Friday, August 30, 2013

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola 8-28-13

I have been craving crunchy things.  With eating gluten free, refined sugar free and even cutting back on lots of grains, I felt like I just needed to crunch something.  I used to eat homemade granola almost everyday and was really missing it.  (Know what else I miss, sometimes just taking a big chug of fat free milk…..I’ve cut back on dairy, too, and have heard fat free has all kinds of chemicals in it, so I don’t drink it anymore, but it’d sure be nice after one of these Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies that are so good you’d never know they are gluten free or refined sugar free.  They are SO good chilled in the fridge, too.  Must make more.

We’re talking about granola here though.  So I set out to make me a crunchy gluten free granola.  The only sweetener in this is raw honey.  You could use maple syrup or agave, too.  I decided to put a bunch of nuts and seeds in this.  I’m so happy with how it turned out—perfect, I must say. ;)  I wanted a clumpy granola and there is a perfect “trick” to that.  Once it comes out of the oven, don’t stir it.  When it is completely cooled, it will have stuck all together and you can break it in to any sized pieces you’d like.

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola 8-28-13

This is the perfect kind of granola to just take a baggie full somewhere for a snack on hand.  But if you break up the pieces a little smaller, it’s also great on top of yogurt with some fresh berries.  One of my favorite things.

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola 3

Look how clumpy that is!  Of course, you don’t have to make it gluten free, I just used gluten free oats—this is still a great granola with any kind of oats.

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola (Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 cups gluten-free oats

3 tablespoons ground flax meal

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup raw almonds

½ cup raw pecans

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup raw honey

3 tablespoons organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flax, sesame seeds, coconut, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds and salt. Stir together.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the honey and coconut oil. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir together with a whisk until well combined. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until everything looks wet. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until fragrant and browned. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Do not touch the mix during this time as it is setting up and will be clumpy. Once it is completely cooled, you can break it in to clumps and store in an airtight container. *You can use any nuts and seeds you’d like or have on hand, just make it nutty!

Crazy Nutty Gluten Free Granola 4

I think I’ll go snitch a bit of the granola right now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

All the healthy treats I’ve been making have been great and I’m happy to be finding so many things out there that do the trick of curbing a little sweet attack.  That said, sometimes I’ve just been craving the good old days (2 months ago??) and want a good, decadent full fat, sugary treat. 

These brownies have done the trick!  Though they are still gluten free, refined sugar free and low in oil (coconut oil).  Win!  While it’s probably a bit more healthy to use raw honey or dates in goodies, which I have been doing a lot, these brownies almost seem like a bit of a cheat to me since I used organic natural pure cane sugar in them.  (I know, I should be arrested by the health freaks out there.) ;)  These ARE healthy since they are full of zucchin, right?  Hello?  Gluten free flours?  Coconut oil, dairy free, vegan, soy free, refined sugar free chocolate chips?  These are right there with the healthiest of treats, I’m calling it.

Gluten Free Zucchini Brownies

I found the base recipe for these at Karina’s blog, Gluten Free Goddess.  Then I proceeded to change the recipe quite a bit.  So check hers out after you check mine.  She’s got a great blog with tons of gluten free goodies as well as savory foods.

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup  almond flour

3/4 cup whole grain sweet sorghum flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 cup organic natural pure cane sugar plus 1 teaspoon molasses, mix with a fork or your fingers until it becomes brown sugar (I love doing this!)

2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature

1/4 cup organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup packed shredded zucchini, set on a towel to absorb some of the liquid for 20 minutes

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9 inch square pan with non stick foil, grease lightly with coconut oil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients—almond meal, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Whisk together.

In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients—eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.  Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and fold together with a spatula or wooden spoon until all combined.  Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. 

Bake for 23 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan using the foil edges.  Cut into desired sized squares on a cutting board.

