Friday, April 22, 2011

Banana Chocolate Pudding Pie (with Avocado)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, last week I made a version of Kelly the Spunky Coconut's Banana Chocolate Cream Pie. And is it ever good! Free of grains, sugar, and dairy, it feels so much more like a super food or power food than dessert. Truly, you can feel completely guilt-free eating this. It's light, not heavy at all, which I like in dessert-like food. Although the list of ingredients is lengthy, I believe the end result is well worth the effort of gathering them all for this recipe. I've been shaving off slices of this a few times a day... for me and my baby (well, he's not really a baby anymore, he's 16 months now, but he's my baby!). I actually love feeding this to him because he's getting doses of fruits and veggies and protein in every bite, and he thinks it's dessert!

This would also be a good dessert to serve at your Easter gathering. I mean, who doesn't love chocolate? And after a meal that's probably a bit more heavy than usual (as holiday meals tend to be), a light and delicious pudding-like pie is just the ticket to get everyone in the mood to hunt for Easter eggs (that is if you participate is such pagan festivities, right Dad?). Well, whatever it is you do on Easter, be it hunt for Easter eggs or just simply go to church and get together with family, this dessert is a great choice.

Banana Chocolate Pudding Pie (with Avocado)


1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon flax
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted


2 ripe bananas
1 ripe avocado
5 dates
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
10 drops liquid stevia
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Xylosweet (xylitol)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until coarsely mixed. Press into a 9 inch pie plate and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the filling, place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until completely smooth. Pour into cooled pie crust, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quinoa and Chicken Chipotle Stuffed Peppers

I don't know what gave me the hankering for stuffed peppers, but I got one yesterday. I have never actually made stuffed peppers myself, but have a friend who makes them all the time and raves. So when I went to the grocery store, I stocked up on bell peppers to make this dish. Not usually my go-to produce of choice, simply because the organic peppers at my coop are a tad on the expensive side (this time of year anyway), due to the fact that they have to travel all the way from Mexico. So for this dish, in the interest of keeping it a bit more on the economical side, I bought conventional bell peppers: 6 for $5.99, about a buck a piece. Not bad. (Of course, if you make this in the summer with bell peppers from your garden, it would cost you probably only a buck or two for all six. Note to self: make this with all those sweet patio peppers this summer!)

And since we don't eat a ton of rice here at home, I wanted to change up a traditional stuffed pepper recipe and use quinoa instead. Adding a few unexpected spices to it also gives it a whole new spark. Talk about bold and pungent flavors: cumin, curry, and chipotle chile! It's the kind of dish that makes your whole house smell divine (or as my four year old put it, "Mommy, the house smells spectacular!" He's really into big words these days.)

I've said it before, and will say it again: because this dish is cheesy, it's so appealing to kids. Mine scarfed it down, faster than me, and that's saying something because come dinner time, I was hungry!

The credit for this recipe goes to Vegetarian Times. My favorite magazine and online recipe source, the fab crew over there has done it again (I make Vegetarian Times recipes almost weekly with astounding success). Not entirely the same recipe, but definitely the same concept. My version, of course, is not vegetarian, thanks to the chicken, but it would still taste wonderful without it if you want to nix the chicken on account of your vegetarian needs. Or if you like the extra kick of protein that you get from the meat (not that this dish needs extra protein; the quinoa and black beans alone provide tons of it), you could substitute taco meat in place of the shredded chicken. (We have leftover taco meat from grass fed beef all the time because tacos are, without a doubt, my husband's favorite meal. His nickname growing up was the "Taco King." You get the drift.)

Any way you dice it, this stuffed pepper dish was a winner at our house and is sure to make it back on a recurring basis.

Quinoa and Chicken Chipotle Stuffed Peppers

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder (or any kind chile powder)
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt, pepper
6 large red bell peppers (or any bell pepper color of your choice)
1/4-1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, heat coconut oil. Chop onion and celery and mince garlic. Add to pan and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and cook another minute. Next add tomatoes and spinach, put the lid on the pot for about 3 minutes, until the spinach is bright green and wilted. Then add beans, chicken, stock, and quinoa. Stir to fully incorporate. Add 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and stir again until the cheese melts. Bring to a gentle boil, turn heat down to a simmer, and place lid on pan, cooking for about 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa is mostly cooked (it's ok if it's not fully cooked as it will finish cooking in the oven).

Meanwhile, slice bell peppers in half lengthwise and clean out ribs and seeds. (You can leave stems on or off depending on preference. I removed the stems.) Fill peppers all the way to the top with quinoa mixture and place side by side in a large baking dish (you may need either two 8x8 dishes or a 9x13 and another small dish). Pour 1/4 cup water in each dish, enough to just coat the bottom of the dish.

Place foil on baking dishes and bake in preheated oven for one hour. Remove foil, top each stuffed bell pepper half with remaining cheese, and bake uncovered an additional 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is a tribute to my dad. For years, as many as I can remember, every Sunday morning he would make a batch of muffins and he always put chocolate chips in them. It was like his trademark. And I loved it. Anything with chocolate in it, and muffins were no exception.

This morning, I was thinking about my dad's tradition of the chocolate chip muffins and decided I needed my own Sunday morning chocolate chip muffin recipe. I also wanted a naturally sweet muffin, since chocolate chips are sweet all by themselves, so I thought a banana version would be a great choice. And I love chocolate and bananas together, such a perfect combination. (I couldn't help myself when I saw Kelly of Spunky Coconut's Banana Chocolate Pie recipe last week; it looked so good I had to make it on Friday night... yummy!)

So here you go Dad. A chocolate chip muffin recipe that isn't out of a box, has tons of protein and fiber, and is just delicious. And I saved some extras for you!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

Wet ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut milk beverage (So Delicious), or almond milk
10 drops liquid stevia
2 tablespoons agave
2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Xylosweet (xylitol), optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.

