sushi. I would imagine these are available at local Asian markets as well.

I laid the Nori sheet on the bamboo mat and layered with rice, leaving 1/2 inch space around the edges. I kept my hands wet with water to press the rice down without it sticking. I recommend you look up images of how to do this if you don't have a book, as I didn't think to take step by step photos this time. My youngest rolled the sushi and they turned out great and easy to make. You will need to wash your knife between each roll to continue clean cuts. This was a fun way to make another gluten free dairy free lunch option that travels nicely.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Betty Crocker Hershey's Gluten Free Cookies and Cream Frosting and Smores!

Ok, so I do love to bake and it seems as though we have had many reasons to whip up desserts around here lately. My favorite cake mix is the King Arthur gluten free chocolate. I make these, frequently, when I'm bringing a dessert to share with others. While I love baking, I am not the best with frosting. Often, I make my own, and it's good, but sometimes I am just in a hurry and I want to pick up something that is ready to use. Imagine my delight when I saw these new flavors from Betty Crocker that were labled gluten free? Additionally, they do not add dairy to the ingredients, which is a bonus for us. I was further pleased that the fat was not a hydrogenated oil, as if often found on frosting labels. It is palm shortening. These frosting containers come with a topper of crumbles to sprinkle on the cakes. The base ingredients for the crumbles are rice and tapioca. I am so pleased for this quick option that is sure to be fun for kids. My own daughter has very limited exposure to cookies n creme, but I can attest that the frosting does taste like that cream filling. The cookie crunch is a nice touch.
So, while homemade butter cream is still a tastier choice, enjoy this quick fix for the times you are in a hurry.