Monday, March 29, 2010


That's me.. the traitor.. I've started eating wheat again. After careful consideration (and slight consumption of glutenous products at family functions) I realized that it was not wheat that was paining my poor tummy. Oh bread, how I've missed thee! And Cheerios - your wonderful graininess! Though now I know if there is ever a need to cut something out of my diet, I am perfectly capable. I also know that there is such a thing as delicious Gluten-Free foods - I've made them! I have a soft spot for rice flours, millet flour, quinoa.. my grain family has just gotten that much bigger! I'll still be cooking free of gluten as well as normal "wheat eater" recipes, though I have so many baked goods in the house I need to take a bit of a break. But someday soon.. there will be more..

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Confessions of a Bake-aholic

Last night we had a benefit out at Gunther's in Plainfield for my cousins, Kylie and Taylor, and in memory of my uncle, Jeff. Out late and partying hard with my family left little time for sleep. So there's no reason I should want to bake anything tonight.. says the bake-aholic..

I discovered this recipe a few days ago over at Tartlette. I figured after the amount of sugar I injested over the past few days, this recipe would be perfect to get me back on track. They're very tasty and very filling with tons of fiber! I plan to try them warmed up with some milk poured over the top. Yum!

Lavender Oatmeal Bars
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/8 cup flax seed
1 teaspoon lavender
1 egg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix flours, oats, walnuts, flax seed, and lavender. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to flour mixture and combine well. Spread onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove, let cool, and cut into sections with pizza cutter. Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Muffins

I decided to bake some muffins to mail to Kyle's parents. Knowing his family likes grapefruit, I started there. Unfortunately most recipes I found used far more butter and sugar than I like to use. I looked up a lemon poppy seed muffin recipe, swapping out the lemon zest for grapefruit zest and grapefruit juice for milk. I also added in some chopped up grapefruit flesh and decreased the amount of poppy seeds. They turned out pretty well, sweet enough but not overpowering. Man did they smell awesome while baking..

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup grapefruit juice (for me this was roughly the juice from half a grapefruit plus a splash of half and half)
Flesh of that half of a grapefruit, chopped up

Preheat oven to 350. Place liners in mini muffin pan (I always use my mini muffin pan, I love it!). Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In stand mixer, cream butter, zest, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time making sure each is mixed in well. Now add poppy seeds and grapefruit flesh. Add in flour mixture and juice mixture until just combined. Fill muffin liners and bake for 9-11 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Perfectly Paired

I love red wine, I love chocolate, why not combine them and create the perfect cookie? In honor of my Uncle and Aunt journeying to London, I opted to make these uniquely decadent cookies. My Uncle also loves red wine; it's nothing for us to sit and drink a whole bottle together. And to think, a few years ago I couldn't stand the stuff! Well, it's too bad I thought of making these the day after their going away party. Perhaps I can mail him a box of these awesome treats.. Well, until I am able to do that, Amanda and I will enjoy their chocolatey wine-ness! I used Cabernet Sauvignon, but your favorite red wine will do I'm sure. Enjoy responsibly.. ;)

Chocolate Red Wine Cookies
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Blend butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and wine. Mix in dry ingredients until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop teaspoon sized globbies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. They harden up a bit as they cool, don't worry! They do, however, taste wonderful warm..

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" Cookie

So after a slightly stressful day, I enjoy coming home and whipping up something in the kitchen. It's my relax time. I start with a recipe and change it up until it's no longer recognizable. This is what I did last night, creating what I call the Fruit Cookie (aka Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookie). With no refined sugar and a bunch of fruit, it's a little more like a muffin than a cookie. Delicious with a dollop of peanut butter for breakfast. =) I think next time I might try adding in some fresh minced ginger..

Fruit Cookie
1/2 cup applesauce (I used homemade with plums in it)
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup butter
1 banana, mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup coconut, sweetened

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In your trusty mixer, beat together applesauce, tahini, butter, banana and egg until well mixed. Incorporate flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients until your yummy batter is created. Drop dough by spoonful onto cookie sheet, lightly spreading batter with the back of the spoon. I discovered after the first batch that this dough won't spread. If you want a more muffin-y cookie, you can skip spreading the batter out - they're just as yummy that way! Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, then place cookies on a cooling rack to cool.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Molasses Flax Cookies

So, in leiu of going to the gym this morning I decided to make these "cookies". I don't have any maple syrup, so I used molasses. I have no coconut oil, so I used peanut butter. You get the picture.. A link to the original recipe can be found on this page of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. The first batch I cooked for 13 minutes and they burnt a bit, the second batch I cooked for about 8 was a bit gooey-er. So I'd say just eyeball it somewhere between those times and you should be good! This stuff tasted yummy and I'm excited to eat the cookies. They seem fairly healthy and have lots of fiber, so they can't be bad for lunch right?? Anyway.. enjoy!

