Kabocha Squash Soup

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This past week as “lacto-ovo” week in my Vegetarian Cuisine lab. With that being said, the following recipe originally did not have either lactose or egg in it but I had to make a quick decision at the end to add a dollop of cinnamon sugar sour cream to the top before presenting it because it didn’t meet the criteria for that weeks lesson. But honesty, this soup needs no such additions, it is naturally creamy with a bit of spice so the additional of the cinnamon sugar sour cream help off set that a bit for those who do not enjoy so much spice.

I picked up the kabocha squash (aka, Japanese pumpkin) which is an Asian variety of a winter squash. The outside of the kabocha is rough and dark green in color and may have some off white lines through it. The flesh is a beautiful yellow-orange. I would have to compare the flavor of this squash to that of a butternut squash, maybe a tad bit sweeter though and I found the texture to be similar to a pumpkin or sweet potato. Once blended, this was so thick and creamy…I was tempted to lick my bowl.

Kabocha Squash Soup

Yields about 40oz, Serving Size: 8oz, Number of Servings: 5

Soup Ingredients:                                                                              U.S. Standard:

  • Olive oil, extra-virgin                                                                      2 tbsp.
  • Kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, large dice                                35 oz.
  • Carrot, peeled, large dice                                                               5 oz.
  • Celery, large dice                                                                            5 oz.
  • Apple, granny smith, peeled, seeded, large dice                            4 oz.
  • Onion, white or yellow, large dice                                                    5 oz.
  • Garlic, rough chop                                                                           2 tbsp.
  • Ginger, grated                                                                                  1 tsp.
  • Paprika                                                                                             1 tsp.
  • Cayenne pepper                                                                               1 ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                                            1 ½ tsp.
  • Vegetable stock, divided                                                                   4 ½ cups
  • Salt, kosher                                                                                        1 tsp.

 Toppings:

  • Pine nuts, toasted                                                                               ¼ cup
  • Mushrooms, crimini, sliced and blanched                                           4 oz.
  • Sour Cream                                                                                         ¼ cup
  • Cinnamon                                                                                            1/8 tsp.
  • Sugar                                                                                                   ¼ tsp.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Wash, peel, and wash the squash, carrot, celery, and apple. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, and cook until translucent. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Next, add in the kabocha squash, carrot, and celery.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.
  8. Add in paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, stir to coat evenly.
  9. Next add in 4 cups of the vegetable stock. Reserve the remaining ½ cup – this will be used to blanch the mushrooms.
  10. Bring stock pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
  11. While the soup is simmering, take a small dry sauté pan and add the pine nuts.
  12. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted but do not burn them.
  13. Remove the pine nuts and set them aside to garnish the soup with.
  14. In the same sauté pan add the remaining ¼ cup of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  15. Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, set them aside in a small bowl to garnish the soup with.
  16. Add the mushroom stock to the simmering stock pot.
  17. To create the sour cream topping place the sour cream in a small bowl.
  18. Add the cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  19. Turn off the stock pot.
  20. In a heavy-duty blender puree soup (in batches if needed), until smooth.
  21. Return back to the stock pot, season with salt.
  22. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  23. Soup temperature must reach 165°F before serving.
  24. Soup should be held at 135°F
  25. Serve immediately in a large bowl topped with mushrooms, pine nuts, and a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar sour cream.
  26. Cool remaining soup to 41°F as quickly as possible, by placing the a container of the remaining soup in an ice bath to help with the cooling process. Store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  27. To reheat the soup, place it in a stock pot and cook over medium-low heat (do not boil) until it has reached 165°F for 15 seconds.

 Chef’s Notes:

  • This is a blended soup, so using a rough chop on the vegetables is a good way to save some time during preparation.

  • For a vegan option you may substitute out the sour cream for vegan sour cream such as “Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream”

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

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I love soy products and sadly I don not consume enough of them, but that will be changing soon. I actually fell in love with soy milk when I lived in China.  I would wake up early to head down to the dining hall on the campus where I was working just so I could grab as many of the cups of fresh made soy milk that I could. I love both warm and chilled so I would drink one or two with my breakfast then put the rest in my refrigerator for later.

To me tofu is like risotto. By that I mean they are both blank canvases and you can do so much with them. Tofu is very versatile it can be used in smoothies, soups, desserts, stir-fries, fried, enjoyed as is, and so much more. It also takes on the flavor profile of whatever you marinade or cook it in. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you really should. I feel like tofu gets a bad rap some times, people say they have had it and hate it but I wonder how they had it? Was it a not so good preparation or recipe? If so maybe this recipe will change your mind?

Here is a little information about Soybean and Soy Products

(information take from lecture notes, Vegetarian Cuisine lab at JWU with Chef Cwynar)

  • Soybeans are a wild plant from East Asia and have an edible seed.
  • The seed colors can vary from yellow, green, brow, black, or multicolored – here in the US we consume the green beans.
  • Soybeans are oilseeds – which are mainly grown for oil extraction.
  • Soybeans are great sources of protein and their composition is: 33% protein, 39% fat, and 28% carbohydrates. 1 cup cooked soybeans = 28 gm of protein (about 1 ounce)
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Great sources of protein for diabetics
  • Low in saturated fat
  • FDA recommended soy food intake: “25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”
  • Soy protein is one of the only plant proteins that is equivalent to animal protein.
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids with high digestibility (.91)
  • Other benefits of soy: Reduces Cholesterol (could cut heart disease risk by 25-30%), Slows Artery-Clogging (neutralizes the ability of LDL cholesterol to infiltrate artery walls and trigger plague buildup which aids in avoid a heart attack), Fights Cancer (soy isoflavones – genistein, suppresses the growth of cancer cells), Strengthens Bones (new evidence that soy foods can cut the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in later years),  Eases Hot Flashes (because soy has estrogen like activity, a decrease of hot flashes may occur), and Helps Equalize Blood Sugar (for diabetics).
  • Isoflavones – studies show that as little as 25% grams of soy per day (less than 1 ounce!) reduces the risk of: heart disease, breast cancer, digestive disorders, eases symptoms of menopause, eliminates the problems of lactose intolerance, prevents symptoms of milk allergies, and is beneficial in diabetic diets (equalizes blood sugar)

