Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gluten Free Oat & Hemp Frozen Cookie Sandwich

For my ice cream sandwich I used GF Vanilla Soft Serve I wanted to keep it low fat and healthy. Any flavor would be delicious, chocolate soft serve or peanut butter.   

Freeze cookies and add your favorite ice cream or use one of my healthy soft serves. Here I used GF Vanilla Soft Serve.   Make some ahead and keep them in the freezer for a refreshing treat!

Here is the recipe I used for my frozen cookie sandwich.

Gluten Free Coconut, Oat & Nut - Hemp Cookies        Makes 21 Cookies
1/3 cup butter, or any dairy free option.
3/4 cup sugar, I use beet sugar. Coconut sugar is another option.
1 egg, or egg replacer equal to one egg.
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup gluten free flour of your choice. I suggest  purchasing a gluten free pre-made mix, or use one of your own favorite gluten free flour mixes. See my suggestions on the link that follows,  Gluten Free Flour Combinations For Baking.
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut (optional)
3 Tbsp finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Using a non-stick spray is ok too.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter or butter substitute and sugar. Add vanilla and egg or egg substitute. Mix well.

In a small bowl stir together flour, oats, hemp seeds, baking soda, xanthan gum, nuts, and coconut.  Add this to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until well combined. 

Form dough into about 1 inch balls and bake for 12 minutes. Cookies will flatten. Let sit a couple minutes after removing cookies from the oven. Then cool cookies completely on wire racks.

Weight watcher points plus followers count 3 points for each cookie.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Heart Healthy Apple Crisp - gluten free, With a New Banana - Grape Sorbet Recipe

I'm always on the look-out for healthier desserts. My husband loves apple crisp…any fruit crisp for that matter. But right now since we have an excess of apples, I am focusing on apples.  I found this recipe in a new cook book called, Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook. It's great, I love the lower fat options. I have made it twice now, and my version has a few changes as far as spices, a thicker crumb topping,  and gluten free oats vs regular oats.

My household likes lots of topping, so I doubled the recipe, and I used sun flower butter instead of cashew butter. As I mention below, any nut butter is fine. I also added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the topping.

Heart Healthy Apple Crisp                        Serves 6-8
8 apples, peeled and sliced (I have also made this with 1/2 pears)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 cloves
2 - 2 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400.  Prepare  9"x 9 " baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl add sliced apples. Sprinkle vanilla extract over sliced apples. In a small dish mix dry ingredients. Add dry mixture to sliced apples mixing well to coat. Pour pure maple syrup over apples and mix well. Pour into pan. Push down a little if it looks like there won't be room for the topping, not to will cook down.

*Note: Optional tip. I like to precook my filling for about 3-5 minutes in the large mixing bowl before placing into the baking pan. This always ensures the apples fully cook.

4 1/2  tbsp nut butter, I used sun flower seed butter. Almond, cashew, hazelnut are ideas too.
6 Tbls pure maple syrup
3 Tbls applesauce, I use unsweetened
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups gluten free old fashioned oats, regular if gluten free is not needed
*optional 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a small mixing bowl add nut butter, pure maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix well. Add oats, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Spread the topping over the apples. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Set oven temperature at 350 and continue to bake another 30 minutes. If necessary cover with foil the last 10 minutes to prevent over browning.

Let cool a bit and serve with a fat free Vanilla Soft Serve variation or a whipped topping of your choice.

We served ours with a delicious banana and grape sugar free sorbet that took about 5 minutes to prepare.

Banana - Grape Sorbet
3-4 frozen bananas, cut in chunks
2 1/2 - 3 cups of frozen grapes, we used mixed varieties from our garden
1/4 -1/2 cup non dairy type milk, we used rice milk

Mix in a heavy duty processor stirring often to move the frozen pieces around. Once it is swirling in the processor…it's done.

Maybe pack some apple crisp in a picnic lunch. A delicious treat on a warm fall day.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

I decided to serve barbecued pork sandwiches on our Memorial family gathering.

