Monthly Archives: September 2012

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Tasty Yummies

I am hosting Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger again for the month of September. Sea is still in Japan working on her dissertation, and we must keep this baby alive, so here I go again! Sign-ups are still open, by the way, until this Friday, so sign up here!

I decided to adopt a relatively new-to-me gluten-free blogger, Beth of Tasty Yummies! Honestly, I first came across some of her recipes because they were pinned on Pinterest by another gluten-free blogger friend (Are you on Pinterest? If so, follow me! I love to pin lots of recipes – gluten-free, dairy-free, need-to-convert-to-gluten-free, health stuff, and anything else that strikes my fancy!), and they were so beautiful (Just look at her photography! Mad skills!) that they caught my eye. As I looked at them a bit more, I realized that many of her recipes fit really well into the way I like to eat. They’re gluten-free, of course, dairy-free, and many times grain-free. I wanted to make them all!

Unfortunately, time constraints only allowed me to make one recipe, so I chose Beth’s Apple Crisp (which is gluten-free and vegan). I’d make another right this minute, only I’m sitting in a hotel room and I don’t think I can do much with my stash of safe snacks, (some sugar snap peas, apples, raspberries, KIND and LARA bars, sardines) a salad from Whole Foods, and only a microwave, refrigerator, and a plastic knife. I love to take on “what can I make with what’s left in the fridge?” challenges, but MacGyver I am not. So this apple crisp will have to do. Good thing it was amazing.

In fact, so amazing that as I sit here in this aforementioned hotel room, my mouth is watering recalling the yummy fall flavors of this little treat. I might have to make a repeat when I get back home. You see, while fruit crisps appear easy, there is a big difference between an “okay” one and a truly great crisp. A truly great crisp has a perfect balance of sweetness, just enough cinnamon, is crispy but also rich enough to satisfy, and the fruit has to be just so – can’t be too watery or overcooked. I used some Granny Smith apples I got at the farmer’s market (they weren’t exactly local – from Arkansas – but I’m in Texas, so there aren’t a lot of apple orchards around. They were organic and at the peak of freshness though!) so they’d provide a good amount of tartness, and I substituted quinoa flakes for the oats, and coconut palm sugar for the date sugar, as that was what I had on hand. (I also cut the recipe down to 1/4 so there wouldn’t be leftovers in the fridge while I was out of town.) Otherwise, the recipe was left in tact. The coconut oil, cinnamon, and maple syrup really made this dish. After enjoying more than my fair share, I’ll say I’m definitely ready for fall!

Be sure and grab Beth’s apple crisp recipe here! And if you haven’t signed up yet for this month’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger and wish to, do it today!

How To Make Sunflower Seed Butter

Are there members of your family that must be peanut-free? Many people and families are peanut-free due to allergies, health concerns, or even because the kids have a peanut-free or nut-free school. For many, this means no peanut butter cookies, no PB&J, no peanut butter and apples. I don’t know about you, but those types of foods were an integral part of my childhood, and I’m a bit of a peanut butter fiend. I’d hate to deprive anyone else of that salty-sweet, creamy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness.

So what’s a peanut-free person to do? There are soynut butters out there, but many people also avoid soy. You can buy commercial sunflower seed butter, and I have done so before (it’s pretty darn delicious), but it does contain sugar. Also, it’s not always easily found if your grocery options are somewhat limited, unless you order online. So why not make it yourself?

I promise, it’s easy!

In fact, I find making all sorts of seed and nut butters pretty easy, and I make a lot of different ones myself. The food processor does all the hard work, and besides, I can then control the sweetness and salt levels – a great thing, in my opinion. It’s also generally less expensive than buying a jar of the already-made stuff.

The same is true of this sunflower seed butter. The organic, raw sunflower seeds I used for my sunbutter cost me less than $3/lb. A jar at the store, which is usually around a pound, typically costs around $6. Once you start making this yourself, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s worth a few little steps. Besides, you’ll be on your way to sunflower seed butter cookies, using sunflower seed butter in a yummy peanut-free dip for satay, or even in a peanut-free “PB&J” vegan ice cream. Or just on a spoon, straight from the jar. Your choice. I won’t judge.