Gluten Free Brownies 8-26-13

We had these with ice cream (well, I didn’t have ice cream, but the rest of the family did).  They are a perfect brownie texture and have a great chocolaty taste.  These will be my splurge for the week, until I tell you about the grain free chocolate zucchini cookies I also made that were just as delicious!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lo Fruit Beverage

Lo Fruit Beverages

I recently had the privilege of tasting these great new drinks called Lo Fruit Beverage.  They are really tasty and I LOVE that they have so many things about them that make it not only okay to drink, but they are even good for you. 

These not only taste good, but they are made with real fruit and are low glycemic (sweetened with agave and stevia.  They are preservative free, gluten free, vegan and GMO/GEO free.  I love all that about them.  I don’t drink my calories anymore and choose water over any other drinks.  But love this option of all these different flavored juices if I want something more than just to quench my thirst. 

My favorite is the pomegranate.  I messed up and didn’t take anymore pictures, but we loved the acai-blue and mango mojito juices in some smoothies we made.  The blueberry one was perfect for a very berry smoothie we made with some raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  I also made a delicious peach mango smoothie and added a little fresh mint.  The mango mojito was a great addition as some liquid for the smoothie.

I’m excited to look for these in the stores and try them again!  Thanks, Lo, for compensating some to me.  (My opinions are my own and they provided me with the four drinks to sample.)  Check out their website and see all the benefits of a drink like this!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Salsa Asada in the Blendtec

Salsa Asada

My wonderful husband bought me a Blendtec!  We are having so much fun making all kinds of things in it.  Since making diet changes that include not eating gluten, I was wanting to make my own almond flour and other nut flours and butter.  It was wearing out my food processor.

We have already (in less than a week) made countless smoothies, almond butter, peanut butter, soups and this delicious salsa.  The Blendtec comes with some great little recipe books that we are plowing through.   We did end up making a change to the recipe from Blendtec recipe, they used fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, but since we didn’t have any at the time, I used some canned whole tomatoes.  Here’s the link to a lot of their great recipes, but the Salsa Asada one isn’t on their website.  Lots of other good ones though!

Super simple to make, just added all the ingredients to the blender and pulse a few times until it was the consistency we wanted.  You can pulse less if you like a chunkier salsa.  I like mine to not have really any chunks at all.  This salsa has a little different kick in it from some liquid smoke and some vinegar.  It is otherwise pretty similar to the one we make most often, called Mildly Wild Salsa.   Try this one if you like a little kick.  Don’t tell those who try it what it is that is in it and see if they can guess what that smoky flavor is.

Salsa Asada, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Blendtec

2—14 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, drained

2 jalapenos, skins blackened over gas stove (for extra spiciness, don’t throw out the seeds and ribs, just cut off the tops)

1 small shallot (or 1/4 medium onion), peeled and chopped into 4 quarters

2 cloves garlic, peeled

about 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (or to taste)

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1  1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon all natural liquid smoke

With a gas burner on medium heat, set two jalapenos over the rack and blacken each side.  You can hold them over the flame with tongs as well, it is often necessary to move them around to get even blackening.  Once they are blackened, put them in a bowl and cover it.  In the bowl of a blender, add the drained canned tomatoes (there were about 4-5 whole tomatoes in each can).  Add the shallot, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, salt and liquid smoke.  Remove the skins from the jalapenos by rubbing them with a paper towel.  (Don’t rinse away that grilled flavor!  A little black skin left on them is okay.) 

One all the ingredients are in the blender, pulse it in 1-2 second pulses until it is the desired consistency.  Pulse less if you want chunky salsa, more if you want it smoother. 

(This was a little spicy for me, but others in the family loved it.  I would remove the ribs and seeds from one jalapeno next time and left them in the other.)

