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Maple-Pecan Rice Crispy Treats

Maybe these should be called “Thanksgiving” Rice Crispy Treats? They’re kind of a lighter, kid-friendly version of a pecan pie in rice crispy treat form. They’re far easier to make than pecan pie, however. If you’re looking for a last-minute, no-bake, tasty treat for the holiday (or anytime, really), these might just be the perfect thing.

And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m in a bit of a maple and pecan rut. I made donuts with maple and pecans on top, and I also shared a maple pecan freezer fudge on The Balanced Platter in the past few weeks. What can I say? It’s a good combo, and it’s that time of year. Why not celebrate two of my most favorite ingredients as often as possible?

Print Recipe

Maple-Pecan Rice Crispy Treats (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

3 c gluten-free brown rice crispies (I used Erewhon)

1/3 c pecan butter (make the pecan butter according to the instructions in this recipe)

1/3 c maple syrup (Grade B, preferably)

1/4 c creamed coconut/coconut butter/coconut cream concentrate*

pinch of salt

Place rice crispies in a large bowl. Set aside. Grease an 8X8 inch baking dish and set it aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add pecan butter, maple syrup, creamed coconut, and salt. Stir together until everything melts and mixes completely, and starts to bubble. Continue to stir constantly while bubbling for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir mixture into bowl with rice crispies, stirring well until evenly distributed throughout. Scoop into greased dish and press down evenly. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into 9 squares.

*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.

Have any unique twists to traditional Thanksgiving recipes? Share them at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Made Easy

Yes, folks, you read that right. Thanksgiving can be easy, even when cooking gluten-free. Wondering how to make a stuffing that’s gluten-free but appealing to everyone at your table? Need a recipe for pie? How about some gluten-free bread (you know, the stuff that isn’t as dense as a rock)? And how to pull it all off?

Well, friends, I’m here to share some of the best, latest, and greatest recipes to help you make everyone happy. Grab a snack and open up Pinterest, because I’m sure you’ll need to pin some of these babies. And once you’ve gathered your recipes and made a menu, be sure you set up a schedule (especially if you’re hosting – I’ve made a schedule for years now, making many things in advance, to save time and sanity). That way, you can be sure your Thanksgiving holiday will go as smoothly as possible. I can’t promise that old Aunt Pam won’t tie one on that evening, or that your brother Phil won’t throw things across the living room when the quarterback for (insert favorite football team here) throws an interception, but at least you’ll have good gluten-free eats.

 

Appetizers:

Savory Sweet Potato Pie

Raw Cultured Cashew “Cheese”

Savory Gluten-Free and Vegan Crackers

Main Dishes:

Cider-Glazed Brined Turkey with Apple Brandy Gravy

How To Cook a Pastured Turkey

Butternut Squash Baked Risotto

Side Dishes and Salads:

Rutabaga Gratin

Vegan Broccoli “Cheese” Rice Casserole

Vegan Butternut Macaroni & “Cheese”

Green Beans with Smoky Pecans

Broccoli-Walnut Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Make-Ahead Stuffing and Gravy

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Piccata

Maple Sweet Potato Puree

Classic Kale Salad, Fully Loaded

Dijon Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto

Baked Goods:

Mochi Garlic Roll Puffs

Top 20 Gluten-Free Bread Recipes

Gluten-Free Soft Dinner Rolls

Desserts:

Kumquat Crostata

Best Pumpkin Pie Ever – Crustless, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Pumpkin Caramel Cups

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Maple Pecan Freezer Fudge

 

Looking for more Thanksgiving round-ups, full of amazing recipes? Check these out:

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips

The Biggest Gathering of Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes (many gluten-free too)

Last-Minute Canadian Thanksgiving Recipe Suggestions

50+ Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Maple Pecan Freezer Fudge at The Balanced Platter

Who loves pecan pie? I certainly do, and even more when maple is used. I’m sharing a decadent (and yet good-for-you) freezer fudge over at The Balanced Platter today that is reminiscent of pecan pie, but without the tons of sugar and corn syrup. It’s the perfect little bite of heaven anytime you’re interested in treating yourself without the guilt. Head on over to The Balanced Platter and check it out!

Swedish Meatballs for Clean Eating Cocktail Party

Holidays are generally the worst when it comes to sticking with healthy eats, what with all the party food and treats. But what if we could all incorporate healthier foods instead of the same ol’ holiday fare?

Well, that’s exactly what Cara of Cara’s Cravings was thinking, and is the reason behind this year’s Clean Eating Cocktail Party!

