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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate - Zucchini Pan Muffins

Have you heard of a pan muffin?   Well, I certainly hadn't...

My daughter was sampling my new brownies and said, "this is a muffin." I told her that since they were in a pan, I would have to call them "pan muffins." So the name pan muffins was created.
This is a super moist, low-fat treat that is really nice to bite into. The nuts are optional.
*Use regular all-purpose flour if gluten free isn't needed.

Gluten Free Chocolate - Zucchini Pan Muffins         Seves 24
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar, I used beet sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp xanthan gum 
2 cups gluten free flour mix, I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, I used allergy friendly mini chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9"x13" pan with a non-stick spray. 
In a large bowl add bananas, applesauce, and sugar. Mix well.
Add vanilla and cocoa. Mix well.
Add baking soda, salt, and zucchini. Mix well.
Stir in flour and xanthan gum. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in prepared pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Pan muffins should spring back when lightly touched.

Let cool slightly before tasting…cool to room temperature before serving. 
These are a little sticky when cutting into squares so I just wiped off the knife as I cut.

Weight watcher points are 3.4 for each square with nuts.  Without nuts 3 points each.

Store in an air-tight container for several days or freeze extras for later.

To freeze, separate squares with pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking. They will be just as delicious as the day you made them. You might even like them frozen…we do.

These are also delicious with,  Allergy Friendly Vanilla Soft-Serve, it's like having cake and ice cream without all the fat, eggs, and dairy!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunflower Banana-Oat Cookies - A Gluten Free Treat

I think I like these even more with sunflower butter than peanut butter!  These might look and sound a bit familiar…Banana-Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies.

In this recipe I reduced the mini chocolate chips to 1/4 cup because I felt like it was enough chocolate, add more if you like. I also went with a round shape, instead of flattening them before baking.

 I will be making these on a regular basis for sure!

If you count weight watcher points, add 3 for each cookie.
Remember if you aren't gluten free regular flour is fine and ww points don't change.

Sunflower Banana-Oat Cookies                       Makes 30 cookies
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sunflower butter
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 cups gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour baking mix, I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour.
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, I used allergy friendly mini chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a large mixing bowl add bananas, vanilla, sunflower butter, and maple syrup. Mix well
In a small mixing bowl add oats, flour, and baking powder. Mix well.
Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir well. Fold in chocolate chips.

Place heaping tablespoons of dough onto lined baking sheet. I used a small sized cookie scoop.
Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Freeze extras unless planning on eating them up in the next few days. Did I mention how delicious they are warm? Maybe there won't be any extras!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Grandma's Cole Slaw

Grandma's coleslaw was the only coleslaw I think I ever liked, besides KFC.
Coleslaw is really a "must have" with pulled pork sandwiches! What is the big deal you might ask…
try it, I think you will agree.

If you haven't made coleslaw before, not to worry! It's simple, especially since you can buy the cabbage and carrots already shredded. And this I might add is a huge time saver.

Grandma's Coleslaw                Serves 6-8
8 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup mayonnaise (substitute Vegenaise for dairy and egg free. This product is also gluten free)
3-4 Tbsp  white wine vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbage and carrots.
In a small bowl, mix next 5 ingredients.
Add dressing to cabbage and toss well.  Chill and serve.

Such an easy recipe. And it's gluten free.

And if you haven't tried pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw yet, I really suggest you do. I don't have a great photo unfortunately. It was extremely hard to take pictures because my family was so eager to eat them!  But you get the idea...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Four Ingredient Chipotle Lime Rice

I eat a lot of rice…and I have kind of gotten into a rut making the same Spanish Rice Recipe (though I love it) all the time. My husband and I happily eat beans and rice every day for lunch. His in a burrito  wrap and mine as a bowl burrito with baked corn chips for dipping. We add, chopped lettuce, salsa, guacamole, olives, and chopped onions. We just happen to love it that much.

I  have to watch how many tomatoes I eat, so I needed to find another rice recipe. 
Plain brown and white rice with beans just doesn't always satisfy my taste buds!  

I was going through some things that needed to be moved for my daughter and found this recipe amongst her cookware.  Since I absolutely LOVE cilantro I didn't have any doubt that I would like it.
It's great with any Mexican dish or with BBQ meats and baked beans. I served it with Pulled Pork sandwiches, Consciouses Cowboy Beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw and fresh fruit for our 4th of July meal.  Then I ate the beans and rice leftovers together for the rest of the week.  

In case you wondered... I liked it!

I'm providing two recipe options. Both are yummy. In the second option I've posted amounts for a smaller batch.

Weight watcher followers would count points the same as plain rice, 5 points for each cup.

Four Ingredient Chipotle Lime Rice      Serves 6
2 cups basmati rice
2 1/4 tsp salt, divided
2-3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, 2 or 3 limes

In a large kettle add 2 tsp of salt to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Stir in rice. Boil uncovered for 12 minutes.
Drain water from rice using a fine mesh strainer. Rinse rice with hot water.
Pour rice into a large bowl. Add chopped cilantro, juice from limes, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. 
Mix well, adding more salt to taste. 

Serve and enjoy!

Here is another way to make this rice. This will make a smaller amount.

