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Pumpkin Spice Season: Pumpkin Spice Cookies (GF/V/A)

Pumpkin

Ford started High School this morning. Talk about making one feel old. It is really hard to wrap it around that he is in the 10th grade. And worse, is going to turn 16 in a few weeks. I spent Monday baking cookies, freezing up for his lunches. And realized something. It has been a long time since I used wheat flour. I still have a container on the counter, with maybe a pound in it. At this point, I am sure it is pretty stale. I gave away all my bags of flour to our neighbor this summer. If I can’t do it gluten-free/allergy-friendly, then it won’t be made.

I was very happy with the results of this tinkering. It is a soft cookie, more cake-like, than cookie. The boys loved them, especially Alistaire. Will Ford like them? Who knows. He gets all weird about pumpkin. Not sure why!

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup olive or grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir the brown rice flour through nutmeg together, sift through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the pumpkin, oil and vanilla together, add to dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

Use a 1 Tablespoon Disher to scoop and drop balls onto prepared baking sheets, 12 per tray.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until set on top. Let cool before moving to a rack.

Store tightly covered, freeze for longer term storage.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Sig

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Gingerbread Cake Drizzled with Lemon Sauce

It was a birthday in the house this week, and yes, I know that gingerbread screams of fall. Yet, that someone with a birthday loves a spice cake.
Gingerbread

An adapted recipe from the recently released Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking: Includes 250 Delicious Recipes, from Robert Rose. I was reading through the cookbook, looking for inspiration and happened to see the gingerbread. I liked that it wasn’t a frosted cake – and was only one layer.

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An interesting full-range gluten-free cookbook which kind of brought up something for me, that happened last weekend. I had heard a lot of good about Haley’s Corner Bakery, a few miles from where we live. It is a gluten-free bakery. I was hoping I’d find something for Alistaire, even if it was just a loaf of bread. Well…maybe I needed that sharp dose of reality – that I probably won’t be able to walk into a restaurant or bakery ever for him, for a treat. A lot of gluten-free recipes are bound with eggs. And I don’t blame them! The recipes with eggs work better most times. If one wants to bake vegan and gluten-free, you have a real learning curve. (It didn’t help either that the items with nuts were parked next to the nut free ones. Pretty cookies. Ah well!)

So, as I flipped through the cookbook…I got thinking about what we and the baby would all equally like, minus the eggs. I like when my mind has to tinker.

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I adapted the recipe I chose to be not only gluten-free, but vegan, so that Alistaire could enjoy it as well. I was trying to decide between Ener-g Egg Replacer or flaxseed meal, and after talking it over on Facebook, I realized Ener-g would make for a lighter cake.

Two little boys fighting over who was getting bites. Alistaire was miffed that Walker was jumping in his way 😉 I was quite happy with my adaptation. The cake was moist, mildly spicy and rich with molasses.

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Gingerbread Cake (Adapted from page 272)

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil an 8×8″ glass baking pan.

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over shortening. Set aside to melt and cool slightly.

Beat Ener-G Egg Replacer with warm water, set aside to thicken.

In a mixing bowl, sift together bean flour, sorghum flour, tapioca, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Resift and set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat Ener-g mixture, molasses and sugar. Add shortening mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix until just blended. Pour into prepared pan.

Let stand for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Flip over onto a plate, then onto another plate, to serve.

Serve with warm lemon sauce.

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Lotsa Lemon Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 small/1 large lemon)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance Buttery stick

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water, lemon zest , lemon juice and butter. Heat over medium for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Serve warm preferably.

Makes about 1½ cups.

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~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the book.

Smart Balance Gluten-Free Mac n’ Cheese

Our diet continues to evolve, as we find what works best for us. It was suggested to me by my doctor at my last appointment, that I should be consuming more fish, for the oils, so of late, we have included oil packed tuna and wild salmon once or twice a week into our dinners . Add in that Alistaire loves fish (and is something he can eat) I am more than happy to let him have it. Ford was pestering me for mac and cheese of late, and hey, I’d rather he eats one I made over a *gasp* box, at least it can be gluten-free, high in protein and made with clean cheese, not something dyed orange.

I adapted the recipe so baby could enjoy it as well (since cheese is something that of his allergies is the mildest – and he really loves it). A hearty dinner and outside of Walker throwing peas at me, a success. And as a bonus, I got to try out a new product I hadn’t had before, although I have used their products many times –

FT C Disclaimer: “I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Smart Balance. I received product samples, and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

Smart Balance and Earth Balance are re-doing their look and many of their spreads are coming now in square, and not circle tubs. It not only saves space, but uses up to 18% less greenhouse emissions – and is the same 15 ounce size, and the same great products.

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All 13 varieties of Smart Balance Buttery Spreads and 5 of Earth Balance spreads are in the new packaging! If you are like me, round tubs do not fit in your refrigerator “butter” cubby/door, so I love square and rectangle tubs. I can actually shut the darn door and not have it falling out.

