Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Super Simple Slow Cooker Stock

This is one of my favorite recipes because 1) I love having stock on had as I use it in nearly everything I cook, 2) it's so easy to make, 3) it's so healthy, and 4) it uses all of the chicken parts leaving nothing to waste. How's that frugal mama?!

I can't believe I used to toss the chicken and turkey bones and scrap from my roastings, thinking they were just garbage. What a mistake! Turns out there are so many nutrients in those bones! I learned this from reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. What an amazing resource. She states that chicken stock "heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength." The very best remedy for a cold or flu, proven time and time again by traditions and cultures from all over the world.

Not only is it so healthy, it can be used to add so much flavor to your cooking. I always use stock as the liquid for cooking any grains, such as rice or quinoa, in stir fry's, in soup (of course), in chili, and in any sautéed veggies or meats. It's uber-versatile and uber-delicious (and when you make it yourself using your roasting scraps, it's uber-cheap.)

Note: the vinegar is super important in this recipe as it helps to unlock the vital minerals in the bones...

Super Simple Slow Cooker Stock

Bones and scrap from one 3-4 lb. cooked chicken
12 cups purified water
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 whole onion (with peel on)

Place bones and scrap from chicken in a slow cooker. Add water. Wash and chop carrot and celery into large chunks and add to slow cooker. Quarter the onion and add.

Turn the slow cooker on at its lowest setting (preferably 10 hours or more). When the time is up, let it continue to sit in cooker for an additional 10-12 hours on "warm" setting (if no "warm" setting, just cook on low one more time through). Total slow cooking time is approximately 24 hours.

Strain and discard solids and store stock in a glass container. Will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Monday, December 27, 2010

(Sugar-less) Sugar Cookies

We all need a good sugar cookie recipe, and gluten freer's/sugar freer's no less. It's funny now that I think about it... this isn't really a sugar cookie at all since there is no sugar in it. But the taste is out of this world good (and just like it's inspired sugar-laden twin). The key here is in the lemon juice. Just the tad bit that is used makes all the difference in the world. It gives this cookie it's punch.

I decided to leave these plain (so boring, I know) because I just enjoy a simple cookie now and then. But I did intend to frost them for Christmas, so feel free to experiment with a colored frosting to match the occasion, whatever it may be (birthdays, Easter, sports themed, etc.).

Either way, frosted or not, I know you'll enjoy this delightful sugarless, sugar cookie.

(Sugar-less) Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup Xylosweet (Xylitol)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup gluten free baking mix (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt coconut oil in saucepan or microwave. Add cream cheese and Xylosweet and cream together with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy (a few minutes). Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix again.

Add baking mix and xanthan gum and mix again until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Make dough into approximately 1 inch balls with your hands (wet your hands first) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about two inches apart. Flatten the balls with your wet palm.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges become slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Enjoy plain or frost for a festive occasion (Christmas, birthdays, Easter, etc.).

Makes approximately 16-18 cookies.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I've always been a pumpkin pie lover. Anything pumpkin, actually. This time of year, I put it into everything: muffins, waffles, smoothies, rice dishes, cupcakes you name it. I do prefer to make my own pumpkin puree, by first slicing the pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds, and roasting it in a 375 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. I then scoop out the cooked flesh and puree it in my Vitamix or food processor. But when the pumpkin craving calls and I don't have an actual baking pumpkin, I use canned pumpkin out of convenience.

I created this recipe because A) I wanted a gluten free crust for my pumpkin pie and B) I wanted to make it without the traditional evaporated milk. (I'm not much of a cow's milk fan unless it is raw, real, and straight from the cow!) This version utilizes coconut milk, which contributes to this pies incredibly rich flavor. (Please note, though, that although the flavor is rich, the pie itself is not so rich that you can only eat one piece and you're stuffed. It's actually incredibly light on the tummy.)

My crust is a variation of Elana's simple pie crust from her book Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I really love her cookbook and would recommend it for sure to anyone who is gluten free, but also to anyone looking to up the protein and fiber value of their everyday foods (almond flour is great for that and super tasty too).

This recipe comes just in time for you to make it for your Christmas gathering with family and friends.

Pumpkin Pie


1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1-2 tablespoons water

1 can pumpkin puree (or 2 cups fresh)
1 can coconut milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons agave
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves and nutmeg, each

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, combine almond flour through salt in a bowl and stir. Add grapeseed oil and water, one tablespoon at a time. Stir until it forms a dough. Take dough and press into a 9 inch pie plate, spreading the mixture evenly in the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.

For the filling, combine all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Pour into crust (the filling will come over the top of the crust, and this is fine).

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven temp down to 350 and continue baking for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the top is set. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. The top will sink a tad when cooling, but will also become more firm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

Christmas came early to my house. My husband and I haven't bought each other Christmas gifts in years, and this year he decided he wanted to do gifts again. Since he doesn't have time to go shopping to a physical store, he's been virtual shopping. And my present came in the mail last week. He can't keep a secret very well, so he decided let me open it up the night it came. And what was inside? (You probably guessed it by the recipe!) A real Belgium waffle maker! Yippee!!!