Along with a salad full of healthy greens, a fruit plate, fresh corn-on-the-cob, some chips, and my favorite chocolate chip cheesecake with fresh sliced strawberries for dessert.  Well, maybe a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream as well. The menu turned out to be a nice combination. I had everything planned ahead, the pork roasts were in the slow cooker covered in my favorite brand of BBQ sauce and it was a nice feeling not to be rushed.

Oddly... I found my husband going through the spice cupboard. This is a man who you usually find after the food is prepared or doing dishes, not to often  in a spice cupboard.  He had brought home a new recipe he wanted to try for our pork sandwiches. A fellow co-worker had made this and my husband copied the recipe. Luckily we had everything he needed and he made a really nice BBQ sauce. The recipe is originally from the Food Network Magazine, the only thing we decided to do differently, was to not strain the onions at the end.

I had prepared the pork roast as in my blog and recipe,  Just Like Pulled Pork. At the point of shredding the pork and adding more sauce, instead of adding my usual favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's, we used my husband's homemade sauce.  Delicious, and a huge hit with the family. Everybody even poured more over their meat while building their sandwich.

Another nice addition some like on this sandwich is shredded cabbage.

So here is another option for this recipe. Use a bottled sauce in the slow cooker and again after shredding the pork, or use a bottled sauce in the slow cooker and prepare a fresh sauce to add after shredding the meat. And don't forget to serve some on the side!

This sauce is gluten free (check labels on ingredients) and can be used on any type of barbecued meat.

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce        Makes about 1 quart
2 tbsp. vegetable oil                                         1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped onion                                        3 tbsp. molasses
2 cloves garlic, smashed                                    3 tbsp. yellow mustard
3 cups ketchup                                                 1/2 tsp. ground celery seed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar                                Kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar                      1 to 2 tsp. liquid smoke            
1/4 cup steak sauce ( we used A.1.)

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is golden, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, 1 cup water, the vinegar, mustard, celery seed and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the liquid smoke. Strain the sauce, pressing on the solids to extract any liquid. Again, we omitted this last step.

BBQ season its here and now. It's such fun trying new recipes!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

My daughter is home for the summer and full of great treat ideas. These can be made gluten free or regular.

Simply choose a cookie dough and a cake mix flavor. (Both gluten free if needed)
We are going to bake a frozen ball of cookie dough right in the middle of our cupcakes. Mmmmmmmm!

No one will ever know until they bite into a cupcake!

Make cookie dough (any flavor) and form into small balls. Freeze. I used chocolate chip.
Mix up a cake, any flavor. I used german chocolate. (gluten free if needed). Here is a wonderful gluten free/vegan recipe, Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes. Spoon cake batter into muffin tins about 1/2 full. Place one frozen dough ball in the middle of each cupcake.
Cover with more cake batter until about 3/4 full.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-22 minutes.  Cupcake will bounce back when lightly touched.
Let cool completely before frosting.

Have fun decorating your cupcakes. 

When you take a bite of cupcake you will be happily surprised to get a taste of a chewy, nougat like treat inside.

I added extra chocolate chips to my cookie dough so the insides are very rich and chocolatey.
Have fun experimenting with different cookie and cake combinations!!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Grandma's Zucchini Bread & Muffins...A Great Reason To Plant A Garden!

I guess when something is great, don't change it. Right? And my grandma had a great love for making people her zucchini bread... especially for my dad.

The only thing I did different, was not peel the zucchini. I like the color the peeling adds to the bread.  Okay, I did add one more thing to my grandma's recipe....added chopped apples. Delicious addition for sure, but it's optional. Maybe try it in half the recipe and see what you like. We decided to make our bread into muffins, because they are easy to freeze or pack as a snack. Either way I am happy to share this wonderful recipe, and hope you find it to be a tasty treat.

If you count weight watcher points, each muffin has 7 points.

This recipe can be made gluten free by simply replacing the all-purpose flour with a gluten free baking mix like Bob's Red Mill or Pamala's Gluten Free Baking Mix. Remember with Bob's Red Mill or a homemade mix you will need to add Xanthan Gum to the recipe, 2 1/4 tsp.

