Saturday, December 31, 2011

Freckled Dairy Free Vanilla Pudding

Yesterday I received a package in the mail containing a bag of a substance with a higher value than my retirement account. It is now hidden away safely in my refrigerator.
Vanilla beans! Denise sent them to me! (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Denise!) I couldn't wait to use one so I found a recipe for vanilla pudding and adapted it to be dairy free. Basically I substituted almond milk for the whole milk. Big whoop. I have grown to prefer almond milk to cow's milk anyway.
It's a pretty basic cooked vanilla pudding but the difference is in using a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. A vanilla bean will give great vanilla flavor and we'll have those adorable little vanilla freckles in the pudding!

Seeding a vanilla bean is easy. Just cut it length-wise and use a little scoop or the tip of a knife to scrape out the centers. I used my smidgen measuring spoon. It was part of my Christmas present from my God-child Hanna. (Thank you, Hanna!) She also gave me the whisk pictured below. I needed it. Remember what my old whisk looked like?!

After I removed the seeds, I let the beans hang out in the 2 cups of almond milk as I heated it to boiling.

In the meantime, I whisked together the sugar, corn starch, salt and vanilla seeds and slowly added the other 2/3 of unheated almond milk and egg. I added the boiling almond milk (vanilla pods removed) to this mixture and then simmered it for several minutes until it was thick.

And we have freckles, folks...

Now some moms might put the pudding in little individual cups and place them in the refrigerator for a creamy dessert or calcium loaded bedtime treat. I put it all in one big bowl. I prefer my pudding I don't have to wait. Nobody else is around. I think we all know where this is going... is delicious!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Variety of odd plates

I mentioned to one of my adult daughters that I wanted a variety of odd plates so I could take pictures for my blog using something other than our regular cranberry colored dishes. She visited several thrift stores and found some very interesting plates for me...
Here's a fancy GFCF dessert on some of my new fancy plate ware. ☺

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Worthy

Because this is our first GFCF Christmas, there is a lot of baking, eating and re-baking going on. We must test every new recipe so we know it is Christmas worthy.

This recipe for Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Loaf is. No doubt about it. We've already eaten a loaf and I'm baking two more now.
GFCF Cranberry Orange Loaf

1 1/2 cups featherlight flour mix (*the recipe for this can be found by clicking the link. I just used my favorite all purpose GF flour mix from the Cooking For Isaiah cookbook)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Earth Balance dairy free butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour (with sweet rice flour) a 9×5 loaf pan.
2.In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, cranberries and pecans. Set aside.
3.In a large bowl, cream together Earth Balance, sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in orange juice. Beat in flour mixture until just moistened. Pour into prepared pan.
4.Bake for 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

*The linked recipe includes a glaze. I didn't make it. The bread is delicious without it.
(I also made pumpkin bread. That was good, too!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GFCF Breakfasts

Breakfast on a GFCF diet is relatively easy. Eggs, homemade hashbrowns, natural nitrate / nitrite free bacon and sausages, and several cereals are gluten and casein free. (Making our GFCF bread and other baking requires a lot of eggs. We go through more eggs now than ever before. )
We use Flaxmilk on cold cereals but for hot cereals I prefer almond milk. My friend Dorothy found several boxes of Holly's Gluten Free Porridge on a major clearance sale and gave us some. It is a great way to start a day! I also love this...
...a hot bowl of rice with almond milk and cinnamon. We have rice about once a week and I always make extra so I can have this treat for breakfast. Java likes it too.

And when we can splurge, we get a package of these gluten free english muffins from our local food co-op (buttered with Earth Balance spread). These are great for a quick breakfast or with GFCF homemade tomato soup as shown above.

Other mornings we have fruit smoothies with rice protein powder and almond or coconut milk. I prefer a hot breakfast in the morning but some days they need a portable breakfast for the car ride to school.

Start your day well. ♥

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Have a healthy holiday!

I sent a text to my friend Claudia last night...

"Making vegan, refined sugar free Christmas cookies with hemp seeds. Santa is going to love a plate of these with a big glass of flaxmilk."

She replied, "That sounds so gross!"

I'm going to have to bring some of these cookies to Claudia's house and let her try them before telling her what they are. She'd never guess that these delicious little cookies are actually good for you!

I was looking for something comparable to the peanut butter chocolate star cookies that I made every year before eliminating gluten and casein from our lives. I decided to try the second, healthier version, recipe on this blog with a few modifications.
I didn't want to have to make chocolate discs (call me lazy) so I used GFCF chocolate chips. I also used hulled hemp seeds in the cookie instead of flax seeds. *Read about the health benefits of hemp here, including an answer to the question, "Will hemp make you high?"

