Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cut-outs (Wheat-free/Dairy-Free)


Gingerbread cookies are my absolute favorite.  I have never made them before this year because I am almost blinded with resentment of the refrigeration step.  This process is so ridiculous, so heinous, that I simply have never made them.  There is just something about thinking "mmm, I'm going to make some cookies" and "Oh, wait, let's not even think about eating them until tomorrow" that is ... well, you get it.  Anyway, this year I have had an attitude adjustment called 'raising a toddler'.  In this complicated step of life, one reevaluates what one defines as fun and thinks "hey, that might be fun to make them at night and then we can cut them out tomorrow!" in addition to many other redefining moments, of course.  Plus, I clearly under use my Kitchen Aid mixer, as this machine basically makes cookies on its own with a bit of coaching.  All of these years.  Anyway, I was right.  It was totally fun to cut them out and play with Mia doing the cookies once I got through the rolling out process which nearly broke me- but only because I skipped that silly step of rolling it out before refrigerating it.  Incidentally, I don't recommend you skip that step.

So this recipe was adapted from a recipe in The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (yes, I adapted a perfectly good GF recipe and added gluten), so you could easily replace the spelt flours with your favorite GF flour and 1tsp xanthan gum if you like.  These cookies have great flavor, are super soft with a just-right chew and were exactly what I wanted, especially since this was  my first foray into baking with spelt.  Good stuff.  Low sugar, much lower in fat than typical cookies and great ingredients with the whole grain flour and molasses make them right good mama/toddler snacks.

Spelt Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies
  • 3-3/4c Spelt flour (I used 2c reg and 1.75c white spelt)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbls ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbls ground ginger
  • 1 Tbls ground cloves
  • 1/2 c vegetable shortening, cut into about 8 pieces
  • 1/2 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 light agave nectar
  • 1/4c plus 2Tbls molasses
Directions
1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Mix on low speed until combined, about 30 sec.  Stop the mixer and add the bits of shortening and the applesauce, then mix on low speed for about 1-1/2 minutes or until consistency of fine meal.

2.  With the mixer still running, add the agave and molasses, mixing until thoroughly combined, about 20 more seconds.  (if you use a food processor instead, add ingredients in order mentioned, process for about 10 seconds per step)

3.  Lay out two large sheets of parchment paper on your work surface.  Using spatula, divide the dough evenly between the two sheets.  Cover each with another large parchment sheet and roll out with rolling pin until ~1/4" thick.
4.  Wrap in plastic and transfer the dough in the parchment paper to the fridge until completely chilled, preferably overnight or at least a few hours. 

5.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Remove one dough from the fridge and peel back one sheet of parchment paper, then replace it and flip the dough over.   Remove the new top sheet of parchment paper and start cutting shapes!

7.  Transfer cut shapes onto baking sheet about 1" apart and bake on center rack for ~10 minutes.  If you like, you can use raisins and such before baking to decorate.

8.  Save all scraps around your cut-outs and re-roll for more cookies as many times as you like.

9.  Let cookies cool completely if you plan to decorate with your favorite frosting.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies of mixed sizes.  A pretty big batch if you ask me.


This video was made while making some GF snickerdoodles to post another time, but is clearly an excellent alternative mixing method.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies


I know, the picture is clearly not a sugar cookie.  It is gingerbread and I will have a recipe for the tasty soft and delightful low sugar spelt gingerbread cookies soon, but really.... Is that maybe the best decorated cookie you have ever seen?  With the spur?  I don't even know how you eat that one.  Anyway, some friends and I got together for a cookie decorating party this weekend.  I was responsible for the Gingerbread variety and The Great Leslie Beck was responsible for the sugar cookies.  Since I am the one with special needs, I made a wheat-ful batch and a spelt batch, but I never expect others to bother.  TGLB, however, is always thinking of the peeps around her.  She made regular sugar cookies and these amazing Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies.  She adapted them from this recipe based on necessity and I will post the recipe as she made it below because they were amazing. I'm sure the original is amazing as well.

I feel like people always want to apologize for things being Gluten-Free.  Really, the only thing that I find typically needs and asterisk is bread.  Other than that, wheat is boring, boring, boring.  Gluten-free grains have way more complexity and flavor.  These cookies are the most delicious sugar cookies I have ever tasted.  Light, delicate and tons of flavor to stand up to delicious butter-cream frosting.