First, you start with 3 cups of raw sunflower seeds (don’t buy the already roasted ones, as a lot of the moisture is already gone from them and your “butter” will be mealy or grainy – trust me, I’ve made that mistake). Toss them into a skillet (I prefer my cast-iron skillet, but any skillet will do) and toast over medium heat, moving them around often so they don’t burn. You’ll do this for 5-10 minutes, or until the sunflower seeds show some toasting. Don’t over-toast – if they look similar to this, you’re good. (Over-toasting will also cause that mealy texture in your final product)

Then throw your sunflower seeds, plus about 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon of salt, into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

(See all those scratches on my food processor? That’s a sign of true love – love between a girl and her food processor. We’ve been through a lot together.)

Put the lid on your food processor and turn it on. At this point, you will be processing until it becomes sunflower seed butter. Of course, saying that sounds easy, but truth is, many people worry that they’ve done something wrong at some point in this process, because it just seems to take SO long. You’ll be processing for almost 10 minutes.

In case you want to peek at it throughout the process to be sure it’s all going well, in the first minute or so, your sunflower seeds will turn into a fine meal.

Keep going.

A few more minutes will pass, and you’ll see the “meal” climb up the sides of the processor. Eventually, the oils will release from the seeds, and your “meal” will start to clump to one side of the processor.

Keep going. Just leave that clump there. Eventually, enough oils will release that it will spread itself back out. Don’t add any oil at this point, or it will never become smooth.

Soon, you’ll hear the food processor become quieter, and everything will spread out and start to look like a real sunflower seed butter. Like this.

Now, if you desire, you can add sweetener and oils. I personally only add about a tablespoon of oil (usually olive or coconut – olive makes it more spreadable at cooler temperatures, as coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but I love the flavor of coconut oil), but it’s up to you how spreadable you want your butter. You can also add a tablespoon or two of sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, or whatever sweetener you choose. Or you can choose to omit sweeteners entirely. Up to you.

Then continue to process for another minute or so, until everything is completely smooth. Then scrape your sunflower seed butter into your desired container (I prefer glass jars – I have a ton of them) and store in the refrigerator.

That’s it! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Hooray for a quick, inexpensive, healthy alternative to peanut butter!

Print Recipe

Sunflower Seed Butter (gluten-free, vegan)

3 c raw sunflower seeds

1/2-3/4 t kosher salt

1 T oil of choice (olive oil or coconut oil are my favorites)

1-2 T sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup are all good here)

Toast the sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Place sunflower seeds and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process into a smooth, spreadable butter – this takes about 10 minutes. Add oil and sweeteners as desired and process again until smooth.

Makes about 2 cups.

This post is linked to 5-Ingredient Mondays over at The Daily Dietribe.

Winners of Red Savina Habaneros!

We have winners!

Ally, Elise, and Theresa M Houghton all won a container of Red Savina Habanero peppers! After seeing your suggestions on what to make with these babies (Godiva cupcakes, chili, and more!), I think I should formally request samples of these dishes be sent to me. Or at least a photo so I can drool.

Congratulations to these three! Winners, I’ve sent an email requesting your mailing address.

Red Savina Habanero Brownies (And a Melissa’s Produce Giveaway!)


Update: This giveaway is now closed. The winners of the Red Savina Habaneros have been announced here.

Ready for some chocolate?

As if that’s actually a question. If you’re like me, you’re always ready for chocolate. Especially brownies. Brownies are essentially the greatest form of chocolate-based sweet. And I’m a fan of all types of brownies, although the fudgy, unadorned, chocolate-only ones tend to win my heart.

Until now, that is.

Meet the habanero brownie. Sure, it looks sweet and innocent, what with its chocolate-y chocolate-ness, with some more chocolate on top. But there’s a surprise lurking in that baby. A little kick. It catches you off-guard as you take a bite and start to melt into the richness of the brownie, forcing your eyes to widen a bit and making you utter “oh!” before taking another bite. And another.

See, that’s the way with these babies. They’re very “more-ish”. The heat is there, but it’s not so much as to throw off the balance of sweet and rich. And that little layer of chocolate frosting? Some might call it gilding the lily, but I just call it good.

These brownies were inspired by a special delivery I received recently. Melissa’s Produce, an online distributor of some amazing-looking fresh specialty produce, contacted me. Apparently they knew I was a bit of a chile addict (I guess posting a habanero-pear jam recipe kind of gave it away), and they offered to send me some of their new Red Savina Habaneros to try. They’re not for the faint of heart – these babies pack a serious punch! But the heat is somewhat sweet, which gave me the inkling to try them in a dessert. Once I learned how much heat they provided (after adding waaaay too much in a bloody mary recipe – ouch!), I knew just what to do.

