World’s Easiest Cookies {Bake Around}

World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover 600

Elizabeth Barbone (Gluten Free Baking) has done it again, this time with her latest cookbook “The World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” which is loaded with recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and no refined sugars!

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth a few years ago at the Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ. She is simply amazing, funny, and beyond talented. When this latest book was released (January 2016), she asked if I would like to be part of the “bake around” for it along with a handful of other bloggers, of course my answer was YES! I am not paleo (however some of my recipes just happen to be paleo), I do have celiac disease and a dairy allergy so these recipes are perfect for me and anything to support Elizabeth.

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(in true “Jenny” fashion, my eyes are closed)

The recipe we were asked to make and share with all of our readers is accurately named “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I kid you not, these are the world’s easiest cookies…except for those that you buy in a package, but why would you do that when you can make these?? They are delicious to top it off. Light and fluffy bites of goodness. I made the batch and Bryan proceeded to eat more than half of them. I was lucky enough to grab a few for myself.

Elizabeth is kindly letting us share this recipe with all of you and is also giving away 5 copies of her new book. So check out the recipe below and be sure to enter Elizabeth’s giveaway here: GIVEAWAY

World’s Easiest Cookies

World's Easiest Cookies _ World's Easiest Palelo Baking _ Elizabeth Barbone
Active Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free
store-bought

100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing
bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla
extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced
about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly
with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass
sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer
cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then
transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.
Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

See how easy these cookies are? And did I mention DELICIOUS?!? Be sure to check out all the bake around posts on Elizabeth’s website; Gluten Free Baking

*all comments and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Elizabeth for including me in this “bake around”

“Phở”

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I know that this is by no means traditional Phở, but instead think of it as a tasty interpretation of traditional Phở.

Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has linguine like rice noodles, fresh herbs, a delicious broth and meat (typically beef or chicken…I prefer beef). Given my current situation of lets face it being extremely poor, there was no way that I could go out and buy all the ingredients to make the broth from scratch (it is on my list to do at some point though), so I used a Phở “starter” broth…it was a concentrated liquid broth that you add water to from Savory Choice. Pacific Naturals also has several Phở  to choose from (which are delicious, if you haven’t tried them yet, you should).

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I started off by sauteing some fresh ginger, garlic, and turmeric in a large pot, then adding a whole bunch of vegetables, the liquid broth, and water, brought it to a simmer and let it hang out for a while. I was going to leave it just like that but remembered that in my little freezer I had a small piece (about 3 oz) of hanger steak. I defrosted that and quickly marinated it in some 50% less Sodium Tamari from San-J and about a tablespoon of chili paste. This turned out so delicious especially with the added Thai chili peppers and chili paste. You can add whatever vegetables or meat you wish. I would have added some cilantro, green onions, and bean sprouts if I had them.

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Phở” – Spicy Asian Vegetable Soup w/ Seared Hanger Steak

Ingredients

  • 12 oz of hanger steak
  • 1/4 cup 50% less sodium Tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Paste
  • 2 teaspoon oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/4 inch fresh turmeric minced
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger minced
  • 4 Thai chili peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (purple, orange, white, etc.)
  • 2 large portabella mushroom caps diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (green and/or red)
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby bok choy (white parts. Green tops – chiffonade)
  • 1/2 cup summer squash, julienne
  • 3 packets of Savory Choice Pho Liquid Broth (Chiken)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 oz Sorghum noodles, broken in half

Toppings (optional):

  • Bean Sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Lime Wedges
  • Chili Paste

Method of Preparation

  1. In a container or bowl marinade beef in tamari and chili paste – set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, turmeric, ginger, and Thai chili peppers, cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add carrots and mushrooms, and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  5. Next, add shredded cabbage, bok choy (white parts), summer squash, liquid broth packets and water. Bring to a simmer
  6. Add in bok choy tops and sorghum noodles, continue to simmer until noodles are soft but not over done, about 10 minutes.
  7. In a small pan heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat.
  8. Once the oil is nice and glossy and moves easily around the pan, add steak.
  9. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness (you want a nice sear but not cooked throughout as it will finish cooking in the soup).
  10. Remove steak from pan, and let rest.
  11. Thinly slice steak against the grain.
  12. Ladle the soup into four bowls, top with 3 oz of sliced steak and any additional toppings mentioned above (optional)
  13. Serve immediately

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy free and can easily be made vegetarian!

 

 

 

Bread Stuffing {Gluten, Dairy, & Onion Free} & Giveaway from Rudi’s!

