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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gluten Free Brownies with Maple Peanut Butter Frosting

This was my husband’s request for his birthday cake replacement. We prefer brownies over cake anyway! I did cheat a little and use a gluten free brownie mix. I really like the Bob’s Red Mill mixes but there are so many out there that are delicious too. I saw that Betty Crocker even has a gluten-free mix. Just watch your cross contamination factor when buying mixes or any flours for that matter. I try to find mixes made a strictly gluten-free factories or make my own. However, I do know how hard it is to make everything from scratch with children and working 50 hours a week – not easy! Either way – these were great. The frosting was perfect on these and gave a little hint of fall flavors with the maple flavor. For his birthday breakfast he wanted Maple Cinnamon Rolls. For some reason I made enough maple icing for 100 cinnamon rolls but I only made 12 rolls… so obviously I had an entire bowl of icing left. This was  great way to use it up – one of those rare perfect accidents!

1 box of gluten free brownie mix
1 egg
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup peanut or almond butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup almond milk
  • Mix together brownie mix, egg, applesauce and yogurt until well combined – batter will be thick.
  • Spread batter into a greased pan (I used a 11x7 pan, but you could use a 9x9, just increase baking time).
  • Bake at 325°F for about 25 minutes or until brownies are cooked through. Let cool about 10 minutes.
  • While brownies are baking, make frosting. Melt peanut butter in microwave for about 15 seconds.
  • Whisk together warmed peanut butter, syrup and almond milk. Gradually add in powdered sugar until desired consistency.
    • Remember you are making a frosting not a glaze so you want it a little thick.
  • Spread frosting over brownies and serve. Cover and store in refrigerator if you have any leftovers.
  • Sprinkle with some Halloween sprinkles for an extra touch!

Halloween Treats - Alternatives to candy!

I’m not a fan of Halloween. I hate being scared, I don’t eat candy, and you don’t get a day off for it ha! My son is getting more into it though. Of course, he understands you get A LOT of candy and get to have a costume. It will be a challenge this year. I don’t mind if he has some candy. I know I won’t be able to completely keep him from it. His grandparents will make sure he gets a few pieces behind my back I’m sure. He won’t get much at home though. We have a few other ideas in store instead. We will also have some of our own special treats to enjoy without getting too many cavities or empty calories. Here’s a few ideas to try and lessen some of the candy intake for your kiddos (or yourself!):
Have a Halloween Buy-Back. We have a candy basket (out of reach for the kids). When they get candy, it goes in there (any time of the year). Typically, if it is out of sight-it is out of mind; he doesn’t want it because he’s forgotten about it. Occasionally I will let him pick one piece for a treat. This year, I’m going to put all of his candy into the basket. I’m also going to have  a spate basket full of other Halloween items that he can “buy” with candy. I will tell him how many pieces of candy that item costs and we will switch. Then we will likely donate the candy or take it somewhere that we know it will get eaten. Here’s what’s in the goody basket:

A Halloween movie
A Halloween book
Coloring pages
A new board game
Some cheap Halloween toys (spider rings, fangs, etc)
Healthy fruit snacks
Homemade Halloween cookies
Homemade Halloween brownie bites
Have a healthy Halloween party. We like dressing up and having parties so it is fun to have a little dress up party and serve some “spooky” but healthy Halloween foods. We did this last year also with some of our family but it would be great with just the kids too. We all decorated the house together and had snacks. We also watched movies, played games, etc. They still went trick-or-treating, just not as much as most kids. Here’s some snack ideas:

Mummy pizzas (just make individual pizzas and put the toppings on to look like mummies or other Halloween characters.
Snake Calzone roll – take  a pizza crust, roll it out thin, fill with toppings, then roll up lengthwise and form so it looks like a snake. Use olives or other foods to make eyes, tongue, etc.
Pumpkin Dip – mix together canned pumpkin and yogurt to make a dip. Serve with some graham crackers and apple slices.
Pumpkin Veggie Tray – use carrots, tomatoes, broccoli to layer on a cookie sheet in the shape of a pumpkin. Serve with your favorite dip or hummus.
Easy Halloween Rice Krispies – Make traditional rice krispies, just add some orange food coloring to your marshmellows. Add some Halloween Sprinkles to your mix also.

Obviously, there are so many things you can do for a fun Halloween that doesn’t involve gorging in excess sweets and junk food. Get some ideas from your kids and just have fun as a family! My son is most excited about dressing up. He’s going to be “Spiderman”, our daughter will be “Batgirl”. He has requested that his dad be “Hulk” and I am to be “Wonder Woman”.. I’m not so sure about all of that but the things we will do for our children.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apple Cider Bread

I think I’ve said it before but I LOVE fall. It might be because during the summer it is simply too hot to bake every day. Not in the fall though – I can bake all day long! So one morning after breakfast, I needed to bake something. I started rummaging through my pantry and saw some apple cider. So I thought why not?! This is a slightly sweet yet savory bread recipe. I prefer eating it with a little butter for breakfast with my eggs but it also makes a wonderful PB&J!