Now I know what some of you are thinking... he got you an appliance? What could this possibly say about the state of your marriage? But seriously, this was actually one of the best gifts he could have gotten me. It's been on my birthday wish list for years; I say it's about time he got it for me!

I couldn't wait to try it. The next morning my son and I headed to the kitchen to create a gluten free waffle recipe for breakfast. And here it is. We'll be making these again for Christmas morning.

Pumpkin Waffles

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons Xylitol (Xylosweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and ginger, each
pinch salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat waffle maker.

Mix dry ingredients (sorghum flour through ginger) in a medium size bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, add eggs through vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir again until mixture is mostly smooth (it's ok if it's a tad lumpy).

Add 1/2 cup of waffle mix at a time to waffle maker and cook according to waffle maker's instructions.

Top with pure maple syrup and freshly whipped cream.

Yields 5-6 Belgium waffles.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parsnip Mashed Potatoes

My last trip to the grocery store, I forced myself to step outside of my vegetable comfort zone and put at least two vegetables in my cart that were in season, local, and ones that I don't normally buy. Parsnips made the cut. A fun vegetable and very useful no doubt, just not one that calls to me on a "crave" level yet.

Back home inside my crisper drawer they sat for two days as I pondered how I was going to prepare them. I pulled them out on roast chicken night, deciding they would pair perfectly in a mash medley with some creamy, gold yukon potatoes sitting on my counter. This meal is for hubby, I told myself, I know I'm going to win some brownie points tonight with this meat and potato classic... (not that I need to win brownie points. I'm so lucky to have a husband who happens to love my healthy, adventurous cooking).

I love how the parsnips add a subtle hint of sweetness to this dish that makes it absolutely divine. And pack the mash with a nutritious punch, full of potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins B, Vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese, and zinc!

Parsnip Mashed Potatoes

5-6 yukon gold potatoes
3 parsnips
1/4 cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper

Wash and cut potatoes into large chunks and place in a medium size saucepan. Peel and chop parsnips into large chunks and add to potato pan. Cover with water. Heat to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to a low rolling boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and drain the water.

To the potato/parsnip pan, add milk or cream, and butter. Mash with a potato masher until you reach desired mash consistency. Add more milk if you like your mash thinner. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cranberry Apple Crisp

We're officially snowed in today. My baby woke up at 5:30 a.m., so I've been up with him and we've been baking all morning. (The snow and cold really make me want to have that blessed oven on.) We made scones for breakfast, then a quiche and this crisp for brunch (yes, I had breakfast and brunch today. And in an hour or so, I'm fixing to have lunch. Now that sounds like a lot of food!).

This crisp is just what you think a warm winter dessert should taste of... tart apples and cranberries combined with a hint of sweet agave and the crunch and buttery flavor walnuts. I will note too that it does taste best when combined with a rich and creamy vanilla ice cream.

(Heck, who wouldn't love ice cream for brunch?)

Cranberry Apple Crisp

2 medium apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 almond flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons Xylosweet
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1/3 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Core apples and slice thinly. Combine sliced apples, cranberries, agave, and lemon juice in an 11 x 7 inch baking dish and stir to coat.

In a separate bowl, add oats through salt. Stir. Melt coconut oil and pour over oat mixture. Stir again.  Pour oat topping over cranberry apple mixture.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking an additional 20-25 minutes until top is crispy.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Crust Version 2.0

It's Friday night everybody, time to get the pizza on! I've been experimenting with gluten free pizza crusts for about a year, and this is by far my favorite. It has even gotten rave reviews from both my three year old and husband (who had no idea it was gluten free). It may seem like it is a little tricky, with a semi-long list of ingredients and steps involved, but don't be afraid. It really isn't difficult and any time spent making it will be well worth it.

A great thing to do is to double the recipe, and when you get to the step of rolling out the dough, split it in half. Use one half for your pizza that day and freeze the other half in a plastic bag (make sure to suck all the air out of the bag before you freeze; I do this with a straw). When you want another pizza, simply remove the frozen crust and let de-thaw on a plate on your counter for a few hours (or in your refrigerator for a day or so). This way you can have fabulous gluten free pizza at home in no time!

Gluten Free Pizza Crust Version 2.0

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup sweet brown rice flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
pinch salt

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
1 tablespoon plain yogurt or soft cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon agave

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place pizza stone in oven.

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, add water and yeast. Stir and let stand for a few minutes until the yeast gets bubbly. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients to the water/yeast mixture. Stir to combine. Next add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until a dough starts to form. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times. Grease the bowl with olive oil and add the dough back in, coating entirely with the oil. Rest a towel over the dough in the bowl and let stand 30-45 minutes.