IMG_3193One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching and I am already starting to plan the menu. Last year it was Just Bryan, Penny, and I and I tried my hardest to scale down a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner, but who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? I did cut out some of the extra items, and many of the desserts but there are a few things that I just can’t scale down, or not make at all; turkey, my grandmother’s homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato souffle, green beans, and of course stuffing!

I have always loved stuffing…but not so much when it is in the bird. Stuffing made in a baking dish has both the crunchy and soft textures that I love. Since going gluten-free I have struggled a bit in the stuffing department. I have used pre-packaged mixes and even attempted my own, but mastering the spices, herbs, and meeting both mine and Bryan’s dietary needs is always tricky. Bryan has a whole list of intolerance and allergies in addition to my Celiac, but two of the biggest ones are lactose intolerance and onion allergy. Onion is found is more items than you may think it is. We have recently learned that he can not tolerate honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave, and a few other items as well. These are all in addition to his oral allergy syndrome!

When people learn of all these restrictions the first question that is asked is, “what do you eat?”, and often followed by “oh I could never do that!”. When it comes to either being healthy or being ill all the time, we choose being healthy. Yes, things don’t always go as planned and he will get sick, but thankfully it is not life or death, it is more bloating and uncomfortable. As for what do we eat…a lot. A lot of real foods: meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. We have learned to limit more processed foods to the best of our abilities and make adjustments when needed. Granted it is much easier for him to avoid these items when I am around and able to cook but he does what he can when I am here in NYC.

When I was asked by Rudi’s Gluten Free last week if I would like to be part of a recipe creation project with them using their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls, I immediately said yes. Rudi’s has yet to disappoint us with their products and they are both gluten & dairy free, and to top it off…ONION Free. I knew right then and there that I would try to make stuffing out of them for Thanksgiving. I did think of making an appetizer with them, but slicing the rolls about 1/4 inch toasting them up and then topping them with a delicious treat but, stuffing kept coming back to me.

The stuffing is pretty simple to make. You can do the first few steps the night before and then assemble and bake the stuffing the next day. It is a traditional bread stuffing (or gravy, however you wish to call it), with carrots and celery in place of the onions, and loaded with flavor!

As I mentioned above, I have made gluten-free stuffing from scratch before, but the ciabatta rolls have hands down the best texture to them for making stuffing. Both Bryan and I agreed on this. He is not 100% gluten-free because he doesn’t have to be, so I value his opinion greatly and take his feedback to heart. For someone who isn’t gluten-free to say that something that is gluten-free is delicious means a lot to me.

The ciabatta rolls are delicious on their on and ready for your family dinner table in about 8-10 minutes, these crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside rolls are a great side dish to any entrée or holiday meal. They are available in two flavors, Plain and in Rosemary Olive Oil, these bake – at – home rolls will make your kitchen smell awesome!

Keep reading below the recipe for your chance to win the same package Rudi’s Sent me and more chances to win on Rudi’s Gluten Free’s Facebook Page!!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Onion-Free Traditional Bread Stuffing

IMG_3201(*please see note to include onions)

  • 1 package of Rudi’s Gluten Free Plain Ciabatta Rolls (sliced and cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bells Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread (I used the stick version)
  • 1 Cup sliced Celery
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 – 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (Homemade if preparing this onion free)
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil pr parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the bread crumbs, olive oil, parsley, oregano, bells seasoning, salt, and pepper, toss well to combine.
  4. Transfer seasoned bread crumbs to the baking sheet and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes checking often, and tossing as needed. Make sure that these cubes do not burn. You want them to be nice and crunchy like a crouton though.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350°
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the earth balance, celery and carrots – season as needed with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook vegetables for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  9. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with seasoned bread cubes.
  10. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  11. Starting with 1 cup of the stock, slowly add it to the bowl of seasoned bread cubes and stir until seasoned bread cubes or moistened.
  12. Transfer stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Baked covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

*Note: if you wish to make this with onions, simply add 1/2 cup small diced onion to the celery and carrot mixture and use store bought or homemade stock with onion. IMG_3200GIVEAWAY!

  • Giveaway is open from 8:00 am EST Tuesday November 4th and ends at 11:59 pm EST on Friday November 14th, 2014.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry to receive the max entries.
  • Giveaway and prize pack open to US residents 18 years and older.
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

As mentioned above Rudi’s has offered to give one lucky reader the same gift pack that they sent me which includes the following items:

  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Roll
  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Plain Ciabatta Rolls
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Apron
  • John Boos 18-by-12-Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board
  • Spectrum Organic Mediterranean Olive Oil
  • Spectrum Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Oven Mitt

Ways to Enter – enter by just doing one, or by doing them all, but make sure to leave a separate comment for each one:

Want other ways to win prizes from Rudi’s Gluten Free??