Note:  Leslie used a GF all-purpose mix by Avec Baking that was incredible.  If you are in Seattle, you can find it at PCC.  If you are not in Seattle, please think of this local company for an order. This flour was excellently balanced and xanthan-free.  If you are using your favorite GF mix in this recipe, please make sure it isn't just rice flour and tapioca starch or the flavor of your cookie will be very neutral.  If need be, replace at least 1/2 or 1cup of the flour you are using with either sorghum flour or amaranth flour to boost the personality.  I happen to also love garbanzo flour, but I know that is scandalous.  If you are making your own mix, please use 1.5 cups flours and 1 cup starches, like potato and tapioca.

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
  • 2 & 1/2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour mix (please see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch fresh nutmeg
Directions

1. Place all the flours in a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together (if not using pre-mixed). Sift them through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Add the baking powder, and salt, then whisk together and set aside.

2. Stir the butter (or let the beater attachment of the stand mixer do it for you). Add the sugar and cream them together until they are just combined. Add the two eggs and vanilla extract and beat for a couple of minutes more. Throw in the pinch of nutmeg and stir one last time.

3. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet, one cup at a time until well mixed.  It should be a thick batter, not entirely stick to the touch, but not as stiff as traditional rolled cookie dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 375 and take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Don’t let it reach complete pliability. The dough should still be rather stiff from the refrigeration.

5. Roll out the cookie dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This dough doesn’t go paper thin, so you’ll have cookie with a bite to them. Cut out with your favorite shapes.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your oven and how crisp you like them. Let them cool for 10 minutes before eating them. Let cool completely before using your favorite butter-cream frosting for fancy decorations!

Makes about 15 to 20 cookies, depending on the shapes.





Saturday, November 19, 2011

Green Chili Enchilada/Lasagne (Gluten Free, Dairy Adaptable, Vegetarian Adaptable)

This recipe was one of a few that I had thought would be on the blog way back in the beginning.  I think I have been putting it off for so long since its initial inception was made for me by someone who had a devious hand in changing the course of my life many years ago.  At the time, I never thought I had space for gratitude for her, but now as I look at where my life is, who is in it and how much I still love these darn enchiladas, well...... I am grateful for many things. 

This is a favorite recipe by our family and all but one person who I have served it to has absolutely loved it (that person actually had a fairly violent and hilarious projectile vomiting reaction that we still talk about to this day.  I just think he was a real sport for trying it).  It is probably one of the most versatile and easy recipes you could make in all possible aspects.  Below will you find what I hope will be merely a suggestion on how to make these, but feel confident subbing in different cheeses, different veggies and whatnot.  I would actually call it "Tofu Enchiladas" if I thought anyone who wasn't a vegetarian wouldn't panic at the title.  The tofu hides incredibly well in this, but it can be easily made as veg, beef, chicken, pork, whatever.  I have made it in enormous batches and frozen them for months to be used in the future and it holds up very well, just maybe add a bit of extra sauce if it seems dried out after it thaws in the fridge.  Like the Baked Ziti, It is another great option as a meal to bring for a family who needs meal help to just stash in the freezer.  Just make sure it is thawed in the fridge for 2 days prior to the anticipated meal, then place on the counter for 1-2 hours from the fridge or it will take forever to get hot.
Yesterday, I was just way to lazy to go through the process of stuffing and rolling tortillas for the actual enchilada presentation and made it into a layered, lasagna-style affair and I am doubting I will ever take the time to make the rolled fashion again (although the enchiladas look better on the plate).

Also, yesterday I was sharing it with a family that I didn't think would groove on a full-on tofu dinner, so I made it half silken tofu and half chicken and only about 1c spinach since it was all I had.  The silken tofu just comes across as ricotta or something.  If they read this post, I suspect that this will be the first they learn that it was full of tofu, it just hides that well with the rest of the flavors and textures.  I will say that it was the first time I used chicken in this and I loved it.  Below will be a vegetarian version  as it is typically intended and the meat added as option.

Enjoy!

Green Chili (Tofu) Enchiladas (makes one 9x13 pan and one 8x8 pan)  Preheat oven to 400deg
  • 2 pkg soft or medium tofu (or my new favorite- silken tofu)
  • 2c chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (optional but strongly encouraged)
  • 1/2-1c pecorino, feta or parmesean cheese (optional, but...)
  • 18-22 corn tortillas
  • ~3c jack or pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2-19oz cans of green chili enchilada sauce, you may have a bit left over 
  • **if you want to add chicken, about 3-4c shredded will be great.  Turns out one of those fancy roasted chickens from the store works perfectly.
Note: if you need a great non-cow cheese option, use pecorino and this Feta cheese.  For full non-dairy, use your favorite soy or rice cheese.

