Monday, March 19, 2012

Thumbprint Biscuit Treat

The falling snow outside put me in the mood for a big pot of chili. And then a big pot of chili put me in the mood for biscuits. And while I was making biscuits, I realized that cinnamon rolls would have been better. So, I came up with this much easier, delicious treat that quite hit the spot, but that took half the time and made half the mess that preparing cinnamon rolls does.

1 recipe for biscuits, dough prepared (I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit and Baking Mix)
Cinnamon sugar
Butter, melted
Nuts (we used walnuts)
Dried fruit (I used dried cherries)

Shape the biscuit dough into balls and press your thumb into the center, not deep enough to create a hole in the bottom, just deep enough to leave an imprint. Fill this imprint with cinnamon sugar, nuts and dried fruit. Arrange biscuits onto a greased baking sheet and drizzle melted butter on top. Cook according to biscuit recipe instructions. Allow to cool slightly before serving with your favorite frosting or glaze. We just mixed powdered sugar with milk and a bit of vanilla. Yum.
A plate of biscuits and thumbprint biscuit treats- perfect for this snowy day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Perfect Gluten Free Bread

Pinterest Recipe Review: * * * * * (An enthusiastic 5/5 stars)
Picture courtesy of the Baking Beauties Blog
 Gluten free bread was one of the first things I tried to make when it became obvious I needed to embrace the celiac lifestyle. I figured I should start there since bread would be the thing I knew I'd miss the most. I unknowingly took on the most daunting of tasks in my most fragile, clueless state. The result? Epic fail. The spongy, bland, disgusting recipe convinced me that I would never again eat bread. So here we are, over a year later, living in a household completely converted to gluten free living, and we couldn't be happier. Or could we? I found out my husband was cheating on me. Yes, you read that right. He was having delectable affairs with subway sandwiches. Wheat bread, white bread, honey oat, Italian herbs and cheeses, flat bread... you name it, he enjoyed it! Alright, so he missed bread. So sandwiches make a tasty on the go meal. But knowing he was eating this amazing bread made me jealous, and frustrated too since I know all about how the wheat causes inflammation in his arthritic back. 

So where does a girl turn to for help in these dire circumstances? Pinterest of course. I scoured pictures and recipes of gluten free bread until I found one that looked promising enough, checked my cabinets and freezer for all the right ingredients, and set to work making my first loaf of bread in a really, really long time. The bread didn't rise much tucked beneath the towel in front of our heating vent, so I had my doubts as I slid it into the stove, but it came out of the oven completely beautiful. Our kitchen once again filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread. I sliced off a heel and smeared butter on the piece of bread, tentatively took a nibble... and then gobbled up the whole thing! Bread! I was eating bread! Bread that tasted great, that had an acceptable texture. All I can say is thank you to the Baking Beauties blog for creating this bread and saving our marriage! I'm also grateful that this delicious treat is healthy as it consists of brown rice flour, a whole grain, and ground flax, a miracle seed. (Click here to read more about how wonderful ground flax is.) 

Here is the recipe for perfect gluten free bread, as posted on The Baking Beauties blog. 

* I left out the powdered milk as I did not have it, and exchanged a cup of warm milk for the cup of warm water that the recipe calls for.
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup skim milk powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Combine warm, yeast & sugar in a glass bowl. Stir & let sit 5 minutes. This allows the yeast to proof & shortens rising time.
  2. In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine dry ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, using a heavy-duty mixer with paddle attachment or dough hook, combine remaining ingredients until well blended. Add water/yeast mixture & combine.
  4. With mixer on lowest speed, slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer on medium speed, beat for 4 minutes.
  5. Spoon into prepared bread pan or mini-loaf pans. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free place for 30-40 minutes, or until dough has risen to the top of the pan.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom of single loaf.
  7. Slice and wrap while still warm in airtight individual sandwich bags, then place these in a larger freezer bag. Freeze up to 6 weeks.
  8. Bake 12 minutes for 11 mini loaves. Freeze 2 loaves/sandwich bag.
NOTE: Unlike the recipe, I let my loaf cool totally before slicing & packaging. LOVE the new electric knife we got for Christmas, it makes such wonderful, even slices. Perfect!
Nutritional Value: Based on 16 slices per loaf it comes out to : 131 calories, 4g fat, 19g carbs, 3g protein and 1.5g fiber.

