Friday, April 29, 2011

Raw Cake Pop Challenge - Strawberry Shortcake - GF

I recently saw a post at Vegan Culinary Crusade about a Raw Cake Pop Challenge. Raw and vegan cake pops...raw, as in none of the ingredients are heated above 105 degrees. Not raw as in taking uncooked cake batter and trying to form balls out of it. True raw foodies do not eat anything that is heated above 105 degrees, preserving the nutrients and enzymes that support proper digestion and a healthy immune system.

I was intrigued by this challenge! I use raw recipes a lot. I try to eat a good amount of my fruits and vegetables raw. I follow a lot of raw food bloggers because the recipes are healthy and nutritious. And the desserts...oh my, raw desserts are stupendous! Have you seen my recipe for Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie? Pure heaven. How about the Raw Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake. Lovely.

So, on to the Raw Cake Pop Challenge. I wanted to do something original. Raw chocolate recipes are everywhere, I decided not to do chocolate. My first attempt was key lime was okay, but not top-notch quality. My second attempt was carrot cake...still not amazing. Then I got frustrated and tried a chocolate recipe. I could have made it work, but as I mentioned I really didn't want to do chocolate. So those became Raw Cacao Snack Balls. :)

I then decided to do one of my favorite desserts: Strawberry Shortcake. My first two creations were disastrous. They tasted good, but were too mushy. I almost gave up, but I had the "candy" coating perfected. I wanted it to have that snap of a real candy coating. I just had to try one more time. I started wishing that I had it already done...then it hit me! I had some left-over crust from the Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie in the freezer. It is divine! I can just eat it plain. In fact, I think I will start making them into little dessert balls. :)

This was a challenge, no doubt about it, but I am so happy with the results. It tastes just like strawberry shortcake!

Update 4/30/11: These should be eaten the same day. They get too mushy the next day.

Raw Strawberry Shortcake Pops
Makes 16 Pops


1/2 cup macadamia nuts (any nut will do, but macadamia is my favorite)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons raw agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw almond meal
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, cut into small chunks
16 lollipop sticks

1. Place all ingredients, minus the strawberries, in a food processor until it resembles a crumbly, but moist dough. Transfer dough to a bowl and with a spatula mix in the strawberries, being careful to not mash them. Form the dough into 2" balls. Push a lollipop stick into each ball, about half way in (If the dough is too soft, freeze for 15 minutes). Place the lollipops standing upright in a block of foam and freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the Candy Coating.

Candy Coating

4 oz raw cocoa butter, grated
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut cream (1 can of coconut milk will be needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons raw agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons finely grated raw red beet (optional, for color)

1. Place the grated cocoa butter in a small bowl. Place this bowl in a larger bowl with hot tap water in it, about half way up the small bowl. Occasionally stir the cocoa butter until melted, changing the cooling water, if necessary. Transfer the melted cocoa butter to a medium bowl.

2. Open a can of coconut milk, do not shake it. You will find a thick layer of cream on top. Skim off the desired amount. You can mix the remaining cream into the milk and save for a future use.

3. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the blade of the knife scrape out the vanilla seeds. Add the coconut cream, agave and vanilla seeds to the cocoa butter. Beat at medium speed until well combined. Add the grated beets, stirring with a spatula until the mixture becomes slightly pink. If the mixture starts to solidify, place it over hot tap water to melt again. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, strain the beets from the liquid. If the oil from the cocoa butter has separated, whisk to combine.

4. Remove the lollipops from the freezer and spoon the coating over the pop. Place the pop back in the freezer for 5 minutes. If desired, add another layer of coating. Melt the coating again, if needed. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Voila! Raw Strawberry Shortcake Pops. Enjoy!

Kimchi Dumplings with Asian Cabbage Salad - GF

I was sooooooo excited to see THIS recipe for gluten free wonton wrappers over at Gluten Free on a Shoestring's blog. I used to make these scrumptious kimchi dumplings and I just happened to have everything I needed in the fridge to make them for dinner last night! :) Kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage. Sounds strange, but it is yummy. Especially in these dumplings. They weren't quite the same as I remember them, but they were pretty dang good.

I used a different flour than she uses, which might account for why the dough seemed a little tough, but they were still delicious.