Remove the pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle with GF flour. On a silicone mat or parchment paper, place the dough ball. Lightly flour a rolling pin with GF flour. Roll the dough out to a 14-16 inch circle. Invert the rolled out dough onto the pizza stone and gently remove the silicone mat or parchment paper. Poke several holes in the crust with a fork to prevent the crust from bubbling up.

Bake crust for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Top pizza with pizza sauce, toppings and cheese of choice, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Oh my gosh. I have found a new addiction. It is these crispies. Wow!

I've had a bag of brown rice crispies sitting in my pantry for quite some time. I bought them a while back as finger food for my baby, but he's so out of them now (at the ripe age of 1), so I needed to find a different use for them. And have I ever!

I can't even tell you how addicting these have been. I mean, I really am not going to tell you how many I have had the last two days, because, well, quite frankly, hubby reads my blog posts and I'm just plain embarrassed!

So try this for yourself. It's the easiest recipe in the world and takes a whopping 7 minutes to make (not to mention the ingredient list is very short). And it will really taste like a sweet treat, but I can tell you, my friends, that it is totally okay to binge a bit! (Maybe I just needed to hear myself say that, for reassurance, I guess...!).

And let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, like, did it have the same effect on you? I'm dying to know!

Chocolate Almond Crispies

1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3 cups brown rice cereal

Melt almond butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over med-low heat. Stir in dark chocolate chips and continue stirring until completely melted (about 3-4 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and stir in brown rice cereal until all cereal is coated.

Pour into an 8x8 inch baking pan coated with coconut oil. Press mixture into pan with hands so it is evenly distributed. Let rest 20-30 minutes before cutting into desired size of bars.

This recipe is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Red Beans & Quinoa

I know it has just started, but it sure feels the heart of winter here these days. Cold temps and buckets of snow. Not that I am complaining... I am such an active girl, the snow and cold don't stop me from getting outside. Yesterday I went skiing while the boys (and hubby) napped. It was fabulous! But when I'm inside and hungry, I want warm and hearty foods. I've been craving beans, beans, beans lately. I developed this recipe to satisfy my need for a hearty dish with beans. It's also vegan, gluten free and dairy free, and although it is hearty, it isn't heavy... so no need for a nap after this meal. In fact, it will provide you with tons of energy that will make you want to get outside and be active, despite the temps.

Usually you see red beans paired with rice, and this is what I made for my three year old, since he still hasn't quite developed his taste buds for quinoa yet. But I actually love it with quinoa, which technically isn't even a grain, but rather a seed. It's high protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and contains balanced essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. Nutritious, yes, and it is also so easy and quick to cook!

Red Beans & Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
2 cups red beans, cooked (I used a combo of red and adzuki)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon tumeric

To cook quinoa, heat 1 1/2 cups chicken broth in small saucepan to boil. Add quinoa and stir. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Chop garlic and onion and add to pan when oil has melted. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add beans, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and spices. Salt to taste. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Spoon quinoa into bowl and top with red beans.

Serves 3-4

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buckwheat Granola

I am a snacker at heart. I eat snacks pretty much all day long (my grandpa calls them, "snackies"). I've always been this way, and come to find out, it's good for helping with my hypoglycemia. My nutritionalist advises that I eat protein with every meal or snack. So I am always looking for a good, high protein, delicious snack to keep on hand at home, in car or purse or diaper bag, etc. This recipe is great for all of the above. It keeps well stored in a sealed container and travels well too.

While we were in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, my husband and I stopped at one of their health food stores so I could pick up some snackies to keep on hand. I discovered this amazing buckwheat granola made by Kaia Foods and it was to die for. (But it was mucho dinero!) When I got home, I remembered I had some buckwheat groats just hanging out in my pantry, ready and waiting to me to use them in a granola of my own.

One of the great elements about this recipe is that it is dehydrated so it doesn't lose any nutrients in the process (let's just hope our bodies can absorb as many of those nutrients as possible). Now I wouldn't have a dehydrator if not for my brief episode of being a raw vegan, so if you didn't go through one of those crazy phases yourself where you bought a dehydrator, and rather just stick to your good ole', trusty oven for means of cooking, then by all means, still make this (I offer an alternative for the dehydrator below). Your mouth will be super happy you did.

Buckwheat Granola

1 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup each almonds, walnuts, and pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cherries or raisins (or a combo of both)
1/2 cup agave or brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cinnamon
pinch salt

Soak buckwheat groats in a bowl covered with water overnight or for 8-12 hours. Drain buckwheat and add to a medium size bowl. Chop almonds, walnuts, and pecan into bite size pieces. Add to bowl along with remaining ingredients. Stir a few times to make sure all pieces are evenly coated with liquids and seasonings.

Pour onto Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 8-10 hours. Break apart and store in a sealed container.

If using an oven, heat to lowest heat setting. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour granola onto sheets and bake in the oven until granola is dry and set (could be up to 8 hours).

If you want to use the express method, bake in an oven heated to 250 degrees for 1-2 hours.