Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes, I feel like I am constantly running from store to store for last minute ingredients that somehow I’ve either forgotten to put on my shopping list or actually looked at on my shopping list 100 times in the store, yet still managed to forget.   My husband thinks it’s particularly funny that often the items I am running out for should be staples in my pantry.  Case in point: the other day I was making dinner for a friend who recently had a baby.  In typical fashion, I didn’t plan ahead for a dessert so on the day of, I pulled up my old standby chocolate chip cookie recipe and started whipping up a  batch. I got about halfway into the recipe and realized I had NO flour. Zip. Zero.  Zilch.   Seriously?!?!?! No flour?!?!?!  I mean, my husband and I are eating gluten free these days, but I usually have some flour around the house for these kinds of occasions.   To make matters even worse, I’d already dragged my kids to the store once that morning for a different ingredient I’d forgotten.  So, I scoured the internet for cookie recipes, hoping for a magic flour free option to appear.    I found a promising recipe for monster cookies that used oats instead of flour.  Since I had already started the other recipe, I just combined them and the results were better than I could expected.  Hearty like an oatmeal cookie should be, crispy on the edges and chewy in the center.   And perhaps best of all, it saved me from another trip to the store.  You know what they say…”necessity is the mother of invention!”

These cookies come together much like your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Start by creaming your butters and sugars together and then adding eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined.

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Refrigerate the dough for several hours.  This is a very important step in achieving that perfect crispy edge, chewy center texture.  Scoop 12 heaping tablespoons on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  If you don’t want to bake the whole recipe at once, you can put the leftover dough in plastic wrap, roll it into logs and put it in your freezer for later.

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Allow the cookies to cool for several minutes on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.Image

Enjoy warm or a room temperature with a glass of milk.

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Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 c butter

1 c white sugar

1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c creamy peanut butter

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp hot water

4 1/2 c gluten-free oats

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, peanut butter, white and brown sugars.  Add eggs, beating after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Stir together hot water and baking soda and then add to the batter.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 min until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Blueberry Crisp

Once upon a time my oldest daughter LOVED frozen blueberries.  She ate them like candy. So, my mother-in-law and I washed, sorted and froze 30 pounds (yes really, 30 pounds!!!) of organic blueberries.  And wouldn’t you know it, right about that time that my daughter decided she didn’t like them anymore.  This meant that 30 pounds of blueberries were relegated to my chest freezer where they have been hanging out for over a year.

Recently, my mother in law gave me this book by Shauna Niequist and I figured it had to be good because it was about food.  I didn’t make it very far before I wanted to try the blueberry crisp recipe recorded at the end of the first chapter.  You can imagine my excitement when I found a healthy, gluten free version of a blueberry crisp, which promised to use at least two of those 30 pounds of berries.

This crisp is rich and sweet enough for dessert, but virtuous enough to enjoy for breakfast.    Start with about 2 pounds of blueberries, almond meal, pecans, coconut oil, maple syrup and gluten free oats.Image

Pour the berries in an 8″ glass baking dish and then put all other ingredients in a food processor until everything is finely chopped and well combined.

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Spread the crisp topping over the blueberries and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the berries or bubbly and the crisp topping is golden brown.

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Enjoy warm or at room temperature, alone or with ice cream or yogurt.  Any way you slice it, it’s delicious!

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Blueberry Crisp (adapted from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist)

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 pecans

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 c coconut oil

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour blueberries into an 8″ pan.  Place all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined.  Spoon the topping over the blueberries and bake for 45 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the crisp is golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Yep, I’m posting another salad recipe.  I know, I know….but I can’t help myself.  There are just endless way to combine endless ingredients and they all taste insanely delicious.  As an added bonus, I find salads are the best sort of whole meal in one dish, making it ideal for my busy life.

This is the type of salad that hits all the right notes.  Smokey grilled chicken, sweet strawberries and tangy balsamic vinegar are the perfect combination.   Oh, and did I mention there is very little cooking involved?  I’ll take that on a hot summer night any day.