1 package of GF bread mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill – yeast packet included)
2/3 cup apple cider (homemade – here's my recipe!)
1 ¼ cup warm almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
2 eggs
¼ cup apple sauce
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp brown coconut sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice (or a mix of cloves, nutmeg and allspice)
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine milk and yeast from packet and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine eggs, apple sauce, cider, vinegar and oil. Add in bread mix and yeast mixture.
  • Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine coconut sugar, cinnamon and apple pie spice.
  •  Over the top of the batter, sprinkle spice mixture. Carefully using a spoon, swirl in spice mixture into dough.
  • Pour dough mixture into a greased 9x5 bread pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 35 minutes.
  • Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cover bread with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent burning. If desired, sprinkle with additional sugar and spice mixture.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roasted Fall Vegetables

I love root vegetables and squash in the fall. I really like it all year but of course it is much easier and cheaper to like it when the vegetables are in season. One day I will figure out how to grow my own. Anyway, I threw together a variety of vegetables here and they all came together nicely. It was super easy to roast them and the house smelled great after! This is another customizable dish so if you’d rather leave out an item or add in another, feel free!

5-6 small fingerling potatoes (baby red or white potatoes would work well also)
2 medium rutabagas, quartered
2 medium beets, quartered
2 medium turnips, quartered
6-8 brussell sprouts
1 large sweet potato, cut into 2” chunks
1 parsnip, cut into 2” chunks
½ cup sliced fennel
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped (about 1 tsp)
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp olive oil
  • In a large casserole dish, combine clean, cut vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and stir until vegetables are coated in oil.
  • Add thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Stir again until vegetables are coated with seasonings.
  • Pour water over vegetables. Bake at 350°F for about an hour or until vegetables are cooked through and have a nice little roasted crisp to them.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Maple Pecan Cookies

Sweet, soft, fluffy are great words to describe these cookies. Aside from pumpkin, maple may be my second favorite fall flavor! These little cookies are a great fall treat without the guilt and also store well so you can save some for another day! I think the best way to describe them is a mix between a fluffy maple cake donut and a pecan shortbread cookie. They have the nice pecan flavor but are very soft and moist. Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.
1 ½ cups GF all purpose flour
1 egg
¼ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
3 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup apple sauce
¼ cup coconut oil
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup chopped pecans
  • In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, coconut oil, sugar and syrup until well blended. Add in egg, flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and pecans.
  • Blend on medium speed for about 1 minute or until well combined, scraping sides if necessary.
  • Using a cookie scoop, place cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet about 2” apart. Flatten cookies with palm if desired.
  • Bake at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes or until cookies start to brown. Store in a sealed container for up to a week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Zucchini Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Remember how crazy my cauliflower pizza crust sounded?? Adding zucchini probably won’t make you less skeptical. However, it is awesome! I don’t exactly understand how forming cauliflower into a pizza crust makes it taste less like cauliflower but I’m glad it does! If you can get past the smell of cooking it, this pizza crust is a great alternative to dough crusts. Making pizza crust this way gives you tons of extra nutrients and added vegetable servings. It is also very low carb, low fat, gluten free, dairy free, and can be made Paleo. Makes 2 small circular crusts or 1 large square crust.

1 large zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
½ head of cauliflower, riced (about ½ cup)
1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute)
¼ cup GF bread crumbs (or GF flour will work also)
1 tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
2 cups spinach
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup raspberry balsamic vinaigrette
½ cup pasta sauce
½ cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella style almond cheese)
  • In a food processor, shred zucchini and cauliflower.
  • In a large bowl, combine zucchini, cauliflower, egg, bread crumbs or flour, garlic, sea salt, basil, oregano. Mix until ingredients are well combined.
  • Refrigerate crust mixture for about 30 minutes.
  • Using foil or parchment paper, line a baking sheet. Spread crust mixture evenly into a thin layer on the baking sheet.
  •  Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add toppings and cheese if desired. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Easy Breakfast Sandwich

Here’s our post wedding breakfast – and one of my son’s favorite! This is quick and easy enough for a weekday breakfast. You can also make these ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate them. Much healthier than the store bought sandwiches or fast food! Makes 1 sandwich

1 breakfast roll (English muffin, biscuit or roll – I used a GF Against the Grain artisan roll)
1 egg
1 slice of cheese
1 thin slice of turkey or ham
  • Cut the breakfast roll in half and lightly toast each side. In a skillet, cook egg, breaking the yolk halfway through cooking.
  • Flip egg and cook the other side. You can also use a circular egg cooker (to make a perfect circle egg for your sandwich).
  • Warm the turkey or ham slices in the skillet also.
  • On one half of the toasted roll, place cheese slice, egg and meat slice. Top with other half of roll and serve.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

