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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

 

 

 

Shortbread cookies hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. I have been eating them my whole life. They remind me of my parents–who are entering their twilight years, and who both love shortbread over all other cookies. I used to relish opening a new tin of Walkers assorted shortbread cookies, carefully selecting different shapes. And I like shortbread because I generally distrust sugar and love butter.

I also like that I don’t mind giving my children a shortbread cookie as a sweet treat since they’re relatively low in sugar (emphasis on “relatively”), yet my kids still see it as a cookie, a treat. They also enjoy helping me make the cookies, which can be whipped up in 30 minutes. Well, full disclosure here, it is currently so hot in Brazil, that by the time I incorporate the butter with the dry ingredients, it has melted so much that I have to chill my dough before rolling, cutting and baking it. But in most parts of the world, shortbread cookies can be made quickly and easily with so few ingredients.

Perhaps the best part about shortbread is that you can add just about anything you want to the dough. Here, the recipe is with fresh-grated lemon zest, but you can add chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, grated orange zest, ginger, lavender, or chopped nuts and dried fruit as seen in my holiday recipe for pistachio cranberry shortbread.

 

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly cooler

1/3 cup sugar (also good using just 1/4 cup)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

zest of one lemon (finely grated)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (140 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour, I like this brand 

1/3 cup almond flour

 

Preparation

In a medium-size bowl, or food processor, combine the butter and sugar until evenly incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

Whisk together the flours and salt in a small bowl and add to the butter mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle that’s approximately 3/8-inch in thickness. Cut into bars roughly 1.5 inches by 3 inches or use cookie cutters to cut into different shapes. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or munching. These cookies keep for several days if you store them in a airtight container after they’re completely cooled.

Enjoy!

 

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I should rename my blog, “Muffin Mama,” since it seems I bake muffins at least twice a week. Baking is stress-relieving for me. In California, I baked muffins and breads regularly, but I because I haven’t bought a loaf pan yet here in Brazil, I’m all about the muffin. Unfortunately, because I can’t figure out the temperature on my oven in Brazil, there have been many muffins batches I wanted to share but couldn’t because they cooked too hot to be worth photographing.

I like making muffins because they’re simple to prepare, fun to eat, easy to make gluten- or dairy-free and low-sugar, and possess some element of nostalgia (possibly from the 80s–or was it the 90s when muffins became so popular that offering “muffin tops” even became a thing?). My kids love them, too, and I can put in all sorts of ingredients, such as carrots, zucchini, wheatgerm, and nuts, while keeping everyone happy.

This recipe is slightly more sophisticated than the banana or blueberry muffins I usually bake. These muffins you might serve when you invite someone over for tea or coffee, or as part of a brunch spread. They have a moist, delicate, cake-like texture, and the orange and almond combination make them just a tad sophisticated–if I can be so bold as to suggest muffins can have any sophistication. These would make a great companion to a leek and gruyere quiche or tart or an herb omelette if you’re inviting friends for brunch.

I’m crazy about almond, so you’ll appreciate the subtle almond flavor in these. If you don’t like almond, just use vanilla extract–just make sure it’s good quality, pure vanilla. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I like this brand)

1 cup almond flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp sea salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one orange (roughly 2-3 tsp)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 12-muffin tin by either greasing the cups with a little olive oil or lining them with paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until mixture is even in color. Whisk in sugar, orange zest and juice, yogurt, oil, and extracts.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until combined. (Don’t over stir.) Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.

Lightly toast the sliced almonds under just lightly golden. Sprinkle evenly over the batter-filled cups. Place in the center of the oven and bake 18-22 minutes or until the edges turn gold and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Once completely cooled, muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days.

Enjoy!

 

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I did not drop off the face of the earth, but it has been ages since I’ve posted anything here. The past few months have challenged me physically as well as emotionally. Making the decision to move from my comfortable life in northern California to the massive city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in order to support my husband’s work was incredibly difficult. Convincing the children to go along with the decision was equally difficult. Packing up a significant part of our home (where the expression “pack-rat” got redefined) took far more time than I could have imagined. Getting all the paperwork in order and loose ends tied up–bank accounts, visas, residence permits, nearly drove us insane. Finding homes for some of our beloved pets–since we only brought two to Brazil, I found particularly difficult, and at the end, heartbreaking, since I consider our animals family.

Fortunately, the expat community in Sao Paulo, although relatively small, is wonderfully supportive, and Brazilians in general are friendly and kind. We live adventure nearly every day, and grow from it–personally and as world citizens. On top of requiring me to learn another language, the move has required dietary changes, such as regular servings of pineapple, papaya and watermelon instead of my daily helpings of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Chard remains elusive, and rice and beans abound. My cooking has not been spectacular, but a few dishes, and some of my travels definitely warrant sharing.

This dish I made back home, but never got around to posting until now. I call this my “breakfast (or lunch) of champions” because it is full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and it’s packed with flavor. In reality, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating bacon right before you head out for a 6-kilometer run. But if you have an important meeting, need to run a few hours worth of errands, or are going on a big hike and want sustained energy for 4-5 hours, this dish is perfect.