Directions, Enchilada Style
1. Either use oil or a small amount of the enchilada sauce to cover the entire bottom and sides of the pans.
2.  Chop up the artichoke hearts if using and mix them well in a medium bowl with the tofu, spinach and non-jack cheese and/or chicken if using the optional options.
3.  Either steam or microwave your tortillas for a few seconds, a few at a time, to make soft enough to roll without crumbling into a million frustratingly dry pieces.
4.  Scoop about 1/4-1/3 heaping cup into each tortilla, roll it up and set it in the pan, seams down.
5.  Top liberally with enchilada sauce, then top liberally with jack cheese and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  I typically start with foil loosely over the top, then finish uncovered to brown the cheese for about  the last 10-15 min.

Directions, Lasagna Style
1. Either use oil or a small amount of the enchilada sauce to cover the entire bottom and sides of the pans.
2. Chop up the artichoke hearts if using and mix them well in a medium bowl with the tofu, spinach and non-jack cheese if using the optional option.
3.  Cut the tortillas into quarters, then line the pans fairly well across the bottoms.
4. Place the entire tofu + veggie mixture on top of the tort layer, then make a second tort layer on top that doesn't need to be quite so tightly spaced if you don't want.
5.  Put maybe 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the tort, then add the shredded chicken and a sprinkle of the shredded jack cheese to make it interesting.
6. Top with a final tort layer as you did the middle, then top that with the rest of the enchilada sauce and finally cover with cheese, then

La Victoria is best by a mile. 
1st layer

Tofu stuffing.  Tastes great!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sesame Caesar Dressing (Egg-free! Anchovy-free!)

I am a crazy Caesar Salad freak.  Anyone who knows me will easily agree.  Actually, the only thing better than a Caesar Salad is a Caesar Salad with capers all over it.  Gratefully Mia shares with me my love of the caper.  For anyone who knows her, this is the only true proof she is actually my kiddo, as her looks and personality are 100% Mike. 

Finding out I was allergic to eggs and cheese have put a major damper on my Caesar consumption.  I am delighted to have seemingly grown out of a strong egg issue, but still choose to take my hits when it really counts.  So this dressing is a total bonus.  On top of  being egg free, it is fish-free, too !  This is only because I was just too lazy to put anchovies in the salad and used Kalamata olives instead and it was flippin' dynamite.  My favorite Caesar dressing ever used to me adapted from a Cook's Illustrated Light recipe in which they incorporated buttermilk vs. oil.  It was amazing, but a major dairy bummer these days. 

So this recipe uses silken tofu and it works great!  I have been really enjoying how much the silken tofu adds to various recipes and with no offensive tofu-ness for the tofuphobics in the crowd.  It is super-smooth, much lighter vs. oil, and full of protein.

Sesame Caesar Dressing (makes about 1-1.5 cups)
  • 8-10 Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 heaping Tbls Dijon mustard
  • 6 oz silken tofu
  • 1/4-1/3c olive oil
  • 1/2 medium juicy lemon juice
  • 1 scant Tbls toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
In blender (I used a Magic Bullet), blend the heck out of the olives, garlic and mustard to make a paste, then plop in the tofu, lemon juice, olive and sesame oil and a dash of S & P.   Blend for several seconds until fully combined- adjust the flavor with more S & P and maybe lemon juice as you see fit.  It should have the texture of fluffy sour cream.

For Caesar Salad
Toss generously with romaine lettuce, Pecorino or Parmesan cheese and croutons!


That's right, it is a strange purplish color.  Don't be scared, it is darn tasty.


It is inspired by "Sesame Tofu Caesar Dressing" out of Simply Ming.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Banana Applesauce Muffins (Gluten & Dairy-free adaptable)


Actually, I made these into mini muffins.  The mini muffin is a curious item.  So cute and tasty, anyone would want to pop one in.  Or six.  Thankfully, Mia is no different from the rest of us in this department.  A muffin is a fabulous way to pack a billion tasty and nutritious things into a tiny package and feel good about what  you are selling and who you are selling it to.  The mini muffin just makes it easier. 

I didn't put any grated zucchini or carrot in these today out of sheer laziness, but you certainly could add a cup or more in when you mix the batch together.

