Monthly Archives: June 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

strawberry frozen yogurt blog

Confession: I’ve never made frozen yogurt. Not until this recipe, that is. Truth be told, I’ve tended towards the belief that frozen yogurt was inferior to ice cream. It’s lower in fat. That automatically means it can’t be good, right?

Well, I was wrong.

I didn’t set out with the intention of making something lighter. This was born more out of a desire for ice cream, and the freezer being devoid of said ice cream. Furthermore, the refrigerator only had whole milk, which can tend to get icy when making homemade ice cream. However, I had some plain Greek yogurt. Not wanting to make a trip to the store, I figured I’d give this frozen yogurt thing a shot.

In the blender went the yogurt, a little cream cheese, some frozen strawberries left over from last summer that needed using up, some sugar, and vanilla. Also a splash of vodka, just to keep it from freezing too hard. I blended until creamy, poured into the ice cream maker, and about 15 minutes later, I was rewarded with delicious soft-serve strawberry frozen yogurt. It was way better than I’d even anticipated. But how would it be once fully frozen? That’s the real test.

As it turns out, it turned out pretty darn well! It still freezes quite firm, as most homemade ice creams do, but a few minutes to thaw on the counter, and it’s scoopable, creamy and not a bit icy. It’s delightful on a hot day, and that’s a good thing, as July is almost here, and I’ll be seeing nothing but hot days for a long while.

In my mind, the only thing missing is a waffle cone.

Print Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt (gluten-free)

2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz cream cheese

2 c whole strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 t vodka (optional, but will make the ice cream a little softer)

1/2 c sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Enjoy as soft serve or freeze until firm.

 

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

Print Recipe

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

 

 

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch

cheerios treat mix blog

This is a sponsored post on behalf of General Mills, but the opinions are my own.

Cheerios has another delicious option out there for those of you looking to add a bit of sneaky protein into your day. Their new Cheerios Protein line, which comes in Oats and Honey and Cinnamon Almond, have 7 grams of protein per serving. It’s not the super-high totals of a typical protein shake or a can of tuna, but it has the added benefit of tasting pretty delicious and is something that my picky kids will actually eat. I think it’s pretty tasty myself!

Of course, as much as I love munching on cereal (honestly, cereal is a dessert or late-night snack of choice for me), I thought I’d come up with a little treat mix using the Cinnamon Almond variety. Playing with the almond flavor and upping the protein a bit more, I threw in sliced almonds and a chocolate almond butter. For some sweetness, chocolate and dried cranberries were added as well. What resulted was a slightly indulgent, delicious treat that would please adults as well as children.

This treat mix is perfect to munch on as a snack or dessert. It makes a trumped-up version of my bedtime snack of choice, thanks to the chocolate. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it has a higher protein content!

Print Recipe

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch (NOT gluten-free!, dairy-free)

5 c Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond

3/4 c dried cranberries

3/4 c sliced almonds

1/2 c honey

1 c brown sugar

1 c Justin’s chocolate almond butter

1/2 t ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/2 c dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is dairy-free)

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. This should only take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate almond butter and cinnamon.

Pour chocolate almond butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir, mixing until thoroughly coated. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet and spread into clumps.

In a small microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips, stopping to stir every 15 seconds or so, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over the cheerios mixture evenly. (You can do this by using a spoon and drizzling, or by spooning the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and cutting off a small corner, and squeezing the chocolate out.)

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Break into bite-sized pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.

Gluten-Free Summer Fun for Kids

With the kids home for the summer, hungry, and all-too-often bored, I’m certain you’re lLooking for some treats to make for (or with!) your kids this summer that are delicious and gluten-free. Am I right?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you’ve come to the right place!

If you’re stuck in a rut with what to feed the kids this time of year, here is some awesome inspiration to make things easy, fun, and delicious. Yes, this round-up is heavy on the desserts, but let’s be honest – those are the most fun recipes to make, right?

Breakfast

Blueberry Breakfast Bread

Banana Split Parfait

Blueberry Buckwheat Donuts with Lemon Glaze

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Snacks

Chocolate Protein “Frosty”

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn

Gluten-free “Graham Dippers”

How to Make Sunflower Seed Butter

Peanut Butter and Jelly Munch

Dessert

Creamy Peach Popsicles

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Ding Dongs

Chocolate-Covered Fudgesicles

Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Treats

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Squares

Black Bean Fudge Pops

Chocolate Caramel Slice

Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Dough Balls

Beverages

Sparkling Peach Lemonade

“Eat Dirt” Vegan Protein Shake

Cookie Dough Milkshake

Watermelon Lime Soda

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

zucchini ribbon salad fg

It’s that time of year around here – time for everyone to unload their massive bounty of zucchini and summer squash upon their friends, family, and neighbors! Everyone except me, that is.