Like many people, my body doesn’t tolerate most types of beans as well as I would like, but garbanzo beans appear to be the exception, and garbanzo bean flour is the main ingredient in the crepes. I couldn’t be more thankful, because garbanzo beans are a great source of insoluble fiber (important for keeping our colons healthy!), protein, and several vitamins and minerals including iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium and folate.

 

Ingredients

For the crepes, whisk together the following until you get a smooth, runny batter consistency:

1 cup sprouted garbanzo bean flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4-1 cup water

Pinch of sea salt

1 tbsp of avocado oil, plus more for the pan

 

Preparation

Swirl a little oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour in half of the batter and swirl the pan gently to spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan. Cook until set and the bottom is just starting to turn golden brown–approximately 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip the crepe over and cook another 2 minutes.

Repeat. This recipe makes 4-6 crepes depending on how thick you make them.

 

Ingredients

For the wrap I call “breakfast of champions,” I place the following ingredients on each crepe and fold in half or in thirds for serving.

2-3 strips of bacon, cooked

1 egg, fried sunny side up

Two leaves of curly kale (tough stocks removed, and lightly braised)

1/2 an avocado, peeled and sliced

Coarse-ground sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

This combination tastes insanely good and flavorful, but you can experiment with whatever you like. I cook the bacon in a cast-iron pan first. After removing the cooked bacon, I drain off the excess fat and lightly braise the kale leaves in the same pan so they pick up all the delicious bits and pieces left from cooking the bacon.

Note: These crepes are super easy and quick to make, but you can double or triple the crepe batter recipe and make a batch so you have them handy. Just be sure to put a sheet of parchment paper between crepes and store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Please note that they are best fresh and warm, as can stiffen slightly if refrigerated or left out for any length of time.

Enjoy!

 

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I’ve been promising–at least on Instagram, to share the gluten-free version of my Winemakers Cake (see original recipe here). It’s all I’ve been making lately because it’s super easy and fast to prepare, looks nice when serving to guests, and I especially love that it’s gluten- and dairy-free since I avoid both most of the time. In fact, I like the gluten-free version so much that I’ve been favoring it over the original recipe on most occasions. The crumb seems a bit more delicate even though the gluten-free version doesn’t rise as much as the original recipe.

My local grocer keeps stocking Thomson grapes, too, which is the preferred grape for this cake, and it really feels like an “Indian Summer” dessert–lightly sweet, not too rich or heavy and using the fruit of the season.

If you haven’t already tried this recipe, please do. I know you will love it–especially how easy it is.

 

Ingredients

2 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk or good-quality almond milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour*

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tbsp coconut flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp almond extract

10 oz (about 1-1/2 cups) small, purple grapes**

Confectioners sugar for garnish (optional)

*I like to use Bob’s Red Mill “1 to 1 All-Purpose Gluten-free flour.”

**Thomson or Thomcord grapes work the best because they’re small and jammy in flavor. I’m sure this cake would taste delicious with other varieties, but I would avoid using the more common green or red grapes.

 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 3 minutes. Add the oil, non-dairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and mix until blended.

In a medium-size bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and salt until thoroughly blended. Add the lemon zest, and toss to coat. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until blended. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquids.

Stir 1 cup of the grapes into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top using a spatula or back of a spoon.

Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 15 minutes before sprinkling the remaining grapes over the top of the cake. Bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, and the cake has a nice light golden color.

Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the sides before releasing the removing the side of the springform pan. Serve at room temperature with a dusting of confectioners sugar. You can store the cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

 

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I can’t seem to get enough of this bread, and I have to confess, I’ve been making it at least once a week. The kids ask to have a slice the second they’re home from school, so we blaze through a regular-size loaf in just a couple days!

Loaded with tons of goodness, just one slice feels like a meal. This bread gives you natural sweetness (just 3 tbsp of coconut sugar in the whole loaf!), an addictive mix of flavors from the cherry and chocolate, and the best part is… You can prepare it in about 10 minutes if you have a high-powered blender like my Vitamix!!

(Recipe adapted from the Zenbelly Cookbook–one of my favorites for simple to prepare, grain-free and dairy-free, tasty dishes.)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3)

3 large eggs

1/4 cup palm shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature

3 tbsp almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup almond flour

1 cup gluten-free flour (I like a blend of arrowroot and cassava)

2 tbsp coconut flour

3 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt

1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup raw pecans, finely chopped

1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I like this brand)

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7-inch loaf pan.

Place the bananas, shortening, vanilla extract, eggs and milk in the blender. Blend until completely mixed and creamy.

In a medium-size bowl, toss together the coconut, chopped pecans, chocolate chips and dried fruit. Set aside.

In another medium-size bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and baking soda. Pour the contents of the blender into the the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut, pecans, chips and fruit. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan, and even out using the back of a spoon on spatula.

cranbread3

 

Bake in the center of the oven for 50-55 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the bread has a nice, light brown crust. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges before inverted onto a cutting board. Best served warm with a little butter or fruit spread, although it really needs nothing.

