Tag Archives: Gluten free

Snickerdoodles (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten/Cane Sugar/Egg/Dairy Free)

Greetings and Happy Daylight Savings Time for those of you who are participating. Even though winter continues to hang around, there are some small signs of spring. This week, we started hearing birds singing outside of our window early in the morning. And yesterday while the sun was out, the strength of the rays warmed my cheeks.

Today is going to be a baking day for me. SensitiveHusband and I were out and about for much of yesterday, so we are keeping things close to home today. The oven has already helped me to bake a batch of cookies. I think some more baked goods are in store for us today…especially since our heater is being a bit temperamental and having the oven on really heats the place up!

Speaking of cookies, I would like to share with you a recipe for Snickerdoodles that my sister-in-law found. We made them together, altering the recipe slightly, and combined our baking time with a cinnamon taste test. Cinnamon has been in the news lately because studies have shown that there can be health benefits but perhaps the reverse is true if too much is consumed over a long period of time. Feel free to read more about the health discussion here. How do each of the cinnamons taste? We decided to try a side-by-side comparison.

cinnamonThe spice called ‘China Cinnamon’ (often called ‘cassia’) was the same as the offering at a typical grocery store. The medium brown color and texture were pleasing, and the taste was like a ground-up cinnamon stick. Our sample of the ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ provided a new flavor for us, one with hints of the typical cinnamon flavor but also with a smell and taste of citrus.

We baked half of the batch of snickerdoodles with the China Cinnamon, and the other half using the Ceylon variety. Both were delicious although we thought the Ceylon provided an extra bright and perky taste that was really pleasant.

Checking the costs online, the Ceylon cinnamon was slightly more than the regular variety, anywhere from $0.60 to $1.25 more per bottle.

snickerdoodlesIngredients: Cookies
2 cups almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup melted coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients: Cinnamon coating
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or maple sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line and grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix together well. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture and mix until combined. Let rest for a few minutes – it will thicken up a bit.

Combine the sugar (optional) and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Scoop out the dough with a tablespoon, then gently form into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon mixture. Place the balls of cookie dough on the baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.

Gently flatten flatten each cookie using your hands or a jar. Dip the bottom of the jar in some of the sugar and spice mixture to help keep the cookie from sticking to the jar.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. Leave cookies on the cookie sheet while cooling. They may seem under-baked at first, but they will firm up to the right texture as they cool.

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Filled with Glee over Chickpea Flatbreads

FlatbreadGood day, everyone! I hope that this blog post finds you well. I have been busy baking, cooking, and enjoying dinner parties – and as a result I have been remiss in blogging about these experiences. However I have some time between cleaning up after last night’s fun party, and eating some warm, cheesy dip during the ‘Big Game’ to describe the flatbreads I made. Since I have sensitivities to yeast and cane sugar, and a number of my friends need to be gluten or dairy free, finding adequate snacks for all of us can be a challenge.

One morning while reading the newspaper I spotted a photo of a bread that looked delicious. And the caption caught my eye because it talked about using ‘garbanzo bean flour.’ (Yes, chickpeas and garbanzo beans are two names for the same food.) In fact, according to FoodReference.com, garbanzo beans/chickpeas are the most widely consumed legume in the world. A member of the Pea (Fabaceae) family, garbanzo/chickpeas are also called ceci (Italy), Egyptian pea, gram, Kichererbse (Germany), and revithia (Greece). Garbanzo is the name used in Spanish speaking countries.  The English name chickpea comes from the French chiche. These lovely legumes are rich in protein, phosphorus, calcium and iron.

And I made a snack that was gluten, yeast, dairy, and cane sugar free! Happy snack time! This recipe makes one 10-inch flatbread or two 8-inch rounds. Feel free to add other herbs or seasonings such as garlic or garlic powder.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation:

Combine the chickpea flour, water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt and the rosemary, if using, stirring until smooth. Cover and let the mixture rest for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate it overnight.

When the batter is ready, position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Place a medium cast-iron skillet or two 8-inch round cake pans on the rack; preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Remove the hot skillet or pans from the oven. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat.

