Category Archives: Baked goods

Book Review and Giveaway: The Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Michelle Senst, who won the copy of The Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free!


Need a one-stop shop for all your gluten-free needs? The Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free by Jeanine Friesen might be just the thing.

As you probably have seen, there are quite a few gluten-free books showing up on the market. (I own a great many of them!) How do you decipher what’s worth your money? Personally, I look to see what the author knows about gluten-free living. Secondly, I like to know whether they can actually cook. As much as I’d like to think those two qualifications were required for all books like this, a quick browse through the bookstore seems to reveal that is not always the case.

But when it comes to Jeanine, she’s more than qualified! Jeanine has been gluten-free since 2008 after being diagnosed with celiac disease, so she lives the gluten-free lifestyle day in and day out. What’s more, she’s always been one to play around in the kitchen. Her blog, The Baking Beauties, chronicles a multitude of amazing gluten-free baked goods, as well as other dishes. You’d never know they were gluten-free. I’ve browsed through and even made some of Jeanine’s recipes over the years. She was instrumental in helping me satisfy those baked goods cravings I had early in my gluten-free life. Her style is very approachable, and she makes a ton of crowd-pleasers. In short, this girl can cook.

So it’s no surprise she’s now the author of such a guide as The Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free. In this guide, she takes you from the beginning steps of gluten-free living, describing what gluten is (even including primitive versions of wheat, such as einkorn and emmer, which I found interesting), what celiac disease is, other related disorders and diseases, and other reasons one might go gluten-free. There are beginning steps describing how to eliminate gluten from your diet, including probably the most daunting task to someone new to a gluten-free diet – how to reading labels. Jeanine gives detailed tips that make this process as easy as possible. She also discusses cross-contamination on various tools in your kitchen – a very often overlooked, but important topic. There are also travel tips, and even a section dedicated to gluten-free kids.

Of course, the recipe section is always my favorite part. This book covers all of the favorites – muffins, pancakes, soups, salads, macaroni and cheese, pizza, nachos, lasagna, meatloaf, pot roast, bagels, bread, biscuits, and of course, desserts such as cream puffs, banana cake, and cookies.

What did I decide to make?


You guessed it – cookies. For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve always been a cookie monster. They’re my dessert of choice. I opted to make her Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, substituting palm shortening for the butter (and I used dairy-free chocolate chips).

Just look at those babies. Chewy and yet still a touch soft, these were definitely a treat. For one that rarely eats regular sugar, these were sweet to me, but my soccer team gladly added them to their (most definitely not gluten-free) homebrewed beer and pizza party weekend before last – and nobody could tell they were gluten or dairy-free. That’s the tell-tale sign of a good recipe – when the regular gluten-eaters are happy to chow down! Jeanine definitely wins with this one.

Want to win a copy of this soon-to-be-released book?

Here’s how you can enter to win – each one of these steps will earn you an entry:

1. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite treat you’d love to see made gluten-free.

2. Like Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment here telling me you did so.

3. Follow Tasty Eats At Home on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

4. Like The Baking Beauties on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

5. Follow Baking Beauties on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

6. Share this giveaway on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.


That’s it! Lots of chances to win! This giveaway is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents 18 years of age and older. The giveaway will end on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 11:59PM CST.

Best of luck to you all! If you don’t win, or you just can’t wait, you can pre-order your copy on Amazon today!


Chocolate Chip Brown Rice Crispy Cookies

Here’s a Valentine’s Day thought: What if a rice crispy treat and a chocolate chip cookie met, fell in love, and had children?

My bet would be that these treats would be the offspring.

The other day, I was in my pantry and the Erewhon box of Crispy Brown Rice cereal was staring back at me. You’ve forgotten me, it seemed to exclaim. Oh no, I replied, I just…wanted to make something special with you. That’s all!

(What, you don’t have conversations with your cereal boxes?)

Anyway, I determined that now was the time to make that “something special”. I didn’t want another rice crispy treat (although I adored making these peanut butter ones, as well as these maple pecan ones!). I wanted to take this cereal in a different direction. So why not attempt to combine two iconic treats into one?

The result was a chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookie with the lovely, crisp texture of the crisp rice cereal. I was smarter this time around than most – I had plenty of kids around to whom I pawned off these addictive treats. No one seemed to mind. I definitely had my fair share, especially with tastes of the cookie dough (which admittedly tastes more like a rice crispy treat, much to my delight – oh, the pains the baker must go through!).