Molasses Flax Cookies
1/2 cup whole oats
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons whole flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 (if you can get it to WORK - grumble, grumble). Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. In a food processor, grind up oats until powdered. Add in remaining ingredients and blend well. Drop onto cookie sheet in roughly tablespoon sized amounts. They will spread pretty far. Cook these between 8-13 minutes and allow to cool before removing from the cookie sheet. Cookies harden as they cool. Then enjooooooooooy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Green is the New Red

They're having a St Patrick's Day party at the bank next Wednesday! Woo hoo for corned beef! So there we were, discussing what else to bring. The thought occured to me, why not make green velvet cake? You know, red velvet cake with green food coloring instead of red to make it Irishly festive! I found a recipe that was a take on Paula Deen's here and altered it a bit. I split the recipe in half and made it gluten free with white rice flour. It turned out perfectly, I had JUST enough sugar in the cabinet. Phew! In fact, they were so good that I took them to various friends this morning so I wouldn't be tempted to eat any more.

Disclaimer: Eating the batter will turn your tongue green.

Enjoy this early St Patrick's Day treat!

Green Velvet Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups white rice flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk(1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar rested for 5 minutes)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon green food coloring
1/2 teaspoon distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix together wet ingredients (be careful not to fling green everywhere). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Divide the batter up into cupcake tins lined with those little papers. I used a mini cupcake tin since that's all I have papers for, but you could just as easily use a large cupcake tin. I didn't really time them, I just kept an eye on them and checked with my trusty plastic cocktail sword to see if they were done inside. I'd say about 8 minutes or so. Once the sword came out clean, I took them out. They were rich and moist and delicious. I plan on making these again Tuesday for the party on Wednesday, only with some melted white chocolate drizzled over the top.. yum!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Curried Grits with Peas

As is usually my dilemma after work, what to whip up for dinner? I kept running options through my head; peanut butter quinoa, rice cakes with peanut butter (I've been craving peanut butter lately) when I settled on something completely different. I wanted a pilaf type dish, but have no rice. I opened the cabinet and there they were staring at me - grits! This oddball dish was so surprisingly wonderful that I know it will soon become a staple.

Curried Grits with Peas
1/2 cup grits
1 cup milk plus 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
4 dried shitake mushrooms, broken up
Palmful kosher salt
1/4 cup cheese, I used monterey jack but I think asiago would be excellent too

Add grits, milk, water, peas, curry powder, mushrooms, and salt to pot and bring to a boil. Keep boiling for 5 minutes, stirring to keep from grits from clumping, or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve hot and enjoy!

Mango Lassi

I was watching the Food Network yesterday and saw a guest on Bobby Flay's Grill It make a mango lassi. My mouth started watering.. then it hit me: I have a mango at home! And some yogurt! I don't have cardamom, but cinnamon will work.. done! So yesterday afternoon I whipped one up. It was pretty delish, let me tell you. There's no photo because the mug I put it in was camera shy. Next time I'll post a picture!

Mango Lassi
1/2 mango, cubed
5 tablespoons milk (more if you like it a bit thinner)
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
Agave nectar to taste

Add all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Nectarine Chipotle Pizza

Last night I had the brilliant idea of making a "fruit pizza". I haven't had the courage to attempt making my own pizza dough, so I use the stuff in the bag, Chebe. It's pretty tasty for being prepackaged. I followed the directions on making up the dough, but made up my own rules as far as baking went. I love the combination of sweet fruit with salty cheese on my pizza, so this really hit the spot!

Nectarine Chipotle Pizza
1 nectarine, thinly sliced
1 small apple, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 chipotle pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced or shredded cheese, I used monterey jack
Handful of walnuts
1 package Chebe GF pizza dough mix

Prepare Chebe dough according to package directions, using 3 tablespoons of milk rather than 2. Roll out and transfer to ungreased pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and saute onions and chipotle together until almost carmelized. Spread onion mixture evenly over pizza crust, then sprinkle with walnuts. Arrange nectarine slices and apple slices on pizza, then cover with cheese. Return pan to oven and bake until the cheese gets all melty and delicious. Remove from oven, slice up and ENJOY! Mmm!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New Twist on Blue Cornmeal

I discovered this recipe months ago and finally made them last night. Boy were they worth the wait! The original recipe can be found here as I have changed some ingredients involved. Be careful, she wasn't kidding when she said the dough almost won't make it to the oven..

Blue Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup Smart Balance 50/50 butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup blue cornmeal
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the Smart Balance and sugar, then add vanilla and yogurt. Add blue cornmeal, flour, and baking powder. Mix well. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Place heaped spoonfuls of the dough on ungreased cookie sheet and pat down so they're sorta flat. Sprinkle some sea salt on the flattened dough. After the first batch, I noticed that my cookies didn't spread and the color doesn't change much. I altered my baking time to 15-20 minutes or until they were a nice golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool.

The Great Red Bean Experiment

I have finally done it! I've mashed the beans, made the dough, steamed the buns, and made.. RED BEAN CAKES! These are not your ordinary cakes. I put my own personal spin on them, of course. Quite some time ago I made sweet potato biscuits with sage gravy.. now let me tell you, making biscuits is HARD WORK! I haven't made them since, but decided this was the right time to pull them out and use them for my experiment! I borrowed my dad's bamboo steamer and went to work on creating!