Tips on ways to add soy products into your diet

  • Soymilk – don’t expect it to taste like cows milk, it has a nutty flavor, comes in many varieties such as: plain unsweetened, sweetened, vanilla, and chocolate
  • Tofu: use silken tofu in soups (miso soup), smoothies, and custard like desserts, it takes on different flavor profiles, if you marinate it before cooking it will have a deeper more intense flavor, you can grill it, bake it, fry it.

Last week was soy week in vegetarian cuisine and below is the recipe that I created.I like to make different noodle dishes at home, some warm, some cold, and I never write down how I make it because usually it is one of those “what do I have in the house” type meals. So when I knew that I had to make a salad for class that night I thought, “oh this is the perfect opportunity for me to actually write it down!”. I tend to change up the ingredients based on what I have on hand so feel free to get creative with this. Sometimes I drizzle in a little toasted sesame seed oil, and chili oil (we like spice in this house!), and even top with some toasted sesame seeds.

This salad works great for summer cookouts because there is no dairy. It travels well and the longer it sits the more intense the flavor. I would suggest eating it within a day or two though (if there is any left).

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

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Sauce/Marinade (divided)

  • Ginger, fresh, grated                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Garlic, fresh, grated                                                                                        1 ½ tsp.
  • Tamari, gluten-free, low sodium                                                                      4 tbs.
  • Chili paste                                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Hoisin Sauce, gluten-free                                                                                1 ¼ tsp.
  • Agave or honey                                                                                               ½ tsp.

Cold Noodle Salad

  • Tofu, extra firm, diced                                                                                      6 oz.
  • Mushrooms, baby portabella, diced                                                                10 oz.
  • Zucchini, diced                                                                                                10 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, red, diced                                                                                    4 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, yellow, diced                                                                               4 oz
  • Water, tap                                                                                                        1 qt
  • Rice noodles, Medium                                                                                     12 oz
  • Green onion, cut on a bias                                                                              ½ oz
  • Bean sprouts                                                                                                   4 oz
  • Cilantro, chopped (divided)                                                                             1 tbsp.

Method of Preparation

1.   Gather all the ingredients and equipment.

2.   Peel the ginger and garlic and grate them into a medium bowl using a microplane.

3.   Add remaining sauce/marinade ingredients (Tamari, chili paste, hoisin sauce, and agave), mix well.

4.   Check sauce/marinade for spice level and adjust if needed.

5.   Take 2 tablespoons of sauce/marinade and place in another medium bowl. This will be used to marinade the tofu.

6.   Gently wrap tofu in a several paper towels and press it lightly to remove any additional moisture.

11. After you have pressed the tofu, dice it into ½ inch chunks and add to the second bowl to marinade for 20 minutes.

12. Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt.

13. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and set aside.

14. Wash the zucchini and pat dry. Cut in half, length wise, then cut in half, length wise again. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

15. Wash peppers. Remove tops, seeds, and ribs. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

16. In a large sauce pan add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil.

17. Once the water is at a boil, add the rice noodles and cook for 7 minutes.

18. Add all mushrooms, zucchini, and red and yellow bell peppers to the boiling water. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes.

19. Strain all contents of the pot in to a chinois and run cold water over the noodles and vegetables to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

20. Add the noodles to the first bowl with the sauce/marinade and mix well to make sure all the noodles are coated with the sauce/marinade.

21. Add in the green onions, bean sprouts, and ¾ tablespoon cilantro, mix well.

22. Place the noodles and vegetables on a serving dish and top with marinated tofu and the remaining ¼ tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Chefs Notes:

A)    The medium rice noodles work very well in this dish, they absorb the sauce nicely, however you may substitute thin or thick rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, or gluten-free spaghetti (Sam Mills corn pasta works great in this).

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

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Below is a recipe that I created a few weeks ago while in my vegetarian cuisine lab at school. Each week we are all assigned a component of the meal and we need to create a recipe based on that and what our lecture and demo are on that day. Right before break our lecture and demo were on fruits and nuts and I was assigned the entrée portion of the meal. One thing I really love about this class is that we have the freedom to create recipes each week instead of being handed a recipe and asked to make it, or our twist on it. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to make that I could incorporate fruits and nuts in it.

I decided to start with my favorite “blank canvas”…a risotto! The idea just grew from there. I looked around the kitchen saw some golden raisins, pine nuts (one of my favorite nuts), baby spinach, and sweet potatoes (another favorite of mine!). I didn’t want the risotto to turn out sweet (because of the raisins), so I added a bit of cinnamon and grated Gruyere cheese instead of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

My chef and class really enjoyed the flavor combination and I can’t wait to make this again. Hope you all enjoy it.

Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Risotto

A hearty risotto with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, golden raisins, and spinach, a savory dish with a hint of sweetness.