I dare you to eat just one!


Chocolate Chip Brown Rice Crispy Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1/3 c coconut oil, softened slightly

2/3 c coconut palm sugar

2 t vanilla extract

4 T maple syrup

1 egg

1/2 c brown rice flour

1/2 c gluten-free oat flour

2 T tapioca flour

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/4 t xanthan or guar gum

1 1/2 c gluten-free crispy brown rice cereal

1 c chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life minis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the coconut oil and coconut palm sugar. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup, and egg and continue to beat on medium speed until incorporated well. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, the oat flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt, and the xanthan or guar gum. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined well. Add in the crispy brown rice cereal and chocolate chips and stir in.

Scoop small balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons-sized) and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.


Quinoa Protein Breakfast Bars

I have a sneaking suspicion that a great many of you are focusing on healthy eating with renewed vigor. Am I right? Of course, if you’re changing up your routine, it can quickly become overwhelming. (Especially if you’re not accustomed to cooking all of your meals, and are now making an effort to do so – I feel ya there!)

Something that helps immensely to keep me on track with healthy eating is to prepare things in advance. Sunday afternoon is my “prep” time – I go to the grocery store, and when I come home, I make sure I have made a few essentials made for the coming week to take to work. Often this includes prepping for my daily morning green juices, cutting up veggies and fruit for snacks, and boiling some eggs for easy breakfasts. Sometimes I’ll even make crackers or trail mix to help with snacks.

This week, I decided I wanted to change up my breakfast routine a bit. Often, alongside the hard-boiled eggs and green juice, I’ll enjoy a piece of fruit, or some avocado and tomato. And while I am all for variety during other meals, I’m happy to eat the same breakfast day in and day out. For whatever reason, though, this week called for a change. Enter these protein breakfast bars.

I occasionally use protein powders for green smoothies as a breakfast solution. I don’t use them every day, as I prefer to get my protein from whole food sources, but sometimes, protein powder in smoothies is convenient. I often switch from brand to brand, although I am partial to Vega Performance Protein. I was pretty excited to find another gluten-free, non-dairy protein powder with an ingredient list I could definitely get behind – pumpkinseed protein powder. I found this brand – Omega Nutrition – and their protein powder is 100% organic and is reasonably priced. And get this – the ingredients? Organic pumpkin seeds. That’s it. Love when I don’t have to decipher whether something is actually food or not. (And no, I have no affiliation with Omega Nutrition, I just happen to love this powder.) I also like that it blends pretty well into my smoothies without any real flavor or texture issues.

This time, however, I decided to use it in these bars. I’ve seen people bake cakes and cookies with protein powder, so why not a healthy breakfast bar? These bars ended up chewy, subtly sweet, and satisfying – kind of akin to an oatmeal cookie. They’re not just for breakfast – they could be packed for a good little snack any time of day – but they’re great to make ahead of time and have on hand for the week. With a good amount of protein from the protein powder, peanut butter, and quinoa, plus fiber from the chia seeds, quinoa, and pureed fruit, they can help power you through your morning without being hungry. That’s key for me – I don’t want to feel like I’m starving an hour after breakfast!

So if you’re one to crave a little treat in the morning, these bars might just do the trick, and keep you on track to developing a new, healthier breakfast habit!

Print Recipe

Quinoa Protein Breakfast Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

1/4 c peanut butter (I made my own, so the only ingredients were peanuts and salt)

1/4 c pumpkinseed protein powder (I am unsure whether you can substitute other protein powders, but give it a try!)

1 ripe banana

1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

1/2 c mashed sweet potato (I make mine using this method, but don’t always add maple)

2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t liquid vanilla stevia

1/4 t fine sea salt

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 T ground chia seeds

3 T maple syrup

1 c quinoa flakes

1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 in X 9 in baking pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the peanut butter, protein powder, banana, applesauce, sweet potato, cinnamon, stevia, salt, baking powder, chia seeds, and maple syrup until well combined and smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl and stir in the quinoa flakes and raisins. Scoop into the prepared baking pan and spread out evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine took 28 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges start to brown just a bit. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Store in refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for several months.

Makes 16 squares.

Want to talk more about health and fitness goals? Join our Live Chat on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 9PM EST at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community. We will be discussing New Year’s Resolutions and health and fitness goals!


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.

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.