Homemade nut butters in the Blendtec

With the new Blendtec, it has the big jar, but we also got the smaller one that is used more for making nut butters.  If you’re going to get a Blendtec, I would recommend getting the smaller jar (for an added price) as well (though you CAN still make nut butters in the bigger jar).  Also not pictures, I made sunflower seed butter—within seconds!  When I was doing these butters in my food processor, it was taking 10-15 minutes to get it to a smooth consistency and I think my food processor would have eventually died for the overworking. ;)

It would be overkill if we took pictures of all the smoothies we’ve been making and Kevin made a tortilla soup (all the raw veggies are just added to the blender, then you push the “soup” button and within seconds you have soup—it even heats it slightly.  We liked it a little hotter, so we did heat it a little on the stove after that.  Kevin liked the tortilla soup so much, he’s made it twice already (and this is coming from someone who claimed he didn’t like soup)!

(This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to say this, I just love my new Blendtec!)

Thanks for the Blendtec, Kev!  I wasn’t even begging for it, he just knew I wanted one and that it would get used.  What a guy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grain Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Refined Sugar Free)

Grain Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday I posted the Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites and mentioned how they are now one of my favorite treats.  On Facebook I also mentioned that besides those I have found some fantastic, perfectly chewy, you'd-never-know-they-were-healthy chocolate chip cookies.  I think I might just keep a running stock of these two things and I’ll be good for a long time—though that wouldn’t be fun to not keep trying new things, would it? ;)

Well, these are definitely great chocolate chip cookies and if you didn’t tell anyone, I think they’d never know they didn’t have flour or refined sugar.  I plan to make them again, maybe even today.  They have some coconut in them, which might add to the chewiness.  I think I’ll try them without the coconut, but with lots of nuts and see if they are still pretty much the same.  These also have no added oil or butter—just almond butter.  Instead of loads of sugar they just have a little honey in them.  I used the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, which happen to be soy free, dairy free, refined sugar free and grain free.  You could use any kind that suits your diet needs. 

Once again I found these cookies at Jennifer’s blog, Unrefined Kitchen.  She has so many recipes that I want to try.  SO glad I tried these.  Looking through the recipe, I didn’t really change anything, so the link goes to her recipe.  She mentioned using 1/3 cup of honey and more if you’d like—I only used 1/3 cup and they are perfectly sweet.  She also suggested trying nuts in place of some of the coconut, so that is what I did—1/3 cup of unsweetened coconut and 1/3 cup of pecans.  My next try (today?) will be leaving out the coconut.  I love the coconut, but some people who are taste testers of mine don’t like it.  I baked the cookies about 10 minutes.  My scoop must be a bit bigger than Jennifer’s scoop, as I only got 16 cookies and she said the recipe makes about 20.  I used homemade almond butter.

Grain Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip CookiesYep, just finishing up this post and seeing these photos, I need to make these again—today.  Need to run and get more chocolate chips first.  Give them a try.

Here’s the link again for Jennifer’s Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies at Unrefined Kitchen.

Grain Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

I tried, but you still can’t see the amazing texture and chewiness these cookies have in the crosscut photo, you’ll just have to taste them for yourself.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo)

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites 8-9-13

Yay for another perfectly simple and deliciously chocolaty treat that is also healthy, grain free, refined sugar free and did I mention so simple to make.  They are also no-bake treats.  I’m loving these kinds of things.  Plus when I make a batch and I’m the only one here who will eat them, they last me days and days.

I just found these Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites at Averie Cooks this morning and whipped some up.  They have raw cashews in them and I bought a big bag of them from the bulk bin at the grocery store a couple days ago. 

Put cashews and cocoa powder in a food processor.  Pulse (carefully, it leaves a nice dusting of cocoa powder all over) until the mixture is coarse ground.  Chop the dates—I always rough chop them because I have learned that even though something says “pitted”, there is always a surprise pit left in one or two and the food processor doesn’t like that. ;)  (Found one today!)  Add the dates to the food processor and pulse until everything is coarsely chopped.  Add the vanilla and a tablespoon of honey.  Pulse some more, then add more honey if it is not all starting to stick together.  I ended up using three tablespoons of honey.  Roll them into balls about an inch in diameter.  I then ground some cashews in my small food processor just until they were a fine powder and rolled half the balls in the ground cashews.  Averie rolled hers in colorful sprinkles, which would be fun, but since I didn’t want any added sugar, I didn’t do that.