Yield: 3 cups      Serving Size:  ½ cup     Number of Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Stock                                                                4 cups
  • Sweet Potato, brunoise                                                     4 ounces
  • Shallot, fine brunoise                                                         2 teaspoons
  • Garlic, fine brunoise                                                           2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil, divided                                                                4 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, ground                                                             1/8 teaspoon
  • Ginger, grated                                                                     ¼ teaspoon
  • Arborio Rice                                                                        1 cup
  • Pine Nuts, toasted                                                               ¼ cup
  • Golden Raisins                                                                    ¼ cup
  • Spinach, fresh                                                                      ½ cup
  • Wine, white                                                                           ¼ cup
  • Pepper, white                                                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Gruyere cheese, grated                                                        ¼ – ½ cup
  • Parsley, chopped                                                                  1 tablespoon

Method of Preparation

  • Gather all ingredients and equipment.
  • Heat vegetable stock in a medium pot to a simmer, then lower heat to keep warm.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato, then wash again.
  • Brunoise the sweet potato and set aside.
  • Peel the shallot and garlic. Cut brunoise and set aside.
  • In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add brunoise sweet potatoes and cook until lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and toss to coat. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  • In the same skillet add the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and cook for two minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add rice and stir to evenly coat with oil. Cook for one minute, until there is a slight nutty aroma, you do not want the rice to brown.
  • Add 1 cup of stock to rice and stir constantly until almost absorbed.
  • When the stock is almost absorbed, add an additional cup of stock. Repeat until the grains of rice are tender with a slight bite to them. About 20 minutes.
  • Add pine nuts, raisins, spinach, sweet potatoes, and wine. Stir until evenly incorporated and spinach has wilted.
  • Season with pepper and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Remove from heat and add in cheese. Stir well.
  • Add parsley, and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve immediately.

Curry Mango Smoothie

IMG_4211_4825(don’t mind the spoon and mug…I couldn’t find a tall zombie glass to display it in)

In Vegetarian Cuisine we are learning so much about the different vegetarian diets and how to achieve meeting your requirements for carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. Two weeks about our class was all about legumes and protein alternatives.

Legumes are seeds in pods and include: beans (garbanzo, kidney, mung, soy, anasazi, and more) and Lentils. All of these are great gluten-free options as well as vegetarian and vegan. When looking at legumes you want to make sure that they are fresh looking, uniform in size, no holes (little bugs may have gotten in), brightly colored, and free of dust.

There is so much that can be done with legumes: soups, meat alternatives, breads, flours, you can use them in salads, and ice creams. If you are using fresh beans (beans not from a can) you want to soak them before cooking them. Beans should be soaked for at least four hours but no more than 8. To start you want to sort through the beans and look for the things listed above, discard any beans that fall into those categories. Rinse the beans, and soak them in 4 x the amount of water (1 up of beans = 4 cups water), rise them again and discard the soaking liquid, then cook as directed.

When you are cooking beans you do not want to add any salt or anything acidic to the water – they wont cook!! Salt or season the beans after they have been completely cooked. If you shy away from beans because you experience gas after eating them a few tricks to reduce this is – eat more of them! Over time your digestive system will adjust to the beans. Soaking the beans also helps – be sure to change the water at least 2 times during the soaking process, and also adding Kombu, fennel or cumin to the water while cooking helps to easily digest the beans.

Cooked beans can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about 3-4 days or frozen for up to one year.

I was assigned to make a beverage with using legumes. I thought for a minute and came up with a smoothie using tofu and garbanzo beans. I found some fresh mango in our kitchen and orange juice as well. I mixed all together and it tasted good but I felt it needed a little something extra…curry powder. I know this all sounds weird, but it is mighty delicious! The curry powered is not overwhelming at all, it is just a little hint at the end. This would be perfect in the summer on a hot day, nutritious and delicious.

Curry Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans, cooked                                                      4 ounces

Silken Tofu                                                                            4 ounces

Mango, fresh or frozen                                                          4 ounces

Orange juice                                                                          4 ounces

Honey                                                                                    2 teaspoons

Curry powder                                                                         ¼ teaspoon

Ice                                                                                          8 ounces

Method of Preparation:

1.    Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2.    Cut mango (see Chef’s Notes) and set aside.
3.    In the pitcher of a blender add the garbanzo beans (if using canned, rinse and drain well), silken tofu, mango, orange juice, honey, and curry powder. Cover tightly with lid.
4.    Blend on high-speed until smooth.
5.    Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6.    Add ice and blend until ice is well blended.
7.    Serve immediately.

Chef’s Notes: How to cut a mango: Place the mango on one of its flat sides on a cutting board. Slice the mango lengthwise around the seed. Turn the mango over and repeat on the other side. Set aside the seed and remaining mango flesh. Carefully with a paring knife cut the mango with a cross-hatch pattern. Be sure to not cut through the skin. Invert the mango half by placing your thumbs on each end, and your fingers underneath on the skin. Press upwards with your fingers and then with the paring knife, cut off the cross-hatch cubes of mangos. Repeat with other side. Discard the skin. Cut the remaining mango flesh from the seed. With a paring knife remove skin from the mango flesh and cut into cubes. Discard skin.

Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Last month I graduated with my degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University and also started my bachelors degree in culinary nutrition with a concentration in clinical dietetics. This degree is more heavily focused in academics with a handful of culinary labs. The first one is Vegetarian Cuisine. At the beginning of the term we were given recipes for each week and everyone was assigned a different item…starch, veg, dessert, entrée, etc. However to change things up a bit our Chef said that we can use these recipes as guides (which in my opinion that is what recipes are for), and then create something from there. Which, I think is a great idea because this encourages us as students to be more creative and produce something that we have created. Instead of looking at the recipes I look at what I am assigned and go from there. I want to be able to create recipes that I can share with all of you so I haven’t been using the recipes that were provided to us. So far I have made a curry mango smoothie (this was on the legumes week – I was assigned beverage), these delicious vegetarian spring rolls (grains week – I was assigned vegetables), and this past week I made a sweet potato and pine nut risotto (fruits and nut week – I was assigned starch). These other recipes will be posted soon.