From November 4th-10th, Rudi’s will be celebrating the launch of their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls through a giveaway on their Facebook page, in which they will be giving away 100 oven mitts every day! To enter visit: http://www.rudisbakery.com/ciabatta-promo/

 

Rudi’s provided me with product to create a recipe using their new cibatta rolls. The recipe and opinions are 100% my own.

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes {37 Cooks & Good Cook}

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I love being a part of both 37 Cooks and Good Cook Blogger/Kitchen Experts – and I love that they have combined forces for this event. Each of the 37 Cooks received the following items from Good Cook as part of the recipe challenge: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Mixing Bowl, Spatula, and Chopping Mats. We then had a choice of one of the following items to play around with: Nonstick Round 9″ Cake Pan (Set of 2 for layer cakes), 13″ x 9″ Nonstick Covered Cake Pan, Dessert Bar Pan, or 4-Cup Loaf Pan. I ended up choosing the dessert bar pan because I thought that would be pretty versatile.

This was no ordinary challenge though – this was the Good Cook Potluck Pantry Challenge. The key word in that name is PANTRY, meaning we had to cook or bake with whatever we had in our pantry (including fridge) and not buy anything at the store. Thankfully my pantry is pretty well stocked and happened to have a fresh pineapple on hand! We had to use two of the Good Cook items – one from the core items received and the second item was whichever pan we choose.

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I knew right away that I wanted to make pineapple upside down cakes – this was my favorite cake growing up because it did not have frosting on it! I kid you not…to this day I still do not really like frosting unless it’s my own frosting which I do not sweeten much. My sweet tooth is not that strong I guess. This goes perfectly with a little dollop of lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. Even though I chose to do a sweet recipe, this pan can be used for so much more than desserts – you can bake cornbread, risotto (yes risotto squares!), meatloaf, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless – you just need to be creative.

I used the following items to create my Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Spatula, Chopping Mats, and Dessert Bar Pan – I loved using the pineapple corer/slicer – super easy to use, say good-bye to canned pineapple rings!

The recipe is below however, here are a few substitutions that can be made:

  • If you are not gluten-free feel free to use a “regular” cake mix
  • The recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free – the picture does show whipped cream but you can omit that.
  • Don’t like pineapple? Use a different fruit…raspberries, cherries, etc.
  • I used earth balance sticks – feel free to use whatever butter or butter alternative you want…I haven’t tried anything besides this and butter so I can not guarantee any results

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

photo(10)Ingredients

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions (use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often if using a stand mixer)
  3. Evenly divide up the 2-3 tablespoons of earth balance into the 12 wells of the dessert pan
  4. Place pan in preheated oven to melt the butter – once melted remove from oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly into the wells of the pan
  5. Top the brown sugar and melted butter with one 1/2 chunk of pineapple and 1 natural maraschino cherry (halved or whole is fine)
  6. Pour in prepared cake batter evenly into wells of pan – leave about 1/4 inch room to let the cake rise in the oven
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and using a heatproof serving plate or cutting board upside down onto pan,  turn plate and pan over.
  9. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan.
  10. Cool 30 minutes.
  11. Can be served either warm or cool with either ice cream (dairy free alternatives available), or whipped cream (or coconut cream)
  12. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Good Cook provided us with these products free of charge – all opinions are 100% my own.

Strawberry Chia Scones {Product Spotlight}

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I’m going to attempt a new feature on CCGF – I’m not 100% set on the details just yet but here is what I am thinking.

  • Either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly I am going to do a product spotlight.
  • I do a bunch of reviews on the blog already but I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite thing.
  • These products are not necessarily going to be a food item, they may be kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, etc.
  • I plant to talk about the item, the pros, cons, how to utilize it, etc.
  • I just want to have fun with this and share with all of you my favorite items.
  • I started working at a natural foods store with tons of gluten-free options, many of which I have never tried so I thought I would incorporate some of those items as well.

What do you all think?