Kimchi Dumplings
Makes 24 Dumplings

Triple recipe of GF Wonton Wrappers, cut into 3" rounds, or if you do not need gluten free you can use store-bought Round Wonton Wrappers

1/2 lb ground beef or pork
2 green onions, white and light green part, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce/GF Tamari
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup kimchi, drained (I use King's, it has no MSG and is gluten free)
1/4 cup firm tofu (organic, non-GMO)

1. In a medium bowl combine the meat, onions, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and salt.

2. Press the drained kimchi in between layers of paper towels to remove any remaining liquid. Chop finely. Add to the meat mixture.

3. Press the tofu between layers of paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible. Place drained tofu in small bowl and mash with a fork. Add to the meat mixture. Cover and refrigerate. (The dough should also be covered and refrigerated)

4. Prepare the Asian Cabbage Salad, recipe follows.

5. Prepare the dumpling dipping sauce, recipe follows.

6. Remove the dumpling filling and dough from the fridge. Place about 1/2 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough. Fold the dumpling in half, pressing the edges together. If needed use water along the edges to help "glue" them together. (If you are a master dumpling maker, you can properly pleat the dough as you seal it. As you can see from the pictures, I am not a master dumpling maker!) The bottom should be flat so that they can sit upright in the pan.

7. Heat a skillet, just big enough for the amount of dumplings you want to cook, over high heat. Add a light layer of olive oil. Place the dumplings in the pan so that they are touching. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat down if they are browning too quickly.

8. Pour water in the pan until it is 1/4 way up the dumplings. Be careful because it will splatter and steam. Adjust the heat so that the water is simmering. Cover and cook for an additional 7 minutes. If there is still water left, uncover and let it cook off. Remove the dumplings and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Note: This filling is good just cooked up and served over rice, or in a lettuce wrap with rice.

Asian Cabbage Salad
Serves 4-6

1 cup green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 cup red cabbage, very thinly sliced
6 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped
3 tablespoons sesame seeds (if making the dumpling dipping sauce add an additional 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons raw agave or honey
1/2 cup sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup almond slivers or slices

1. Combine the cabbage and onion in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the sesame seeds, stirring occasionally, until the are browned, 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully, do not let them burn. Place them in a bowl and set aside. While the pan is still hot, toast the almonds for 2-3 minutes until just brown. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, the vinegar and agave. While whisking slowly stream in the sesame oil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and toss to coat. Just before serving add the toasted almonds.

Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce/GF Tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Raw Cacao Snack Balls

These were actually a flopped Raw Cake Pop trial. They were still so good, that I knew I had to do something with them. I have been snacking on them the last several days and have to restrain myself from eating all of them at once. :)

*This recipe is linked to Simple Lives Thursday and Real Food Weekly. Check out all the great recipes, info and tips.

Raw Cacao Snack Balls
Makes 8 balls

1 cup nuts, soaked 4 hours (I used almonds, pecans and walnuts)
6 dates, pitted
2 tablespoons nut butter (I used cashew butter)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao/cocoa powder
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoons salt (add more if your nut butter is not salted)

1. Drain and rinse the nuts. In a food processor, using the metal S blade, process the nuts until they are a fine meal.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it becomes a smooth paste. Take a heaping tablespoon and form into balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (if you can stand to wait). Serve.

Note: If your dates are not soft, soak them for 4 hours as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard and Herbs

* This recipe is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesdays. If you are looking for some more great recipes go check out the recipe carnivals there.

I have never had baked eggs, but I have seen several recipes lately. I decided I would give it a try tonight for dinner. It was delicious! I can't have dairy, so I didn't do any cheese, but I can imagine that it would be even more wonderful with some good Parmesan, or even goat cheese, or gouda...Gouda is good. :) Any cheese would be yummy.

Sorry for the lack of pictures of the guts. I was in such a hurry to eat it that the pictures were unusable.

Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard and Herbs
Serves 4

8 eggs
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and more for coating
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup swiss chard, center stem removed, washed and cut into thin strips (you could also use spinach)
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat four 1-cup ramekins or gratin dishes with oil and place on a baking sheet.

2. Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a small saucepan, do not let it smoke. Saute the garlic and chard for 2-3 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Divide the oil, garlic and chard amongst the four dishes. If using cheese, mix the parsley and the basil with the cheese and set aside.

3. One at a time, break two eggs in a small bowl, being careful not to break the yolk. Place two eggs into each dish prepared dish. Sprinkle with the herb, cheese/herb mixture.

