Monthly Archives: December 2012

Top 12 Recipes of 2012

Well, ladies and gentleman, we’re about to close out another year. 2012 has definitely been a year full of adventure and activities. For one, The Balanced Platter, of which I am a contributing editor, launched. It grew immensely and will continue to grow as a valuable resource for healthy and allergen-free living. I also discovered that canned salmon is not only edible, but can actually be tasty! (I continue to buy it and eat it regularly - it’s an inexpensive way to get good protein and omega-3s!) I also have been focusing all year on balance, body image, and celebrating appreciation for my body and what it can do (which is a continuous work in progress). In May, Domino’s came out with a (not-so) gluten-free pizza crust, and the gluten-free community was definitely up in arms about this topic. Good thing we have alternatives: for instance, Local Oven really took off in the Dallas area (and beyond) with their gluten-free baked goods, available in many groceries and restaurants. I had the biggest bumper crop of peppers in my garden this year, and made lots of roasted chile salsa (among other things). I also learned to sprout buckwheat, and so made granola. And of course, Simply Gluten-Free Magazine launched this year as well, which is currently my favorite gluten-free magazine of all time.

Definitely an adventure-packed year! And Tasty Eats At Home definitely had some highs this year as well. To celebrate the close of this year, and the start of 2013, here are the Top 12 (as in, most visited) recipes of 2012.

Sitting at #12 is a delicious-but-super-easy pizza idea – Portobello Mushroom Pizza. It’s not only gluten-free, it’s even paleo. Did I mention it’s easy? Because it really is.

Number #11 kind of surprises me, because it’s such a rustic, no-frills dish. But who am I to judge – sometimes, comfort is king! Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew is perfect for a winter day (and when you want to clean out the fridge!).

There was a bit of a black walnut theme this year (I also made Black Walnut Cookies). #10 is a unique cake made with wine and chocolate – Chocolate Black Walnut Cake (with two kinds of grapes).

Number #9 is the only breakfast recipe to make the Top 12, and with good reason. This fall was the season of much pumpkin, maple and pecan, and these Quinoa Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Pecan Glaze definitely showcased all of those flavors!

When it heats up in Texas, I take to the grill. These Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, coming in at #8, were a perfect meal that causes no heating up of the kitchen.

Number #7 was one of my favorite treats of summer – these healthier Peach Popsicles!

If you miss sweet breads and are on a grain-free or paleo diet, this Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread made with almond butter is sure to please, and came in at #6.

Have a sweet tooth, but want a healthier treat? How about #5: Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Treats?

If you crave hummus but can’t do beans, my #4 top recipe, Chipotle Butternut Dip, is a sure winner!

The third from the top was something I’d made at the request of a coworker, and it was such a hit, I had to share: Strawberry “Cheesecake” with Almond-Macadamia Crust.

Number #2 is another favorite of mine, posted back in 2010. I make this quite frequently (although nowadays, I tend to use much less liquid – maybe a cup or so total is plenty!) and it’s always a hit. Meet my Slow Cooker Pot Roast!

The #1 favorite is actually a recipe posted in 2011, but continues to be a favorite of mine (and apparently, all of you!) – Quinoa Pizza Crust!

Thank you so much for making 2012 here at Tasty Eats At Home such a success. So now, I ask you: What would you like to see in 2013 on Tasty Eats At Home? Please leave me ideas in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s hoping you and yours have a splendid 2013! Happy New Year!

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls

Well, just in case you didn’t manage to finish all of that spicy gingerbread cake that I shared the other day, I have a solution. In fact, this might be such a tasty solution, you might hide away half of that cake just for this purpose. Or heck, even make a whole cake. I won’t judge.

Not when there are cake balls at hand.

These may look fancy and complicated, but I assure you, they’re not. And of course, while in this instance, I used gingerbread cake, you could simply apply this process using any cake you choose. Same goes with the frosting used in the cake balls – I used some of The Spunky Coconut’s chocolate date frosting I had left over (Did you know it freezes well? I often freeze leftover frosting, for you never know when you need just a little!) from another cake I made a few weeks ago, but you could use any frosting you desire. These cake balls are all about taking advantage of what you’ve got, and making the most of it.

In this instance, I think the combination of gingerbread and chocolate definitely added up to more than the sum of its parts (which were darn tasty to begin with!). Before these cake balls came to be, I’d never combined chocolate and gingerbread. Now, I think I’m going to forever combine the two. What a dream combination. These cake balls aren’t overly sweet, and not too rich, but they’re decadent enough to satisfy. Of course, after taking these to my office to share around, I’ve had some confess to me they’ve had several. Hearing this from regular gluten and dairy-eaters, this is music to my ears.

Print Recipe

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls (gluten-free, dairy-free)

½ of a baked gingerbread cake

½ t ground cinnamon (optional, but helps to boost that “gingerbread” flavor once the chocolate mixes in)

½ t ground ginger (optional, but helps to boost that “gingerbread” flavor once the chocolate mixes in)

¾ c your favorite gluten-free chocolate frosting (I used The Spunky Coconut’s Chocolate Date Frosting)

About 5 oz dairy-free bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Sprinkles or candied ginger for decorating (optional)


In a large bowl, crumble the cake with your fingers. Add the cinnamon and ginger and mix in. Add the frosting and stir into the cake crumbles until everything is smooth and comes together well.