Italian food is my favorite. My favorite restaurant was Johnny Carino’s and this little local place in Branson - Rocky's. That was my go-to dinner place for any occasion. I hate to admit it, but I could eat the entire loaf of bread by myself and then probably more. Anyway – during my pre-gluten free days, I would make a pretty decent Chicken Parmesan; full of greasy bread crumbs, cheap pasta sauce and fatty, salty cheeses. This dish is NOT that. It is light, fresh and completely homemade. It is still very filling and very tasty, just less guilt! If desired, serve this with a small salad and bread sticks. Makes 4 servings

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise to make 4 thin pieces
2 Tbsp red wine vinaigrette
½ cup gluten free bread crumbs (make from dry bread)
¼ cup gluten free flour (all purpose, almond or coconut work great)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp basil, chopped
½ tsp oregano, chopped
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup homemade pasta sauce (See mine here!)
½ cup cheese, shredded (we used dairy free)
  • In a small bowl, combine chicken breast pieces and vinaigrette. Stir until chicken is coated with the vinaigrette.
  • In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip the chicken into the bread crumb mixture until chicken breast is coated with crumbs.
  • Place chicken breasts in a hot skillet with olive oil. Cook on each side for about 10 minutes or until chicken breasts are cooked completely through.
  • While chicken is cooking, prepare spaghetti squash. I like to just cut it in a half, scoop out the seeds and steam in microwave for about 10 minutes. Once squash is done, scrap sides with a fork to make your “spaghetti”.
  • In a small saucepan, heat pasta sauce until warm. On a plate, place servings of spaghetti squash, top with chicken, pour over some sauce and sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

So today my husband and are I getting “more married”. Long story short of it – 5 years ago we had a civil ceremony (no dress, no flowers, no people, etc). On Valentine’s Day this year, he really proposed to me. He had the kids wear shirts that said “Will you”, “Marry” and his said “Me?”. I was of course confused until he got down on his knee and said “Will you marry me in the church?” I was completely surprised and it was perfect. Our faith has been tested but has grown in the last couple years. It’s only right for us to celebrate our love and faith in the most important place. We may not have done things right the first time, but better late than never I guess! Anyway – I couldn’t sleep. It’s a small ceremony but I just haven’t felt great so I’m nervous about it. I know everything will be perfect but I still couldn’t sleep. So I got up at 4:30 am and made these cinnamon rolls. Our awesome friends are coming over early to help with the kids (and my husband ha!) so it was only right to make them a tasty breakfast! These are also perfect for fall with the touch of pumpkin added. I hope you enjoy!

1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup white sorghum flour
¼ coconut flour
½ tapioca starch
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup stevia or sugar
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 pkt of active dry yeast
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup applesauce
½ cup water
¾ cup almond milk, warm
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup brown coconut sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp almond milk
½ tsp maple extract
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, combine yeast, milk and water and let set for about 5 minutes.
  • Add egg, applesauce, oil and vanilla to dry mix.
  • Mixing on medium speed, slowly add in your milk mixture.
  • Mix for about 2 minutes over medium speed. In a damp counter or table top, spread out a layer of plastic wrap about 2 feet long.
  • Spoon dough onto plastic wrap and then layer another piece of wrap over the top of dough. Roll dough out until it is about ¼” thick and remove top layer of wrap.
  • Spread coconut oil over dough. Next spread pumpkin over dough. Sprinkle with coconut sugar and cinnamon.
  • Using the plastic wrap, roll up the dough into a long roll. Cut roll into 1” thick slices. Place rolls cut side up into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Let rise for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes or until rolls are cooked through.
  • While rolls are baking, mix together icing ingredients. Let rolls cool for a few minutes and then drizzle icing over the tops.

Meal Plan Week of 10/27/13-11/2/13

Happy Saturday to you all!

This week's menu I decided to link up some of my previous recipes. I realized that it's nice to have a weekly menu sometimes but it would be even nicer if you knew how to make some of the recipes.

Have a great weekend!

egg white
scrm egg
almond milk
mac & 
chicken wrap
acorn squash
sw potato
quac dip
PB celery
ice cream
PB celery
fruit pizza
ice cream
GF granola

Friday, October 25, 2013

Butternut Pumpkin Biscuits

So I wanted to make some sweet potato biscuits one evening. I found a great recipe in a new cookbook I received as a gift. It is The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott. It is an amazing book with  simple recipes for readers new to the gluten-free diet like I was – check it out! She also has a new book out – Make Ahead Paleo that I just ordered – can’t wait to get it! Anyway, I was getting everything ready and realized I did not have sweet potatoes. Darn. However, I DID have some butternut squash. Now comes problem #2. I didn’t have enough squash. Darn. However, I DID have some leftover pumpkin.  Now comes problem #3. I was quickly running out of the flours the recipe called for. However, I did have a bunch of other flours I could use. Finally – a solution! I’m not going to say they taste exactly like Tammy’s sweet potato biscuits but I imagine they are pretty stinkin close! These are soft and flakey but still gluten free and delicious! These would be a perfect addition to your favorite fall meal! The lesson I learned from this little mishap is that you can still create great things with what you have on hand – you just have to use your noggin a little more and have a little faith J Makes roughly 18 small biscuits.