These spring rolls are pretty easy to make. You can always buy pre-cut vegetables to save you some time and you can use which ever vegetables that you like. I wanted to include as many colors as I could with what we had in the kitchen that week. I call it…eating the rainbow! The spring rolls are made with purple sticky rice instead of the traditional rice noodles. As I said I was given vegetables on grains week and we were provided with so many wonderful options of grains, but I really wanted to stick with something gluten-free so I could enjoy them as well. Plus, this purple stick rice has a beautiful color and texture to it. If you can’t find this rice you can always use the rice noodles, brown rice, forbidden black rice, etc. Be creative and keep it colorful (a great way to get your kiddos or picky eaters to eat their veggies). This is also a great recipe to make with your kids, its hands on, gets them to learn about the different vegetables out there and try new things.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

A spring roll, loaded with an assortment of vegetables served with a sweet spicy dipping sauce.

Yield: 8 Rolls      Serving Size:  2 Rolls     Number of Servings: 4

Spring Rolls

Purple Sticky rice, cooked and cooled                  1 ½ cups

Summer squash, julienne                                       1 ounce

Asparagus, julienne                                                1 ounce

Carrot, julienne                                                       1 ½ ounce

Bell pepper, red, julienne                                        1 ½ ounce

Red cabbage, julienne                                             1 ½ ounce

Water, warm                                                             6 cups

Rice Paper wrappers                                                8 sheets

Dipping Sauce

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Tamari  (San-J)                  ¼ cup

Ginger, freshly grated                                               2 tsp

Garlic, freshly grated                                                1 tsp

Agave or Honey                                                        1 Tbs

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes                                       ¼ tsp

Method of Preparation:

1.    Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2.    Cook rice according to package and set aside to cool.
3.    Wash all vegetables, peel carrot, and wash again.
4.    Julienne all vegetables and set aside in small bowls.
5.    In a large bowl, add the warm water.
6.    Soak each sheet of rice paper in the water until it becomes pliable, about 30-45 seconds.
7.    Remove rice paper wrapper from water, and gently squeeze off any additional water.
8.    Lay rice paper wrapper flat on a large cutting board or damp tea towel.
9.    In the center of the wrapper add 3 tablespoons of rice, and equal portions of squash, asparagus, carrot, bell pepper, and red cabbage.

10. Fold down the top end of the wrapper over the center tightly, fold in each of the sides over the center (should look similar to an envelope), and roll up tightly. Set aside and repeat with the seven remaining wrappers and remaining rice and vegetables.

11. To prepare the dipping sauce combine the soy sauce (tamari), ginger, garlic, agave or honey, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

12. Stir well to combine and serve along-side the spring rolls.

13. To serve, cut each roll on a bias and serve alongside the dipping sauce.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

I am very excited to be part of second annual The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap started up last year by Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen. This event brings together hundreds of bloggers from all over to be “Secret Santa” to one another by baking and sending cookies. This year they partnered with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer and OXO (who will match donations up to $100,000.00! Read more about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and how you can donate to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer on their website.

I was given the names of three lovely bloggers: Desiree of The Unconventional Kitchen, Lesley of Chef Lesley Palmer, and Heather of A Sweet Simple Life. I decided to go to the little book that my aunt, sister, and I made a few years back of my grandmother’s recipes and convert her chocolate chip cookie to be gluten-free. Who doesn’t love a classic chocolate chip cookie? I know I do. Just in case there were any nut allergies I left out the chopped nuts but feel free to add those in.

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In return for baking a dozen cookies for each of my three matches, I was also sent cookies from three other bloggers! All of the cookies were delicious. The three bloggers that I received cookies from are Alicia of Alicia Carlson Photography: Food. Family. Life, Karen of FabGrandma, and Gina of Health Love and Chocolate.

Are you a blogger that wants to participate in next years event? Visit this link to fill out the contact form to receive information when the event gets closer!

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Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Inspired by my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe that I re-worked to be gluten-free.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used a mock version of Cup4Cup from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your all-purpose flour already contains this)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon grey salt (kosher, table, etc. is also fine)

¾ cup dark brown sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

¼ cup white sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

2 sticks/1 cup butter – cold, cut into cubes

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (make sure this is gluten-free)

1 ½ cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, or dark – whatever you like the best)

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Method of Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat (do not grease either one)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, xanthan gum (IF needed), baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large glass bowl if using a hand mixer), add the sugars and mix on low to combine well.
  5. Add the cold butter and mix on low until combined – do not over mix.
  6. Add two eggs and vanilla extract, mix until combined – do not over mix.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture while on low-speed.
  8. Just when everything is incorporated, turn the mixer off and add in the chocolate chips and nuts (optional).
  9. You can mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the chocolate chips and nuts (optional) or you can mix it with your hand…that is my preferred method.
  10. Using a tablespoon scoop out cookie dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. If using a large baking sheet you should be able to fit 12 cookies – these do not spread that much.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool immediately on a wire rack.

 Makes about 40 cookies! Perfect for the holidays!

 Enjoy

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{Review & Giveaway} The WHOLE Gang 2013 Desk Calendar!

gf-calendar-20132013 Cookbook Desk Calendar (© The W.H.O.L.E. Gang)

[Giveaway is now closed! The lucky winner has been notified by e-mail. If there is no response within 24 hours a new winner will be chosen..check your e-mails!]

I can’t believe it is already December! Which means the holiday season is in full swing and just around the corner is 2013! How did this year fly by so quickly?!