There really isn’t anything too complicated about the preparation of this salad.   You’ll want to start by marinating a few chicken breasts in your favorite Italian dressing.   I did this first thing in the morning and refrigerated them until dinner.   Grill the chicken on high for about 15 minutes and allow to rest while you are preparing the remainder of the salad.

The real little gem in this salad is the strawberries.  They are so perfectly ripe this time of year.  You’ll want to wash and chop about a cup and a half of these.  Aaaannnnd you might need to throw in a few extra in case you can’t resist and need a pre-dinner snack.

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While the strawberries are drying, prepare some sugared almonds.   Simply throw a half cup of slivered almond into a pan with 2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp water.  Allow the sugar to melt, get bubbly and coat the almonds.  Pour onto parchment paper and allow them to harden and then break them apart into small pieces.

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The rest is simple.  Cut up the remainder of your vegetables and slice the chicken.  Place all of the ingredients over a bed of mixed greens and toss with a store bought or homemade balsamic vinaigrette.   Serve alone as a light main dish or alongside something more decadent to make you feel better about what you are eating.  Either way, it’s delicious!

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Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad (adapted from Recipe Girl–served 2-4)

Ingredients:

Salad:

6 cups mixed greens or spinach

1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries, washed and sliced

3/4 cup chopped cucumber

1 1/2 cups grilled chicken that has been marinated in your favorite store bought Italian dressing

1 avocado, sliced

1/3 cup blue cheese or feta cheese

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 tbsp brown sugar

Vinaigrette:

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp strawberry jelly

salt and pepper

Directions:

Prepare the almonds by placing them in a skillet with the brown sugar and 1 tsp water.  Allow the sugar to melt and bubble until thickened and fully coating the almonds.  Pour the almonds onto parchment paper and allow to harden.  Break apart and set aside.  Mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients and shake together until emulsified.   Wash and slice the fruit, vegetables and chicken and place all ingredients in a bowl.  Toss with the vinaigrette.

Vegan, Gluten Free Cinnamon Bread

Today I am happy to have my sister write another guest post highlighting yummy cinnamon bread. Hope you enjoy!

I have a health condition that requires me to be gluten free along with several other dietary limitations.  Now before you go and feel sorry for me, don’t; navigating a gluten free world has become a fun challenge for me over the years.  I recognize that this is fun for me, but not always so fun for my wonderful husband who is admittedly addicted to his gluten.  He loves his breads, french toast, muffins, or whatever flour-filled morsel he can get his hands on.  I don’t deprive him of all gluten haha, but I have slowly been making efforts to lessen the amount of gluten in his diet.  Plus, I’ll admit, I am great at resisting just plain breads, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to resist pumpkin bread or say, cinnamon bread if it is around the house all the time.  In order to avoid temptation and satisfy my husband’s gluten-hungry palate    I decided to try making this bread that I felt might bridge the gap between two worlds.  Did I mention my husband LOVES cinnamon!?  Naturally, when I saw this recipe on Sheletthemeatcake I had high hopes it’d be a success.  It did not disappoint and was gone within two days. Move over gluten-filled breads!

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Gluten free breads can often be intimidating to people because many recipes require that you go out and get several different types of flour, mix them yourself, then add them to the recipe.  Well, you may consider me lazy, but I  just use an all purpose GF baking mix found in most grocery stores.  I usually use Pamela’s pancake and baking mix but this time I used Bob’s Red Mill.  After tasting the bread, though still good, I would highly suggest sticking with Pamela’s if you can find it.  Plus Pamela’s is rice based while Bob’s base is garbanzo beans and if you’re anything like me garbanzo bean flour is just too heavy for a delicate digestive system.

It’s important that you follow the instructions on this bread implicitly.  This includes starting your yeast and flax mixture exactly as directed.  I know, I know, it’s no fun to follow the rules in baking, but trust me you won’t regret it.  Once you have mixed your flax/water mixture and your yeast mixture the rest of the recipe comes together as any other bread would.