You see, as soon as I plant any squash plant, every squash bug within a 10-mile radius comes to visit. It’s insanity. I’ve tried every organic deterrent that’s been suggested to me, from squishing them on the plant, cayenne pepper, soap and vinegar, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps. They’ve all failed. I even spent last summer with a shop-vac, vacuuming up squash bugs. There were just SO. MANY. BUGS. attacking one plant, and I was afraid if I pulled the plant, they’d go on to attack my melons and cucumbers. So while I’m not proud of being the girl that sucks up bugs in a vacuum, I’m just being honest – I feel like I’ve tried everything. I can’t win the war against squash bugs.

So until I come up with a solution that works, I’ll allow others to grow zucchini and squash, and I’ll gladly take donations. One friend donated a sizeable amount of zucchini and peppers the other day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to consume it all (and not resort to just making zucchini bread, as much as I love it). One night, as I was preparing tacos for dinner, I opted to use some of the same flavors and make a little zucchini salad to go along with them.

The beauty in this salad is that it’s simple and takes just a few minutes to throw together. It’s fresh, and the zucchini ribbons are tender and tasty, especially as they start to absorb the citrusy notes from the lime and the touch of heat from the Serrano chile. It’s easy to eat the entire salad by yourself. (Not that I would know or anything…*cough cough*)

If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, or if you were one of the fortunate recipients of zucchini (or even if you avoided all of this insanity and purchased some!), this salad is a great way to use it up and please your palate.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large zucchini or several small zucchini

8-10 small cherry tomatoes, halved

Small handful of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

2 T lime juice (from 1 large lime)

1/2 t lime zest

1 t minced fresh Serrano chile, seeds removed (can substitute jalapeno)

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long “ribbons” from the zucchini, lengthwise, until you hit the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and do this all the way around. Place ribbons in a medium bowl along with the tomatoes, pepitas and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, Serrano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

Serves 2 (or one hungry person).

Spiralized Hash Browns

spiralized hash browns blog

Confession time.

For over a year, my spiral slicer sat tucked away in a cabinet, unused. I originally bought it back when I was neck-deep in a lot of paleo insanity, briefly interrupted by a few weeks of some random raw vegan diet I tried to follow. I wanted to make noodles out of zucchini with it. I did, multiple times. They were tasty, but they left me hungry, and they definitely weren’t a direct replacement for pasta, gluten-free or not.

During the last year, however, I’ve worked hard to regain a healthy relationship with myself and with food. I’ve healed my digestive system, but healing my relationship with food has taken a bit longer. There are certain foods that I equated with restriction; things I made myself eat in the name of health for so long that I stayed away from them for the past year. I’ve moderated my intake of vegetables, for example. I love veggies, but forcing all-vegetables-all-the-time made me enjoy them less. (Recently, I’ve started embracing them more once again.) Along with this process, I tried to ignore my spiral slicer.

For me, that spiral slicer equaled a time of restriction. A time where I wanted pasta, but instead settled for this lacking representation of what I really craved. So I decided I hated it for a while. I considered it a useless tool to encourage orthorexia. I meant to get rid of it several times, but never got around to it. Poor little spiral slicer – the recipient of so much hatred.

But now, I’ve put enough distance between that old line of thinking and today. I can’t say I’m perfect (who can?), but I’m happy and healthier than I’ve been in a long time. So the other day, I decided it was time to make amends with this recently-despised little tool of mine.

I was making spaghetti for dinner the other night, and a friend had given me a ton of zucchini from her garden. I actually wanted to enjoy the taste of zucchini in my spaghetti, so I drug out the spiral slicer, and made some zucchini noodles. I then opted to pile regular pasta on my plate, top it with zucchini noodles, and then my meaty sauce. While I’m not really a fan of zucchini-only “spaghetti”, zucchini noodles in addition to regular noodles was delicious, fresh, and filling. I’d decided that perhaps my spiral slicer wasn’t so bad after all.

So then, I started to brainstorm on what else I could make with my spiral slicer. The following morning, I was making breakfast, and thought to make hash browns. However, rather than shredding the potatoes, I instead opted to “spiralize” them. I figured that making them in these fine “noodles” that I’d have a better chance of making them crispy and brown in a few minutes’ time.

I wasn’t wrong. After a good squeeze to get all the water out (I use my potato ricer for this – it’s more effective at squeezing the water out than any other method I’ve tried), I spread these potatoes out on a good, hot pan, and they crisped right up. They were brown and delicious, and perfect for breakfast, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha and a side of eggs. They’re also a great option for a Father’s Day brunch (hint, hint – it’s this Sunday!).

This healing of my relationship with food thing? It’s a journey for sure. I’ve been actively working on it for more than a year now. But it’s certainly been worth it. Because now, my journey includes my spiral slicer. And hash browns.