I know most of you have already started your holiday shopping but I have the perfect stocking stuffer idea for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or those who just love tasty food in your lives. Diane of The WHOLE Gang came up with an amazing idea this year…a desk calendar with gorgeous color photos of each of the 12 recipes (which you will find on the back of each month). All the recipes are gluten and dairy free! You will also find directions on how to prepare the dishes vegetarian, vegan, and paleo! As an added bonus there is a secret access code for a hidden page full of insider tips, tools, resources and 28 additional recipes on her website!

The desk calendar comes in a clear CD case specially made to stand-up on your desk to display the beautiful calendar. I already have mine on my desk! Each calendar costs $14.95 plus S&H and you can order them at: http://www.thewholegang.org/2013-cookbook-desk-calendar/ 

Hidden Page Features:

  • 9 new additional recipes & links to 19 more recipes

  • cooking tips and tricks

  • additional suggestions for the recipes along with instructional photos

  • information on ingredients & tools- resources to find items they might not have

  • instructional cooking videos

About the Author:

  Diane is the founder a2b87bca55e64ec9e102870ff6e41ce0a_biggernd creator of The WHOLE Gang website where she shares easy, healthy,     gluten-free living through recipes, coaching and resources.  She is a Gluten-Free Specialist, Certified Health Coach, Chef and Professional Recipe Developer. She has cooked for over 40 years and lived gluten-free for 5 of those years.

Want to win your own 2013 Cookbook Desk Calendar? Diane has been generous enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win their own desk calendar which can be kept by you or given as a gift! A winner will be chosen at random using random.org. The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Best of luck to all who enter…you are going to love this!

To enter complete one or all of the entries below. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one!

  1. Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win this and if you would keep it or gift it? (Mandatory)
  2. Like The WHOLE Gang on Facebook (Optional)
  3. Follow The WHOLE Gang on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  5. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)
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Giveaway begins today, Sunday December 2, 2012 and will end at 11:59 EST on Wednesday  December 12, 2012. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada!

[Full disclosure: I was sent a calendar, free of charge, from Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang for this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed here are my own. – Again, thank you Diane it is beautiful and I hope you make another one next year as well!]

Roasted Tri Tip

Tri Tip (also referred to as Santa Maria steak) is one of my favorite cuts of meat, however many of you are probably wondering what the heck Tri Tip is. If you aren’t from California or out west, you are probably unfamiliar with this specific cut.  Tri Tip is a triangular cut of meat from the primal cut sirloin.It is tender and delicious. When living in California I usually had it grilled (or as they say, barbecued) and it was always fantastic tasting. There is so much you can do with this fairly inexpensive (at least in CA it wasn’t too badly priced) cut of meat.

Below are some images of the primal cuts of the beef and where exactly the Tri Tip is located. So if you have a local butcher, be sure to ask for this cut and give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

I haven’t seen it really since moving back east which means I have sadly missed out on this delicious cut of meat for the past two and a half years. However last year I won a gift card to Organic Prairie from Easy Eats and it was about to expire late last month. So I headed to the website and saw they had a 1.5 pound organic Tri Tip available , I got all excited and I placed my order and waited patiently for it to arrive. The Tri Tip was around $30.00 (plus shipping), but I had a gift card so it wasn’t a big deal. When we can afford to buy this again, I will. It is worth the money (in my opinion), and the people over at Organic Prairie were extremely helpful and friendly, especially Lori (Thank you again for all your help).

Bryan had never had Tri Tip but has heard me talk about it quite a bit. So I thought I would make him a delicious meal that would highlight the flavors and tenderness of the beef. I really enjoy organic beef because you can actually taste the flavor of the beef and not what it has been eating. I decided to marinade it over night, but with ingredients what would enhance the meat and not overshadow it by any means. Seeing as hurricane Sandy was heading our way we had already put our grill in a safe place so I decided to roast it, which I have never done nor had before but I figured it was worth a shot. We invited our neighbor over to join us (we didn’t want to be disgusting pigs and eat the 1.5 Tri Tip ourselves!!)

Marinade for Tri Tip

  • 1/2 cup Red Wine – Merlot or Pinot Noir work well
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grey salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary – left whole
  • 1 sprig of oregano – left whole
  1. Place all ingredients in a large zip lock bag.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Add Tri Tip and marinade over night.

Roasted Tri Tip

  • 1.5 pounds of Tri Tip
  • Marinade (see above – marinade over night or for at least 4 hours)
  • Roasting Thermometer
  • Roasting pan/dish with rack
  1. Preheat oven to 450•
  2. Remove Tri Tip from marinade and place in a roasting pan/dish with a rack
  3. Insert thermometer probe in the thickest part of the Tri Tip and set it to medium (135•)
  4. Place Tri Tip in oven and cook for 30-40 minutes (check thermometer, you do not want to over cook this)
  5. Remove from oven when the internal temperature reaches 135• and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes.
  6. Slice against the grain in thin slices. Serve with garlicky green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes – or your choice of vegetables.

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 1 Cup Red Wine – Merlot or Pinot Noir
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary (fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced oregano (fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  1. Add all ingredients into a small sauce pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it reduces in half, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Strain reduction through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids.
  4. Serve over sliced Tri Tip

sorry for the pic of the meal – it was taken with my phone…too hungry and it smelt way to good to get the real camera out.

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is here! My favorite time of year. At school we have a Starbucks on each campus I see everyone enjoying the pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffees etc. and it drives me crazy that I can just run in and grab one of those delicious looking muffins with the cream cheese on them…you know the ones I’m talking about!