Quinoa Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Pecan Glaze

I know it’s been pumpkin-mania around the internet. We can’t help ourselves. After all, who can resist that creamy goodness, especially when it’s only in season for a few months out of the year? Personally, I love to put it into anything and everything right now. I’ve snuck pumpkin into enchilada fillings, chili, soup, shepherd’s pie, and even cookies. But why stop there? After all, as far as I’m concerned, the months of October and November were made just so we could eat pumpkin.

And not just pumpkin. Other winter squashes are just as welcome. Butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata, turban…I could just keep on going. I love them all, and this time of year, I hoard them, buying way more than I need, and squirreling them away in my pantry. They all get used, of course, in due time. With the latest squash roasting, I decided to use the puree for a new breakfast treat – donuts.

Because if there’s one thing that can top pumpkins this time of year, it’s donuts. Pumpkin donuts.

These are on the healthier side, however, as they’re baked, gluten and dairy-free, and are made with quinoa flour, which is packed with fiber and protein. But don’t let all those “healthy” things make you think they’re not delicious. With warming fall spices, the pumpkin, and the maple syrup glaze, they certainly score points in the “yum” department.

Print Recipe

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze and Pecans

For the donuts:

1 c pumpkin puree

¼ c melted coconut oil

½ c maple syrup

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

¼ t vanilla stevia extract

¼ t apple cider vinegar

1 c quinoa flour

½ c tapioca starch

1 t guar gum

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

2 ½ t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

¼ t cloves

¼ t allspice

1/8 t salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease donut pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer or food processor combine pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, apple cider vinegar and stevia. Beat or process until smooth and fully combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients . Add to wet ingredients and beat or process until batter is nice and smooth.

Spoon batter into donut pans. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and remove the donuts from the pan and set on a cooling rack.

While the donuts are baking, make the glaze:

2 T maple syrup

¼ t cinnamon

½ c organic powdered sugar

1-2 T almond milk

Whisk together in a small bowl until a thick glaze is formed.

Chop about ½ cup pecans and set aside.

While still warm, dip each donut halfway into the glaze, and then sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Place on a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath to catch drips.

Makes 9 donuts.

Buckwheat & Hemp “No-Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

For the past month (okay, nearly two months now, but who’s counting?), I’ve been playing around with this new Erewhon cereal. Back when I attended the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas in September, I had the pleasure of meeting Anneleis. We’ve “known” each other online from past Attune Foods events and the like, but it’s always wonderful to meet someone face-to-face. Anneleis gave me a box of their newest cereal, Buckwheat & Hemp, to try out. I was excited. While I rarely eat cereal, I do enjoy the Erewhon gluten-free varieties.

This cereal is heartier than any of the others I’ve tried. The flakes are crunchy and light, but manage to hold up quite nicely in my almond milk. They remind me of a version of Grape Nuts and Raisin Bran flakes, if that makes sense. I loved to munch on a few flakes at a time just on their own, and actually enjoyed a few little bowls of them with almond milk, but eventually knew I should bake something before I went through the entire box.

Of course, I gravitated towards cookies. They are my sweet treat of choice, after all, and I find them easier to bake than many other things. One of my childhood favorites was the oatmeal raisin cookie. I loved its chewy texture and hearty flavor, and the sweetness wasn’t overpowering like other cookie varieties. My Mom often would make a batch for us to pack in our lunch for school, and they were a definite way to put a smile on my face. Of course, nowadays, I rarely eat oats, as they aren’t easy on my tummy, so oatmeal raisin cookies are generally out. I opted to try to recreate a new version of this childhood favorite with my newest favorite cereal instead.

What resulted was a chewy, subtly nutty and hearty cookie, studded with raisins and tasting lightly of cinnamon. I could hardly stay away from them, and I must confess – I had more than one. They would definitely be welcome as a lunchbox treat, or in the afternoon with a little glass of almond milk.

Now, if I could just get out to the store to find some more Buckwheat & Hemp cereal. I’m out.

Print Recipe

Buckwheat & Hemp “No-Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2 eggs

1 c almond butter

1 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 c raisins

1 1/2 c Buckwheat & Hemp cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the almond butter, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla until a uniform dough forms. Stir in the raisins and cereal. Scoop into mounds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden at the edges. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing and placing on a rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen.

What is your favorite type of cookie? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community! We’re always looking for inspiration (and cookie recipes!)

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.