4. Bake until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crazy Day

I had a crazy day yesterday and did not get a chance to get an amazing recipe with pictures ready for a post. Although I did get some work done in my garden before it snows today! Lovely Spring in Utah. :)

I have been working on the blog and I have some new pages for you to peruse. See those tabs up at the top; About Me, My Real Food Philosophy, etc.? That is what I have been working on. I want this blog to not only be about yummy, real food recipes, but also about educating people and providing resources. So....check them out and let me know what you think!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Massaged Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

*This recipe is linked to Monday Mania. Go check out the other real food recipes, health info and tips.

I have been obsessed with kale and swiss chard lately. However, eating them raw is something I haven't been brave enough to venture into yet. They are pretty tough raw. I have seen some recipe for massaged kale lately, so I thought I would give it a try. It was delicious! The kale was flavorful and tender. The roasted butternut and leeks were the perfect accompaniment.

Massaged Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Serves 3-4

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
1 leek, white and light green part, sliced thin, rinsed in a bowl of water
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
4 slices of nitrite free bacon, sliced thin (optional)

1 bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves washed dried and cut into bite-size pieces
1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1 TB balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the butternut squash, leeks, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in a 8 x 8 dish, sprinkle the bacon over the top (if using). Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until the bacon is crispy.

2. Place the kale, olive oil and salt in a medium bowl and massage between fingers for 2-3 minutes.

3. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring occasionally, until they start to pop. Watch closely, this will happen very quickly.

4. Place the warm roasted vegetables over the kale. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds. Toss before serving.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Steel-Cut Oat Porridge with Date Pecan Compote

Whenever possible I used steel-cut oats. Because they are the complete whole grain, they are less starchy and more nutritious then rolled oats. I always use steel-cut oats when I make oatmeal. Even though it takes longer, I believe it is worth it.

This porridge is so delicious. It resembles a rice pudding consistency. The date and nut compote is seasoned with pumpkin pie spice, which I am obsessed with. It makes everything taste better! This recipe is a little time consuming, but so worthwhile. A filling, nutritious breakfast the whole family will love.

*Adapted from a recipe in The New Best Recipe Cookbook
Serves 3-4

3 C filtered water
1 C whole milk, or other dairy alternative
1 TB butter or coconut oil
1 C steel-cut oats (If you are GF and can handle oats, look for certified GF steel-cut oats)
1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter/oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oats and and toast, stirring constantly until they become aromatic, 2-3 minutes.

2. Stir the oats into the simmering liquid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently until the mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes. Add the salt and stir lightly with a wooden spoon handle. Continuing simmering, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed and the oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, 7-10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let sit, uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve immediately (I like mine with a little bit of milk), with the fruit compote if desired.

*Note: This oatmeal reheats well with a little milk to loosen it up. Store the left-overs in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Date, Nut and Spice Compote

5 dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 C pecan, roughly chopped (optional)
1 TB dark raw agave or raw honey
4 TB filtered water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer or medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the liquids are absorbed and the mixture becomes a thick paste, 7-10 minutes. Serve over the Oat Porridge. This stores well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Granola Bars

These are almost too yummy to call granola bars...more like a dessert bar. Although I was making them for my sister that has a high sweets tolerance so I added the maximum amount of sugar called for. If you are using them for healthy snacks, use the minimum amount of sugar called for. They are thick, chewy and packed with goodness.

Granola Bars
Yields 12 bars

1 1/2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (if you are GF and can tolerate GF certified oats, use those)
1/2 - 3/4 C coconut palm sugar
1/3 C almond flour
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 C any combination of dried fruits and nuts (I used pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, raisins and fruit sweetened cranberries)
1/3 C almond butter (or any other nut butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 TB melted coconut oil
1/4 - 1/3 C dark raw agave nectar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper (don't worry about getting all four sides covered, just the bottom and the two sides, creating a "sling"). Grease the parchment paper and two uncovered sides.

2. Stir all the dry ingredients together, including the nuts and dried fruits. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well combined and crumbly. Press into the prepared pan, pushing it down firmly until it is well packed.

4. Bake the bars for 30-40 minutes until they are quite brown around the edges. They will still appear a little soft and underbaked in the middle, but will firm up as they cool. Cool the bars, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Once more press the bars down firmly to pack them tight. Let cool an additional 30 minutes. Using the parchment paper on the two sides, remove the bars from the pan. Let cool an additional 60 minutes.