Below is my first product spotlight…

Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix

By: Pamela’s Products

I love Pamela’s Products – it is one of my favorite packaged gluten-free goods. Lately I have been making my own flour blend to use but this is one that I would definitely go out and buy, especially her pancake mix (I’ll be taking that with me next week when we are fly fishing in Maine for a week). Below is a little bit of information about Pamela’s Products:

Here are some of the reasons why Pamela’s stands out from the crowd:

  • High quality sugars including, fruit juice, agave, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup and molasses create better tasting, decadent food.
  • The palm shortening is made from the most healthful part of the palm and is sourced from companies with fair trade and environmental stewardship track records.
  • Our nuts are from American suppliers to ensure freshness and quality.
  • Minimally processed grains like certified gluten-free oats, brown rice, millet and sorghum are used whenever possible to provide the benefits of whole grains they offer.
  • Sweet creamery butter (non-rBGH of course) and the highest quality monounsaturated safflower oil are used. Pamela’s does not use low quality oils.
  • The cardboard used in our packaging is made from recycled materials and are recyclable. Soy ink is used in all cardboard printing. We continue to seek additional sources of recycled materials.
  • We are in the process of changing our plastic trays to 100% recycled material.

What we leave out is as important as what we put in:

  • We never use any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives.
  • We never use high fructose corn syrup.
  • We have statements from all suppliers verifying our ingredients are non-GMO.  We are currently preparing to join the non-GMO Project, and are working closely with our vendors to assure the quality and source of all our ingredients

Biscuit and Scone Mix Ingredients: Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Sorghum Flour, White Rice Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Grainless & Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch), Natural Evaporated Sugar, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Soda.

Allergy Information: Free of gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy*, nuts*, soy*, corn,

*=depends on if you use butter or a butter alternative, and if you use almond or soy milk.

Pros: easy to follow directions with several recipes listed on the package itself. No sugar in the mix so you can add as much or as little as you want (I didn’t use much). You can use whatever ingredients you wish making your biscuits or scones either savory or sweet.

Cons: Can’t find it in a store near me but will contacting them to carry it.

How I used it: After reading the recipe options on the packaged (which all sounded delicious) I wanted to try my own thing. B went to the store yesterday and picked up two packages of strawberries that were out of this world delicious. So I thought of making a fresh strawberry and chia seed drop scone.

Strawberries are a good source of folate and potassium, and very good sources of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Chia seeds are amazing little things. In just one tablespoon they pack 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids! These are also great in smoothies, yogurt, and other baked goods.

These are delicious! I can however see why they say to use dried fruits in the recipe on the package…the fresh fruit makes it a bit sticky and uneasy to cut so I just made them into drop scones…don’t know if that is a real thing but it is now!

Strawberry Chia Scones

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1 Package of Pamela’s Products Biscuit & Scone Mix

8 Tablespoons of Butter or Butter Alternative (Earth Balance), Cold

1/3 Cup Wholesome Sweetener Organic Sugar

1 Cup Almond Milk

3/4 Cup Fresh Strawberries, Diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds

Follow directions on package – however when mixing in the fresh fruit mix by hand to prevent the fruit from becoming over mixed.

Place rack in top third of oven and pre-heat oven to 375°.

Combine dry mix and sugar. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or pastry blender, cut in butter until pea-sized crumbs are formed. Add milk. Add strawberries and chia seeds, mix until well incorporated. Take two large spoons and scoop scones onto a prepared baking sheet (either greased or parchment lined.You can sprinkle the top with a little bit of sugar before baking if you wish. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool slightly and enjoy.

These came out moist and delicious! Hope you enjoy this recipes and give this mix a try. So versatile…you can make savory scones or biscuits as well!

*I was sent this mix from Pamela’s Products for a review – I was not compensated in any way and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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!

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)

Butternut Squash Soup (GF, EF, DF, OF, SF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

This is a very easy and delicious recipe that is packed with plenty of flavor and perfect for the cool “winter” days that we’ve been having this past week. I honestly can’t complain about the winter that we have had so far, but I won an awesome Cuisinart Immersion blender from Soup Chick and decided I need to make some soup. I looked around at what I had and threw together a very tasty butternut squash soup that just so happened to be free of pretty much everything, except flavor. There is no gluten, eggs, dairy, onion, or soy and is vegan and vegetarian!! The recipe is simple and can be adjusted to your specific needs and tastes buds.You also don’t need an immersion blender, you can instead use a food processor (which I don’t own) or a blender.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

In a large stock pot over medium heat add olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute. Add celery and carrots and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped butternut squash and vegetable stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until squash is fork tender.

Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender blend soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Return to burner to warm throughout. Add maple agave nectar right before serving.