With your hands, roll the cake balls into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. You can do so by placing a double boiler (or as I do, place a metal bowl over a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water) to simmer over medium-low heat, and place all but about an ounce of the chopped chocolate into the bowl. Melt the chocolate, stirring. Finally, add the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until melted completely. Reduce heat to the lowest setting.

Remove the cake balls from the freezer, and one by one, dip into the chocolate, rolling to coat completely. Place back on the baking sheet, and top with candied ginger or sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. Repeat with the rest of the cake balls.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. They should stay firm out of the fridge, but the chocolate may go a touch soft if you have the heater cranked in your house.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen.

Spicy Gingerbread Cake

For just about my entire life, I have never been much of a cake person. Most cakes, in my opinion, were dry, and much of the store-bought variety had tooth-achingly sweet frosting. Mostly, I preferred pies and cookies as my desserts of choice. For most every birthday, my Mom would instead make me an angel food cake, one of the only cakes I truly liked.

Fast forward to gluten-free adulthood. During my adult life, I’d managed to enjoy a few other cakes that I rather enjoyed, but I didn’t really spend much time thinking about cake until I went gluten-free. And then, suddenly, cake seemed like a good idea! Not only good, but great!

Only now, cake wasn’t so easy. Oh sure, there are mixes out there, and some aren’t half-bad. But if I’m going to make cake, I want it to be superb. Heavenly. It doesn’t have to be all dolled up with frosting, or even have to be complicated at all. But it has to deliver.

So here we are, and it’s almost Christmas. I’ve seen gingerbread everything around lately, and the allure of those spices were calling my name. So I set to work making a gingerbread cake. The first rendition failed – it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good enough to relish. I wanted a cake I would be glad to share with family and friends alike. So after more trials, I arrived at this.

A gingerbread cake so light, airy, but yet full of rich molasses flavor and spicy cinnamon and ginger. I was amazed that I could make such a light cake with only one egg, but there it was in all its glory. With a sprinkle of powdered sugar, it was definitely fit for any holiday get-together. Personally, I could see it being the perfect little treat after dinner, in front of a fire with family, a cup of coffee in hand (decaf for me, thank you!).

If for some reason you don’t manage to finish it all, don’t despair. Because, you see, my friends, this cake does double-duty. Leftovers can be made into fancier holiday fare. Stay tuned, for more gingerbread goodness is to come!

Print Recipe

Spicy Gingerbread Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

½ c tapioca starch

¾ c teff flour

¾ c brown rice flour

1 ½ t guar gum

1 ½ t baking soda

½ t baking powder

1 T cinnamon

1 T powdered ginger

¼ t ground cloves

½ t salt

1 c raw turbinado sugar (or coconut sugar)

6 T blackstrap molasses

½ c maple syrup

1 large egg, room temperature

10 T vegan butter, room temperature

1 c water

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the tapioca starch, teff flour, brown rice flour, guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, Add the sugar, molasses, maple syrup, egg, and vegan butter. Turn on food processor to blend, stopping to scrape down sides. Add the flour mixture and continue to blend. Last, add the water and pulse to incorporate at first. It will be lumpy to start, but once you’ve pulsed the food processor a few times, then turn it on to blend the water in completely. Blend until smooth.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan and smooth it out. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle powdered sugar over for serving.

You are welcome to try to remove the entire cake from the pan, but personally, I enjoyed slicing it directly in the pan, and serving the slices straight from there.

Gluten-Free Holiday Progressive Dinner: Garlic-Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs

Update: This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Gail, who said she loved making chicken stir-fry over buckwheat noodles as her 30-minute meal. Seems a lot of people love buckwheat noodles, as I saw those were mentioned several times! Anyway, congratulations, Gail!

Today is Day 3 of the Gluten-Free Holiday Progressive Dinner! If you missed Days 1 and 2, visit Daily Bites for some delicious Figgy Cocoa Wedges and Cook It Allergy Free for an amazing four-ingredient appetizers, such as Pear and Arugula Stuffed Proscuitto Cups with Balsamic Drizzle or Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Chopped Pistachios and Chives!

I’m sharing with you a super-easy, allergy-friendly, crowd-pleasing side dish that is definitely more than the sum of its parts. That seems to be the way with a good mushroom dish, in my opinion. Sure, it’s an unassuming gray little thing going in, but magic happens in the oven. The mushroom surrenders in the heat, releasing meaty, rich flavors and a sumptuous bite. Tossed with a healthy dose of garlic and a few herbs, these babies are happy alongside a turkey, Christmas goose, ham, prime rib, or even as part of a vegetarian holiday feast. Personally, I could eat the entire batch and not feel ashamed. They’re that good.

But my favorite part is that they are stupid easy. In fact, you can toss the mushrooms with garlic and herbs ahead of time, and just put them in the oven while you finish other dishes for your meal. They’ll happily cook away with no fussing, and are ready in 20 minutes. For me, simple dishes like this are the key to a successful holiday meal, when I have so many other balls in the air. A word of advice though – you might want to double the recipe, as they’re likely to disappear quickly.