After all, chiles+chocolate=match made in heaven.

So I whipped up these gluten-free, dairy-free brownies and stirred in some roasted habanero. Let me tell you, the batter alone was delicious. But once baked, the resulting brownie was fudgy but not too dense, moist, and rich. And of course, it came with a touch of heat. Swoon-worthy, if you ask me. I couldn’t have picked a better chile to add that heat too - the Savina Habanero came across clean, sweet and warm. I immediately had to pack the remaining brownies up and take them to the office, lest I devour them myself.

Ready to make these brownies for yourself? Well, Melissa’s Produce has graciously allowed me to give away some Savina Habanero chiles to 3 of my lucky readers! Simply leave me a comment below telling me what you’d love to make with some of these amazing Savina Habaneros, and I’ll choose 3 winners* at random.

The giveaway will end on Saturday, September 22, 2012, so time is of the essence!

(*Winners must be at least 18 years of age and must reside in the United States to be eligible.)

Okay, okay, and now, the recipe.

Print Recipe

Red Savina Habanero Brownies (grain-free, dairy-free)

1 Savina Habanero (or other habanero)

2/3 c coconut oil

6 oz quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 c raw turbinado sugar

6 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 t ground chia seed (I grind whole chia seeds in my coffee grinder – you can substitute ground flaxseed as well)

1/4 c coconut flour

1/4 c almond flour

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 t kosher salt

1 t baking powder

Preheat broiler to high. Place chile under broiler (I do this on a foil-lined baking sheet) and broil until lightly blackened, turning every minute or two. Remove and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or foil. Set aside. This will help “steam” off the charred skin of the chile. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil an 8X8 inch metal pan and line with parchment paper. Oil the paper. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add coconut oil, chocolate, and sugar. Place over medium-low heat and heat until completely melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once chile has been in the bowl for a few minutes, remove. Put on some gloves (highly recommended!) and peel the skin from the chile. Remove the stem, and the seeds. Finely mince the chile and set aside.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled for a few minutes, whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and ground chia seed until well-blended. Whisk in coconut flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder until well-blended. Finally, whisk in the chiles. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing out the top.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least an hour. Frost with frosting, and chill for an hour to allow it to firm up. Serve.

Chocolate Frosting (grain-free, dairy-free)

4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

3 T non-dairy butter, such as Earth Balance

1-2 T non-dairy milk

3/4-1 c organic powdered sugar

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted (microwave for longer if you must, but be careful not to burn). Scrape into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Add non-dairy butter, milk and powdered sugar and mix on high speed until completely blended, adding additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thick, spreadable consistency. Immediately spread a thin layer of frosting over the brownies.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.


Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, September Sign-Up!

roasted red pepper paleo hummus I made for August Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger 2012

I’m back again, hosting this month’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger event! If you are new to Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, it is the brainchild of Sea at Book of Yum. The goal is to allow gluten-free bloggers to get to know one another a bit better through reading their blogs, featuring them, and of course, testing out their recipes. It’s one of my favorite events, as I get a chance to try out recipes that I’ve so long drooled after.

Sea is still busy in Japan, working on her dissertation, so I offered to host again to help out. It’s my honor to be the host this month!

How do you participate?

Here’s how (if you aren’t a blogger but want to join in, you can! Read the info at the bottom of the post).

1) Pick a gluten-free blogger whose recipes you admire and adopt them by commenting on this post with your name, blog name and their name and blog name.

*Blogger’s recipes must all be gluten-free or have a way to sort and read ONLY gluten-free recipes

*Please pick a different blogger every time you participate

*Please pick a blogger that has not been adopted yet this month!


2) Pick one (or more!) of your gluten-free blogger’s recipes to try.


3) Make the recipe, photograph it and write a post in your blog introducing the blogger and their recipe.

*Follow the recipe as written, as closely as possible. And please don’t print their recipe on your post-just provide your reader a link to their original recipe.

*Provide a link to this event announcement page


4) Email me at: alta (at) tastyeatsathome (dot) com with a photo of your recipe, the URL of your post, name of the recipe and the URL of the original blogger’s recipe post.  PLEASE SIZE PHOTO TO BE A MAXIMUM OF 500 PIXELS WIDE. (Pretty please)


5) Post YOUR POST’S URL in a comment to this post, and if possible try to visit two other blogger’s posts that are posted here (and comment!).

*The goal is to make this event interactive and fun!