Return the skillet or pans to the oven for a few minutes to heat up, then pull them out just long enough to pour in the batter, spreading it in the skillet or dividing it between the pans and spreading it in an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes; the flatbread will look set and will pull away from the pan’s edges a bit.

Turn on the broiler (leaving the flatbread in the oven); broil the flatbread for 3 or 4 minutes, until slightly charred.

Immediately sprinkle with pepper to taste. Carefully dislodge, letting the flatbread slide onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Coconut Cream Frosting (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Good day, everyone! I hope that this blog finds you well. I am truly appreciating the weather today, such a bright and sunny day, which is a welcome relief from all of the wind and rain we had this past week. The apples I have been purchasing at the local farm have been outstanding, so much so that I have not baked with apples yet this season because SensitiveHusband and I keep eating them before there is any chance of making a muffin or sauce. The carrots, however, I managed to snag for a cake (more on that in a moment). carrot cake cupcakes

Speaking of cake, have you ever eaten “too many slices of suboptimal, day-old cake,” which then inspired you to figure out how best to slice a cake so as not to expose the remains to the air and get dried out? No? To tell you the truth, I hadn’t thought much of it either. Yet this issue has been pondered for well over a century. In 1906 Sir Francis Galton, a British mathematician, discussed the scientific principles of cutting a cake in a letter written to the journal Nature. Galton, who was a first cousin to Charles Darwin, notes that instead of cutting a cake into wedges, you should cut the cake down the middle and remove a thin slice, then push the cake back together, which seals the cake back up. Galton goes a step further and suggests wrapping a rubber band around the outside of the cake to guarantee that no air dries out the baked good. He, who discovered regression to the mean, perhaps only ate cakes with fondant frosting – because I fear the effects of a rubber band wrapped around a luscious buttercream.

Need to see this to believe it? There is an excellent video demonstration by Alex Bellos – check it out here. And see if it convinces you that a wedge slice may not be the only option for parsing out dessert.

Since I continue to think of cake, I will share with you a recipe I made recently for my SIL’s (sister-in-law) birthday. This carrot cake was inspired by a fabulous recipe found in Elana’s Pantry. I chose to sweeten the cake with honey and I used grapeseed oil for the fat. I also crushed the walnuts and baked them into cupcakes. My notes are included in the recipe below. And then I topped them off with a maple coconut cream frosting! I again was inspired by Elana’s Pantry, although I sweetened the frosting with maple syrup, which paired so nicely with the flavors.

Still not sure how you want to slice a cake? No worries, just bake cupcakes!!

CARROT CAKE – INGREDIENTS
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 eggs
½ cup honey (or agave nectar)
¼ cup grapeseed oil
3 cups carrots, grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped

PREPARATION
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, honey (or agave nectar) and oil
Stir carrots, raisins and walnuts into wet ingredients
Stir wet ingredients into dry
Place batter into 24 cupcake tins with liners (or 2 well greased, round 9-Inch cake pans)
Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes (35 minutes for cakes)
Cool to room temperature and spread with frosting

MAPLE COCONUT CREAM FROSTING – INGREDIENTS
1 cup coconut milk (in a can)
1 cup maple syrup
pinch sea salt
5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
3-5 tablespoons water
1¼ cup coconut oil

PREPARATION
In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, maple syrup and salt, simmer for 10 minutes
In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste
Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan
Whisk vigorously to combine, then bring to a boil, briefly, until shiny
Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil with a hand blender (or mixer)
Allow pot to cool for 10 minutes
Place pot in refrigerator for 45-120 minutes, until frosting solidifies
Remove from refrigerator and blend again with a hand blender (or mixer), until fluffy
Spread over cake or cupcakes

Garlic Scape Pesto (Gluten, Yeast, Sugar, and Nut Free Too!)

scapes1Good day everyone. Our weekly CSA farm share has been providing us with a bounty of produce. Most of the vegetables are tried and true favorites like basil and kale. However, some are unidentifiable that require some research before preparing for dinner. This happened when we received garlic scapes, the veggie in the left of this photo.