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Tips: I found that using Maple, agave nectar was a very complimentary accent to the cinnamon flavor and is a little lighter than using straight maple syrup. The flour measurements from the recipe, when combined,  adds up to 3 1/2 cups of the all purpose GF flour.
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Note: The streusel (pictured above) does not look like what a normal streusel would. Don’t worry, once poured over the bread and baked, it hardens a bit and creates a gooey center.  The recipe calls for grapeseed oil but next time I think I will use coconut oil as I think it would add great flavor to the bread.  This bread tastes wonderful warm with coconut oil spread over the top.  I dare you to just eat one piece!
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Cinnamon Bread

1 ½ cup hot water

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast

5 tbsp ground flax in ¾ cups water

3 tbsp maple syrup/honey/agave

2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp sunflower oil/grapeseed oil

1 cup quinoa flour

1 1/4 cup sorghum/millet flour

¾ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tbsp xanthan OR guar gum

1 ½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup cane sugar/coconut sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

Streusel

½ cup cane sugar/coconut sugar

4 tsp cinnamon

½ cup sunflower oil/grapeseed oil

Heat water and pour into your mixing bowl. Add yeast and allow it to proof for 5 minutes.
Add the ground flax to the 3/4 cup of water. Stir and let sit while the yeast is proofing.
When the yeast and water mixture has proofed add oil, honey, flax mixture, and vanilla.

In a medium-sized bowl, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients (I usually do this while my yeast is proofing). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes (if you’re lucky you have a KitchenAid mixer to do this for you!). I usually stop my mixer once to wipe down the sides.

At 5 minutes you will have a fairly wet batter – not your typical bread dough. Remember! It’s gluten-free bread we’re working with here.

Prepare streusel by combining the cane sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add the sunflower oil and mix well.

Divide half of the batter between two oiled bread pans (8 x 4 inch). Spoon half of the streusel mixture onto each half-filled pan (you might want to wet your fingers in order to help you spread the batter around a little).  Using a fork, spread the streusel around lightly pressing into the batter.   Top streusel with remaining bread batter (again, wet your fingers to help you spread the batter around the pan).  Pour the remaining streusel over the two pans and use a fork to spread the streusel around.  Let the loaves sit covered for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 1 loaf for 50 – 60 minutes (check at the 45 minute mark since oven temperatures can vary so much). The second loaf should go into the fridge covered until it’s ready for the oven. Refrigerating will slow down the yeast. You don’t want it to over-proof.

Use a knife or a cake tester to check loaves for doneness. You want something that will go right to the bottom of the loaf to check for wet ingredients.

Let the finished bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pans and let sit until cool.  Store in a plastic bag for 3 days on the counter.  After 3 days, slice and freeze (I highly doubt there will be any cinnamon bread left by this point).

NOTES:
Don’t cook two loaves at the same time.
Try rotating your loaf at the 25 minute mark 180 degrees.

One Pot Tomato Basil Rice

My favorite things to make are those that have very few ingredients, but each ingredient is so exceptional in its taste that you can pick out each flavor in the dish.  This dish is one of those masterpieces that becomes a staple in your summer cooking.  Incredibly easy and yet richly flavored, this dish is made in just one pot.   It’s also pretty foolproof as evidenced by the fact that I got distracted halfway through with my girls who decided to snag the bottle of cleaner I had just used to wipe up some meat drippings so they could “clean” each other off.  Somehow, the rice still tasted amazing even though I let it cook too long and didn’t stir it.     It is a balance of creaminess from a rich tomato broth and brightness from fresh basil.  A perfect summer side dish.

Simply start with one cup of rice and two cups of water in a medium size pot.  I chose Arborio rice (I know, it’s supposed to be used in risotto, but I think it works with this preparation too).  You could also use long grain white rice or even brown rice.

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Add some thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic, quartered tomatoes and olive oil.

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Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  The vegetables will create a broth that is absorbed into the rice.

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Stir every so often and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

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Serve it in bowls drizzled with olive oil, and topped with shredded basil and parmesan.  Eat and repeat because it’s too hard to resist.

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One Pot Tomato Basil Rice (adapted from Smitten Kitchen–serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain rice, brown rice, arborio rice or farro

2 cups water

1/2 white onion halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

9 oz cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or whatever you have on hand

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup shredded basil

Directions:

Add the rice, water, onion, garlic, tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium size pot.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes (depending on the grain you have chosen), stirring halfway through.  Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, divide into 4 bowls and top each bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp shredded basil.