 

TrueBar – Love Letter and Review

Here is my love letter to Bakery On Main

Dear Bakery On Main,

I would like to start by saying thank you so much for sending me a sample of your new TrueBars.  I am always looking for little snack items to keep in my backpack for school, my camera bag for photo assignments and my purse for when I am at work or traveling.  Having an item that is not only gluten-free, good for me AND delicious can be a bit tricky to find, but you my dear friends have mastered all three.  I am in love with these bars.  The first thing I noticed is the packaging – I really love that you can see the bars through the packaging and that they say exactly what they are: “I’m a coconut cashew bar with nothing to hide”.  (Both Bryan and I cracked up at this), Secondly they smell so good – and I know that sounds funny but I always smell my food first because if something doesn’t smell like it should then it probably wont taste like it should.  Third the taste of these bars are amazing! My favorite is the coconut cashew bar but I really enjoyed them all even the hazelnut chocolate cherry and I don’t ever like dried cherries!

Thank you BOM for making such delicious and nutritious gluten-free bars!  They are simply wonderful and I’m not just saying that because I received samples – I can’t wait for them to be released so I can get more of them. You rock.

Love, Jenny

I would love to have my pantry stocked with boxes upon boxes of these bars-they are that good. They are the perfect size to throw in one of my many bags and perfect for travel.  The bars definitely have nothing to hide – They are loaded with omega 3 from chia, a good source of fiber (all bars have 3 grams!!), made with many low-GI ingredients (such as brown rice syrup, agave nectar, chia seed and a variety of nuts), and they GFCO certified gluten-free!  These bars are also: dairy and casein free, GMO free, low in sodium, kosher, all natural, wheat free, they are free of transfats and cholesterol and are low in saturated fats.  What could be better?

TrueBars come in six delicious flavors (and like I said, I don’t liked dried cherries but loved all of the bars):

  • hazelnut chocolate cherry bar
  • walnut cappuccino bar
  • fruit and nut bar
  • raspberry chocolate almond bar
  • coconut cashew bar
  • apricot almond chai bar

I’ve never had anything with chia seeds in it before however, they were delicious and I think I might have to pick some up and start experimenting with them.

If I could give the wonderful people at BOM a high-five for these bars, I would! When you see them in stores around you, pick up a box and give them a try!

Creatively and Frugally Gluten Free

We’ve all been hit hard with the economy the way that it is and if you are like myself, you’ve been hit a bit harder because I am still out of work.  I wasn’t laid off or anything, I willing left my job and life in California to move back East to be with Bryan.  I don’t regret my decision by any means – I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I didn’t move in the summer who knows if or when it would have happened.  There were other factors (like our families) into moving when I did but he was the main reason.  Seeing as I left my job, I do not collect unemployment and have no income or health insurance. I spend my days searching and applying for jobs – which is usually about 20 jobs!  I’m not being picky and only applying for certain jobs, I am applying to anything and everything that I remotely qualify, however the call backs are scarce. sparse.  Honestly as depressing and defeating as it is, I keep doing it every day.  I know something will come along, I just hope it happens soon. It is funny because the few responses I have received back say I am over qualified and that is one thing I have never been told in my life, usually it is the opposite because even though I have about 10 years of administrative work under my belt (mostly in Higher Education admissions) I am under qualified because I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (actually any degree for that matter).

I would love to someday have the ability to donate my time with an organization or be a part time food blogger and work part-time, but right now we need me to be working.  I enjoy working (and earning a pay check) actually I miss working.  People keep telling me that once I get a job I’ll be wishing for this time again, and I’m sure I will at some point but I think it might take a while for me to feel that way.

So with being out of work for a total of four months we have learned to not only live the gluten-free life creatively but also frugally!  I am a coupon clipper and at first Bryan would make fun of me for it but I think now he is pretty thankful for my OCD with coupons.  Each week when we get the grocery ads I scour them looking for the good sales.  We normally don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale.  I’m a big fan of the buy one get one items.  We buy more fresh items vs. processed items.

I also try to make as many gluten-free things that I possibly can instead of buying them at the stores such as granola, bread, salad dressings, cookies, ice tea, mochas, cakes and pies.  Sadly however, I am running low on all of my gluten-free flours and my xanthan gum! So I have to be careful until I can afford to order some new ones.  Today I was trying to think of other things I can make at home with the ingredients I have on hand instead of buying.  One thing that came to mind is taco seasoning.  We eat tacos fairly often because it is a quick and easy meal that we both enjoy.  So I did some searching around online to find out what people really put in taco seasoning because the packages are a bit vague listing “spices” – well that is obvious but which ones? Here is what I came up with, and should probably note we really enjoy spicy foods in our house so you might want to adjust this recipe to your level of spice preference.  We tried this tonight and it was really good, if I do say so myself!