According to my CSA, garlic scapes are flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants even though they do not produce flowers. The scapes appear about one month after the first leaves form. By cutting off the garlic scapes, more energy can be used by the plant to grow larger garlic bulbs. The scapes are edible and can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic.

scapes2If your garlic scapes are tender, you can chop them and use them as is, and with mature scapes a light saute will make them ready for use. Garlic scapes are great mixed with basil to form pesto. The taste is very earthy and “green.” If you don’t have garlic scapes, garlic cloves will work just as well in this recipe.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or any favorite cheese)
1 bunch basil
1 bunch chopped garlic scapes (or 3 chopped cloves of garlic)
1/3 cup olive oil
lemon juice (from about 1/4 lemon)
pinch of salt

Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until you have a desired consistency. You many want to add a bit more olive oil or reduce the amount of cheese to 1/4 cup for a thinner pesto.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundaes

Hello, and happy summer to you all! As you know, SensitiveHusband and I recently bought a house and moved, and we just sold my condo. So as you can imagine, my free time has been spent moving boxes around. I also find myself doing a lot more laundry since my washer and dryer are just off of the kitchen, which makes moving the clothes around so much easier. It’s weird, I actually find myself making excuses to just do another load of laundry! I bet that feeling will wear off eventually.

peanut butter ice creamHowever, I have still been trying new recipes. And this one for peanut butter ice cream is so delicious and creamy, you won’t even notice the lack of dairy, refined sugar, or gluten. It is rich and satisfying, especially if you pair it with some hot fudge sauce!

How did I uncover this gem of a recipe? My friend MaryAnn sent me a link to the Gluten Free Goddess web site with a simple note attached – “You MUST make this! AMAZING!” Since I like ice cream, and this recipe seemed to be receiving a ringing endorsement, I thought I would oblige.

sundaeI made two changes to the original recipe. First, I doubled it. If the ice cream was really going to be this good, I better make a sizable batch. And secondly, I substituted the brown sugar with coconut palm sugar. The recipe went off without a hitch and when I sampled it, I was overjoyed. So far I have made this ice cream twice, once for SenstiveHusband’s birthday (hence the candle in his sundae), and once for a family party. And I already have all of the ingredients for another batch.

Ingredients:
2 14-oz. cans organic coconut milk, chilled
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 cup organic natural peanut butter
1 dash sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons dark chocolate shavings (or grain sweetened chocolate chips if you can handle gluten)

Preparation:
Prepare your ice cream maker ahead of time by freezing the canister overnight. Now is a good time to chill your coconut milk in the fridge too.

Combine the chilled coconut milk and coconut palm sugar in a blender and whip until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the natural peanut butter and vanilla extract. Whip just until the mixture is creamy and frothy.

Set your freezing canister in place and turn on the ice cream maker. Pour the mixture into the freezing canister.

Add in the shaved dark chocolate.

Churn until frozen; at 30 minutes it should reach a thick, soft-serve consistency.

Scoop into a freezable quart container, cover and freeze.

hot fudge sauceUpon sampling this peanut butter ice cream, you may find yourself craving a sundae. If this is the case, try this recipe for Homemade Bittersweet Chocolate Syrup from the Nourishing Gourmet. Plus, it’s Paleo; gluten, refined sugar, and dairy free!

And if you need to top it all off with some whipped cream (not dairy free, but gluten free and refined sugar free), you can check out my recipe.

Sausage and Spinach Frittata

New Year's Day BrunchHello, everyone! I hope that you are doing well. I have been busy moving so I have not had as much time as usual for cooking and writing. However, now we are settling into our new place and I am really enjoying our new kitchen! I think it will be a lot of fun to develop new foods over time.

A few months ago I prepared a brunch for SensitiveHusband and me. The brunch took place awhile ago, as you can probably tell from the winter-themed plates we used! However, the menu will work well during any season. In fact, this meal has become a ‘regular’ in our house because we always have these ingredients on hand and the meal can be made within 30 minutes. The main star is a Spinach and Sausage Frittata, which has the texture of a fluffy omelette.

New Year's Day Brunch 2I was inspired by a frittata recipe that I found online through MyRecipes. I decided to use fresh spinach rather than frozen, I reduced the amount of cheese and egg just a bit, and I found a wonderful sausage that is free of sugar, yeast, and onions while still full of flavor. Did I mention that the sausages are gluten free too? And they are fully cooked? Can you tell I like them?