Grandma's Zucchini Bread & Muffins        Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins
Preheat oven to 350
Prepare loaf pans with cooking spray and line bottom of pans with wax paper,  prepare muffin tins with cooking spray.
3 eggs (egg substitute if necessary)
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 apple (optional, but delicious) peeled and chopped
3 cups flour (gluten free mix if necessary plus 2 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum, if not Pamela's brand)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a small bowl add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and walnuts. Mix
In a large mixing bowl add eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Mix well.
Add zucchini and apples(optional).  Mix.
Add flour mixture and stir until mixed. Don't over mix.
Pour into prepared loaf pans or muffin tins.
Bake loaves for 55 minutes and muffins 25 minutes. Check 5 minutes early in case of oven variations.
Cool loaves on rack 10 minutes before removing from pans, and I let muffins sit a minute or so before removing from tins, as this helps them hold their shape.
Let cool completely on wire racks.
Then enjoy and share this recipe with many, it would make my grandma happy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just Like Pulled Pork - Easy Barbecued Pork Roast. (Gluten free option too)

Have you ever thought you came up with something new in the food world, just to find out everybody's already tried it?

Well that happened to me when I thought I came up with this great idea for pork roast. No one in our family really liked pork roast, including myself. So we never ate it.....I never cooked it. But after having pulled pork in Hawaii, a few years ago I absolutely fell in love with it. I had never tasted anything so good. I will admit, they have a magical way of cooking it, but it also got me curious.

So I bought some really nice cuts of pork roast and started experimenting.  I tried sauces, rubs, herbs, but nothing came even close to what I had eaten in Hawaii.

One day I had some left-overs in the fridge that nobody seemed to want, and I was seriously considering giving them to our dog, Charlie.

My teen-age son hadn't had lunch yet and I got this idea.....what if I added some bbq sauce to the left over pork and tried to make it look like it had been shredded and served him a hot bbq sandwich? I gave it a try, and he loved it. He even said, "I didn't know we had any of this stuff, I just had this over at a friends house too."  And then a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, why couldn't I add the bbq sauce to the roast while it was in the slow cooker?

Apparently everybody already does this.....jokes on me. Oh well. Huge success, so I decided to share my new revolution with you anyway. And the best part is a lot of bbq sauces are made gluten free now.

The only thing you will need along with a pork roast is some bbq sauce. I purchase my pork roast  from Costco, Premium Pork Sirloin Tip Roast, 98% fat free. I like the way they are packaged, and I always cook two at a time. Left overs are never a problem, in fact there are usually not enough left overs. Yes,'s that popular with my family.

 Since I cook two at a time I use a larger slow cooker. For one roast the smaller size is perfect.

Rinse and pat dry the pork roast and place in cooker.  Pour a fair amount of bbq sauce over the roast.
My favorite bbq sauce is, Sweet Baby Ray's. Exact measurements aren't that important, just get a nice covering on the roast.

Cover and cook on low for about 9 hours. Check to make sure it's all cooked inside. 
The finished product will look like this.

At this point I remove the roast from the slow cooker and place in a large dish and cover with foil. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Or until you are ready to pull apart.
While you're at it, this would be a good time to remove any meat that you don't want extra bbq sauce on, for example if you are following weight watchers. Remove some of the meat from the inside not the outside edges where the sauce is and each ounce of meat will still be 1 point. If you then want to add some extra sauce to your serving, then you can easily add a measured amount. Two tablespoons of this bbq sauce is 2 points. The roast is delicious with or without the extra sauce.  But it's nice to enjoy what everyone else is eating. 

Grab a knife and start slicing and pulling apart the meat starting at one end, and just slowly work to the other end.  On the edges I cut that area up into small pieces, but the rest will shred nicely.

I like to add even more bbq sauce to moisten and flavor all the meat. Keep tossing and stirring until the meat is evenly covered. Taste as you mix.....yummy!

I use a large serving fork to mix the sauce with the meat, it seems to work well.