5. Once cool, cut the bars with a long serrated knife. If they bars still seem too crumbly to cut put them in the fridge for 20 minutes. Once cut, wrap each bar in plastic wrap (if you still have any that haven't been eaten!) and place in a large Ziploc bag to store.

*This recipe is linked to Pennywise Platter Thursdays and Real Food Weekly. If you are looking for a bunch of great recipes go check out the round-ups there!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Diggity Corn Doggy

*This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysGluten Free Wednesdays and Allergy Friendly Fridays. Go check out all the yummy recipes everyone is sharing.

I am a live-in caregiver for a 91 year woman. She loves mini corn dogs. Every time I take them out of the freezer to cook them, I am jealous and wish I could have some. Tonight when she asked for them, I just happened to have some Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs that I had bought at the health food store. I decided to try and make some gluten free corn dogs and they were pretty easy easy and soooo amazing! I will never eat store-bought corn dogs again. You can even make them gluten-full if you want. :)

Mini Corn Dogs
6 Corn Dogs (or 18 mini corn dogs)

1/2 C all-purpose gluten free flour blend (or whole wheat flour)
1/4 C corn meal
1/4 C corn flour (I just ground some corn meal in my coffee grinder until it was very fine)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your GF flour blend has some already)
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 egg
1/2 C milk, or more if needed (almond or rice will do)
6 Organic Uncured Hot Dogs (I used Applegate Organic Uncured All-Beef Hot Dogs)
long toothpicks, or skewer sticks cut to size
frying oil of choice

1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended.

2. In a separate bowl combine the egg and the milk. Whisk until well combined.

3. Add the egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. It should look like a very thick pancake batter. Set aside.

4. Cut each hot dog in thirds (or halves if they are short). Pat them dry with paper towels. Place them in a small bowl and add cornstarch to coat. Stick a toothpick about 2/3 of the way into each dog. Set aside.

5. Heat 1 1/2" oil to 350 degrees. Dip each dog into the batter. Make sure there are no uncovered spots and let the batter cover the toothpick a little. Immediately place in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown (they will be on the darker side, not light brown).

6. Place each fried corn dog on paper towels to drain. Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Tip: I fried enough mini corn dogs for dinner tonight and then I let the oil cool to 250 degrees. I par-fried the rest of them. I spread them out on a baking sheet and froze them. Once frozen I put them in a Ziploc freezer bag to store in the freezer. To cook these corn dogs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the frozen corn dogs on a baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, flipping once half way through.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Walnuts

*This recipe is linked to Real Food Wednesdays. Check out the other amazing recipes!

Did you know that beets are a great liver detoxifier? Well, I have been craving beets lately. I roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. Those roasted beets with some fresh lemon juice are my favorite way to eat them....until yesterday.

I don't know why, maybe I have seen it around, but I thought "I wonder if beets and goat cheese together would be good?" I googled "roasted beets and goat cheese" and found a whole bunch of yummy looking recipes. As usual, the end recipe I made was a combination of a few different ones. This is definitely a keeper...and my new favorite way to eat roasted beets.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

4 roasted beets (recipe follows)
1/2 C toasted walnuts (recipe follows)
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
4 oz goat cheese
2 lbs greens of choice

1. Roast the beets.
2. Meanwhile toast the walnuts. Set aside.
3. Prepare the Balsamic Vinagrette. Set aside.
4. After removing the skins from the beets and returning them to the aluminum foil, prepare the goat cheese by slicing 1/4" slices.
5. Toss the greens with half of the dressing. Divide the greens amongst the plates.
6. Cut each beet in half, and then quarter each half. Divide the beets amongst the plates.
7. Divide the toasted walnuts amongst the plates.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Place the goat cheese slices in the skillet and warm on each side for 20-30 seconds, until just warm and slightly melted. Remove quickly to a small plate. While still warm divide the goat cheese amongst the plates. Drizzle more vinaigrette over each salad. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Roasted Beets

4 beets, washed, bottom and greens removed (save greens for use in another recipe)
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
dash of salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil (if your beets are very large, wrap two at a time). Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Close the aluminum foil to make a tight package and place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, but still warm, remove the skins from the beets. Place back in tin foil and seal to keep warm.