Before I share the recipe with you, however, I have to tell you about the book I’m giving away today! Cybele Pascal, author of The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, has recently published another amazing book, Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30 Minute Meals Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame. When you have food allergies, celiac disease, or intolerances, especially when you have more than one, simplicity in your meals is key! This book can be a life-saver for busy weeknights. (In fact, it’s going on my Amazon Wish List!) I’m giving away a copy to a lucky reader, hoping that this will make for a lovely holiday gift for you or someone special!

To enter for your chance to win a copy, please leave me a comment below telling me your favorite 30-minute meal. Best of luck! The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents ages 18 and over, and will end at midnight Tuesday night, December 18th, 2012.

And now, the mushroom recipe you’ve been waiting for!

Print Recipe

Garlic Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, sugar-free)

1 lb fresh crimini mushrooms

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 t fresh thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss the mushrooms with the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast until the mushrooms are juicy – about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and toss with the parsley while still warm.

(hint: to streamline your meal, you can prepare this recipe up to the point where you would put it in the oven, and instead refrigerate for a few hours. Then, when it’s time, just pop in the oven as directed.)

Serves 4.

Homemade Lavender Olive Oil Sugar Scrub

Looking for an easy all-natural homemade gift for the holidays? How about treating your special someone to a spa-like experience with homemade bath products? Head on over to The Balanced Platter today, where I am sharing a recipe for homemade lavender olive oil sugar scrub.

Gluten-Free Holiday Progressive Dinner Next Week!

Stay tuned, for next week, we’ll be having quite the gluten-free holiday party! I, along with five amazing gluten-free bloggers, will be co-hosting a Gluten-Free Holiday Progressive Dinner. So be sure to stop on by each day for tantalizing gluten-free holiday recipes. What’s more, there will be chances for PRIZES each day!

What’s a progressive dinner, you ask? Traditionally, it is a dinner party that begins at one house, where the first course is served. Then the party travels to another house to enjoy the second course, and continues to the third house for the third course, and so on. It’s kind of like a potluck dinner, only with travel involved. However, in this instance, we will be instead hopping from one blog to the next on successive days to enjoy each gluten-free course. This makes it essentially a week-long virtual dinner party – and we’ve thrown in a few prizes besides!

Be sure to follow along each day next week so you can enjoy each course along with us.

Monday, December 10 – Hallie of Daily Bites will share an Edible Gift

Tuesday, December 11 – Kim of Cook It Allergy Free will share an Appetizer

Wednesday, December 12 – Alta of Tasty Eats At Home (that’s me!) will share a Side Dish

Thursday, December 13 – Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake will share Main Dishes

Friday, December 14 – Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs will share a Dessert

I’ll be sharing the links to these courses each day via Facebook and Twitter too, so be sure to stay tuned! We wouldn’t want you to miss a dish OR a chance to win a prize!


Chocolate Almond Fig Biscotti

Years ago (in the pre-gluten-free days), I didn’t get biscotti. Why would anyone want what amounted to, in my mind, a stale cookie? Fast forward to present day, where I love a crunchy, not-too-sweet treat to accompany a cup of coffee or tea, especially if it’s studded with dried fruit and nuts. I suppose over time, one’s tastes can change! But now, since I no longer eat gluten or dairy, biscotti are a rare occurrence.

So I made my own.

These are a perfect holiday treat either for yourself, family, or friends. Make some as an evening dessert, a breakfast treat, or wrap them up and give them as edible gifts. They’re gluten, dairy, and egg-free, and are sweetened slightly with honey (which could be substituted with agave nectar to make them vegan), making them friendly for just about anyone’s diet. The combination of chocolate, almonds, and dried figs is indulgent without being overly rich. And while I’m not usually a fan of dipping any cookie, I must say, these are quite satisfying dipped into a cup of coffee.

I might just have to have another.

Print Recipe

Chocolate Almond Fig Biscotti (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 1/4 c blanched almond flour

1 T + 1 t unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutched)

2 t tapioca starch

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

5 T honey (for vegan, use agave nectar)

3 T chopped almonds (I used roasted Marcona almonds, but any will do)

3 T chopped dried figs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond flour, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, salt and baking soda. Pulse to combine. Add the honey and pulse again until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you’ll be using this as your workstation as well as the baking sheet), and press the dough together with your hands (kind of like kneading dough, but not nearly as strenous!). Add the almonds and figs and mix in with your hands too. The dough should be barely moist enough to come together. If it is too moist, add a bit of tapioca starch. If too dry, add a sprinkle of water.

Once the almonds and figs are mixed in, pat the dough together on the baking sheet into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes. Lower the oven to 300 degrees.

Once cooled, slice the dough with a serrated knife into pieces about 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal. Separate out the biscotti onto the baking sheet and bake again for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes about 10-12 biscotti.

Want more gluten-free holiday cookie ideas? Join us this Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at 8PM EST for a Live Chat at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community! We will be swapping gluten-free holiday cookie recipes!

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