CCGF’s Taco Seasoning (GF/OF/DF)

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (I noticed some people used Potato Starch or Corn Flour)

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (make sure it is gluten-free!)

1 Teaspoon Paprika

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (You might want to use only 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t like much spice)

1/2 Teaspoon Chipolte Pepper (You can omit this or use 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl or plastic bag, mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

Tacos:

1lb – 1 1/2lb ground beef or turkey

Taco Seasoning (see above)

2/3 Cup water

Corn tortilla shells -hard or soft

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Avocado (optional)

In a large skillet on medium heat, brown beef and drain off any fat, about 8-10 minutes.  Add taco seasoning stir until well combined then add water.  Simmer over medium heat until sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Serve in taco shells with your favorite toppings.  You can even make nachos with this instead!

Here is to living the gluten-free life creatively and frugally!


Pancakes – Gluten Free, Dairy Free

This morning I was really craving some pancakes –  I really wanted something other than eggs for breakfast.  I had a bit of the Betty Crocker Bisquick left in the box, so I thought I would try the recipe on the box for pancakes.  The pancakes turned out great – even Bryan thought so. The recipe is very simple and makes about ten pancakes.

My dad would always make ups pancakes with chocolate chips in them and when I remembered that we had some gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free chocolate chips my sister sent us from Australia I thought I would give them a try with the gluten-free bisquick pancake mix this morning.

Pancakes using Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free)

1 cup Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick Mix

1 cup soy or rice milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large egg

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined and there are no lumps.  Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Use just under 1/4 cup of mixture for each pancake.  Cook until edges have hardened and the tops start to bubble (if you are using chocolate chips, add them before the bubble appear).  Flip and cook until golden brown.  Makes about 10 pancakes.

 

Like I said above, these came out great. They have almost a crunchy crust to them with the insides soft and fluffy.  The GF, DF, NF chocolate chips were fantastic too!  They taste just like regular chocolate chips and melt perfectly.  I think I will have to ask my sister to send us some more of them.  So far all of the products she has sent me from Australia have been awesome.  Although these were really good, I am very sad that we now have used the last of our bisquick!

And a quick apology to Bryan – I am sorry for making you wait to eat every single meal we have until I get pictures of it.  I know you are starving, but you are truly amazing for putting up with my little obsessions, eating all the food I make, even if it isn’t all that great and for being my non-gluten-free food tester-I truly value your opinions!  You are my best friend, and I truly appreciate you and all that you do more than I could ever express with words.


White Farmhouse Loaf

One of the best allergy/gluten free cookbooks that I have come across is called Allergy-Free Cookbook by Alice Sherwood.  This cookbook gives you recipes that can be made with out: dairy eggs, nut and gluten. Simply said, its amazing.  I love trying and re-creating these recipes.  I truly love her bread recipe – White Farmhouse Bread.  The quote on the page for the gluten free version is “Crustier, lighter and tastier than many store-bought equivalents” and hands down I agree.  Its nice and fluffy on the inside with a great crust.  I use this for sandwiches, toast or just spreading some yummy cheeses on it.  This would be great to make breadcrumbs too.

White Farmhouse Loaf – Gluten Free (also dairy and nut free)

1 3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Plus extra for dusting) – I use Bob’s Red Mill’s all purpose flour

1tbsp xantham gum

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 tbsp raw sugar

1 tbsp instant yeast

4 tbsp flavorless nut-free vegetable oil, plus extra for the loaf pan

1 tsp lemon juice (I use fresh lemon juice)

1 egg, beaten

1 1/3 cups lukewarm water

– Sift the flour, xantham gum, salt and sugar into a bowl.  Add the yeast, oil, lemon juice and beaten egg.

– Add the water and mix to form a thick paste.  Beat well with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth.

– Transfer the dough to an oiled 2lb loaf pan, dusted with a little gluten free flour.  Smooth the surface.  Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.  Leave in a warm place until the mixture reaches the top of the pan, about 30 minutes.  Dust with a little gluten free flour.

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees

– Bake in the oven until risen, richly golden in color and the base sounds hollow when turned out and tapped, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

– Cool on a wired rack

-Don’t be tempted to cut it before it cools because you’ll spoil its lovely soft texture!