Toasted Walnuts

1/2 C walnuts

1. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Place the walnuts in the skillet, occasionally stirring. Toast for 5-8 minutes, or until they become aromatic. Watch them closely, they will burn easily. Set aside.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/3 C red wine vinegar
3 TB balsamic vinegar
1 TB minced shallot (or purple onion)
3 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 C extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a medium bowl combine all but the olive oil. Whisk until well combined. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Shake or whisk again before use.

*Tip: Put a note in the bathroom reminding yourself that you ate beets the day before. This way you will avoid that split second of wondering what in the world is wrong with you! :P

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie - GF

I have been following the blog carnival April in the Raw hosted by Brittany at Real Sustenance. I wanted to create something new, and bright and fresh for spring. It's tangy and tropical, combining pineapple and coconut. I am also sharing this recipe as part of Allergy Friendly Friday and Real Bites Friday.

Raw Pineapple "Custard" Pie
Makes 4 - 4 1/2" mini pies

1/2 C raw macadamia nuts (any nut would work, but macadamias are delicious)
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 TB raw agave nectar
1 TB almond meal flour (I make my own, so I know it is raw)
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until it resembles a crumbly, but moist dough.

2. Press into mini tart/pie pans. Set aside.

2 C fresh pineapple (mine was frozen, so I thawed it out before use)
1/2 C cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
2 TB coconut oil
2 TB cocoa butter (or use all coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C raw agave nectar
pinch of salt

1. Place the cashews and pineapple in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.

2. Grate the cocoa butter and place it and the coconut oil in a small bowl. Place that bowl inside a larger bowl with hot water from the tap. Stir until both are melted, changing the water if it cools before they are melted.

3. Place the melted cocoa butter and coconut oil along with the rest of the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour the "custard" into the pans. Freeze until set, 2-3 hours. Remove from freezer and set in a shallow pan with enough hot water to come half way up the pans. This will melt the coconut oil in the crust enough to easily tip it upside down and remove the pie. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

Tip: Remove the pie immediately after freezing. Otherwise, as you can see from my pictures, the crust will be too soft and it will be difficult to remove without messing up the crust.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Leek, Mushroom and Chard Tart - GF

This is a combination of a few different recipes that I have been eyeing for awhile. I had it for dinner tonight and it was filling and extraordinarily good. The crust is very....healthy tasting, in a "I know this is good for me" kind of way. It actually reminds me of a whole wheat crust.

Gluten Free Leek, Mushroom and Swiss Chard Tart
Makes 4 - 4 1/2 " tartelettes

For the Crust (this crust recipe makes a double batch, I froze half of it)
*Adapted from a recipe at La Tartine Gourmande

1/2 C almond meal flour
1/2 C quinoa or oat flour (I grind mine in a coffee grinder from quinoa flakes)
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/4 C sesame seeds, optional
1.5 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
7 TB butter or non-hydrogenated shortening, cold, cubed
1 egg
4 TB cold water, or more as needed

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a food processor combine the flours, sesame seeds, xantham gum and salt. Process for a few seconds until well combined.

3. Add the butter/shortening and pulse until it resembles crumbs.

4. Add the egg and continue to pulse for a few seconds. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough detaches from the bowl.

5. Press into the bottom and up the sides of your tart pans. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a toothpick. Set aside.

For the Filling

2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, white part only, sliced thin
1 C mushrooms, diced
1 C chopped swiss chard
3 garlic gloves, finely minced
1/4 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 eggs
1/4 C cream or dairy alternative (I used almond milk)
2 TB milk or dairy alternative (I used more almond milk)
1 oz goat cheese, optional

1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the leeks, mushrooms and chard for 3 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Add the garlic and fresh thyme and saute an additional three minutes. Avoid browning the garlic. Turn off the heat.

2. In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs with the cream/milk. Stir in the cooked vegetables, and cheese if using.

3. Pour the filling into the pans. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the center is set. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans. Serve with a side salad of fresh salad.

This recipes is linked to Real Food Weekly, Fight Back Fridays and Seasonal Sundays. Thanks for hosting ladies! Go check out the collection of awesome recipes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

This recipe is linked to Real Food Wednesdays. Thanks you Kelly for hosting! :) Go check out all the delicious real food recipes.

I know, I are probably thinking the same thing I did when I first heard the name; that can't possibly be good. I've had some good Black Bean Brownies and some yucky ones, it's all about finding the right recipe. This is the best recipe I have found so far. They are fudgy, moist and delicious. The original recipe calls for coffee, which I don't drink, so I tweaked the recipe and used a little cinnamon and nutmeg; some stronger flavors to replace the coffee.