I am always stuck for breakfast ideas during the week because I’m usually up by 4am and out of the house by 5 so making a big breakfast or anything just doesn’t work for me. I needed something new, something besides my lovely quinoa muffins, which are delicious but its time to mix it up a bit.

So here is my attempt at those beautiful looking pumpkin muffins that you are seeing out right now – we should all be able to enjoy the lovely tastes of the fall, gluten-free or not. I gave one of these to a co-worker and she said you can’t tell they are gluten-free so I’m going to say that this was a success! These are super moist and delicious. I think it has just the right amount of spice to it.

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Agave Cream Cheese Filling

Muffins:

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/3 Cup Potato Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons of Tapioca Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

3/4 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt

2 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

1/4 Cup Almond or Soy Milk

1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin (Fresh or Canned – not the pumpkin pie filling if you use can)

Maple Cream Cheese Filling

4 Ounces 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese – room temperature

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1 Tablespoon Maple Agave Nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

Method of Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350•
  • Line a cupcake pan or muffin pan with liners and set aside
  • In a bowl add brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt – mix until well combined.
  • In another bowl add the Sugar and Eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Add the oil, milk, and pumpkin puree – mix until very smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet slowly and mix until fully blended.
  • Fill each muffin liner about 3/4 of the way with the pumpkin mixture, set aside.
  • For the filling: In a stand mixer (or small bowl and use an electric hand mixer) add the cream cheese and beat until smooth – about 1 minute.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and beat well.
  • Finish by adding the maple agave nectar and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin tin – you can leave it as it is, or press them down a bit, or even add a little bit more pumpkin over the cream cheese. Either way you do it, its delicious!
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few crumbs on it.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in the refrigerator!

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

I really wanted to try my hand at making homemade ice cream so I asked my stepmummy if I could borrow her ice cream maker…thankfully she said yes! Keeping Bryan in mind (even though he was gone all summer) I thought I would try making some coconut milk ice cream, I figured I should experiment and do some taste testing before I make some for him…makes sense right? My neighbor Lisa has become my taste taster in Bryans absence. Lisa rather enjoyed the recipe below and would probably have eaten the entire container that night. I told her I will make her another batch soon.

This is a pretty simple and straight forward recipe. You can feel free to change the add-ins to what ever you would like. I just went with what I had on hand…shredded coconut, cocoa powder, and almonds. This is pretty darn delicious I must say and was very excited about how it turned out. Not too shabby for my fist try! I’m pretty sure I did a happy dance in the kitchen.

Can’t wait to experiment some more. I’m thinking the next attempt with be somewhat tropical inspired.

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

2 cans (14.5 oz each) of Coconut Milk (not light!) – this is usually found in Asian markets or at your grocery store in the international isle

3/4 cup cocoa powder – sifted to remove any lumps

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar – I used a combination of honey and sucanat, both from Wholesome Sweeteners 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped almonds

3/4 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

This will yield about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream – if your ice cream maker is smaller just adjust the ingredients to fit your needs.

  • Always freezer the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance.
  • I like to keep my coconut milk in the refrigerator which speeds up the process a bit. If you have room temp coconut milk be sure to chill the mixture for one hour before adding it to your ice cream maker.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cocoa powder, sugar (honey, sugar, agave, which ever you use), salt, and corn starch.
  • Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract – mix well until all lumps/solids are dissolved. As stated above if you are using room temperature coconut milk, be sure to pop this in the fridge for one hour before proceeding.
  • Please read your ice cream makers instructions, as each can be different for churning and freezing your ice cream. Some ice cream makers suggest running it for 20 minutes and others that I have read suggest 30 minutes. I went by sight to achieve the consistency that I was looking for – this was about 25 minutes.
  • When you have about five minutes left in the churning process add in your chopped almonds and toasted coconuts.
  • For a soft serve consistency enjoy right away or place in an air tight container and freeze. If you do not eat it right away and choose to freeze it, be sure to remove the container about 10 minutes or so before serving. Lisa and I tried it both ways and they were both delicious!
  • Top with toasted coconut and some finely chopped almonds! Enjoy

Again, the chopped almonds and toasted coconut are just suggestions, please feel free to change this up!

Outdoor Dining with Kitchen-Play and Land O’Lakes

When I received an e-mail from Kitchen PLAY about taking part in their Land O’Lakes 30 Days of Outdoor Dining, I was very intrigued. I grew up eating Land O’Lakes cheese from the deli counter. This project, however, features a whole new cheese that they have recently released. It’s called 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese, which is a combination of Asiago, Romano and Parmesan with creamy American.

I went to pick up a pound of the cheese and couldn’t wait to create a recipe with it.Naturally, I had to eat it straight out of the package first. (I love cheese by the way, so it was very difficult to even wait to get out to the car to do so.)

This cheese is creamy and delicious. I couldn’t decide on just one recipe to make so I tried several. I pretty much used this cheese on everything I possibly could – buffalo chicken pizza, stuffed zucchini, and many other dishes. I loved the flavor and the great creamy texture of this cheese!.

Of all the different ways I tried this cheese, I decided to share a burger recipe with you. To me, nothing says outdoor grilling more than a juicy cheese burger with great toppings. Below is an easy yet delicious burger recipe that is quick to make and easily adjusts to a larger or smaller crowd. Remember to keep it simple because you also want to be able to enjoy your company along with the food!

Grilled Cheeseburger with Avocado and Grilled Onions (serves 4)

1 pound ground beef (you could also buy the pre-packaged burgers)

1 large onion

1 avocado – sliced

1 medium tomato

4 slices of Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend4 pieces of romaine lettuce (washed and dried)

4 gluten-free hamburger buns

salt and pepper to taste

Condiments of your choice

Pre-heat grill.