Sign up BEFORE September 28th (loose deadline; late sign-ups are OK)

Post your review and e-mail me by October 5th (firm deadline, no foolin’)

Now, this is a cool option if you don’t have a blog.  You can still sign up to adopt a blogger, then snap a photo of the dish you’ve made and email me your name, the recipe’s URL and title, and the photo.

I will start the adoptions by adopting Beth of Tasty Yummies.  Now it’s your turn!

Adoption Sign-Up Sheet:

1) Beth of Tasty Yummies! (adopted by me, Alta of Tasty Eats At Home)

2) Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake (adopted by Melissa of My Hodge Podge Life)

3) Danielle of Against All Grain (adopted by Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat)

4) Sarah of My New Roots (adopted by Michelle of The Gluten-Free Wife)

5) Trish of Gluten-Free in SLC (adopted by Paula of Live Free, Gluten-Free)

6) Eat With Your Eyes (adopted by Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-Free Life)

August Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger Roundup!

First of all, it’s been an honor and a blast hosting this month’s Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger event! Sea of Book Of Yum really has it going on when it comes to these creations – this is definitely a fun event. I hope her dissertation is going well, and that she’s getting time to enjoy herself on her trip as well. Speaking of, she will be extending her trip through October, so if there is anyone interested in hosting for September or October, please let me or Sea know and we can get you the details.

Did you see who was adopted this month? I’m excited to really spend time looking at some of the new-to-me blogs. And oh, the dishes that were made for this event!

For starters, Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-Free Life adopted Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Shannon opted to make Naomi’s Pecan and Apple Bread, which not only gluten-free, but also grain-free and SCD-friendly. As a huge fan of all things pecan, this sounds and looks lovely. Check out Shannon’s adoption!

photo courtesy of Shannon at Enjoying Gluten-Free Life

Paula from Live Free, Gluten-Free adopted Danielle from Against All Grain. She opted to make these Not-A-Grain Breakfast “Cereal” Bars. I’ve already seen those myself, and can’t wait to try out the recipe. She also made her Blueberry Preserves to use in those breakfast bars. What a delight! Check out Paula’s post!

photos courtesy of Paula at Live Free, Gluten-Free

Rachel of The Crispy Cook graciously adopted me! She decided to make my Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole. So glad to find out that it’s delicious with regular cheese as well as the non-dairy! Check out Rachel’s adoption of me!

photo courtesy of Rachel of The Crispy Cook

Kate of Eat, Recycle, Repeat participated in Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger for the first time, and adopted George of Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. She opted to make his mouth-watering Honey Dijon Crockpot Chicken. As a fan of anything that makes our lives simpler, I’m definitely going to have to look into this crockpot chicken! Check out Kate’s post!

 photo courtesy of Kate at Eat, Recycle, Repeat

Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily  (you know, she was my first adoptee for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger! I still can remember her pound cake…mmm) adopted Deanna from The Mommy Bowl. Shirley made her snickerdoodles – and boy, I can imagine these were a crowd-pleaser! Check out Shirley’s post!

photo courtesy of Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily

Alyssa of Queen of Quinoa is a newbie to Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger too! She decided to adopt Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. She made their amazing Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes – and just look at them, aren’t they tempting? Read more about them on Alyssa’s post!

photo courtesy of Alyssa at Queen of Quinoa

Sunny of And Love It Too! adopted Jenni of The Urban Poser this month. She too made tempting desserts – Egg-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Macaroons and Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. They both look incredible! Head on over to And Love It Too! to check it out!

photos courtesy of Sunny at And Love It Too!

And to bring it full circle, I adopted Sunny of And Love It Too! this month. She had so many amazing recipes, but I narrowed it down and made her craveable Paleo Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and her Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk. Be sure and check out my adoption post!

This month was a great month – in spite of the craziness that is back-to-school time, we had some amazing adoptions! I can’t wait until next month. So if you’re interested in hosting (September or October), please let me know!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

I’m sharing a recipe for make-ahead slow cooker apple cranberry oatmeal over at The Balanced Platter today! If you need a quick-and-easy solution to breakfast, head on over there to check it out!

Chia Pecan Peach Parfait

Check out that title – say that five times fast! Love me some alliterations.