A great way to get more legumes (legumes = fiber) into your family's diet. The kids will never know they are made with black beans.

Amazing Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from Baking with Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature's Ultimate Sweetener

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 C butter (or non-dairy alternative, I used coconut oil)
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained well (you can use canned beans)
1 C walnuts, chopped
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 C milk (or non-dairy alternative, I used almond milk)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 C raw dark agave nectar (I used half agave and half coconut palm sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 11 cake pan with parchment paper and coat the bottom and sides with cooking spray.

2. Add 1-2" of water to the bottom pot of a double boiler. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile place the butter/oil and chocolate in the top of the double boiler (If you don't have a double boiler just use a pot as the bottom and a glass or metal bowl that sits down inside the pot, but doesn't touch the water). When the water is boiling place the top on and stir occasionally until the butter/oil and chocolate are melted and combined.

3. Place the beans, 1/2 of the walnuts, the vanilla and a couple tablespoons of the melted chocolate mixture into your food processor. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl combine the rest of the walnuts, the remaining chocolate mixture, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

5. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave and beat until frothy. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside.

6. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the chocolate/spices mixture and mix until well combined. Add the egg/agave mixture and mix well. Pour into the prepared baking sheet.

7. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of the egg mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter and run a toothpick through everything to create a marbled effect.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool in the pan completely and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before cutting. Store in the fridge.

Chocolate, PB & B Protein Shake

This is one of my favorite protein shakes. In fact, I will drink this over having dessert any day. It's filling, energizing, nutritious and delicious!

Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Shake

3/4 C milk (or dairy alternative)
3 ice cubes
1/2 banana (mine is usually frozen)
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/4 avocado
1 TB chia or flax seeds, optional
2 raw eggs or 1 serving of protein powder (I use THIS one sweetened with stevia)
stevia, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and tasty!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Layered Grapefruit Cake with Buttercream Frosting - GF

I didn't want to post this picture. I am such a perfectionist and this is far from perfect. I just have to remind myself that this is my first cake decorating attempt...and I was in a hurry! It is still super cute, but next time I want to spend a lot more time working on it. I got the idea from I Am Baker, which you should check out if you haven't.

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. She is GF and DF so I wanted to make her a special cake. I started by looking for a GF White Cake recipe. I found this one, but wanted to add something else to the mix. I was thinking orange or lemon, and then I saw these two big grapefruits sitting in the fruit bowl. I decided to make a Grapefruit Cake. What possessed me? I'll never know. Did you know how heavenly the smell of zesting a grapefruit is? I might do it every day, just for the smell!

The cake itself was delicious. Now, as you can see from the photo, the term "white cake" is used loosely here. I used dark raw agave and coconut palm sugar so I knew it wouldn't end up white like the original recipe. The frosting was too sweet for most of us, but I don't know how to make a buttercream frosting without truckloads of sugar...I'll have to keep working on that one. It was still yummy, but you can't eat much of it. I made a few tester cupcakes before I made the cake itself and that was delicious, with just a little bit of frosting on top.

Gluten Free White Cake
Adapted from Evil Cake Lady
Makes 1 - 6" round (Double the recipe for a layered cake)

3 egg whites
1/2 C agave nectar (I used half dark raw agave and half coconut palm sugar)
3 TB butter or coconut oil, melted
1 C GF all-purpose flour blend (I used Namaste brand)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 C milk (or dairy alternative)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
2 tsp freshly grated grapefruit zest

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 6" cake pan.
2. Beat the eggs and sweeteners on medium speed until fluffy.
3. Slowly add the melted butter or oil.
4. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Mix well.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredient to the wet. Turn the mixer back up to medium and beat until all the ingredients are well combined.
6. Add the vanilla, grapefruit juice and zest and continue to beat until the batter is fluffy.
6. Fill the cake pan about half way full. Cook for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing the cake. Let cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting
(Double or triple if making a layered cake Rose Cake)

3 C powdered sugar
1 C butter (I used Spectrum Organic Shortening to make it Dairy Free)
1 TB milk or cream (or dairy alternative)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp freshly grated grapefruit zest

1. Combine the sugar, butter and milk in a large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.
2. Add the vanilla and grapefruit zest and beat for an additional 1 minute. Add more milk if needed to thin out for spreading.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Buckwheat Banana Nut Coconut Pancakes - GF

The ultimate comfort food...pancakes. Inspired by the yummy Banana Nut Coconut Muffins I made awhile back, I created this recipe. I have had some buckwheat in my cabinet for quite awhile, but haven't used it yet. They turned about perfect! Light and fluffy goodness.