Divide ground beef into four even portions (1/4 pound each) and form into hamburgers. To help prevent shrinking press down in the center of the burgers. Season both sides with salt and pepper

Slice onion and tomato – set aside.

Place burgers on grill and do not move them around! Just let them hang out for a few minutes until they easily release from the grill. You want to have some delicious grill marks on those beauties. Once they release easily (this timing all depends on the thickness and how you like your burgers cooked) flip them and then top with the 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese

Lightly oil the onions and season both sides with salt and pepper – grill until desired done-ness

Cook until desired internal temp has been reached. To learn more about internal cooking temperatures check out this informative post. Toast buns on the grill.

Slice avocado and remove from skins Click here to learn how to slice an avocado. Place one burger on each bottom bun, top with grilled onions, tomato slice(s), avocado, and desired condiments–I personally love ketchup and spicy mustard.)—and top bun.

Serve with your favorite accompaniment – grilled corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw etc. Enjoy and have a great dinner!

Don’t forget to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next delicious recipe featuring new Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All opinions given are my own.

Gluten-Free Frito-Lay Recipes

Don’t you just love when a favorite item or brand of yours is actually gluten free, and provides the information on their website! I know I do. I get abnormally excited over something that most would consider small, but to me its all about the small things in life. I’ve always been a fan of Frito-Lay’s products however, I never realized how many of them are gluten-free! Check out their recently updated list here. I think you will be presently surprised. This was brought to my attention by the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness (NFCA) when they asked if I would like to be a recipe tester for some of the new products.

I was assigned the Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote. I had the option of changing up the recipe if I so desired to, however I rather liked it just as it was. The waffles were more on the savory side, but topped with the Mascarpone and Strawberry Compote made them a sweet-savory treat. I made these for my neighbor and myself whose respective other halves are away for the summer and she was recently told from her doctor that she needs to avoid gluten and wheat. They not only would be great for dinner but they made a mighty delicious dinner:)

In addition to my recipe and post check out the NFCA’s page for additional recipes and bloggers:  http://www.celiaccentral.org/frito-lay/recipes/

Keep reading to learn how you can win your own Frito-Lay products!!

Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote

175 grams (about 1 1/4 cups millet flour)
50 grams (3/4 cup) crushed Fritos® Original corn chips
1 tablespoon golden flaxmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 large egg whites

Strawberry Compote
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mascarpone cheese

Combine flour, corn chips, flaxmeal, baking powder, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, butter and honey
in a blender container. Blend until smooth. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until they form
soft peaks. Fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites until incorporated, being careful not to
deflate egg whites.

Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto greased, heated griddle and cook until waffle is done,
according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium
heat until juicy and thickened, stirring often.

Serve waffles with mascarpone cheese and warm strawberries.

Yield: about 9 waffles.

Notes:

To make these a little sweeter – maybe add a tablespoon of sugar

This recipe was pretty easy and quick to make. Again this is great for breakfast or dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? I know I do!

I ended up eight large waffles

My waffle maker is old (very old) so they came out a bit darker than I had hoped.

The strawberries and Mascarpone are fantastic on this – don’t add anything to the cheese, just add a dollop on top of the waffles and then top with the strawberry compote.

Head on over here to enter for your chance to win a prize package from Frito-Lay!

 

 

Fudgesicles {Homemade}

(My monster fudgesicle – gluten and dairy free! Happy Summer)

I’m always up for making things at home (beef jerky, granola bars, ice tea, etc.). I know there is convenience in buying many of these things, but I rather enjoy making things at home. One it’s a challenge for me, two I know exactly what is going into my food. I love making gallons of ice tea at home because I can control the amount of sugar (or honey, or agave) that goes into my tea. It is truly amazing how much can be found in a gallon of store-bought ice tea.

We don’t buy much ice cream at the store and I don’t ever make it only because I do not have an ice cream maker. Oh, how I wish I had one. Instead I make pops. We bought two packages of Monster Popsicle Molds (I found mine at Marshall’s/T.J. Maxx) which can be purchased from Amazon.com. We love these little things, maybe it brings out the inner kid in both of us, but they just make me laugh. I’ve taken regular juice and frozen it in these to make juice pops in the past and this works out rather well. You can even throw in some chunks of frozen fruit that you might have (I’m a fan of pineapple juice pops with chunks of pineapple and mango in them!).

Last night I was searching online for new recipes and came across one for homemade fudcesicles from one of my favorite blogs Baked By Rachel. Rachel’s recipe was an adaptation from Comfy Belly. I read through the simple ingredients and instructions and was a bit sad when I realized I didn’t have any milk in the house. I don’t normally have regular milk in the house because after so many years of thinking I was lactose intolerant (and Bryan really is lactose intolerant) the taste and smell of regular milk just make my stomach turn. I always have either soy, hemp, nut, or rice milk on hand though. I wasn’t sure if this would work out the same but I was pleasantly surprised today when I tried one! Woo Hoo – homemade fudgesicles made with chocolate hazelnut milk and agave nectar were a success!

The chocolate hazelnut milk I used in this recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free. I also used this in my Samoa Rice Pudding recipe. These little pops are great during these warm days. The recipe below filled seven of the monster popsicle molds with a little extra left over that I just threw in a small ramekin and froze – if you do not have pops you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good). The pops should be frozen for at least 12-12 hours before removing from the molds.