Print Recipe

Spiralized Hash Browns (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb red potatoes, peeled

2-3 T butter or your oil of choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Sriracha to garnish (You can certainly top with anything you like – cheese, sautéed onions, bacon, ketchup, etc.)

 

Using a spiral slicer, cut all of the potatoes into “noodles”. Lightly sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss, and place in a potato ricer and squeeze the water out well. Allow to sit over a bowl for a few minutes, and squeeze again. Do this until you’re no longer getting a stream of water when squeezing.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt and start to foam. Add the potatoes to the pan, spreading out in a single layer. Don’t move the potatoes for about a minute, allowing them to brown. Use a spatula to “cut” them a bit shorter (typically the spiral slicer makes some long noodles!), and then flip and spread out again to brown the other side. Do this until these are sufficiently browned all over. Season to taste and serve immediately, garnished as you desire.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

brazilian cheese bread blog

I have World Cup fever. It’s been a slowly increasing level of excitement, but last week, hubby and I, along with some friends, attended the Ivory Coast vs. El Salvador friendly game, and that kicked me full-on into World Cup mode. It’s always thrilling, seeing so many people from all over the world, united for the love of a game.

So to help celebrate, I thought perhaps I would make a recipe native to Brazil, to honor the host country. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, but I have made Moqueca (which is really a treat!), and I’ve even tried my hand at Brigadeiros. But I thought I’d try something new.

By some miracle, I’ve never tried Pão de queijo. It was simple to make, and boy, was it a hit. Our twin nieces were staying over at our house when I whipped these up, and they gobbled up piece after piece. I had a few myself. They’d be delicious served alongside any stew (or the Moqueca), or even as a breakfast treat. They’re naturally gluten-free, so that makes them a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I definitely think these will be made again – likely when I have family over to help me eat them all.

Until then, if you need me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the first World Cup game this coming Thursday, and of course, the first United States game the following Monday against Ghana.

GO USA!

Print Recipe

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) gluten-free

1 c whole milk

1/2 c butter

1 t kosher salt

2 c tapioca flour/starch

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 c cow’s milk feta, crumbled finely

3/4 c Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set the racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as it comes to a boil.

Add all of the tapioca flour to the milk mixture and stir until you see no more dry flour. The dough will be really gelatinous.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it is smoothed out and cool enough to handle.

With the mixer on medium, add the eggs in two additions, waiting until the first addition is fully incorporated before adding the second. Then add in the cheese until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very sticky, stretchy, and soft.

Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop rounded portions into mounds on the lined baking sheets. Space them an inch or two apart.

Place them in the oven on the racks and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for about 12 minutes and rotate the baking sheets, placing the upper one on the lower rack, and vice versa. Bake for another 12-15 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle, and eat. They are delicious hot, but they also remain chewy and tasty even as they cool.

You can store them in an airtight container for several days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Sparkling Peach Lemonade

peach lemonade blog

THE PEACHES ARE HERE! THE PEACHES ARE HERE!

Peach season is my absolute favorite. A ripe, fresh peach, perfectly ripe, is the definition of heaven. From the gentle fuzz to the intoxicating aroma to the insanely juicy first bite that drips down your face, peaches are hands-down the best part of summer. So when I visited the farmer’s market this past Saturday and found the first locally grown early peaches, I was ecstatic. I bought a reasonable amount this weekend, but mark my words: I will buy an insane amount of peaches before the season is over.

Most will end up straight in my belly. (I’ve even been known to dig into one in the car on the way home from the market – whether that means I have no shame, or just that I shouldn’t wait for something so delicious, I’m not sure, but I’m going with the latter.) But some will hopefully end up in new, delicious summer recipes, like this one.

I was hoping for something refreshing. It’s warming up this week, and it’s humid, so a lemonade seems just perfect. The addition of peaches means that this lemonade is sweeter, but it’s certainly not sticky. The balance of fresh flavors and the sweet peaches means this is a welcome beverage to accompany an evening sitting on the porch, or out by the pool. It’s kid-friendly, but if you want to make it more of an adult beverage, I have no doubt a few ounces of white rum would be right at home here.

As soon as you find some summer peaches near you, though, I highly recommend you snatch them up. The season comes and goes all too quickly, and this lemonade needs to be on your short list of peach-related treats. Hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe

Sparkling Peach Lemonade (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c water

1/2 c sugar

1 T grated lemon zest

2 large peaches, roughly chopped

1/3 c fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 c cold sparkling water or club soda

Peach slices, lemon slices, and mint sprigs for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and peaches. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.

Puree mixture in a blender, and strain in a fine-meshed strainer placed over a bowl, making sure to press the solids to squeeze all that delicious flavor into the juice. Chill the juice thoroughly for several hours.

Pour the juice and sparkling water into a pitcher and add the peach slices, lemon slices, and mint. Serve well-chilled over ice.

Makes about 4 servings.