Fudgy Brownie Balls ready to roll

Here’s the raw dough, ready to roll.  It was a perfect consistency to just pinch off amounts and roll them into balls.  I got 16 of them, plus the little bit I ate before they were finished being rolled, so maybe even 17. ;)

For anyone (like me) who wants to know, these are gluten free, grain free, soy free, refined sugar free, Paleo and could be vegan if you use agave nectar or maple syrup instead of honey.  Did I mention they are really good?

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (Paleo, Refined Sugar Free) 8-9-13

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (Grain Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free), adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Averie Cooks

2/3 cup raw cashews plus 1/4 cup raw cashews (divided use)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of sea salt

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons raw honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)

In a food processor, add the 2/3 cup of cashews and the cocoa powder, pulse until coarsely ground.  Add the chopped dates and pinch of salt.  Pulse until all is coarsely chopped.  Add the vanilla and one tablespoon of the raw honey.  Continue pulsing until a dough begins to form.  Add another tablespoon of honey and pulse more.  Add another tablespoon of honey and continue pulsing until it all begins to stick together and forms a ball of dough.  Roll about one inch balls of dough and put them on a wax paper lined plate or baking sheet.  Optional, grind 1/4 cup of cashews just until they are finely ground.  Roll some or all of the brownie bites in the ground cashews.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes 16.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites crosscut

You know what I think I kind of like about these?  They have just a hint of taste and chewiness that reminds me of Tootsie Rolls.  There are definitely some candies I miss and Tootsie Rolls (my homemade recipe here) are one that I love.  These are similar with just a little nuttiness.   Happy me!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Orange Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake (Gluten Free)—Secret Recipe Club

Gluten Free Orange Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake--Aug. SRC

For Secret Recipe Club this month I was assigned a new-to-me blog.  I enjoyed looking through Easily Good Eats.  There were so many recipes to choose from, many being somewhat different from the kind of recipes I make.  This blogger is in a different country, but I was not able to figure out what country.  I saw one post that mentioned something about Swedes, so maybe the blogger is in Sweden. ?  No matter, they love cooking and baking for themselves and friends outside their “real” life in finance and law.

When I saw this Orange Olive Oil Polenta Cake, I realized it didn’t have very much gluten in it—since most of the flours were cornmeal and almond flour.  New to baking gluten free, I emailed our Group A leader, Jane, and asked her what to use to replace half a cup of all purpose flour, since she does all kinds of gluten free goodies.  The direction she gave me turned out a wonderful cake!  I also wanted the cake to be made with unrefined sugar, so though I do use more often lately raw honey, coconut sugar or dates, I used organic natural cane sugar this time and called it a big splurge for me.   I know, living on the edge. ;)

The cake was simple to make once I got through the first step which was interesting.  I boiled two whole oranges for an hour, then let them cool to room temperature before cutting them up and pureeing them in the food processor.  I can certainly say that is something I’ve never done before, though for Tuesdays With Dorie a few years back, we made a lemon tart with whole lemons in it.  The whole oranges were something I was intrigued with using in a cake.  I would make this cake again for sure.

Boiled Oranges Ready to Puree

Boiled oranges ready to puree

Whole Oranges Pureed

Pureed Whole Oranges

The whole oranges definitely make orange the star of this cake.  If you haven’t made a cake with olive oil before, do not fear, you cannot taste the olive oil.  I did use a light olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil but Easily Good Eats mentioned using extra virgin olive oil and it was still not detectible. 

I loved that the cake was dense but still plenty moist and was perfectly flat on top.  (Sometimes with the higher altitude I live in, my cakes sink a little in the middle and it irks me.) I loved the texture and slight nuttiness the almond flour and cornmeal gave the cake.  At Easily Good Eats it was referred to as polenta cake, I used cornmeal, so I changed that in the title and recipe, though I believe polenta and cornmeal to be pretty much the same.