Smartbalance

A little Smart Balance Butter & Canola Spread on a Schär Ciabatta Roll (love these par-baked rolls!). The kids went crazy over it, and that the spread has fish oil in it? Well, I can take that as a bonus. It is buttery and quite tasty on bread! And no one noticed – so why should I tell them?

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Dinner served – 3 happy kids fed! The buttery spread works perfectly in sauces.

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Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces brown rice pasta
  • 8 ounces frozen green peas, preferably unsalted
  • 2 5-ounce cans tuna in olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance spread
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch (or tapioca starch)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp mustard, preferably a spicy deli style
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup sour cream, no thickeners (read label)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook as directed on package. Add peas to colander, pour pasta water over slowly to thaw, shake peas and pasta off.

Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium. Melt spread, whisk in flour, salt and pepper, then milk and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking often, until thickened. Take off heat, stir in sour cream and cheese till smooth.

Drain tuna, flake and stir into sauce. Fold sauce into hot pasta.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Book Review: The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook

Allergycomfortfoods

I have really enjoyed Elizabeth Gordon’s cookbooks, as I explore more possibilities for cooking gluten-free/vegan/allergy-friendly. Her 2012 cookbook, The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs, is a great read, especially if you have anyone in your household with severe food allergies. The wide range of types of recipes will inspire you to think a bit differently, even if you don’t need to be careful with your ingredients.

After going through the book, I ended up coming back to a simple dish of rice and beans. I loved the warmth of the beans and the brightness of the rice. Try it rolled up in fresh corn tortillas! Which leads me to something: I always hated corn tortillas. Dry, bland and crumbly. Then I had raw ones that you cook quickly in a hot pan. The difference is amazing. I am hooked. There is no comparison! I had fresh tortillas like 3 times in the past 2 days…that good!

Yellowriceblackbeans

Black Beans and Yellow Rice (as adapted from page 121)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp (or more ) fresh lime juice
  • fresh cilantro leaves, minced

Directions:

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add oil, onion and garlic, sauté until they have softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add rice, broth and turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover tightly and let cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine beans, cumin and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan, heat over low heat until just heated through. Stir in lime juice (I used a Tablespoon juice).

Fluff the rice, serve topped with beans, and a pinch of cilantro.

Notes:

The recipe called for ½ tsp salt added to the rice. My broth had around 500 mg sodium per cup. I didn’t feel it needed any extra salt, so left it out. Your taste may vary of course!

We topped the rice and beans with sautéed vegetables (not pictured) – a green and a red bell pepper and a large sweet onion.

~Sarah

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts

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I was excited to have an idea for a treat that Alistaire could enjoy: gluten-free, nut and peanut free, egg free – well you know the spiel. Quinoa flour is one I work with only here and there, it has a pretty strong flavor so I usually avoid it when baking, unless it is a small amount. With the level of sugar, I figured the taste wouldn’t be too prominent. I was right on that. And guess who really liked them? Well, one would be Alistaire….the other was a certain older brother in a blue shirt. Turns out…..

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I didn’t leave them far back enough on the counter. And someone ate nearly THREE of the six donuts. Oh well, at least someone appreciated them. As in a 3½ year older. At least baby got one to himself.

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I do add a disclaimer: if you are not used to baking with quinoa, it has a very dominant smell while baking. Very earthy. I find it dissipates as it cools. But these donuts will not be light or fluffy. They are whole-grain (well, actually whole-seed) and are rich with the sunflower butter. I found the texture pleasing, xantham gum might be a good addition to lighten the batter when baking (and firming it up to be more cake-like).

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Quinoa Flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup SunButter Natural
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp peach jam

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°, liberally spray a 6-Cavity Donut Pan. Whisk flaxseed meal and water together, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, beat until thick. Divide jam between the cups, spreading evenly around, about 1½ teaspoons each.

Whisk the quinoa flour through sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk Sunbutter and flax mixture till smooth, whisk in remaining wet ingredients through vanilla, until smooth. Add to dry ingredients, stir until mixed. Scrape batter into a new gallon zip top bag, seal out air while zipping closed. Cut off a corner of bag, pipe equally on top of the jam.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes, flip over and remove pan. Let cool before enjoying.

Best eaten day of baking.

Makes 6 donuts.

~Sarah

Gluten-Free Fresh Peach Cobbler

I hit the sweet spot with this recipe – soft, sweet peaches, fluffy cake, all mingled together. And I helped empty my box of peaches a bit more….

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Alistaire happily enjoyed the treat (and so did we all!). I figured if my little man did his first real hike (he did nearly 1/2 a mile on his own! before getting a ride in his backpack), he deserved a treat from Mommy.

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I’ll take him hiking on his own whenever he feels like it! My back got a break for a little, before he wanted up in his cozy backpack. We had a laid back alpine ramble on the Pacific Crest Trail. A wildflower and lake kind of day!