Vegan Espresso Fudgesicles

Ok, it’s really hot.  I can’t even stand to be outside unless there is a giant body of water available for me to immerse myself in.  When it’s this hot, I am all about finding recipes that require no cooking so I don’t have to make my house an inferno by turning on the oven.  My mom was coming over this week for dinner to celebrate her birthday and there was no way I was going to turn on the oven to bake a cake.  I found a recipe for espresso fudgesicles, that also happened to be vegan, and I felt like I’d pretty much hit the jackpot.   The only thing I had to do was track down those popsicle molds I bought a few years ago to make my picky little eater delicious and healthy yogurt/fruit popsicles (she, of course, thought they were gross, so the molds ended up in a drawer and my kids love playing with them and leaving them on the floor for me to step on).   Shockingly, I found all but one of the molds and I was all set to start on my journey to popsicle deliciousness.

These little gems did not disappoint.  Rarely do I find a healthy version of a classic that lives up to the original, but these were amazing.  Rich and creamy like the fudgesicles I remembered as a kid with a more grown up taste from the bittersweet chocolate and espresso.

Start with bittersweet chocolate, some ground up espresso powder and coconut milk.  Melt together over a double boiler until the chocolate is nearly melted.  Then stir in a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.

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At this point,  you will want to let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then pour the mixture through a strainer to strain out the espresso grounds.  My husband actually likes the added crunch from the grounds so I skipped this step.  Next, pour the mixture into your molds.

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This step is key…you will want to freeze the popsicles overnight.  I tried to freeze them for 6 hours before dinner and we ended up eating them out of the molds with spoons.   I tried again in the morning and the popsicles came out much easier.    Just run the molds under warm water for a few seconds and pop them out.   Share them with your friends or eat them all yourself because they are just that good.

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Vegan Espresso Fudgesicles

Ingredients:

6 oz bittersweet chocolate (you could use milk chocolate if you are making these for kids, but they won’t be vegan anymore)

1 14 oz can coconut milk

1 tbsp ground espresso (coarsely ground if you want to strain it out, finely ground if you want to keep it in.  You can also leave this out if you aren’t a fan of the mocha flavor.)

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Directions:

Melt chocolate, espresso and coconut milk in a double boiler until the chocolate is almost melted.  Add the vanilla and salt and allow the mixture to cool and the espresso to steep for 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a strainer if desired and then pour into popsicle molds.   Freeze the popsicles overnight and then enjoy!

Caramelized Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

My children are obsessed with ice cream…I mean OBSESSED.  They would eat it three times a day if I let them.  My husband blames this slight “problem” on me and between you and me, he’s probably right.  I saw this recipe on Roost Blog and jumped at the chance to potentially fool my children with an ice cream made out of bananas, very little sugar and protein-packed peanut butter.

Let’s be honest….calling this ice cream is a bit of a misnomer.  My husband compared it more to a frozen cookie dough consistency.  It is rich and decadent and best enjoyed in small portions.

You want to start with very ripe bananas.  The riper the better.  Mine were not as ripe as they should have been, but I was just working with what I had.  Slice the bananas and then toss them in a mixture of honey (or agave for the vegan) and melted coconut oil.  Spread them out over a piece of parchment paper and roast at 350 for about 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes, the bananas will be caramelized and fragrant (reminded me of banana bread).

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While the bananas are still warm, pour the bananas and all of their juices into a glass bowl and add 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter.  Blend the mixture together with an emersion blender until very smooth.

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Pour the mixture into a container and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

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At this point your ice cream is technically done, but I felt it was absolutely crucial to add some dairy free mini chocolate chips.   You can skip this step if you are aren’t a chocolate lover (do those even exist?) and just keep the ice cream in the freezer for another several hours.  If you choose to add the the chips, take the ice cream out of the freezer after about 20 minutes or when the ice cream is just cool enough not to melt all the chips.  Gently fold in about 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Return to the freezer for several more hours.

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Use an ice cream scoop that has been dipped in warm water to scoop the ice cream and enjoy!

