Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins


   







     I know that I have gone for months without posting anything new and now I am making 2 posts in one day! That's how I am though, sorry! 

     I really don't like to bake at all, but I have to say that I am excited about being able to make muffins, cake, cookies, and the like without flour. This recipe is also from "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook", by Elana Amsterdam. I do really like this cookbook and would heartily recommend it to anyone who is interested in cutting carbs, going gluten-free, watching your sugar, or just trying to eat more naturally.

     I did change 2 things about this recipe, and that was to use butter instead of grapeseed oil and to add 1 dropperful of stevia extract for a double batch of muffins. I have made them without the stevia and I thought that they needed just a little more sweetness then the bananas provided, but feel free to experiment. I would love to hear any comments that you may have about any of the recipes that I have posted.  Blessings!


Ingredients:

3 cups blanched almond meal

1/4 t. sea salt

1 1/2 t. baking soda

2 T. butter, melted

3 large eggs

2 cups (4 to 5) mashed bananas    

1 cup frozen blueberries, I like the Wyman's Wild Blueberries

1/2 dropperful stevia extract


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, stevia, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until throughly combined. Stir the bananas into the batter, then fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 50 minutes, then serve. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Cake









   


      A friend made some gluten-free cupcakes for her son's birthday and the recipe that she used is from a cookbook that I really love but that I had completely forgotten about. I don't know if that ever happens to you, but it happens to me all the time! I have soooooo many cookbooks that I love but not enough time to use them all. I end up using the same one over and over again and forgetting about the others until something like this cupcake happens. 

     I am trying to cut down on the carbs that I eat and feed to my family, but it is so hard! I love chocolate, and I mean LOVE chocolate! Give me some chocolate and sugar and you have a friend for life. But since I know that sugar is bad, and we are NOT going to talk about chocolate, I have been trying to find recipes that use stevia instead. Now, I have found many recipes that call for stevia, but I also want them to taste good. I know, I want it all, to have my cake or dessert and eat it, too! How dare me, right?! 

     So here I am making recipes from a gluten-free cookbook, "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook", by Elana Amsterdam,  and then remaking it with less sweetener. I try to follow the recipe the first time that I make it, but this does not always happen. I only made 1 substitution this time, but rest assured that I have more substitutions planned for next time! The recipe called for grapeseed oil but I used butter instead. I mean lets face it, butter makes everything better! Right?! The next time that I make this I am planning on using 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey and some stevia instead of the agave nectar. I will let you know how it turns out! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we have.


Ingredients:

3 cups blanched almond meal

1/2 t. sea salt

1 t. baking soda

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup agave nectar

3 large eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 cup dark chocolate (73% cacao), coarsely chopped, I used bitter sweet chocolate

1 cup (2 to 3) mashed very ripe bananas


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and dust with almond flour.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, agave nectar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate and bananas. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soap Essentials Bar Bath Soap











     I made bath soap yesterday and wanted to share it with you. The first time I made it I was so nervous that I didn't take any pictures or anything! This time I took pictures after I cut the bars, maybe next time I will take pictures during the soap making process. If I remember! This is the only bath soap recipe that I have tried at this point, but I have made shampoo and soap for cleaning the house and doing laundry. This recipe comes from "The Natural Soap Book", by Susan Miller Cavitch. Making soap was very intimidating to me but it's really not hard at all! I hope that you will try making soap, my family has loved it!



Ingredients:

3 pounds distilled water

473 grams sodium hydroxide

4 pounds olive oil

2 pounds 8 ounces coconut oil

1 pound 8 ounces palm oil

30 grams grapefruit seed extract

15-18 teaspoons pure essential oil


Directions:

Follow basic soap making directions and let cure for 3-8 weeks. Enjoy! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Avocado Salad











     Hi! I know that it has been quite awhile since I have made a post, but better late than never! Two of my friends came over about a month ago so that we could make soap and shampoo, that is a whole other post, and one of the ladies brought over an Avocado Salad. Well, I love avocados and this was just too yummy not to share. Next time I make this I think that I will add some black beans to it, I will let you know how it turns out. I hope that you all enjoy making and eating this as much as my family has!



Ingredients:

5 Avocados, diced

1 Red bell pepper, large and diced

3-4 Cloves garlic, minced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 Sweet onion, diced

1 c. Frozen corn, thawed

1/2-2/3 c. Black olives, chopped (optional)

Juice of 1-1 1/2 lemons

1 T. White wine vinegar

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste


Directions:

Mix all ingredients well. Serve on whole wheat tortillas, with lettuce, chips, or use your imagination. This is too yummy not to make! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Arroz con Pollo


   














     Now this was yummy! It's just a Latino-style chicken and rice dish, but it is very good. I found this recipe on America's Test Kitchen's, they are one of my all time favorite places to get recipes from. They have a couple of cooking shows on PBS and they put out a few magazines. I get the Cook's Country magazine, and I watch the Cook's Country and Americas Test Kitchen tv shows. They are my favorite cooking shows of all time! They test all kinds of ways to make a recipe and then they tell you the best way to make it and how not to make it. I have not had any of their recipes turn out poorly. I really hope that you check them out and that you try this recipe soon. Enjoy!

To keep the dish from becoming greasy, it is important to remove excess fat from the chicken thighs and trim the skin. To use long-grain rice instead of medium-grain, increase the water to 3/4 cup in step 2.

Serve 4 to 6
6medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)

Table salt
1/2teaspoon dried oregano
1tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons

Ground black pepper
8bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2tablespoons olive oil
1medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1small green bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4cup water
3cups medium-grain rice (see note above)
1/2cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and halved
1tablespoon capers
1/2cup jarred pimentos , cut into 1/4 by 2-inch strips

Lemon wedges , for serving


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium.) Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

4. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Crunchy Noodle Salad












     O.k., so here is a recipe from Ina Garten. I have to say that I have been hearing for quite awhile how good peanut butter is with pasta and all kinds of things. Now the first dozen times that I heard this I gagged. Then I thought, all of these people can't be wrong and so I finally tried a recipe with peanut butter in it. I LOVED it! It's amazing! I couldn't believe how good it was and so I made it again, yep, still good. You have to try this even if it sounds strange, it is so good! I fixed spicy garlic asparagus and tilapia with a soy ginger glaze with the crunchy noodle salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Gravy















     Well, I haven't been on here for a awhile and now I have several recipes that I want to tell you about. I mean yummy stuff! We will start out with tonight's dinner, which was chicken with creamy mushroom gravy, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Everyone loved it, and they said that they would like to eat it every week. I just love it when I find a recipe like that and it's easy too! I adapted this from a recipe that I found in the Gourmet magazine cookbook. I hope that you love mushrooms!


Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 Tbs. lemon thyme
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out to 1/2 inch thickness
1 stick butter
1 pound chanterelles mushrooms or whatever kind of mushrooms that you like, sliced
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1-1 1/2 cups cream
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Directions:

Mix together flour, lemon thyme, and salt reserving 2 Tbs. for later use. Pound out chicken breasts and coat with flour mixture. Heat a large skillet over med.-med. high heat. Add about 1-2 Tbs. of olive oil, 1 pat of butter, and chicken to the hot pan. Cook chicken in batches, browning on each side, and hold in a warm oven. Add 2 Tbs. of butter, onion, and mushrooms to the pan and cook until done. Add in 1-2 Tbs. butter and reserved flour, stir well and cooking flour for 1 min. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Simmer until the liquid has thickened, 2-4 min. and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back to the pan and let sit for 5 min. before serving. Enjoy!

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