(In the freezer – don’t these molds just make you smile? The purple ones remind me of Leela from Futurama- see image below)

Fudgesicles (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Ingredients (serves 7)

1C milk – of your choice. I used chocolate hazelnut milk however you could use regular milk, soy, nut, etc.
1C water
1/2C agave nectar or honey (you could even do half and half)
1/4C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat combine all ingredients. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes just until all ingredients are combined and well blended. Remove from heat, and set aside for at least 15 minutes or until the mixture has reached room temperature.
  2. In the meantime you can prep your molds. If you do not have popsicle molds you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good)
  3. For easier pouring I followed Rachel’s note and I transferred my liquid to a large glass measuring cup and filled my molds that way.
  4. If using molds, put the tops on them (with the stick end) and place in the freezer freeze for at least 4 hours but freezing over night is much better.
  5. If using ramekins freeze for at least 4 hours but again freezing over night is much better.
  6. To release the pops from the molds dip them in a glass filled with warm water for 5-7 seconds to help release them. Pull straight up.
  7. Enjoy!

(Leela – Futurama, one of our favorite shows)

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

This recipe is actually from my dad.  So all the credit for this delicious dish goes to him. Last weekend I spent it up at my dads house planting our garden and doing some fly fishing. He found a great spot in Connecticut for catch and release fly fishing only. It was beautiful and peaceful and the best part I could to finally test out my beautiful custom 9 foot 4 weight green fly rod that he built for me (I’m in the process of setting up a blog for him to showcase his beautiful work. Check it out HERE it is a work in progress.)

I love being able to spend time with my dad, something that I missed for the five years that I lived in California. He is one of my best friends and we always have a great time together. Last year we got into canning and this summer we plan to put up as many jars of pickles that we possibly can (no pun intended!), and also try our hand at canning sauce. Another thing we love to do together is cook…we are self-proclaimed foodies. Last Saturday we had his boss Bobby over who helped till our garden for us, so in return dad and I cooked up a pretty scrumptious dinner of molasses brined pork chops, salt potatoes, and Cesar salad = yummm (recipe to follow soon). The next day we headed to the river for some fly fishing and after a long day on the river we decided on a light, quick, and delicious dinner of Grilled Tilapia with Oranges.

This recipe uses two…maybe three ingredients, no lie. I even asked my dad several times to make sure because the flavor was so good. It is perfect for a summer day, light and refreshing. For sides you could serve just about anything you wanted; steamed or grilled vegetables, rice, quinoa, etc. I’m actually making this tonight and serving it with some steamed edamame.

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

4 oz of Tilapia per person

1 large orange sliced about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt – to taste if desired

Aluminum foil

Heat grill to medium heat.

Place each fillet of Tilapia in aluminum foil, place two – three slices of orange on the fish and if you would like to add salt, be sure to season the fish and the oranges a little – this is optional, Dad made it with no salt and it was quite flavorful.

Seal foil package tightly and grill with the orange side down first. This helps release the juices from the orange, steam the fish and infused the flavor into the fish.

Cook for three minutes, flip carefully and repeat on the other side. This time may differ based on the thickness of your fillets.

Remove from grill, let packets sit for two minutes, cut open and serve with side(s) of you choice.

Thanks dad for this delicious dinner and for letting me share it on here.

Berry Cornbread Muffins

For me breakfast is the hardest meal of the day. For starters, I get up at 4:00 am and I just can’t eat that early, so I normally take something with me and eat it on my way to campus. My breakfasts usually consist of a Greek yogurt or a scone that I have baked.  This is also the only meal that I get jealous of people with out celiac disease, because they could eat just about anything they wanted for breakfast. We with celiac do not have the convince of stopping at Starbucks (which we have two on campus) to grab something quick to eat.

Making eggs, or pancakes in the morning is just not an option.  It would take too long, can’t really eat it on the go, and I would take the risk of making too much noise and waking up Bryan who gets to sleep in a few hours before he needs to head off to class. Stocking up on pre-made gluten-free items like bagels is also out of the question as we just can’t afford that. So I am on the hunt for new breakfast recipes that I can make on the weekends and have for the school week.

As I looked at the ingredients I had in the house: all-purpose flour blend, corn meal, frozen raspberries, various gluten-free flours, and an orange I thought why not try to make some cornbread muffins for breakfast. Thankfully it was a success! They are mighty delicious and you could use whatever berries you happen to have, fresh or frozen in this recipe. We tend to have a decent supply of frozen fruit on hand – they make tasty and healthy snacks and we love to make smoothies with then.

We are also cutting back on our sugar intake – so the amount in the recipe below is not a lot at all, however you can feel free to add 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 the recipe calls for if you wish for a slightly sweeter muffin. I really wanted to taste the corn and berries in this, however I did sprinkle on a little bit of Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi (love this stuff), for that “coffee shop” look to the muffins.

I think these muffins will be a very satisfying breakfast – they are filling but still fluffy and moist.

Berry Cornbread Muffins

1 Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Corn Flour

3/4 Cup Corn Meal

1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (only if your mix does not have it already)

1/4 Cup of Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners Natural Cane Sugar from Malawi)

4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder (make sure it is gluten-free)

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Zest of one Orange (reserve some to sprinkle on top after removed from the oven) – You could also use lemon zest.

1/4 Cup Egg Beaters (Or 1 Large Egg)

1 Cup Soy Milk (Almond or other nut milk would work just fine)

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (pure if possible)

1 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Do not over mix the batter, as it will result in tough muffins.
  6. Gently fold in the berries.
  7. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  8. Scoop the batter evenly into each paper lined muffin cup.
  9. Optional – Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little bit of the Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  11. Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffins, if it comes out clean or will little stuck to it, the muffins are done.
  12. Optional – Sprinkle with reserved zest
  13. Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  14. May be eaten warm with a little butter, honey, or agave  if you wish.