And a note on gluten-free here.  Never before has gluten free shined brighter than in the quick-bread.  Really.  Any quick-bread recipe you read always says to 'not over mix' or 'mix just until dry ingredients are wet' and such.  This is so you don't over activate the natural gluten in typical flour.  With gluten-free flours, you can go to town and skip the xanthan gum.  They turn out great!

Banana Applesauce Muffins
  • 2 cups flour (you choose your type*)
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4c brown sugar & 1/4c agave syrup)
  • 1/3 cup milk or vegetable oil (I used almond milk)
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbls lemon juice
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 2/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
* for my gluten-free flour today, I mixed 1/2 cup each buckwheat, garbanzo, brown rice flour with 1/2c potato starch.  You can use what ever you want here!

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350deg.

2.  Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well to fully blend.

3.  In separate bowl (I just use a 3 cup wet measuring cup), mix all wet ingredients together, then pour the wet mix into the dry ingredients and combine.  Again, if you are using standard flour, avoid over mixing.  Gluten-free?  mix it up. 

4.  Pour into greased muffin tins (or papers). See cooking times/amounts below:

Makes:
42 mini-muffs (filled cups), cook 11-13 minutes
14-16 standard sized muffs, cook 20-22 minutes
1 loaf pan, cook maybe 45-55 min?

Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Mini-muffin, shown to scale in my hands.  So darn cute!

Mia appraises her mini.  Again to scale.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spinach Basil Pesto


So this was one of the original recipe ideas behind actually wanting to begin a family food blog over a year ago and only now am I getting to putting it in writing.  Not sure what took so long, but....

The back story to this comes from the lengthy pursuit to figure out just what in the world was wrong with our daughter's immune system.  After about a year and a half (now 3) of nearly continuous respiratory illnesses, coughs, allergies, sleepless nights and general tuberculosisness, we were tired of being offered antibiotics and various other things for her not-infections and found our way to an incredible Pediatric Naturopath (Dr. Molly Gray at West Seattle Natural Medicine).  Dr. Gray offered many great thoughts and ideas, but as any parent of a toddler knows, hearing that your toddler should "eat something green every day" can border on ridiculous.  She suggested making a spinach pesto.... so I did.  And I have never gone back. 

In my kitchen, I basically use pesto as salt anyway.  Really, what can't benefit from some fresh basil, garlic, oil, salt and pepper really?  Eggs? Salads? Sandwiches? Potatoes? Rice? Quinoa? Pasta?  Please. 

Initially it began as a priority in Mia's food, then after a few months we realized that there was no reason not to punch up the nutrients in all of our foods.   We use it in everything.  I typically make up a huge batch, then pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it all.  I just put a cube or two in a jar in the fridge when I use the last one and they thaw in an hour or so.  You could even pop out however many cubes you want a few minutes before you need them and you are set to go if they are going in a hot dish. 

As for Mia's health....after a year and half our family eats even healthier and more balanced than before but nothing helped her immune system significantly until we found the enormous mold reservoir crawling its way through all of our walls.  The good news, is she loves pesto.



Basil Spinach Pesto (makes 3-4 cups-a lot!)
  • 4 cups basil leaves (top stems OK), rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 big bag fresh spinach leaves (organic preferably)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts are traditional but I like almonds, pecans or whatever)
  • 1/4c finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan (optional) 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Splash of something acidic- like vinaigrette dressing or lemon or whatever.  This gives a great zip to the pesto
Directions
Pulse/blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor until it is the consistency you are looking for. I prefer it to be fairly smooth, so I let it go for a several seconds after pulsing it several times.  This really will all fit in a standard food processor, but you can do it in batches and then mix them all together before using or freezing.

Optional next step to freeze in 1-2T amounts in ice cube tray for a few hours. You can either store them in the tray, or transfer them to a different container to keep frozen.

You can see I used cashews here.  I have never been accused of being traditional.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Quinoa Salad


You could nearly make the case that this is a quinoa blog and I would have to agree.  Here comes another amazing recipe, this one from my amazing mom, Jeanne.  For nearly 3 years now, she has been "Grandma Jeannie", until a month or so ago when Mia quite accidentally called her "Greenie", and of course that is now what she is known by, despite nearly 4 decades of my knowing her otherwise.

Anyway, as any good only child daughter would, I initially ignored this recipe when she sent it to me, slightly annoyed that she would take yet another of my recipes and clearly improve it.  No matter- and good for anyone reading this- because she made it for dinner the other night and it was amazing!  Absolutely delicious and good for many helpings.  I then muscled Mike out for the leftovers the next day for lunch and it was at least as good, if not better. 