Cover with foil to keep warm. I actually keep the prepared bbq pork in the oven on warm until ready to eat.  Toast up some buns, these make a great sandwich. Perfect for a crowd.

These work great on gluten free breads and rolls as well, The Best Gluten Free Sandwich Rolls

Lunch the next day is easy with these left overs!  Just reheat in the microwave and you've got a tasty and hearty sandwich. My husband likes them with shredded cabbage or coleslaw. Try my grandma's recipe.

If you want to make your own barbecue sauce check out this recipe,  Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce  it's delicious too.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Asparagus…A Tasty Mood Lifting Vegetable!

I have heard that  foods can actually be mood lifting, and that asparagus of all things, is one of the best.  Ok, I am slightly sensitive to this food at a moderate level, which means I can rotate it in if I don't find it to cause any problems. So I sat down and started taking some notes.

I tried two new ways to eat asparagus. One is in scrambled eggs, duck eggs for me. (I am highly allergic to chicken eggs) And the other way, is one I came up with on my own. I was roasting some brussels sprouts the other night and had some left over asparagus, so I just added them to the pan. WOW! They were so good I ate them all before I ate the brussels sprouts, they were like tasty little crunchy straws.

With my eggs and asparagus I decided to add a little ham and a touch of cheese. Ok…yes! I am cheating a little! But sometimes I just crave a flavor or am curious about a food…like now.

First I cut up 1 oz of  ham and a nice handful of asparagus tops. I sauteed them in a small amount of Smart Balance Light.

Then I added my scrambled duck egg mixture of 1 whole egg, 2 whites and a couple Tbls soy milk.

When eggs are done top with 1/2 serving of Weight Watchers Mexican Style Blend Reduced Fat Cheese.   If you are very careful about rotating foods you are sensitive to, sometimes you can get away with this once or twice a week. I don't suggest rotating allergic or sensitive foods until you have followed a strict diet of elimination for a full year first. And remember, some foods you will find can never be rotated. Believe me, you will know which ones when you try. For yeast free diets, no cheese.

Ok, back to this dish…because it's ready to devour!

This was so amazing I got up early to make it for my husband before he left for a meeting. He also loved it. The asparagus really blends nicely with the egg. I hope you give it a is sure to make you smile!

Weight watcher points with ham and cheese, this dish has 5 points. Ducks eggs are an extra point due to their larger size.

The other way I mentioned preparing asparagus was with my roasted brussels sprouts.
Here they are seasoned and cooking.

I usually just rinse the brussels sprouts and remove loose outer leaves, and dry them off on a towel. For the asparagus after rinsing and drying I broke them in half using the top half. The goats got the bottom half  : )

I roast my brussels sprouts on the pure convection setting at 400. If you do not have a convection oven set to 425.

Place fresh vegetables in a large bowl add toss with 1 Tbl olive oil. When they are well coated shake some sea salt over them or McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak and toss again.

Place vegetables on a large baking sheet prepared with Pam, even though there is oil on the vegetables I still coat the baking sheet with Pam.

Bake for about 20 min, maybe check after 15, for preferred doneness. Also turn them over and roll them around a bit for even browning. The more browning on the vegetables the better in my opinion. Depending on your taste, you might like the asparagus at this point.

 As I mentioned I like them really brown, so I continue to bake everything for 5 min or more.

These are so good you won't even need butter! But if you do Brummel & Brown is an excellent low fat alternative. I have found occasional use of this product, and Smart Balance does not bother me even though I am very allergic to all dairy.

Even if you do not like brussels sprouts, try them roasted. I actually find them very offensive prepared any other way. Roasting some how makes them less bitter.

Weight watcher points will only count the oil you add. I find 1Tbl of oil goes a long way. For each Tbl of Olive Oil you add 4 points plus, and by tossing the vegetables in a large dish you can get enough coating on the vegetables with that small amount. Divide that by 4 servings and you have 1 point for each.

Brummel & Brown has 1 point plus for each Tbl. so if you add a teaspoon on top of your serving vegetables and let it melt over all, you have just 1/3 of a point. I really like Brummel & Brown because of it's great flavor and it actually does melt!