Gluten Free Buckwheat Banana Nut Coconut Pancakes
Yields 8 - 4" pancakes

1 cup gluten free flour blend (I use 1/2 buckwheat, and then a combination of any of the following; brown rice, quinoa flakes, sorghum, almond...all of which I grind in my high-power blender)
1 TB palm sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1/4 C oil (I used melted coconut oil)

shredded coconut, nut pieces, and/or chocolate chips (optional)

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredient.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined, do not overmix. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes (or longer) to thicken and combine. Meanwhile heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.
4. Pour 1/4 C batter into the skillet. If desired, sprinkle the batter with coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips. Once you see bubbles coming up through the middle of pancake, carefully flip over. Cook until that side is browned. Serve with hot syrup (and a drizzle of coconut milk if you are feeling REALLY decadent) and be comforted!

Note: If you do not need gluten free pancakes you can substitute the 1 cup GF flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour.

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays. Go over and check out all the delicious recipes being shared.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wholesale Buying

With a family of 11, the only way my mom can afford to feed us healthy, and plentiful, is to buy a lot of our foods wholesale. The prices are usually 30-40% off what you'll pay at the stores. You can find conventional, natural and organic products; fresh and frozen produce, bulk flours and nuts, gluten free products, beauty products and supplements.

For years we have used two different wholesale companies. The first is UNFI (previously Mountain People's Warehouse). However, you cannot order or pay online and you have to buy cases at a time.

Most of the time we prefer to buy from Azure Standard. You can order and pay online, or you can pay when you pick up your order. You can buy 1 or 2 of something, or a whole case if you would like. You can place an order once a month and the orders are delivered to a location in your area where you meet the truck. If your order is under $50 you are charged a processing fee, so let me know if you want to combine orders and I'll match you up with someone. To find a drop location in your area visit the Utah/Idaho website or to set up an online account contact Heather at 208-429-1989.

Another great resource is Bountiful Baskets. You get a basket full of fruits and vegetables. The conventional baskets are delivered every week and are $15. The organic baskets are usually delivered every other Saturday and are $25. You never know what you are going to get, but it is always a great deal. The site is really confusing. Here is a page with good step-by-step instructions.

Local Harvest is a website source of local products including produce, eggs, honey, meats, etc. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to get great local organic produce. You buy a seasonal “share” and get weekly baskets full of great produce.

Utah Co-op is a non-profit store located in Murray, Utah. All proceeds from sales go back into buying more inventory. Their prices are usually 15-20% off retail. If you want a specific item, request it and they'll do their best to fulfill it. They usually have Pasture Pride cheeses, $1.00 for 8 ounces.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DIY Almond Milk (and Almond Meal Flour)

I have had a horrible rash on my arms for about 2 months. I went to a doctor for a female check-up and when I mentioned it to her, she suggested to eliminating gluten and dairy completely from my diet to see if that might help. So for the last 2 weeks I have been doing gluten and dairy free...and my rash is nearly gone!

To replace cow's milk I have been using almond milk, which can be expensive, but after trying all the other dairy alternative I decided that almond milk is the best tasting. I decided to make my own to see if it would be more economical. The conclusion? Yes. IF you use almond meal/flour as well, which I do in a lot of my recipes. A natural by-product of making almond milk is almond flour. It is also worth it to be able to control exactly what goes into your almond milk and if you get the almonds wholesale you'll save even more. For every one quart of almond milk you also get one cup of almond flour, which can be pricey, so you save there as well.

Here is the break down on the cost comparisons:

Retail Pricing (32 ounces of almond milk)

Minus the Cost of
Buying Almond Flour
- $.80/1 cup
= $3.16
- $1.13/1 cup
= $4.45
Wholesale Pricing (32 ounces of almond milk)
(For more information on how to buy wholesale, click HERE)
Minus the Cost of
Buying Almond Flour
- $.71/1 cup
= $2.26
- $1.00/1 cup
= $2.24

The end price shows the cost of homemade almond milk if you deduct the amount 1 cup of almond flour would cost you to buy. In other words, buying store bought organic almond milk would cost me $2.15. To make my own costs $1.09 more, but then I also get $1.00 worth of almond flour, so in the end it only costs me $.09 more for the same amount of milk and a cup of almond flour.