Red Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato Biscuits
For the Red Bean Paste:
1 cup red adzuki beans
1/2 cup sugar

For the Biscuits:
3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cups white rice flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk

Cook up the beans on the stove until they're nice and soft, this will take roughly 2 hours and you will have to keep adding more water as they cook. Once all nice and soft, mash the beans up and add the sugar. Mash it some more until the sugar is all incorporated, then set aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. I cheated a bit on this next step. Since I cooked up the potatoes the same day, I just added the butter into the steaming mashed potatoes along with the oil and mixed them up that way. Add the potatoes (& Co) to the flour mixture and combine well. Add milk and mix until the mixture looks nice and doughy, like this!

Here comes the messy part.. this dough is rather sticky and requires quite a bit of flour to roll out. I regret that I did not take more photos of this, but I was alone and had messy fingers! I took about a third of the dough at a time and worked in some all purpose gluten free flour to make it suitable for rolling (in other words, so it wouldn't stick to my makeshift rolling pin: the outside of my pushup measuring cup!) I rolled the dough out into about quarter inch or so thickness and cut them out using the same tool I rolled with, which turned out circles about two inches across. I then took roughly a spoonful of red bean paste, placed it in the center of one of my dough circles, covered it with another circle, and smoothed the edges closed so they were seamless. I repeated this process over and over again until I had very little paste and very little dough left. I mixed the two together and made two buns out of them.

I then left my little buns in the fridge for 3 hours while I ran out to visit my Grandma and play with my niece. When I came home, it was time to STEAM!! Since I don't have a wok, I set up the bamboo steamer on my big red pot and added some lavender to the water for flavor. I set about four buns at a time in each basket (on top of some wax paper) and let them steam for about fifteen or so minutes.

Now, this is going to be hard, but try to let them cool before you remove them from the wax paper or they'll fall apart! Once they're off the paper.. it's munching time!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Almond Sesame Truffles

So I didn't exactly measure out amounts in this recipe, so its more of an idea booster! Plus the picture was gorgeous and I wanted to use it! This recipe was inspired by the Sesame Seed Truffle recipe on Elana's Pantry. I took some tahini paste and combined it with some awesome ingredients to produce these decadent little treats. It was just an experimental recipe and only made about ten truffles. I brought them to a family gathering and those who were brave enough to try them enjoyed them (my family is a bit odd on the texture front). So here is my "sort-of" recipe!

Almond Sesame Truffles
3 tablespoons tahini paste
1/2 cup almonds
4 dried figs
1 teaspoon (give or take) milk
Agave nectar to taste
Mixture of unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon (to your tastes)

Mix tahini paste, almonds, figs, milk, and agave nectar in food processor until a smooth paste is formed. Refridgerate overnight. Roll mixture into balls and roll in cocoa powder mixture. Serve immediately - they're more firm when cold

Tomato Basil Bread

I'm so proud of this recipe! The original recipe I discovered on Fran's House of Ayurveda (her Olive Walnut Bread) and thought it sounded delicious. Of course, empowered by my banana bread success, I sought to convert it to a gluten free recipe. I glanced in my pantry.. no olives. Why does this always happen? I did, however, have one sun dried tomato and one plum tomato. I changed changed a few ingredients here and there and Tomato Basil Bread was born! I know walnuts and tomato sounds like an odd combo, but the result was just divine. In the future I might add a tad more oil or take the bread out of the oven sooner to keep it a bit more moist, but on the whole I was pleased with the results!

Tomato Basil Bread
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup GF all purpose flour
1/8 cup flax seed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large egg
1 plum tomato, diced
1 sun dried tomato, diced (more if desired)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, and basil. In your mixer, combine milk, olive oil, egg, and agave nectar until well blended. Add in flour mixture along with tomatoes and walnuts. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Enjoy with some hummus or walnut butter.. mmmm..

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hummus! I got the hummus!

There's a birthday celebration at the bank tomorrow and I wanted to make a healthy treat to balance out the chocolate I know will be present! I found a delicious recipe for hummus to eat with the homemade bread I made. I am a huge fan of garlic (there's no way any vampire would come within ten feet of me) but thought that the raw garlic might knock our customers over. I decided the solution would be to quick-roast the garlic in a pan over the stove. This was simpler than I expected: just leave the skins on the garlic and let them take a spin around a hot, dry pan until they smell all yummy and buttery, then slip the skins off. The best part of this recipe is how incredibly simple it is to prepare.. once again I bow to my food processor!

Lemon Garlic Hummus
1 16 oz can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
1/3 cup tahini paste
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, roasted
Juice of one lemon
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Add beans, tahini paste, and garlic to food processor and blend well. Add remaining ingredients and continue to process until a nice paste is formed. Serve with chopped veggies, bread, crackers; whatever you crave! You could serve this right away but I'm allowing mine to sit overnight so the flavors can mingle.