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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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Pumpkin Spice Season: Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Pumpkin

Starbucks really jumped the season this year – Pumpkin Spice syrup in August? Guess they figured if Costco has Christmas up on August 1st, they can push their seasons as well. I loved the “secret” get-it-early push. Oh please. Come on, give me to at least the 1st. I wanna pretend it is sweater weather….I was trying on sweaters yesterday and sweating to death in the tiny changing room.

Truthfully, I could have pumpkin treats year round. But…SB’s PSL isn’t something I can drink every day. It is worse than drinking a caramel latte made with the sauce. Not exactly lightweight in calories, fat or sugar content. A grande, made with whole milk and whip cream? Over 400 calories, nearly 50 grams sugar, and ouch…I gotta not look at nutritional stats. I had a free one yesterday, and after a third of my drink I tossed it. It was way too sweet. I couldn’t taste the coffee at all. It was just numbing sugar. And more so, isn’t vegan – even with soy milk, if you care. We can do better!

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Fall is coming, so let’s celebrate with 5 Days of Recipes, all featuring the heavenly aromas of Pumpkin Spice! And up first? Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (ooh, bonus day – you get two recipes!)

pumpkinspicesyrup

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups organic sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (about 4″ long each)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ cup pumpkin purée

Directions:

Add the water, sugar and cinnamon sticks to a tall saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add in remaining spices and pumpkin, stir in. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often, do not let boil.

Let cool for 30 minutes, then strain through a Jelly Strainer Bags. Transfer to a glass storage container, seal and refrigerate. A tall olive oil bottle with pour spout works great.

Note:

Don’t press hard on the jelly bag, or too much solids will pass through. I rest my bag in a fine mesh strainer, over a bowl. Discard the pulp and cinnamon sticks left in bag.

Pumpkinspicelatte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 Tbsp pumpkin spice syrup
  • Milk, of choice
  • 2 shots espresso
  • Whip cream, if desired
  • Pumpkin spice blend, for topping

Directions:

For a grande latte, steam about 1½ cups milk to desired temperature. I go for about 150° to 160° personally.

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Pour syrup into mug, add in about half the milk, while pouring shots:

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Add in shots, down the center of mug, top with remaining milk. Decorate top as desired.

Notes:

When using non-dairy milks, use unsweetened and organic for best results. Almond often steams easiest, with little carry-over taste. I find that soy fries on the steaming wand, so have a wet rag ready when you take the wand out of the pitcher.  Rice tends to be watery, coconut is delicious, but has a very pronounced flavor when warm. As always, if you drink dairy, whole tastes best.

Brev

I realize of course that not every one has an espresso machine on hand. I was a barista in my 20’s for 9 years. This is the machine we run on: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine. No, it isn’t cheap. It runs beautifully – and is pretty user-friendly (also easy for the non-barista to master).

So…the other thing is yes, you can warm milk in a saucepan and use double strength brewed coffee – but that isn’t a true latte. Please, consider an espresso machine if you love lattes. Find a barista who is nice, and ask them to teach you the basics. I did this for many customers. Once you learn how…next thing you know, you’ll have a showcase machine and all the tools to go with it 😉 And a tip jar on your counter! Your machine will pay for itself quickly if you are a daily drinker!

See you tomorrow and have a wonderful Labor Day!

Sig

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.

Easyeverydaygluten

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.

Gingercake1

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.

Gingercake5

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.

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

QuinD2

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

Yummy Junky Food – Done Vegan

Back in May, when I was at Vida Vegan Bloggers Conference in Portland, I got to sample some of Tofuky’s newest products. There were plenty of people circulating around their table, waiting for the treats to come out. For good reason. It was like stepping back into time…to being a teen and digging through the freezer for a snack.

The really naughty snacks. Pizza Pockets and Pot Pies. All they need are Pizza Rolls and life would be just dandy (ya’ll listening?) Or Bagel Pizzas. It is a slippery slope though. Then I’d be seen hiding behind the couch drinking a 12 pack of Fresca while I was at it (one of my worst habits of my teens was that nasty diet grapefruit pop).

Anyhow, I had a love affair with Hot Pockets around the time we got a microwave, which in the mid 80’s was the calling card of having made it (or something). I haven’t had one in years (since they like to add a lot of really scary ingredients to them) and I also hated the “this part is cold, this part is molten lava and now it cooled off and the dough is rubbery” effect microwaves gave it.

Then look what came across my doorstep (thank you UPS Man) – right from the wonderful peeps at Tofurky –

TF1

Pepperoni Pizza Tofurky Pockets. Hey Hot Pockets, if you tasted this good (and looked this good), I might look at you. Oh yeah, you would also need to be vegan. And taste this good. Did I mention that? 😉 I baked them old-skool and used the oven. Something I somehow never had the patience for when I was a kid (I mean, how could I possibly have the time to wait for an oven to warm up and then bake!?!) Hence, I was gifted with a crispy outer crust and melty goodness inside for being patient. Bake them! They deserve the special love.

TF3

Walker ate an entire one by himself. It was almost scary watching that 3-year-old tear into it. Afterwards, he patted his tummy and announced he was good and full 😛 Want to bet these become a backup staple for those times when Mommy is too tired to make him lunch? Yeah, maybe I should feel guilty enjoying convience foods. But no, I am not going to feel guilty. It was just too good!

TF2

Pot Pies. Not much more can I think of that says “comfort food”. All it was missing was the foil pan – remember those really greasy and salty Banquet ones? I liked that crust is thin, it isn’t all dough – lots of gravy and filling. It and a salad? Perfect!

PS: I got to try the vegan Quiche and the new Artisan Sausages at Vida Vegan, they were amazing as well! The Chick’N and Apple ones? Those grilled, in a bun? Who needs meat with that…..

PS2: They are hosting TofurkyFest in September, to celebrate the opening of their new factory in Hood River, Oregon. Hood River is a gorgeous town – right on the Columbia River and Mt. Hood sits above it. Can I say Oregon road trip?

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

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

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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