In a medium bowl, add dry ingredients and stir.

In a separate bowl, add wet ingredients and stir.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir together to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir gently to incorporate.

Pour into prepared muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Sprinkle the tops with Xylosweet, if using.

Bake 30 minutes, until tops spring back to the touch.

Makes 12-13 muffins.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Strawberry Scones

We're somewhat regressing in our spring weather here in the north. I woke up today and it was colder than it has been the past few days. And I was just cold. So I needed the oven on, bad. I had a bowl full of beautiful organic strawberries sliced in my fridge and thought they would be delicious baked into scones. So off to scone-ville I went.

I used to eat scones all the time back when I was in college. Daily, in fact. An addiction? Quite possibly. It was my quick breakfast of choice as I was running to my early morning classes. They paired so perfectly with a cup of dark roasted coffee (also an addiction of mine in college). But since going gluten free, those days of grabbing a scone at my local bakery or coffee shop are long gone. Now when I have the craving, I have to indulge myself in my own kitchen. Not a problem, since being in my kitchen in now a new addiction of mine.

If you are not opposed to dairy, I think they would be great topped with either freshly whipped cream or grass-fed butter.

Strawberry Scones (gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup sorghum or almond flour (or a combination of the two)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tapioca flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon powdered stevia (optional)
pinch salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk beverage- such as So Delicious)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 cup strawberries, sliced thin
1 tablespoon Xylosweet (xylitol), optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir. Add coconut oil (not melted, it's best if it's somewhat solidified) and cut in with a fork or your hands until mixture coarsely crumbles.

In a separate, smaller bowl, combine milk through vanilla and stir. Add to dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Add strawberries and stir gently (or use your hands) to mix until combined.

Place dough onto prepared baking sheet and, using your hands, press dough into an 8 inch circle. Using a knife, score circle into 8 even wedges. Sprinkle with Xylosweet, if using.

Bake 18-22 minutes, until a soft crust forms on the top of scones. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing through scored wedges and serve.

Makes 8 scones.

As I was creating these, I thought they would be perfect for a Sunday morning Easter brunch. Therefore I am submitting these for the Spunky Coconut's Spunky Holiday Easter recipe roundup.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mexican Eggplant Lasagna

A few weeks back, I was just craving lasagna. Ooey, gooey, cheesy, hearty, classic comfort food. However, I have yet to find gluten free lasagna noodles. I know they're out there; I've seen them online. But unfortunately, I cannot access them locally at my co-op. Pondering an alternative, I wondered how eggplant would do standing in for the noodles... I decided to give it a try. So glad I did! They worked beautifully.

This lasagna dish isn't about classic Italian flavors though. I thought it would be fun to see how a one-pot, cheesy lasagna-ish dish would do in an earthly, smokey, cumin-scented bake. Superb, as a matter of fact!  Completely vegetarian, thanks to the black beans filling in for the traditional ground beef, makes this dish not only oh-so satisfying on the belly, but also on the wallet (a 1/2 cup of dried beans goes for mere chump change, while grass-fed beef can cost you $5-$6/lb.).

And because this dish is smoothed in cheese, it's a verifiable kid-friendly dish in our house. (Anything with cheese- I mean, everything with cheese- is the way my kids would have it if I let them!)

Mexican Eggplant Lasagna

2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions or 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or both)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay eggplant slices in a single layer on baking sheet (you may need two baking sheets). Drizzle olive oil over eggplant and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until soft (you don't want them crispy). Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan with remaining olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) over medium-low heat. When hot, add garlic and onion and saute until translucent (about 5-6 minutes). Add salsa, tomatoes, black beans, cumin, and oregano and stir. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cottage and shredded cheeses and stir to combine. Set aside.

To assemble, start by laying about 4 eggplant slices on the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish. Add 1/3 of the tomato/black bean mixture, then add 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat this layering process two more times, until all ingredients are used. Top with scallions or cilantro.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, take off foil, and let rest approximately 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-9.

(those little hands just can't resist anything with cheese!)

This recipe is a part of the Gluten Free Homemaker's carnival event: Gluten Free Wednesdays...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Creamy Pasta with Leeks and Mushrooms

This is such a yummy meal... so creamy and satisfying it just makes you feel comforted as you eat it. I left out meat altogether, opting for a vegetarian version and am really glad I did, as it allows the leeks and mushrooms to take center stage. I think leeks are so perfect here, as they themselves take on an almost creamy taste when sauteed. And the frozen peas not only give this dish some vibrant color, but I also love the way they "pop" in your mouth with every bite. (My kids happen to love peas, so any dish I can throw peas into, I know my kids will eat it!)

If you're not a goat cheese lover, I encourage you to try this recipe anyway. Although I do happen to love the stuff, my husband is not such a big fan. But to tell you the truth, he had no idea this recipe had goat cheese in it... and was ooohing and ahhhing with every bite. It seems like the pesto and veggies take the usual "bite" off the goat cheese, putting all the focus on the creaminess factor and less on the distinct "goat cheese" flavor. (And, of course, if you love goat cheese like me, then this recipe is a must try!)

Creamy Pasta with Leeks and Mushrooms

2 cups uncooked brown rice penne pasta (I use Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 cloves garlic
2 leeks
10 button mushrooms
3 tablespoons pesto
5 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas
1-2 tablespoons water (if needed)
salt, pepper

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain cooking water and set cooked pasta aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Mince garlic and add to pan, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Wash and chop leeks and mushrooms into slices and add to pan. Cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add pesto and goat cheese to vegetable mixture and stir to incorporate (until the mixture is completely creamy). Add in the cooked pasta, peas, and water (if needed) and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.