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Walking with my boys and thinking “Hey, it’ll be great when BOTH of you can hike long miles!” 😉 Monday was Alistaire’s 18 month appointment. He weighed in at 30 pounds, and is nearly 3 feet tall. Mr 90+ percentile…..

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Fresh Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Earth Balance Buttery stick (or butter)
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp xantham gum
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Peach Filling –

  • 2½ cups fresh peaches, sliced and cut into bite size pieces (4 to 5)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch fine sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Place buttery stick in an 8×8″ baking dish, let melt as oven heats up.

Peal and pit peaches, cut and add to a bowl, toss with sugar and spices, set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir water into flax, let hydrate for 5 minutes, then whisk till smooth, add to milk. Add to dry, whisk until just mixed. Scrape batter into baking dish, on top of melted butter.

Pour peaches over batter, so entire dish has some. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden on top and the cobbler looks done.

Serve warm, let cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate.

~Sarah

The No-Wheat Cookbook: Tuna Noodle Casserole

NoWheat

With the family falling into a mostly-gluten-free way of life, so that Alistaire can eat with us, I picked a recipe we might all enjoy from The No-Wheat Cookbook: Easy, Delicious Recipes for a Wheat-Free Diet. I hate sounding like I am getting on the bandwagon for no-wheat…but honestly, I have to say my stomach has felt better as I move us off wheat pasta (and all other forms of it….). We are eating less pasta, be it GF or not, and my stomach doesn’t feel like a lead balloon and I might add, this week we got home late, and I made a fresh tomato sauce tossed with wheat spaghetti….it was delicious and my gut hurt after it. Lesson learned. Once you wean off, you notice things. Which is a huge bummer, because as Kirk can attest, I reeeaaalllllyyyyyy love pasta. Maybe Alistaire’s allergies are a blessing? Kirk would say yes 😉 It is the pasta that does me in, not bread. Sheesh!

I grew up on casseroles, as I have mentioned before. Many involved cans of cream of mushroom soup and a lot of pasta. Our casseroles were heavy on carbs, low on protein (pasta is cheap, tuna not so much). I reversed that formula and Kirk loved it. One of our realties with a plant-based diet and a child with allergies is fish/meat has had to come back into our diet, so that he can get what he needs. I am OK with using a little here and there, if it is ethically sourced. Between Wild Planet tuna and making it gluten/dairy free with Go Veggie cheeze, we had a great casserole. All it was missing was a bag of crushed potato chips on top 😉

PS: Here is an option though – it would have been great with a can of drained garbanzo beans as well, instead of the tuna.

TN

Tuna Noodle Casserole (as adapted from page 166)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces brown rice noodles (used twists)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups milk (used unsweetened So Delicious)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp dried majoram
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained and flaked (see above for a veg option)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (used Go Veggie, Dayia would work for a full veg option)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed, drain when just al dente (I took a minute off the cooking time).

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-low, add in oil, onion, carrots, red pepper and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Take off heat, stir in tuna.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk, broth, marjoram, and cornstarch until smooth. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper/ Take off heat and stir in cheese.

Add cooked pasta to skillet, toss with vegetable mix, add in sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. If desired, top with ¼ cup more cheese, and serve.

Serves 6.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

Zucchini Oat Brownies (GF/Allergy Friendly)

Ooh, guess what today is? Besides my littlest one turning 18 months old?

Cheesy

It is National Zucchini Day!

Well, I’d probably celebrate more, but this week I had to tear out all of my squash and cucumber plants. The white fungus got to them all 😦 Ah well. At least I got to enjoy some tasty zucchini and yellow summer squash before they were infected. Apparently this year I don’t get to participate in the other part of today’s holiday “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch and run day“. Hehheh! Oh well – there is always next year, and I now know to not buy any veggie starts (lesson learned – I bought a yellow patty pan set of plants that got it first a few weeks back, then it travels via insects landing on other plants). If anything, this year has been a great lesson in how things grow organically 🙂
Brownies

So…the other day, for National Night Out in our neighborhood, I made up these brownies. Partially I wanted to see if anyone noticed. Apparently not, because the platter was empty within minutes. And I didn’t hear any kids going “OMG, this is so gross”. Mission accomplished 😉 The boys loved them and hey, even the Teenager didn’t question what was in it. With all the chocolate the zucchini melts into it. If you are worried your kids might question it, use the fine grating side of your box grater.

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Zucchini Oat Brownies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Sunbutter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (see below)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (GF/Vegan/Nut Free)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Shred zucchini on a couple of paper towels (layered). When done grating, roll up and let sit for a few minutes to help remove excess moisture.

Whirl oats in a mini food chopped until mostly ground.

Add Sunbutter, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium till smooth. Add in zucchini, cocoa powder, ground oats, baking soda and salt, beat until combined. Add in ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

Spread in prepared dish, sprinkle remaining chips over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean from the center.

Let cool, then cut into 20 pieces. Store tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.

~Sarah

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