Store wrapped in foil or airtight container for 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

 

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These gluten-free, grain-free scones have become a favorite in my home. They boast enough flavor on their own that you don’t need to add jams or spreads (although I think a light spread of whipped coconut cream would make them taste even better). I also like that they don’t come out too dense like so many recipes that rely primarily on almond flour. The three to one ratio of almond to potato starch ensure these baked treats come out light with a beautiful crumb and a slightly crunchy top.

This recipe is just slightly altered from the one in Brittany Angel’s wonderful Paleo cookbook, “every last crumb.” I use slightly less sugar, chocolate chips and fruit. You can use dried cranberries, currants or other dried fruit in place of the cherries. They all work well!

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 cup potato starch, plus a little extra for the work surface

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup or 1 stick chilled unsalted butter or butter substitute

1/3 cup coconut or evaporated cane sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1/4 cup chocolate chips*

3/4 cup cherries, fresh, frozen or dried, halved and pitted*

2 tbsp tapioca starch for dusting the cherries

*Brittany’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chocolate chip and 1 cup fruit. I think the scones can handle as much as you want. For me, it’s more a question of whether you’re wanting a breakfast bread replacement or dessert.

 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, potato starch, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture consists of pea-sized lumps.

scone1

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in the sugar and vinegar. Pour into the flour mixture and mix briefly–just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, toss the cherries in the tapioca starch. Fold into the dough.

Dust a sheet of parchment paper with a couple tablespoons potato starch. Place the dough on the dusted paper and pat into a circle about 6-7 inches in diameter. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Note: I like to slice my scones before baking, but Brittany’s recipe calls for popping the scones in the oven now and slicing later.

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Bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm and golden. (You can cover with foil halfway through baking if you find your scones are at risk of becoming too dark, but this hasn’t happened to me yet.)

Note: Brittany suggests melting an extra 1/2 cup chocolate chips for 1 minute in the microwave, and drizzling it over the scones when they’re out of the oven.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serves 6.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Happiest of New Years!

I hope 2016 brings you great health, much love and joy, and a little adventure. I feel we should never stop seeing and experiencing new things, nor should we ever cease to be amazed by all the wonderment in this world, don’t you agree?

In case you noticed, I took a little hiatus… a little time to focus on my other work, and most importantly, focus on my family. I find that additional attention and caring always pays back in tens if not hundreds. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my children will not stay little and young, and that what I say to them and do with them now is what matters most. And just like people constantly tell other parents who have babies or toddlers, children do grow unbelievably quickly, and every day is a treasure, a chance to build a memory that will last a lifetime.

I hope your holiday was cheerful and warm. We spent ours close to home, making two short trips to the snow just before and after Christmas. Last year we skied in T-shirts, but this year mandated we buy extra protection so that not one millimeter of skin was exposed to the freezing temperatures, fierce winds and blowing snow. I will share some great winter skin savers in the next couple weeks along with some recipes for nourishing, warming food, which is what I crave most during these cold–in our case, wet, months.

These are two of my favorite chili and cornbread recipes, both of which I’ve made vegan as well as with animal products. I’ve included notes about how to alter each so you can easily adapt the recipe to your dietary preferences.

The addition of cocoa powder and chipotle peppers makes the chili recipe extra delicious. And I love that I can cook a big pot made mild enough for all ages, and easily add in the chipotle peppers at the very end for those that like the extra kick. The turkey chili recipe (with very small adaptations) is from Cookin’Canuck.

 

Chili

Ingredients (serves 8)

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 lb ground turkey meat*

1/4 cup chili powder

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp coconut sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 14 oz can whole tomatoes (with juices)

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped

2 tsp adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth*

1 15oz can black beans, drained and well-rinsed

1 15oz can small white beans, drained and well-rinsed

sour cream, grated cheese and chopped fresh cilantro, optional as garnish

*You can easily make this recipe vegan by substituting Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble for the turkey and by using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

 

Preparation

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender and slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Add cumin and oregano. Stir for an additional 30 seconds.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Make sure the turkey is cooked through.

Add chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add whole tomatoes, including juices. Break up the tomatoes using a wooden spoon.

Mix in tomato paste and chicken broth. Note: if you want to serve the chili to children or anyone who might be sensitive to too much spice, wait until the end to add in the chipotle peppers and adobe sauce, or split your chili into two pans at this time so you can add the “heat” to one pot while keeping the other mild.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add beans and simmer an additional 10-20 minutes.

Serve hot, and garnish if you like.

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Now for the cornbread! I love this recipe because it’s rich, moist and full of texture. It’s heavily adapted from a recipe a friend gave me a year ago, and I like that it can be made vegetarian or vegan and is gluten-free.

 

Cornbread

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter, softened or 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice

4 eggs or equivalent of Ener-G Egg Replacer

2 tbsp milk or milk substitute

1 tbsp honey

1/2 cup mild green chilies

1 1/2 cup cream-style corn

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal, medium grind

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F.

Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream butter or oil and sugar using an electric mixer or large whisk. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each or if using, beat in egg substitute. Beat in milk and honey. Beat in cream-style corn and chilies. Fold in dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serve warm with butter and a drizzle of honey if you like.

Stay warm!!

 

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