And now I put it here, along with a small and well earned slice of humble pie for myself.  Enjoy!

Greenie's Summer Quinoa Salad:  serves 4
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (maybe a dash more?)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 4  tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup kalama olives, quartered
  • 1/3 - 2/3 cup crumbled feta
  • (optional) add in 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh or sun-dried tomatoes!
Directions:

1. Wash, rinse, and drain quinoa.  Place in a 2 quart pot, add water and salt, and bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer with lid on until all water is absorbed (15 - 20 min).  Don't stir the grain while it is cooking.  Test for doneness by tilting the pan to one side, making sure all of the water has been absorbed.  Remove lid and let rest 5 to 10 min. (I spread it out in a shallow dish and turn it occasionally to let all the steam escape.)

2.  Meanwhile, dry toast the pine nuts in low heated skillet or 300 F oven until they begin to change color and give off aroma.

3. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and basil in a large bowl.  Add chives and olives.  I let these ingredients marry for 30 min or more, then add toasted pine nuts and quinoa and toss.  Lastly I add the feta and fold it in.   Serve at room temp.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookie Balls (Gluten-free/Dairy-free)


These are tasty little numbers adapted from a recipe given to me by Mia's Naturopath, Dr. Molly Gray.  We love her and everyone else we have seen at their clinic.  Dr. Gray has been especially amazing in how she treats Mia like a full human and makes her visit there extremely positive and cooperative, vs. doing things to her whether Mia wants them or not.

So these were supposed to be a yummy treat that Mia would love to eat and just pack her with nutrients and such, but it turns out she wasn't into them.  Toddlers, right?  But me?  I absolutely loved them!  Being the food enthusiast/Physical Therapist that I am, I brought them to work and shared them with my colleague and about half of my patients and unanimously we all agreed that they were amazing!  To borrow from Cooks Magazine: "Tasters referred to them as 'delicious', 'abundently satisfying' and 'just right, such that you eat one and are completely sated'".  Really, try them for yourself if you have an extra 3 minutes to spare.  That is all it will take.  Bonus, these are the kind of thing that you could put just about anything into and in fact, I used the little bits of about 4 different types of nuts and trail mixes just to clean the cupboard. 

Oatmeal No-Bake Cookie Balls
  • 1 cup whole oats (use certified gluten-free if needed)
  • 1c mixed nuts (I used salted pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans and pine nuts)
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 1/2-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbls pure maple syrup
Directions
1) in food processor or blender, blend up the oats and nuts until they are finely chopped; add dates and blend until they are also finely chopped.

2) add vanilla and 2T syrup and pulse a few times to combine.  This will still be very coarse in presentation (see photo below).  Add more syrup as you see fit.

3) scoop up small hand fulls and smash into balls.

Pulsed without vanilla or maple syrup

with the vanilla and maple
 
too beautiful not to add a picture of them!  Reminds me of working on a Kibbutz many moons ago....

scoop up a handful....
and smash it into a ball!


Enjoy!!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Lady Diana's Feta Spread (Gluten-free/Dairy-adaptable)


    This spread comes from my mom via her friend Diana.  For the feta lovers out there, this will knock your socks off!  I love it as a spread, dip and even salad dressing.  When you are mixing it up, you can just adjust the amount of time you blend it according to your needs.  You can also play with the mint here and use basil or some other herb of your choice.  For those who know me and already think I have lost my marbles with the Cilantro Pesto post, you will be further surprised to learn how delicious the mint is here!

    I dare you to not want to eat it with a spoon and I double dare you to not just dip your fingers in it when your guests aren't looking.  Go ahead.

    Lady Diana's Amazing Feta Spread
    • 1/4 c fresh mint
    • several cloves of garlic
    • 3 T olive oil ( more to consistency and taste)
    • 1/2 to 3/4c Feta  
    • 2 - 4 T lemon juice.
    Directions

    1. Put first the oil, mint and garlic in a food processor or blender and mix for several seconds.

    2.  Add the feta cheese and blend a bit more- to desired consistency.  You may want to add a bit more oil here if you want.

    3.  Stir in lemon juice.

    Serve with anything at all that you want to dip!

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Sheep's Milk Feta Cheese


    This is the most amazing thing in the world of feta cheese.  Even before learning that I was princess sensitive to cow's milk/dairy, you would find me eating sheep and goat cheese over cow any day.  Now that this has become more of a lifestyle for me, I can't possibly imagine living without this cheese. 