Asian Meat Balls

Pinterest Recipe Review:  * * * * *  (5/ 5 stars)
Picture courtesy of Gimme Some Oven
Ali posted a recipe for saucy Asian meatballs on her blog, Gimme Some Oven. (Posted below.) I recently made 'em and loved 'em! We served them over rice and stir fry veggies and also froze several meatballs for another time. I loved their salty goodness (but not too salty- if you're worried about that be sure to use low sodium soy suace.) I also loved how well they held together! Her recipe calls for hoisin sauce, and I was hesitant to go out and buy some for two reasons. First, I hate buying an ingredient that I will only use in one recipe and will consequently live out its shelf life taking up room, wasting away, in the refrigerator. And second, I doubted I'd find a gluten free version. Google led me to a recipe to use in making my own hoisin sauce though; it was delicious and, when doubled, made just enough!

Hoisin Sauce
4 T soy sauce (Tamari Gluten Free soy sauce)
2 T peanut butter
1 T honey
2 t white vinegar
1/8 t garlic powder
2 t sesame oil
20 drops hot sauce

Asian Meat Balls
  • 2 lbs. ground pork or ground beef
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs (I used crushed rice chex)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions
  • optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds   
Asian Sauce Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (again, I used tamari gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, mix together meatball ingredients until well-combined.  Shape into balls (I made mine about 1.5 inches, which yielded about 35 meatballs, but 1 inch is probably standard), and place on a greased baking sheet or in a 9×13 baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.
While the meatballs are baking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until blended.  Once meatballs have finished cooking, you can either dip each meatball individually (using a toothpick) in the sauce mixture.  Or you can pour the sauce over the meatballs and gently stir them until covered.
Serve warm, and sprinkle with additional garnish if desired.

Ali’s Tip:
You can also keep these warm (after cooking) in the crockpot on a low setting!

Chocolate Oat Muffins

Pinterest recipe review: * * * * * (5/5 stars)
The "Healthy is Always Better" blogger posted the following recipe. I was intrigued because the lack of flour made them easily gluten free! I didn't have greek yogurt so I used the plain non fat yogurt that I did have instead. I also used regular sugar instead of a sugar alternative. I made half the batch as she suggests, pulling them out to top with chocolate chips, and then returning them to the oven for a few more minutes. I found that, while they tasted good, those muffins sank and lost their beautiful, poofy, muffin top. The other half of the batch I left alone for the full fifteen minutes and topped them with chocolate chips when they came out of the oven fully cooked. I much prefer this method since they both tasted good and looked beautiful!
Picture courtesy of Healthy is Always Better

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin 
(Knock-Offs of Whole Food’s 6 Dollar per 4 Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins)
  • 1 3/4 c oats
  •  3 egg whites
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.

Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.

Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!

Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins
Calories: 116 Calories Per Muffin or 58 Calories Per Muffin


Friday, March 2, 2012

Corn Bread

What I love about this corn bread is that it holds together well enough to pick up and eat as finger food. It's also a good combination of salty and sweet and turns out great with a cup of corn kernels added to the batter.

1 Cup gluten free flour
3/4 Cup corn meal
2 Table spoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup milk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven, with cast iron skillet in it, to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, add vinegar to milk and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter. Stir in the milk mixture and the eggs.
When oven in preheated, drop a tablespoon or two of butter onto the pan and allow to melt. Pour bread batter into the buttered pan and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until top begins to brown.