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The BEST Coffee Ice Cream Ever…And It’s Dairy-Free!

A good coffee ice cream is pure heaven. It simply must have strong (but not bitter) coffee flavor, balanced perfectly with just the right level of sweetness, and have enough cream and richness to really feel silky and to satisfy. And now, since I am dairy-free, it has to be friendly to my belly.

Naw, I don’t have high standards. I just know what I want.

And now that it’s getting to be the time of year where a cool version of my most-necessary-beverage-of-all-time is highly appreciated. And dessert is always welcomed. In other words, I need ice cream, stat.

Good thing this coffee recipe delivers. I know, that’s quite the confident title too. Best coffee ice cream ever?

Well, I’ll let you be the judge. But I’ll let you know that it’s full on coffee flavor, sweet but not too sweet, and the coconut milk used makes it creamy and silky and delicious. It’s also pretty easy to make. I opted not to use egg yolks, so there’s no need to make a custard before chilling, and it’s vegan. The only downside I can see is that it’s gone too soon. In fact, I think it’s time I make more!

Print Recipe

Vegan Coffee Ice Cream

2 cans full-fat coconut milk

1 c agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup, sugar, or honey, if desired)

1 c whole coffee beans (use decaf, unless you want a caffeine buzz with your ice cream!)

A pinch of salt

3/4 c water

1/4 t guar gum

1 t vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agave nectar, coffee beans, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and guar gum and add to the saucepan. Heat the mixture until it’s just about to boil, whisking, and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 2 hours.

Strain the coffee beans from the mixture using a fine-meshed sieve with a large bowl underneath to catch the cream. Whisk the vanilla extract into the cream. Chill the cream mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until cold.

Process ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for several hours or until firm, or serve immediately for soft serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Coconut-Date Macaroons

It all started with a big ol’ bag of coconut flakes (chips). They’d been hanging out in my pantry far too long. Finally, after looking at them quite a few times, I decided that it was high time I put them to use. But what to do?

I’ve used these big flakes before in granola, and loved how in the oven, they got all toasty, a little crispy, and deliciously chewy. The wheels started a-turnin’, and I thought about how toasty, crispy and chewy would all be wonderful qualities in a macaroon. So I set to making some.

Which, as it turned out initially, wasn’t as simple as just swapping out the finely shredded stuff for these big flakes. Without other modifications, the stuff just didn’t hold together. Which seems fairly obvious now, but at the time, I was at a bit of a crossroads. How could I maintain that chewy, delicious texture that I loved and keep everything together?

Obviously, as you can see, I managed. I couldn’t let you down, dear friends. Deep down, I knew you needed some coconut-y goodness, and I’m all for trying to deliver! These macaroons definitely deliver. I brought them to my coworkers, which, as I’ve probably mentioned before, are all regular gluten and dairy-eaters, and they were definitely well-received. In fact, we regularly receive these (supposedly amazing) freshly-baked mail-delivery cookies for Board meetings and the like, and they were in the office kitchen as well, serving as steep competition. One of my coworkers said she bypassed those mail-delivery cookies in favor of my macaroons, and proclaimed them superior. Made my day.

I hope these macaroons make your day too!

Print Recipe

Coconut-Date Macaroons (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

2 egg whites

2/3 c powdered turbinado sugar (I process turbinado sugar in my coffee grinder to “powder” it. I bet using coconut sugar works well here too, though I haven’t tried it.)

1/2 t almond extract

1/4 t sea salt

3 c unsweetened coconut flakes/chips

1/3 c chopped Medjool dates

1/4 c potato starch

1/4 c superfine brown rice flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the powdered sugar, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the coconut, dates, potato starch, and rice flour until everything is evenly distributed and mixed well. Scoop into 2-inch mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Slightly press the cookies down with the back of a spoon or your palm, if desired, for more chewy texture. (They’ll be a bit softer if you leave them in a more rounded shape.)

Bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking time. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Macadamia-Coconut Cookies with Cacao Nibs

This is what happens when you leave me to my own devices in the kitchen for an hour or so, folks.

Cookies happen.

Delicious, rich, heavenly, sinful-but-they’re-actually-good-for-you cookies.

Wait, what? Cookies that are good for you?

Yes. These cookies are full of nutrient-dense macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut, and cacao nibs, and are not only gluten-free, but also grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. So you get a good dose of omega-3s, vitamin E, palmitoleic acid, thiamin, lauric acid, and antioxidants, without a bunch of sugar or grain – both of which seem to bother many sensitive tummies (like mine!).

But don’t tell your tastebuds that. After all, macadamia+coconut+chocolate=pure heaven, right? And don’t let that somewhat plain photo above fool you. Truth be told, the battery on the camera died after just three shots, and I was running out the door for a soccer game, throwing these still-warm cookies onto a plate to share with my team. Speaking of, just don’t just take my advice on the deliciousness of these little treats. My soccer team and friends happily gobbled up cookie after cookie after our game on Saturday. (They’re thankful that I sacrificed a pretty photo of these cookies for their sake, I’m sure!) I find that the true test – if gluten and sugar-eaters go back for seconds, then it’s a sure winner.

Print Recipe

Macadamia-Coconut Cookies with Cacao Nibs (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, paleo)

About 1 cup macadamia nut pieces

About 1 cup raw cashew pieces

1/4 c Grade B maple syrup

1/4 c pitted Medjool dates (about 4)

1/3 c coconut butter* (also called coconut cream concentrate or creamed coconut)

1 egg

1/2 t liquid stevia (if you like your cookies sweeter)

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t Kosher salt

1/3 c tapioca or potato starch

1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 c raw cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the macadamia nuts and cashews. Puree for several minutes, until a smooth nut butter is formed. (Yes, it will clump to the side of the food processor a bit before the nuts completely release their oils, but let it keep going, as it will eventually smooth back out into a delicious nut butter.) Scrape out of food processor, and measure out 1 cup of nut butter. (If there’s extra, then I won’t tell if you just eat it by the spoonful.)

Add the 1 cup of nut butter back to the food processor along with the maple syrup, dates, and coconut butter. Puree until the dates are in tiny little bits. Add the egg, stevia (if using), and vanilla and puree again until well-blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, tapioca starch and shredded coconut. Scrape out the nut butter mixture from the food processor into the bowl and stir together with a spoon until evenly mixed. Add the cacao nibs and stir again.

Scoop dough into small rounds (about 2 tablespoons in size for each) onto the baking sheet (about 2 inches apart) and bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes almost 2 dozen.

*NOTE about creamed coconut/coconut butter/coconut cream concentrate: It’s all the same thing; it just depends who makes it. Let’s Do Organic calls it creamed coconut , Artisana calls it coconut butter, Nutiva calls it coconut manna , and Tropical Traditions calls it coconut cream concentrate. Lexie of Lexie’s Kitchen made some from scratch. I have used several of these brands with success, and have even made my own. Any of those will work just fine in this recipe.

 

Gluten-Free (and More-Free) Easter Recipe Roundup

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Easter Eggs photo credit: Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Still stumped on what to make for your Easter meal? (Don’t be afraid to admit it – my menu is just now mostly finalized!) Well, look no further! Here are some delicious gluten-free (and many dairy-free, soy-free, and sugar-free besides!) recipes to help you in planning your menu.

I hope that you and your family enjoy your holiday!