    It is tangy and creamy and perfectly balanced.  Delicious on salads, pizzas, sandwiches, in quinoa dishes (such as the Quinoa Tamale, Mediterranean Quinoa, or just tossed in a bowl of it!), on pasta, with crisp apples & pears and....

    I find it at Trader Joe's and buy at least 3 bricks every time. 

    Enjoy!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Mango Banana Recovery Ice Cream (Dairy Free)


    Are you running in the Rock & Roll Half/Full Marathon this weekend in Seattle?  If so, please do consider this as quite possibly the BEST recovery snack to have in your first 30 minutes after running to replenish your depleted nutritional resources.  Seriously, this is perhaps the most perfect post-race food and totally delightful at the same time. 

    Not to mention the fun for me of finally talking my daughter into the fact that ice cream is delicious and fun, even though it is cold.  Hard to be ice cream without the cold part.  Anyway, now she is totally into it and I can take heart in the fact that this ice cream is full of fresh fruit and calcium rich almond milk and juice.  That's it!  Also, feel free to play with the fruit and juice you toss in to work with whatever is in your freezer.

    Of course this is good for an everyday ice cream treat as well!

    Mango Banana Recovery Ice Cream

    1 banana, frozen in pieces
    3/4 cup or so frozen mango pieces
    2-4 Tbls Almond milk (or any other milk-type... rice, soy, cow....)
    2-4 Tbls Orange Juice (optional)

    Directions:

    In high powered blender or food processor, toss in the banana and mango, then add a few tablespoons of  almond milk (I just put in a long drizzle).  Start the blender or food processor going and slowly add a tablespoon (or glug) at a time of milk and/or juice.  Use more milk to make it ice creamier and more juice to make it creamsickle-ey-er.  Then scoop it into your favorite delivery item.  Mia is a fan of the cone and they make perfectly good gluten-free cones to be had at any grocery store these days.  Or any other cone, or cup, or cookie....

    Makes about 3 good sized servings.  I recommend immediate consumption for a good soft texture, but it does freeze well for later eating if for some unrecognizable reason you can't finish it all.

    Beautifully smooth!

    Can you argue with that?

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Raspberry Oatmeal Bars (Gluten-free)


    I am a huge fan of having guest bloggers here on Fawnalicious.  So far only Katie has with her fantastic Basque Red Bean Soup. I have been super busy lately getting the new PT clinic up and running so have barely had chance to cook for myself and the family, much less write about it.  So this brings us up to today's delicious recipe from the Great Auntie Bert.  Now, while everything that follows is her creation, this is my blog after all and therefore I get to take a moment to talk about her. 

    Bert is a special friend, colleague, godmother and 'Auntie' to our daughter.   I hope beyond hope that anyone reading this has friends like her.  She is one of those friends that makes your life easier by just being a part of it.  Anyone who knows her is aware of the love and generosity she brings to those she spends time with.  She makes being a parent a little easier with each visit shared.  And now she comes through again with the following recipe which she happens to have talked big about for weeks now, but I have never tasted since they get gobbled up by anyone who comes close to them.  Now I will make them my darn self.


    From Bert:

    "This is a lovely treat, which is super easy and can be a little more sweet or less sweet depending on how you might choose to adapt it. It has been used a breakfast bar in a pinch, or a pre-exercise snack.

    Prep time 10 min, bake time 30 min, and they freeze well~

    Makes 16 bars

    I am not a stickler for following recipes and this with this one you can get away with that behavior for sure!

    Bert’s Gluten-free Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

    • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
    • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
    • 1 cup raspberry jam
    • 1 large handful of choc chips 43% cacao (optional, although why wouldn’t you!)
    • 1 medium handful of walnuts chopped, (optional)

    Directions

    1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.

    2.Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.

    3.Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix until combined. Stir in 13/4 cups oats. Spread 2/3 of batter on bottom of prepared baking dish. Spread raspberry jam over the batter with back of spoon.

    4.Add remaining 1/4 cup oats to remaining batter. Crumble over top of raspberry jam. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool, then cut into bars.

    Bert's fav gluten-free AP flour blend

    In the mix!



    (adapted from many sources…..)"

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Blondies (Gluten-free/Dairy-Free)


    I was quite intrigued when I stumbled on this recipe the other day.  It looked tasty, but garbanzo beans?  Yes! I have been amazed at how delicious these are and how versatile.  The original recipe doesn't have oats in them and I found them to be a bit too Japanese-bean-cake-like for what I was going for, so I have added in oats along with a few other minor changes and like what they bring, although the day after I made the first batch, they were a much better texture.  The oats allow for immediate enjoyment, however.  And this is FAST!  I can have the batter made before the oven preheats.  Doesn't even cut into precious nap time barely at all.  Furthermore, this is the only way I can sneak peanut butter into the wee one and just about the only source of protein she eats anymore. 