I served the frittata with some pumpkin muffins, a simple salad, and a bunch of grapes. We really enjoyed this meal! I hope you do too.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 medium sweet sausages (about 10 oz.) (A great brand is Aidell’s – my favorite is Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese)
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach, rinsed (frozen spinach can also be used)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup shredded cheese (I like Asiago, Parmesan would also work well)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large nonstick, ovenproof skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. (If skillet isn’t ovenproof, wrap handles in a double layer of foil.) Chop sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to skillet. Brown the sausages on all sides, about 7-10 minutes (or if using uncooked sausages, cook thoroughly).

Squeeze as much liquid as possible from spinach, then add to skillet. Cook, stirring well and scraping up any cooked bits on bottom of skillet.

Pour eggs into skillet and stir to mix with spinach/sausage mixture. Stop stirring and cook over medium heat, lifting edges of frittata with a spatula to let uncooked eggs flow underneath. Cook until almost set, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle cheese on top and transfer skillet to oven. Bake, uncovered, until frittata is puffed and lightly browned on top, about 10-12 minutes. Lift frittata around edges of skillet and gently shake pan to loosen. Slide out of pan and onto a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

Chickpea Soup – One Way to Manage Your Produce Budget

Chickpea SoupRecently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that the lasting drought in California could have “large and lasting effects” on fruit and vegetable prices. Since California produces almost half of all U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables, their weather has budget implications for us all over the country. Experts are estimating that consumers will have to pay as much as 10% to 15% more this year for fresh produce than we paid in 2013.

A March 12 Hartford Courant article includes a host of ways to trim your grocery budget. One way to lower your expenditures is to use canned or frozen produce, which is something I tend to forget about doing. However, many supermarket brands offer organic options and low-sodium options, which are two of the main reasons why consumers avoid them. And then I thought about a chickpea soup that I just tried, inspired by a recipe in Martha Stewart Living from November 2013, and realized that this dish is a keeper for a few reasons. It was quite delicious, only took about 10 minutes to prepare, and was relatively inexpensive to create. This is a winning combination in my book! I omitted the garlic crisps and red pepper flakes, and substituted asiago cheese for parmesan. So if the higher produce prices start to pinch at your wallet, consider trying this chickpea soup as a tasty alternative that uses canned beans.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cans (about 15 ounces each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
1 cup water
Coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely shredded parmesan (or asiago) cheese

Preparation:
Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook until oil is infused and garlic is just beginning to color (do not let brown), 2 to 3 minutes.

Add chickpeas to oil in pot, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until heated through and creamy, about 5 minutes. Smash some of the chickpeas with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Add broth and water; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among 4 bowls. Top with parsley and cheese.

Banana Strawberry Oat Bars (Gluten, Dairy & Sugar Free)

Strawberry Oat BarsGood day, everyone. I hope that the new year finds you well. During this time of year I enjoy baking (even more than usual) and the lingering aroma of baked goods throughout the house. These oat bars make a great breakfast or snack. Plus, they are free from gluten, dairy and sugar, so many of your friends will be able to eat them!

I was inspired by Sweet as a Cookie’s version of Vegan Banana Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. I used the suggested ingredients except I substituted coconut palm sugar for the Stevia, used parchment paper instead of nonstick spray, and I doubled the recipe so that it would fit in my 9×13 pan.

You may find that these bars become one of your favorite comfort foods. Speaking of comfort foods, have you voted for your favorite comfort food? It just takes two clicks to cast your vote on sensitiveeconomist.com. Thanks!

Ingredients
2 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup natural applesauce (unsweetened)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup strawberries, diced
3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar, optional

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare an 9×13 pan by greasing with butter or covering with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium sized bowl combine bananas, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Once combined mix in baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in oats until everything is well mixed. Add the strawberries to the mixture and combine. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and flatten evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle optional coconut palm sugar over unbaked bars. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for approximately 10 minutes. Cut into 10 evenly sized bars and enjoy!