1 cup white sorghum flour
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup potato starch
¾ cup tapioca starch
1 packet (1 ½ tsp) xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup butter, cold (or shortening) I used soy butter
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup applesauce (or ½ cup more butter or shortening)
1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1 cup butternut squash (cooked & mashed)
1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh cooked & mashed)
¼ cup sweetener (I used a mixture of honey & maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
  • In a large bowl, mix together sorghum flour, coconut flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum.
  • Cut in butter, coconut oil and applesauce with dry ingredients. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix together mashed squash, pumpkin, milk, sweetener and cinnamon. 
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. You don’t want dry flour rolling around, but you don’t want to over blend either.
  • Using your hands, shape dough into 2” biscuits and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Red Wine Pears - in the pressure cooker!

I hadn’t tried making a dessert in my pressure cooker.. until now. I was nervous… I know you can make all kinds of things in them-cake, rice pudding, etc but I was scared to try. Anyway – I had some extra pears, some leftover red wine and a sweet tooth. You’re welcome. Also – today is my 5th wedding anniversary! What a quick and easy dessert that will both satisfy your sweet tooth and let you feel like you are having an extra special treat for a special day. A little mushy here – my husband is my best friend. We’ve been together over 9 years now and each year gets better! He’s my major support person – my rock! I hope God blesses us with many more years together!

4 pears (any kind), peeled but left whole
2 cups red wine
2 cups water
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice (or nutmeg/allspice)
¼ cup honey (or sugar or other sweetener)
Whipped topping, if desired
  • In your pressure cooker, mix together water, honey, cinnamon and apple pie spice.
  • On the “brown” setting, cook for about 3 minutes or until honey is dissolved into water.
  • Once your honey and water are combined, place pears standing up in pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook for 8 minutes. Release pressure and add wine.
  • Pressure cook for 8 more minutes and release pressure.
  • Carefully remove pears as they will be very soft. Pour some remaining wine sauce over pears and top with whipped cream, if desired.
  • The longer the pears set in the wine sauce, the softer they will get it so don’t let them set for too long or they will fall apart!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Savory Bacon & Egg Pancakes

My kids love pancakes and I love scrambled eggs. Put them together and what do you get?? Scrambled egg pancakes with bacon! Sometimes you just have to let the kids choose meals so they actually want to eat it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I was pleasantly surprised that these worked. Plus the kids LOVED them. They thought they were so much fun. They were pretty tasty and gluten free of course! Makes about 10 medium sized pancakes

¾ cup flour (I used GF all purpose)
1 egg
½ cup almond milk
3 slices turkey bacon, diced
2 eggs
¼ cup corn
3 green onions, diced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, one egg and almond milk and mix until well blended.
  • In a large skillet, cook bacon pieces and then scramble two eggs in the skillet also.
  • Fold in bacon, eggs and corn into pancake batter. Add in onions, salt and pepper and gently mix until combined.
  • On a griddle preheated to 375°F, scoop ¼-1/2 cup of batter. Cook both sides for about 10 minutes each or until pancakes are cooked through.
  • You can serve this with maple syrup (strange but it works!) or ketchup, ranch or eat it by itself.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Ginger Lime Peanut Sauce

This dish makes a perfect light dinner or even a quick lunch. The lettuce wraps are great by themselves, but the peanut sauce is the real kicker to this meal. It complements all of the ingredients well and gives it a little bit of an Asian flavor. Feel free to substitute the shrimp with chicken or pork; you could even leave the meat out and go meatless! Just don’t forget the sauce J This makes four servings of two wraps per serving.

Lettuce Wraps
8 slices of romaine lettuce
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
¼ cup carrots, thinly julienned
1 avocado, thinly sliced
¼ cup leek, diced
¼ cup peas, cooked
½ pound of shrimp, peeled & deveined
½ tsp garlic, minced
1 dash lemon juice
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free)
¼ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic, minced
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cilantro, finely diced
½ tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • In a large skillet, cook shrimp in olive oil. Season shrimp with garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
  • While shrimp is cooking, make sauce. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients until sauce is smooth.
  • On a serving plate, make lettuce wraps by filling each slice of romaine with shrimp, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, leek and peas.
  • Drizzle peanut sauce over each lettuce wrap and serve with additional sauce if desired.