Almost as much as I love the prettiness and simplicity of a yogurt parfait. (Okay, kinda corny segue, I admit.) There’s just something about taking just a few minutes to layer fruit, yogurt, and nuts and making it look like dessert that makes a morning feel special. But this dessert-for-breakfast isn’t like sneaking a slice of pie the day after Thanksgiving for your morning meal (although pie does go really well with coffee…). It’s actually healthy for you, offering a good dose of fiber, healthy fats, and probiotics.

A bonus? It’s easily made in advance and can be made totally portable. Just take a glass jar or container and prepare it in there instead. It’ll keep just fine overnight. In fact, I recently made little parfaits like these in small jars to take on a road trip. I made them the night before, and they were a lovely little breakfast treat for us on our ride. Of course, they’re not just for breakfast – you could totally pack one in a lunchbox as dessert or afternoon treat.

While I love the combination of chia seeds, pecans, and peaches, this parfait is endlessly adaptable. Cherries and almonds? Apples and walnuts? Bananas and chocolate chips? (What, chocolate chips can be part of a healthy diet, right?) They all sound good to me. Use whatever is in season or whatever you like. But whatever you do, take a moment to treat yourself to “healthy dessert” for breakfast!

Print Recipe

Chia Pecan Peach Parfait (gluten-free, vegan)

1 6-oz container plain non-dairy yogurt (I like So Delicious or Amande)

1 peach, cut into large dice

1/2 T chia seeds

About 10-12 pecan halves (1/2 oz)

In a parfait fish (or glass jar), spoon a third of the yogurt in the bottom. Top with a third of the diced peaches. Sprinkle a few chia seeds and pecans over. Repeat this process twice more. Refrigerate if not served immediately.

Serves 1.

This post is linked to 5-Ingredient Mondays over at The Daily Dietribe.

Healthy Lunchbox 2012 over at And Love It Too!

Over at And Love It Too! today, I am sharing this yummy little lunchbox treat – honey graham dippers with cashew vanilla “frosting”! It’s grain-free and healthy – but don’t tell that to the little ones. Head on over to And Love It Too! to check it out!

Grain-Free Trail Mix – The Perfect On-The-Go Snack

Since going gluten-free, no longer are there as many options readily available in the snack aisle of the grocery or convenience store, or the snack machines at work or school. No more flourescent orange crackers with peanut butter, hard-as-a-rock cookies, stale and dry donuts, or pretzels.

Hmm. Come to think of it, none of those options sound really that appetizing anyway.

Besides, rarely do you find anything that is nourishing or even the least bit healthy in snack machines or the snack aisles. So we’re probably better off, honestly!

However, there are times when a convenient snack is needed. For instance, when you know you’ll be out for a while and are unsure of the time/place of your next meal. Or when you don’t have time to grab breakfast on your way to school or work. Whatever the reason, a homemade trail mix that only takes a few minutes in advance to make can save the day.

Trail mix, at its most basic, is hardly even recipe-worthy. Just mix some nuts and dried fruit (and maybe some chocolate chips if you feel indulgent) and that’s it. And in my opinion, even that alone is highly satisfying and has the great ability to keep you from being hungry for a long while. But if you have a few more minutes, dressing up that trail mix just a bit can up the “delicious” factor just a tad.

And who doesn’t want that?

The autumn trail mix (pictured above) is full of fall flavors – pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. The California sunshine mix has a bright and tropical blend of macadamia nuts, coconut, hemp seeds, apricots and pineapple. Both are decidedly different. But both are a subtly sweet, crunchy, filling way to enjoy a quick breakfast or keep you held over until your next big meal.

Say “good riddance” to those flourescent orange crackers!

Print Recipe

Autumn Trail Mix (grain-free, vegan, soy-free)

1/2 c raw cashews

1/4 c pistachios

1/4 c raw sunflower seeds

1/4 c raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/4 c dried apples

1/2 T maple syrup

1/4 t cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch or two of salt

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add all ingredients to skillet and stir frequently for 5 minutes or until nuts are toasted and the maple syrup has caramelized a bit and is no longer sticky. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Store in a resealable container.

Print Recipe

California Sunshine Trail Mix (grain-free, vegan, soy-free)

1/2 c raw almonds

1/4 c macadamia nuts

1/4 c unsweetened large coconut flakes

2 T hemp seeds

2 T chopped dried apricots

1/4 c chopped dried pineapple

pinch or two salt

1/8 t almond extract

1/2 T coconut palm sugar

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add all ingredients to skillet and stir frequently for 5 minutes or until nuts are toasted and the sugar has caramelized a bit and is no longer sticky. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Store in a resealable container.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.