If you don't use almond flour and aren't too picky about what is in your almond milk (all store-bought almond milks have additives), it is not worth it to make your own almond milk. For me, it is for cost effective to make the milk myself, to control exactly what goes into it and have the added benefit of the left over almond flour.

Anywho, for those of you still interested in making your own almond milk and almond flour, here is the recipe:

Almond Milk
Yields 32 oz.

1.5 C raw almonds (to minimize the cost, you can cut it down to 1 cup)
4 C filtered water
pinch of sea salt

1. Soak the almond in the filtered water for 8-12 hours. Rinse and replace the water once in the process, if possible.

2. Drain and rinse the almonds. Place in a blender with 4 cups of fresh water and the salt. Blend on high for 2 minutes. If using a regular blender (not heavy duty, like a VitaMix) you may need to do two batches, blending 1/2 at a time.

3. Strain the milk from the pulp using a nut milk bag (I did not have one so I just used a tightly woven cotton kitchen hand towel) or several layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze as much of the milk out as possible. Reserve the pulp to make almond flour, recipe to follow.

4. Place the milk in a clean air-tight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.


Chocolate Milk
32 oz of Almond Milk
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C raw, dark agave

Chai Milk
32 oz of Almond Milk
1/4 C raw, dark agave
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Almond Flour
Yields 1 cup

Pulp left over from almond milk

1. Spread the pulp on a baking sheet. Let dry for 8-12 hours. Store in an airtight container.
*Note: I have also started running it in my VitaMix one more time after it dries. It seems to make it a finer texture.

Thanks to Kim at Nourishing Gourmet for hosting Penny Wise Platter Thursdays. I linked this post there for others to see. Check out her blog. She has beautiful recipes and amazing photographs.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I have been trying to eat more veggies, and with this loveliness I can eat a whole lot of them and not even think twice.


2 garlic cloves
1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 C tahini (sesame paste)
6 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1. In a food processor with the S blade process the garlic cloves until well minced.
2. Add the chickpeas, salt, tahini and lemon juice and process until it turns into a thick paste.
3. While the processor is still running slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube. Process until it is a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with your favorite veggie sticks!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs and Chard

Update 4/8/11: I am sharing this recipe via Food Renegade courtesy of Fight Back Fridays blog carnival where everyone shares recipes. Thanks to Food Renegade for hosting such a great event!

I saw this recipe in a cookbook and thought about making it for months before I actually did. The anticipation was well worth it. This is now one of my favorite ways to eat sweet potato.

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs and Garlic Sauteed Rainbow Swiss Chard

Serves 4

30 minutes

1 large red-skinned potato, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1 TB extra virgin olive oil

1 TB butter

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic glove, finely minced

1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Warm the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the green pepper, onion and garlic and saute until the red onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. (The original recipe is vegetarian, but I added some turkey bacon at this step, about 8 slices of bacon, chopped.)

3. Add the potatoes, spreading them in one layer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown and the peppers are soft, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile start the swiss chard, recipe follows.

4. Stir in the green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if desired, add a pinch of crushed red chilie flakes for a little heat) and cook, stirring until the pototoes start to break down and the green onion is softened, about 1 minute. Divide the hash among serving plates.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Two bunches of Rainbow Swiss Chard, leaves removed from stem. Wash and dry and chop into 2" pieces.

2 TB olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan heat 2 Tb olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.

2. Add the chard and cook 5-8 minutes (meanwhile start your eggs), stirring occasionally until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.


4 eggs

1 TB butter

salt and pepper, to taste

You can prepare your eggs any way you want; poached, soft boiled, sunny-side up, over-hard, etc. In a dish like this I like sunny-side up fried eggs.

1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed non-stick pan on the lowest setting for 5 minutes. Add 1 TB of butter. When the butter has stopped foaming, about 1 minute, swirl to coat the pan.

2. Gently crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook 2 1/2 minutes for soft runny yolks, 3 minutes for soft, yet set yolks, 3 1/2 minutes for firmly set yolks.

3. Place the eggs on top of each serving of hash and serve immediately.