Orange Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake

Orange Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

For the cake:

2 oranges

1/2 cup light olive oil

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup organic pure natural cane sugar

6 tablespoons brown rice flour*

2 tablespoons tapioca starch*

pinch of xanthan gum*

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup almond meal/flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze:***

Juice of 1 orange (about 5 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons raw honey

Boil two whole oranges in a pot of water for an hour.  Make sure they are completely submerged the whole time.  To do this, I put a smaller saucepan pan on top of the oranges to hold them under the water (otherwise, they float).  Once boiled, remove them from the water and let them cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease and flour (I used brown rice flour) an 8 inch round cake pan. 

Cut the oranges into quarters, remove any seeds and puree it in a food processor.  Whisk together the eggs, sugar and olive oil until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add the orange puree and mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, almond flour, the gluten free flour mixture and the baking powder.  Mix the dry ingredients in to the orange mixture and stir until just combined.    Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the glaze, juice the orange and whisk together with the honey.  Cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until it thickens slightly.    Drizzle the glaze over slices of the cake.  (You might want to double the glaze to have enough for the whole cake.  

Orange Olive OIl Cornmeal Cake (SRC)Just for fun and because I think chocolate and orange are a great combination, I took a slice of the cake and drizzled it with some melted dark chocolate.  Mmm, that was good!

I am happy with the recipe I made from Easily Good Eats and have a number of other recipes there that I plan to try soon.  Check out all the other posts for the Secret Recipe Club.



Friday, August 02, 2013

Grain Free No Bake Coconut Cookies (Paleo, No Refined Sugar)

Grain Free No Bake Coconut Cookies

You know those no bake cookies that every loves?  Yes, the ones with TONS of sugar and an overabundance of butter.  Sometimes they have peanut butter, but always cocoa and oats, maybe coconut and nuts, too.  Yep—those are really good, huh?  You talk yourself in to having too many of them because you tell yourself they are “good for you” because they are full of wholesome oats.  You won’t have to feel guilty anymore if you make these Grain Free No Bake Coconut Cookies.  What I like is that even though I made them grain free because I’m cutting back on grains and not having any gluten right now, you could still add oats and I think I’ll do just that next time I make them.  I’ve got some gluten free oats and these would be perfect with some.  Just cut some of the coconut and use some oats.  Ooh, I might even try that today.  I’m not against all grains even though I’m cutting out gluten and am really enjoying trying different things.

I recently made some Gluten Free Multigrain Bread that I need to share with you soon.  But for today, let’s talk cookies!  I made these for an activity at church with the ladies and I’d have to say they were a big hit.  Everyone was asking if I was the one who made them (they all know I make yummy treats and have a blog).  They were certainly simple to make, especially with no baking involved.  While I have been learning a lot about gluten and grain free treats, I have been finding lots of recipes on the too-numerous-to-count healthy food blogs that are out there.  This is another one I must give all the credit to someone else.  I found these at Jennifer’s blog, Unrefined Kitchen.  I’ve actually made and drooled over a number of recipes on her blog.  Check it out!

Grain Free No Bake Coconut Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Jennifer at Unrefined Kitchen

1/3 cup raw honey

1  1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup organic coconut oil  (I might try it with just a little less next time, though they firmed up great in the refrigerator)

1/3 cup almond butter (I used homemade)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups unsweetened coconut (finely grated)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, cocoa and coconut oil.  Bring to a boil and boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the almond butter and vanilla.  Stir in the coconut.  Scoop onto a wax paper lined baking sheet using a small cookie scoop.  Refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes).  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They are good both served cold or at room temperature.  Makes about 20.

Grain Free No Bake Coconut Cookies 7-16-13

These are perfect little two-bite sized cookies that were super easy to make.  I’m off to make them again, though I promised the boys homemade pizza tonight and want to make some gluten free pita bread that I can eat.  Pita left flat makes a perfect pizza!  Have a great weekend!