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Caramelized Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients:

8 very ripe bananas

6 tbsp honey

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the bananas and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Mix the honey and melted coconut oil and pour over the bananas.  Toss gently to coat.  Roast the bananas for 30 minutes until fragrant and caramelized.  Pour the warm bananas in a bowl and add 1/2 cup peanut butter.  Blend with an emersion blender until very smooth.  Place in the freezer for at least three hours or overnight and stir in the chocolate chips after 20 minutes if desired.

Steak Salad with Potato Croutons

Alrighty folks….here’s another guest post by my sister.  Apparently, this was a big hit with the hubs!

Has anyone noticed the price of steak sky rocketing recently!? I have! BUT I have a man to feed who really enjoys the occasional steak so I was trying to think of how to make a steak go a long way without breaking the bank.  Now, men are notorious for not really enjoying their daily intake of greens so this recipe might be daunting to the eager-to-please house wife, but have no fear, your man will feel spoiled when he digs into this delicious salad. Plus, you will get to enjoy the results of your labors as well without feeling so guilty about price or calories.  Here’s how to make it!

You want to start by chopping all your veggies into small pieces. The lettuce will be the foundation, obviously, so build everything on top of your heap of lettuce in a large bowl.  Have your grill and frying pan ready as you will need both for cooking up the steak and the bacon.

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Tip: Don’t feel limited by the ingredients listed in my recipe; you can add any veggies that sound good to you or try roasting some of the veggies before adding them to the salad. Roasted veggies are a delicious addition to any type of grilled meat.

Once the veggies are chopped, you can get started on frying the bacon until crispy.  Place the bacon aside, but don’t throw out all the bacon fat.  Now comes the fun part!  Cut four red potatoes into very small chunks (pictured below) and throw the potatoes in with the remaining bacon fat.  Sautee the potatoes on medium heat until they are browned and crispy on the outside. Yum! These will serve as your “croutons” for the salad; good news for all you Gluten Free eaters out there.

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Now for the star of the show… the steak.  I find that over-seasoning a steak is highly unnecessary, so resist the temptation to get too fancy.  I purchased a rib-eye steak that was just over a pound, seasoned it on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic, and had my man grill it to perfection.  Once cooked, let the meat rest before slicing it into strips.  Then, simply top the veggies with the steak strips, potato “croutons”, chopped bacon, and whichever dressing is your favorite.  I suggest a healthy homemade ranch, or a balsamic reduction.  Eat and enjoy 1 steak for 4 people; what could be better than that!?

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Steak Salad with Potato Croutons

Ingredients (Serves 4):

¼ head cauliflower

One bunch Green Onion

½ avocado

2 baby cucumbers

1 cup broccoli

1 bunch of thin asparagus

1 large carrot

1 cup cherry tomatoes

3-4 Red potatoes

4-6 cups Baby Spring Greens (or any lettuce of your choosing)

1 large steak

Salt and Pepper to taste

Garlic to taste

3 slices thick cut bacon (make sure it’s nitrite free)

Homemade or store bought ranch dressing  (You may want to try this recipe if you’re feeling extra ambitious)

Directions:
Season the steak with salt, pepper and garlic and allow to come to room temperature.  Meanwhile, finely chop all of the vegetables (except the potatoes) and place in a large bowl.  Fry the bacon in a pan until it has reached your desired doneness).  Place the bacon on a paper towel to soak up excess grease and to cool slightly.  Chop the bacon and add it to the salad. Drain off all but 2 tbsp of the bacon grease, chop the potatoes and add them to the reserved grease.  Saute until tender and crisp on the outside and then set them aside. Place the steak on the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired doneness).  Pull the steak off the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it into bite size chunks and adding it to the salad.  Dress the salad and top with potato croutons.

Southwestern Brown Rice Salad

I have a confession.  I am not a fan of brown rice.  I feel like I should be because it is the holy grail of health foods, but something about it just says “meh” to me.  I keep trying to find a way that I will actually eat it and enjoy it, and you know what, I think I may have hit the jackpot today.  This salad is so full of flavor that I hardly even noticed that I was eating brown rice.  It has a southwestern flare that works wonderfully as a side dish but has enough substance that it could stand on its own as a light meal.  Suddenly, brown rice is looking a whole lot more appealing!