Cinnamon Applesauce is Fit for Fine Dining or Casual Dinners

Greetings everyone! I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season. Even though I have not blogged much lately, I have continued to bake and cook – some old favorites as well as some new creations. I hope that you have had a chance to do what you enjoy as well.

The U.S. Census has put together an interesting collection of facts about the holiday season. I was surprised to learn that more than one half of the potatoes produced in the U.S. come from two states – Idaho and Washington. Also, it is estimated that the value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2012 across the nation was more than $39 billion. In terms of mail, almost 15 billion pieces of mail is expected to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve by the U.S. Postal Service. The busiest mailing day was December 16, and December 18 was the busiest delivery day. I think it’s fascinating to think about all of the ways that holiday preparations affect the economy.

I have been collecting some statistics of my own. Thanks to all of you who gave an opinion in my last poll – how do you like to enjoy apples and pears? Nearly 30% of the respondents enjoy these fruits just the way they are, with no alterations necessary. Approximately 20% of the respondents enjoy the pie variety, and another 20% prefer them in tart form. So I think that many of you will enjoy this very easy recipe for Cinnamon Applesauce, because it tastes very fresh and similar to pie filling.

applesauce1Start with about 12 apples. I like using Macouns because they are crisp and sweet, but you can use your favorite variety for the applesauce. The most time-consuming part of the applesauce process is peeling, coring, and slicing the apples. However, if you have a trusty Apple Corer-Slicer-Peeler, then this step takes about five minutes. If you enjoy making applesauce or any other apple recipe, you will enjoy cooking even more if you have this great gadget.

applesauce2After the apples are peeled, cored, and sliced, place them in a large skillet or saucepan, and cook on medium high heat until the desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Since my apples were sliced rather thinly, and I prefer the end result to be a chunky applesauce, the cooking time was about 20 minutes. However, it can take 30-45 minutes if you have large slices and prefer smooth applesauce.

applesauce3Once you have the desired consistency, stir in 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. The approximately two cups of applesauce is now ready to eat, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

I find applesauce to be a very comforting and satisfying accompaniment to my dinners, especially meals that involve pork roast. I hope that you enjoy this dish too, fit for either a fancy dinner or a regular one.

Speaking of comforting foods, what is your favorite comfort food? This question is the subject of my latest poll, which can be found on the middle of my blog’s home page. To respond to the poll, simply choose one answer from the list (or write in your own) and click ‘vote.’ You will then see how your answer compares to the ones already recorded. I am interested to see what will be the favorite comfort food!

Spinach Sausage Soup That is Full of Flavor and Free From Gluten, Sugar and Yeast!

SpinachSausageSoupI have been really pleased lately because the weather has been delightful. Not only have I been able to enjoy the outdoors, my CSA farm share extended its season for an additional five weeks! I am still receiving fresh produce that is inspiring me to try new recipes.

Last weekend I had a bounty of farm fresh carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme and spinach. I also had a nice chicken sausage sitting in the fridge that had not yet been spoken for. I decided to whip up a spinach and sausage soup, which seemed like a nice accompaniment to the cool temperatures in the evenings.

If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, the soup will do well with the dried versions – just use smaller quantities. All of the ingredients can be purchased either at the grocery store or farm stand. My sausage of choice is Aidell’s Roasted Garlic and Gruyere because it does not contain anything that I am sensitive to. Their web site has a useful list of their products with allergen information so you can choose a sausage that will work with your dietary needs. And if you need a yeast/gluten/sugar/onion free broth, Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth is a great option.

The soup is full of flavor and is great as an appetizer or entree. I hope that you find this soup to be delicious too.

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
12 oz. smoked sausage (4 links), sliced
2 cups broth (mushroom, vegetable, or chicken)
4 cups water
1 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. fresh parsley (or 1 Tbs. dried parsley)
1 Tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
1-2 cups fresh spinach, washed and ripped/cut into bite-siced pieces

Preparation:
Heat a large saucepan on medium high. Add olive oil and garlic to pan, and allow the garlic to start sizzling. Add the carrots, celery, and sausage to the pan, and allow to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes. Add broth and water to the pan, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil. While heating up, add the pepper, parsley and thyme. Once the soup has reached a boil, add the spinach and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes; then your soup is ready to enjoy.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.