They are delicious! Bean asked if he could have these in his lunchbox this week! (They have 3 days of school left before Christmas vacation.) I doubled the recipe but I think I'll have to make another batch!

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup palm sugar
3 T. hulled hemp seeds mixed with 1 T. hot water
1 t. vanilla
1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 cup palm sugar
GFCF chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, blend the coconut oil, peanut butter, palm sugar, hemp seeds, egg, and vanilla. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients, whisking well. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Shape the dough into 1.5 inch balls. Roll the balls in palm sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes. Do not over-bake! Remove from the oven and immediately top each one with GFCF chocolate chips, pressing down gently.

Have a healthy holiday!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I finally started Christmas baking. Usually by this time in December I have dozens of cookies in the freezer, but this year I had to scrap my regular cookie recipes and find new gluten and casein free ones. I was a bit nervous about messing with Christmas tradition.

Silly me. I made two kinds of cookies last night and the kids LOVED both of them! This one is my favorite so far. I'd put it up against any cookie on any Christmas cookie plate anywhere.

I used this recipe but modified it slightly. Instead of using a GFCF flour blend to roll the chilled dough in, I used powdered sugar. I wanted to make them as single, not sandwiched cookies, and the powdered sugar gave them just enough sweetness to ditch the recommended frosting.
It also made them look like the ground in Minnesota this Christmas where we have just a smidgen of snow this year. ♪ I'm dreaming of a brown Christmas. ♫

I love the slight peppermint flavor of this chocolate cookie. Here is the recipe with the modifications I made. Enjoy!

1/2 cup Earth Balance GFCF buttery sticks, softened
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 eggs
1 ½ cups All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Blend butter and sugars, add eggs and extracts. Add blended dry ingredients and mix. Wrap in waxed paper and chill in freezer for one hour or in refrigerator overnight.

Dust chilled dough in powdered sugar and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut in circles and bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quick fix lunch

I had a crockpot full of ham and beans that I had planned to serve for lunch after church yesterday but the beans weren't quite done. I decided to let them cook for the rest of the day and serve them for supper. So lunch had to be a quick fix.

I whipped up some pancakes and served them with fresh, homemade applesauce. (In the linked recipe for pancakes, I substituted the dry milk powder with a product called DariFree that is potato based.)

We use Earth Balance vegan "butter" as our casein free butter alternative and we like it, so recently I picked up another Earth Balance product. Coconut Spread.

It was delicious on pancakes! It is creamy white and had a mild coconut flavor. A drizzle of pure maple syrup topped off a sweet pancake pina colada!

*Earth Balance has not paid me in any way to review their products. I have no relationship with them other than being a regular, thankful customer since going gluten and casein free.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cinnamon Applesauce

Someone gave me about 15 pounds of apples a few days ago and they were at the stage where they needed to be eaten soon. I decided to make a big pot of cinnamon applesauce.
These apples were sweet so they didn't need much added sweetening. I used just under one cup of brown sugar for the 15 pounds of cut up apples. I added a few tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 cinnamon sticks and 4 cups of water and let them cook on the stove top for about 45 minutes.

Java used the potato masher to take care of some of the larger chunks and then we each scooped up a dish of hot apple goodness. Easy, delicious...and my house smells all cinnamon-y wonderful!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Burger bread slabs

Tonight I made hamburgers for supper so this afternoon I made bread slabs to use as buns. I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt and herbs before baking.
The puff up and brown nicely when baked on a hot stone in a 450 degree oven.

Fast food has nothing on this gluten free burger.

Budget busting?

Our budget is pretty tight right now after recently having to replace our home's furnace and most of the parts that kept our family's van on the road. We are saving money by not eating out and by making meals from scratch, but I am spending more on many of the foods we buy.

I am buying better quality meats and poultry now. No hormones or antibiotics or preservatives. Eggs are from cage free, vegetarian fed hens and we bought a half beef from a local farmer.

I can't afford to buy all of our produce organic, but I try to buy the "dirty dozen" from organic growers. I remind myself, "We'll pay now or pay later."

A recent meal is pictured above. Polska Kielbasa (I bought several packages to freeze after a recent trip to Whole Foods), onions, organic potatoes and carrots and organic beef broth. I threw it all in the crock pot early in the day and we all enjoyed a hot, tasty meal that night.

I am thankful that we made these changes to our diet last year and it hasn't been nearly as budget busting as I thought it would be.

Design by Custom Blog Designs