Start by cooking the rice according to the package directions.  Once the water is fully absorbed, sprinkle the rice with a few teaspoons of vinegar and allow to cool.  In the meantime, wisk together lime juice, honey, cumin, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  This will serve as the dressing for the salad.

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Once the rice has cooled, add some scallions, cilantro and cherry tomatoes to the rice.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly to coat the rice.

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You can store the salad in the fridge for several hours until you are ready to serve it.  Right before serving, slice an avocado and add it to the salad.

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Southwestern Brown Rice Salad (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown rice

2 tsp salt

2 tsp vinegar

2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp grated lime zest

2 tbsp lime juice

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 avocado cut into cubes

5 scallions, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the package directions.  While still warm, sprinkle the rice with the vinegar.  Allow the rice to cool.  Meanwhile, stir the olive oil, honey, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cumin and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Once the rice is cool, add the scallions, cilantro and tomatoes.  Pour the dressing mixture over the rice and gently fold together until the rice is coated.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Right before serving, cut up the avocado and gently fold it into the salad.  Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Today is a very special day because my little sis, Megan, will be joining us for today’s post.  She just got married so she has been experimenting in the kitchen with recipes that her hubs will love and that will accommodate her dietary restrictions.  She made this for us last weekend and I was so impressed that I asked her to remake it for the blog.  Enjoy!  

Who doesn’t love pumpkin bread every once in awhile!?  The problem: it is usually full of ingredients that are less than ideal for a health food enthusiast or those with dietary limitations.  There are not many recipes out there that can make up for all the sins in pumpkin bread, but I came across one from She Let Them Eat Cake that satisfies both a vegan and gluten free palate.  I was skeptical to try this recipe as I did not think it would be possible to replicate the “real thing”, but surprisingly it was incredibly delicious and my husband continues to ask me to make it, which, let’s be honest is the true test of any baked delicacy.  Let’s get started shall we?

Perhaps the most unfamiliar ingredient in the recipe is flaxseed meal. It intimidated me when I saw this ingredient listed as I thought it might be difficult to find, but I was surprised to find it on the shelves of most grocery stores.  In this recipe it is used as a “starter”.  Combined with warm water, it turns into a foamy paste that doubles as an egg substitute.  Vegans rejoice!

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Once the “starter” is well, started, the rest of the recipe comes together just as any other bread or baked good might.  It is important to mix all wet and dry ingredients separately except for the sugar.  The sugar is combined with the flaxseed and water concoction until it forms a foamy paste. The rest of the wet ingredients are then combined with this flaxseed and sugar mixture.  You can use any type of gluten free baking flour, but I find that Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix works very well with this recipe.  It can be found in most grocery stores in the gluten free or baking aisles.

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Once your wet and dry ingredients are mixed separately, you simply combine the dry ingredients with the wet, a small amount at a time.  It is important not to over mix the batter; just mix until combined.  This would be a good time to add a cup of GF, dairy free chocolate for you vegans out there, or of course regular chocolate works just fine for those who are just GF.  Then simply pour, bake, and enjoy!

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Tips: Sprinkle sugar over the raw batter before baking.  It produces a crunchy, shimmery topping that looks beautiful and tastes delicious.  I find that the bread takes longer than suggested in the recipe to bake.  Bake for at least 40 minutes and then test with a knife every 5-10 minutes until the knife comes out clean.

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

2.5 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp warm water

¾ cup coconut sugar (or sugar of your choosing), plus more for sprinkling

1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

½ cup melted coconut oil, plus more for brushing

2 cup my all-purpose mix

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9×4 inch loaf pan.

Combine the flax-water mixture in a large bowl, set aside for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and combine until the mixture is a little frothy. Add all of the applesauce, pumpkin puree, vanilla and oil and stir until combined.

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combined (now would be a good time to add 1 cup of chocolate chips or nuts if you like them in your pumpkin bread).

Put in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with some melted coconut oil. Bake for another 15-18 minutes – or until tested with a knife.