Brunch

Lemon Rosemary Teacakes (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Build Your Own Crepe Bar (grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Simple Berry Salad (grain-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Cinnamon Swirl Scones (gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten-free, soy-free)

Appetizers, Salads, and Sides

Mom’s Deviled Eggs (grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

“Wine” and “Cheese” Charlotte (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Mom’s Mashed Potatoes (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Shaved Asparagus Salad (grain-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Lavender Roasted Potatoes (grain-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Green Pea and Radish Salad (grain-free, dairy-free, vegan option, refined sugar-free)

Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Garlic Pesto (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Main Dishes

Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Rosemary Roast Chicken (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Easter Lamb and Mint Meatballs (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Maple Ham (grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

Perfect Lamb Chops (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Desserts

Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Easter Eggs (grain-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Lemon Earl Grey Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Carrot Cake (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Maple Carrot Custard (grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Cheesecake-Filled Cupcakes (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Easter Angel Food Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

Lemon Blueberry Bars with Coconut Crust (gluten-free, soy-free)

Jelly Bean Macaroon Nests (grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

 

 

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free “Ding Dongs”

Who here remembers Ding Dongs? Those delicious little chocolate cakes with a creamy white marshmallow-y center, coated in a thin shell of chocolate were one of the only Hostess treats I enjoyed. Twinkies? Nah, I’ll pass. Cupcakes? Meh. But Ding Dongs? I was definitely game. I wasn’t much for cake as a child (I know, what was wrong with me?), but I could go for one of these treats.

Of course, even before I went gluten-free, it’d been years upon years since I’d had one. And now, with Hostess in bankruptcy, there currently aren’t Ding Dongs to be found. Not that I would want to eat one today anyway – they’re full of gluten, dairy, tons of sugar, and processed chemicals. That’s not really my thing. I’d much rather just grab a square of dark chocolate and call it a day.

But a few weeks ago, the idea of making my own Ding Dongs popped into my head. While I’m typically a fan of speedy, simple desserts (cookies are my forte), I decided this just simply must happen in my kitchen.

And so it did.

I started out playing with the cake recipe. Not having a fresh memory of a Ding Dong in my head, I did the best I could, remembering a somewhat dense (but not so much that it could be confused with a brownie) cake with as much chocolate in it as you could possibly add. I opted for coconut flour, as I’ve loved it in other cake and cupcake recipes. Coconut flour is tricky – it soaks up so much more moisture at first than other flours – but once you get used to it, it can provide a tight, tender crumb in a cake. It worked perfectly, and my cake was tasty and held together when cut perfectly.

In a real Ding Dong, I honestly have no idea what is in the filling they use. It’s freakishly white and likely has multiple chemicals that allow it to stay marshmallow-y forever. My filling was a version of a 7-minute frosting – simply egg whites, maple syrup, and vanilla. Now, this means that it won’t stay marshmallow-y for all eternity, but it’s good. Darn good, if I do say so myself.

The exterior coating couldn’t be simpler - I merely melted chocolate and brushed it over. It worked perfectly. Who needs weird waxy stuff when you’ve got good ol’ chocolate?

Now, because these cakes are lacking in preservatives and chemicals, they won’t last forever. They’re best served the same day they are made, as it seems the marshmallow center gets absorbed a little into the cake over time. But chances are, you won’t have to worry about that, as they’re quite the perfect treat, and won’t last long around a crowd of teenagers, kids, or nostalgic adults. But if for some reason you actually do have some left over, they’ll still taste delicious.

Print Recipe

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free “Ding Dongs”

For the chocolate cake:

5 large eggs

¼ c coconut oil, melted

1 ½ oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 T brewed coffee

1/3 c maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

¼ c + 2 T coconut flour

¼ c cacao powder (I used a raw cacao powder, you can use regular cocoa powder, as long as it isn’t dutched)

¼ t salt

½ t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside; grease the parchment paper.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the coconut oil, chocolate, coffee, maple syrup, and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cacao powder, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, beating on medium speed, until well blended.

Scrape the batter into the cake pan and spread out evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, use an offset spatula to go around the edges of the cake and release it from the pan.

(This can be done one day ahead – just wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.)

For the fluffy white filling:

½ c maple syrup (or agave nectar – I haven’t tried honey, but I have a feeling it would work)

¼ c water

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 t vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, bring maple syrup and water to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until foamy. With the mixer still beating the eggs at high speed, slowly pour in the hot syrup along the side of the bowl. Continue to beat on high for 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla and continue to beat for another minute.