     Chocolate Chip Blondies
    • 1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    • heaping 1/8 tsp salt
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar* (less if you like, even Mia thinks 1/3-1/2c is fine)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3 or so Tbls ground flax (optional but great for nutrition and texture)
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other oil or soft butter if not using nut butter)
    • 1/4-1/3 cup chocolate chips ( I use mini chips because they go further)
    • handful of oats (maybe ~1/4cup?) 
    • splash of milk (I use almond milk.  love it) Maybe 2-4 Tbls?  See below
    *coconut sugar works well in these as does raw sugar and the like
     
    Directions

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend all ingredients except chips and oats until very smooth- I have used both a blender and a food processor.  Add the (almond) milk a small splash at a time into the blender to ease the mixing and lesson the chance of busting your blender (or your host's blender as the case may be).  Mix in chips and oats, and scoop into a greased or parchment lined 8×8 pan. Bake for 33-35 minutes.  I find that in the batches that I add oats to, the cooking time is on the shorter end.  Without the oats, they stay quite a bit gooey-er and need the longer end.  They will be super gooey when they first come out, but will firm up, so don't be tempted to overcook them!

    (Note for amended recipe with milk: I find this really helps reduce the excessive gooey-ness, yets keeps it modestly moistureful).
    Why wouldn't you just mix the oats and chips in the pan?


    And why not a double batch?

    Adapted from this recipe by "Chocolate Covered Katie"

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Mediterranean Quinoa (Gluten-free)

    This is a quick, healthy and delicious dish.  It comes together in a pinch and most kitchens will have the ingredients on hand to pull it together easily any night, especially if you keep pesto around like I do. If you don't have it in your kitchen, use what you have and I bet it will be great.  It makes a great potluck dish and is easily doubled or tripled for big gatherings.  It is delicious cold the next day if it makes it that far.

    This is the dish that made me fall in love with quinoa.  I am not one to mix sweet and savory typically, but this recipe is perfectly balanced in that way.  Furthermore, I am always wanting to reduce the added oils and such to recipes, but I wouldn't touch it here.  Somehow the olive oil, herbs, feta and currants are just perfectly matched.  The currants make the just right tiny sweetness.  I am just too lazy to chop herbs, so I always use whatever pesto I have on hand in the freezer or fridge.

    Mediterranean Quinoa (total time 25-30 minutes)
    • 1cup quinoa
    • 13/4cups water
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 1/4cup pine nuts, toasted (or almonds, pecans, etc)
    • 1/4cup olive oil
    • 1/4cup lemon juice
    • 3-4Tbls chopped fresh basil, Italian parsley &/or cilantro (I use about 2T cilantro pesto or parsley pesto and 2T basil/spinach pesto)
    • 1/4cup currants (you can use chopped raisins if you like)
    • 1/3cup feta cheese, crumbled
    Directions
    In 2-quart pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil.  Add quinoa to pot and reduce heat to low, simmer 20 minutes.  Once cooked, turn off heat, take off lid and let rest 5-10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, dry-toast pine nuts in skillet on the stove for a few minutes until golden brown.  In medium bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice and herbs or pesto.  Add currants, pine nuts and feta cheese.  Add warm quinoa to bowl and toss gently.  Serve at room temperature.

    Adapted from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Giant Quinoa Tamale (Gluten-Free/Dairy Adaptable)

    When I saw a recipe for Quinoa Tamales a few days ago, I just about lost my mind.  I seriously love tamales.  I am highly reactive to corn and have not had the pleasure of enjoying it for a while now, despite the fact that my neighbor actually makes tamales fresh each day for sale in her taco truck.  I am not sure how I ended up waiting three days to make it, but I do know that Mike and I barely spoke when we were eating it yesterday until we agreed at the end of the meal that I would make it again today.  Again we finished it and again it was delicious.

    Like all things Fawnalicious, think of this as highly modifiable.  Really this is a recipe for using Quinoa as a base to put stuff into.  I put shredded chicken in ours, but you could put roasted vegetables or beans or carnitas, or ground/shredded beef...etc into it.  It is very easy and low maintenance to make.  It takes a while to make start-to-finish, but it is nearly all unattended.  