Two Serving Chipotle Lime Rice
1 tsp butter or oil
2 tsp cilantro
2/3 cup white basmati rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime
In a sauce pan melt butter or add oil. Heat and add rice and lime. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add water and salt, bring to a boil and let simmer for 25 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro (I like to use more than 2 tsp)


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Protein Cookies

These aren't meant to be a dessert cookie, they are more of a workout or energy type snack.  They also make a great in-between meal snack for maintaining good blood sugar levels.

They are full of nutritious carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. I keep a small freezer container at work for quick, healthy afternoon "pick-me-up" snack.

I got the idea for these cookies from a book called, Thrive:  A guide to optimal health & performance through plant-based whole foods,written by Brendan Brazier. In this book there were a few interesting recipes. You can read about him by clicking on the link.

Gluten Free Chocolate Protein Cookies           Makes about 16 cookies
1 cup dates, fresh or soaked (I used 20 California Dates - soaked)
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (about 44 grams) I used a vegan powder
1/4 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup other nuts of your choice, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup gluten free old fashioned oats, or 1/2 quinoa flakes
1/2 cup frozen blueberries.
2 Tbl cacao nibs

Put first 7 ingredients in a food processor and mix until a thick paste like mixture forms.

Remove and scoop into a mixing bowl. 

Stir in oat, cacao nibs, and frozen berries. Mix well, ending by kneading mixture with your hands to fully combine.

Shape into flat rounds or squares. I used a  cookie dough scoop for mine. Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon sheets. 

Shown here are the Fruity Protein Cookies, but you get the idea.

Let sit uncovered for 30-40 minutes. Place in a freezer safe container with wax paper between cookies to prevent sticking.

Eat frozen or at room temperature.  I like to let mine sit out for at least an hour until they dry out just a bit, but my family prefers to eat them frozen.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Leo's Fresh Salsa


A great reason to grow your own tomatoes!

My husband has been working on this salsa for a couple of years, and it is pretty darn amazing.  He loves to grow fruits and vegetables in the garden. We have a wonderful variety of berries, apples, pears and many vegetables.

Let me warn you....we like it kind of hot.  Also, this makes a lot of salsa.  Plan on sharing, your friends and family will be glad you did!

People following weight watchers this has 0 points if your serving is 1/2 cup or less.

Leo's Fresh Salsa                          Makes 17-18 cups
You will need these items:
 Large kettle
 Braun Hand Blender or Vitamix type blender
Coffee Grinder (is optional if you need to grind dried peppers)
16 cups fresh Roma Tomatoes (or defrosted frozen whole tomatoes)
1 large or 2 medium size  jalapeño peppers
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
8 thin red hot dried peppers, ground
1 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl oregano leaves
1 Tbl minced garlic
3 De Arbol dried pepper, ground
1 whole red or white onion
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
2 large bunch of cilantro
2 bunches of green onion

Prepare tomatoes as follows:

Place 16 cups of fresh or freshly defrosted frozen tomatoes in a Vitamix type blender or use a Braun Hand Blender, and blend to a smooth consistency.  Grind De Arbor and thin red hot dried peppers in coffee grinder to a fine powder.  Or you can add these dried peppers whole after de-seeding them and blend them in the pan with the Braun.  If desired, carefully remove seeds from jalapeños, slice in chunks and add to the mix. I have found using 1/2 the seeds adds some "heat"... if a hotter salsa is desired.   I also recommend wearing gloves when handling jalapeños.

Add all remaining spices and ingredients except the onion, green and red peppers, green onions and  cilantro.  Cook tomato base for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Blend well with the hand blender.

While tomato base is cooking Leo and I are busy dicing the onion and green and red peppers.  Now is also a good time to thinly slice the green onions and chop cilantro. Set half of the cilantro to the side. 
Stir in these ingredients, except the extra cilantro that you set aside to be added once the salsa is in containers.

Let salsa cool and place in containers.  We save old purchased salsa containers and reuse them for this recipe.  Add extra cilantro to each container and stir in gently.

That's it!  Since this is a fresh salsa, plan to eat it within a week.

Here is a great tip. If you are finding you can't eat all the fresh salsa, make it into my super easy enchilada sauce and freeze for later.

Or freeze the salsa in freezer containers, and make into enchilada sauce any time throughout the year. Both ways work great.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce In Minutes:
Two Containers of Salsa (puree if you like a smooth sauce)
2  15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Simmer about 5-10 minutes.

Then try these delicious Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas!


Monday, July 7, 2014

So Many Berries...

I have been busy picking and freezing and picking and freezing…

The day after we returned from a vacation in New York, my husband and I both came down with a nasty virus.  The end of that week berries were ready to pick!! So we headed out to our favorite fruit farm and picked over 140 pounds of berries.

Mean time our own cherries and berries were ready as well. So….we also picked all those. My husband pitted all the cherries he didn't give away and I froze them. Frozen cherries are a tasty treat and can be used in smoothies and sorbets too.

Currently I am making many batches of mixed berry freezer jam with all the odds and end berries I have left.




For the freezer jam recipe I use, click on this link, Homemade Raspberry Freezer Jam.
It's the best recipe I have ever found, and I am asked all the time what recipe I use.
The only difference today is I mixed Loganberries, Raspberries, and Marion Berries instead of using just Raspberries. Everything else is exactly the same, measurements and everything. I don't use blueberries in jam, for we have tons of other uses for them.

Enjoy your berries and the other fresh fruits of summer!