For the chocolate ganache:

Melt 6 oz bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler (or in a large bowl set over a smaller pot of simmering water).

 

To make the cakes:

To assemble the cakes, cut the cakes using a small round cutter – I used one about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. (You can save the scraps for snacking or for cake balls.)

Using a small knife or an apple corer, turn the cut cakes over, and cut out the center three-quarters of the way through and remove the small cut out. Set it aside.

Fill each cake with your fluffy frosting. Replace the cut out. Repeat with remaining cakes. (You’ll probably have leftover fluffy frosting. I won’t tell if you eat it.)

Then, once your ganache is melted and ready to go, use a brush and brush it over the bottoms of the cakes. Place these cakes in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to harden the chocolate. Then turn over the cakes, and brush with chocolate on the tops and sides. Place back in the fridge or freezer to harden the rest of the chocolate.

Serve. Refrigerate if storing any leftovers.

I managed to get 11 ding dongs out of this recipe – you might manage 12 if you are better at cutting out the cakes than I!

Do you have old favorites that you’ve converted to gluten-free? Share them at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

 

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!

[recipe-link]

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.

 

Red Velvet Pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream

Need a Valentine’s Day breakfast idea? Or just want to sneak some healthy vegetables into your unsuspecting child’s diet? Moist, fluffy, and bright pink-red, these little darlings are sure to please.

Personally, I love sneaking healthy ingredients into foods. My favorite meatloaf recipe is one that hides some carrot, celery, and ground chia or flaxseed. I’ve made spaghetti sauces with simmered and pureed carrots in addition to the usual tomato. I’m always a fan of tossing spinach in my smoothies (although most of the time, the green color doesn’t ”hide” so well…) And I’ve hidden beets before in chocolate truffles. So why not hide beets in pancakes in plain sight?

These days, most red velvet cake recipes obtain their bright-red color from artificial food dye. I’m not a fan of artificial dyes, so I opted to go the old-fashioned way – get my red color from beets! As long as you take care to keep the batter as acidic as possible, the beets should retain their red color in the batter even after cooking. So rather than using lots of baking soda (too alkaline), I used baking powder and eggs for lift. I also only used a touch of cocoa powder (not dutched – again, dutched is too alkaline) to keep the pancakes bright. The result?

Beet-red pancakes – literally! Fluffy, moist, lightly sweet, barely chocolate-y pancakes that tasted marvelous. Of course, they were even more marvelous with a drizzle of homemade maple cashew cream sauce, and a little more maple syrup on top as well. While they’ll be sure to bring smiles to the faces of any little ones, I will admit they made excellent fuel for a good run in some cool, drizzly weather afterwards.

Print Recipe

Red Velvet Pancakes (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1/2 c chopped roasted beets (I peeled and cut 2 large beets into 1-inch chunks and roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes)

3/4 c coconut milk

2 T water

2 eggs

1/4 c coconut palm sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 c tapioca starch

1/2 c brown rice flour

1/2 t salt

2 t baking powder

1 T cocoa powder (not dutched)

1/4 t guar gum

Place the chopped beets, and coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the water, eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and puree until well-blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, add the tapioca starch, brown rice flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and guar gum. Whisk together until blended. Add the flour mixture to the food processor and process again until smooth.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Grease with a little coconut oil if desired. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and spread out to about a 4-inch circle with the back of a spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges look like they’re starting to dry. Carefully flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream and maple syrup.

Makes about 8 pancakes.

Maple Cashew Cream (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c raw cashews, soaked for a few hours

1/3 c water

juice of 1 lemon

2 T maple syrup

about 1/2 t salt

2 T maple syrup

Drain the soaked cashews and place in a high-powered blender along with the water, the lemon juice, maple syrup, and the salt. Blend on a medium-low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides, until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin the cream if needed. Store remainder, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.

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

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.