    The original recipe (posted by the fabulous Mark Bittman) included what is no doubt an amazing recipe for tomatillo salsa.  I didn't have the motivation to make it, so I used  about 1cup of Trader Joe's salsa verde and mixed it with 2-3T cilantro and parsley pesto

    Quinoa Tamales
    • 2 Cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
    • 5-6 cups water
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the loaf pan
    • Salt
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1-2 cups cheese ( I like it cheesy)- In this house, Sheep’s milk Feta rules and it is no sloppy second.  You could also use crumbled queso fresco or grated Monterey Jack or whatever you like
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder (optional- I skipped it)
    • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or some cilantro pesto- for garnish
    Directions
    1. Heat the oven to 400°F.  Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a large pot along with a big pinch of salt. Add the water 1 cup at a time, to cover by about 11⁄2 inches.  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes- until the water is just barely absorbed, it should pretty mushy. If the grains get too dry, add just enough water to keep them submerged. When the grains are starchy and thick, remove from the heat. (You can cook the quinoa up to a day ahead and refrigerate; return to room temperature before proceeding.)

    2.When you’re ready to make the tamale, generously grease two 9 × 5-inch loaf pans or one loaf pan and one 9x9-inch square with some oil. Mix the baking powder and a big pinch of salt into the quinoa with a fork (good to taste here and adjust salt). The consistency should be thick but spreadable; if it’s too stiff, add a few drops of water. Spread half of the quinoa mixture in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with the cheese and chili powder if using. Add the remaining quinoa, smooth it out evenly, and press down a bit to seal the loaf. Cover the pan tightly with foil. (At this point the quinoa loaf can be covered and refrigerated for up to several hours.)

    3. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the top is golden brown, another 30 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the oven and let the tamale sit for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a platter (or just serve from the pan). Garnish with the /pesto and a little more cheese, cut the tamale big into slices, and serve, passing salsa at the table.

    The first night, I actually made only a half- batch and used half feta and half cheddar.  Feta was the clear winner, so I didn't bother with anything else the next night.  I just layered chicken on top of this layer to stuff it a bit more.  yum!


    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Maple Syrup Oat Scones (Gluten-Free/Adaptable)

    I saw this scone recipe a few weeks ago on the Smitten Kitchen website and pretty much rushed out and made them that day.  I have only made my gluten-free adaptation, but I imagine the original version as she posted was amazing as well.  The only downfall of the gluten-free version is that they don't rise as much, but anyone who eats gluten-free baked goods or bread knows this is the way it goes.  Also, I have this need to always cut some of the butter or oil from most of the baked goods I eat, so this also likely affected the fluff factor, as my version cut 1/3 of the fat.  Furthermore, I am constantly playing with different flours to increase the protein and nutrient value, so a simpler flour mix may also be lighter.  You choose!

    We ate every last scone in an 18-hour period and I have just been too busy to make them again, or I would have made them a few more times since.  Mia loved them and not just because we had "scones for dinner" that night.  These will surely make a great addition to any Easter brunch or any regular breakfast (or dinner!) for that matter.

    For the standard flour version, I will simply send you here for the original post that I adapted the following recipe from.

    Gluten- free Maple Syrup Oat Scones (makes 8-10 scones)
    • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting surface (or see below for the combination I used)
    • 1/2 cup oat flour (see this recipe for how to make this flour if you don’t have it on hand, or use a different flour to substitute if you like)
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder (very heaped)
    • 1 very heaped tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
    • 3/4 cup (unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I used 1/2c butter and 1/4c applesauce)
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk (I used almond milk)
    • 1 egg, beaten (for glaze) (I skipped this because I forgot- no big deal)
    (Fawn’s GF flour combo: 1/3c buckwheat flour, 2.3c Tom Sawyer’s flour, 1/4c brown rice flour, 1/4c crushed pecans, 1/4c garbanzo flour)

    Directions:
    1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Butter a baking tray or line one with unbuttered parchment paper.

    2. Whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a small dish, combine the milk and syrup, then add these liquid ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. By hand or with a rubber spatula, bring everything together to form a dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more milk but not enough that the dough is too, too sticky.  Remember that gluten-free baked goods will not have the same consistency of their gluten-full counterparts, so the dough will be much stickier here.

    3. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray so that they almost touch. Glaze the tops with beaten egg (or not)  and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the scones are lightly golden.
    "heaping"!
    Just use a glass to cut the scones if you don't have a biscuit cutter.  Delicious!