Today I’m sharing a healthier gluten-free, dairy-free version of a holiday favorite – Swedish Meatballs! Head on over to Cara’s Cravings and check them out – and while you’re there, browse around at all of the other Cocktail Party recipes for some delicious holiday inspiration!

Dijon Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto

When it gets cooler, I start to crave cooler-weather vegetables. Usually that means pumpkin and winter squashes, but brussels sprouts are also on that list. It might sound somewhat odd, but they remind me of Thanksgiving. It seems as though often someone brings brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner, and while they’re often looked over, as people tend to gravitate towards the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie, I love them. When I found a nice healthy stalk at our brand-new Trader Joe’s and knew I just had to have them.

During the week, I tend to take a minimalist approach to vegetables. They’re often simply steamed, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. But this time, I wanted a little more. With minimal additional effort – some proscuitto, dijon mustard and a touch of honey - these brussel sprouts were transformed into a comforting, satisfying little side dish that still retained its freshness and vibrancy. And honestly, with proscuitto, dijon, and honey, how can you go wrong?

And I can’t promise anything, but telling your brussels sprouts-hating husband/wife/kids that there is proscuitto in here might just change their mind!

Print Recipe

Dijon Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 stalk brussels sprouts (or about 4-5 cups worth)

1 t olive oil

1/2 oz proscuitto, chopped

1 T dijon mustard

1 t honey

salt and pepper to taste

Place the brussels sprouts in a pot fitted with a steamer insert (or in a steamer basket) and steam until bright green and just tender enough to be pierced by a fork, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Empty the pot and dry it out (or get another medium saucepan or skillet) and add oil. Heat over medium heat and add proscuitto. Cook proscuitto, stirring, for a minute or two or until crispy. Add back the brussel sprouts and stir. Lower the heat to low and add dijon mustard and honey. Stir to coat completely, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Interested in learning more about traveling while gluten-free? Join us in a Live Chat on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9PM EDT at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community to discuss tips on successful gluten-free travel!

 

Strawberry “Cheesecake” with Almond-Macadamia Crust

My, how time flies. It’s mid-June, almost Father’s Day. Around these parts, that means that it’s about to get too hot for strawberries. It feels like just yesterday our farmer’s market just opened for the season with a few greens, beets, and spring onions. But now, I’m lugging home loads of produce – still beets and kale, but also strawberries and blueberries, peaches, plums, zucchini, tomatoes, okra, cream peas, big red onions, garlic, peppers, tomatillos, and more. There are even watermelons and cantaloupes starting to show up, brought from the southern parts of the state. Our warmer-than-normal spring is to blame for the early arrival of many of these favorites.

Not that I’m complaining – I’m bringing home a weekly CSA share, plus another one or two bags full, every Saturday morning. My cucumber plants are flourishing. (I’m harvesting 2-3 cukes a day!) I’m enjoying a plant-strong diet and feeling healthy and energized because of it.

But I am already realizing that some of my favorites will be gone soon. Strawberries, for one. I love to freeze berries so I can have them for smoothies, pies, and such, regardless of the time of year. I’ve already bought 12 pints of organic blueberries to freeze. Strawberries need to happen ASAP so I can be sure there are “cheesecakes” like this in the heat of the summer. There is nothing better than a cool, creamy, refreshing dessert to serve on a hot summer day.

Now, this isn’t cheesecake in the traditional sense. It’s not quite as rich as traditional cheesecake, but personally, I find that to be a plus. It’s still so creamy, and it bursts with bright berry flavors. I have made cashew cheesecakes before, but this is one of my  new favorites. I think the mostly-raw approach to certain recipes, like this one, (the crust is the only part that’s not raw) really brings out the fresh flavor in foods. In the case of vegan cheesecakes, keeping the berries raw really makes the dessert sing of summer.

I’ve made this twice this year already – once, for my mother’s birthday and again for a coworker who was celebrating a birthday for someone avoiding gluten and dairy. Both times, it was a hit and was gone quickly. I think that means it’s successful; what do you think?

Strawberry “Cheesecake” with Almond-Macadamia Crust (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

For the crust:

1/2 c macadamia nuts

1/4 c Medjool dates, pitted

1 c blanched almond flour

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t baking soda

2 T coconut oil

1/2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Place the macadamia nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Process until they are fine crumbs (don’t process too long or they will become a paste and eventually a butter!). Add the dates, almond flour, salt, baking soda, coconut oil, and vanilla and process again until dates are chopped very finely.

Scoop out the dough and press out along the bottom of the springform pan evenly.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges brown. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling:

3 c cashews, soaked at least 4 hours, preferably overnight

3/4 c agave nectar

1 T lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

6 T lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)

1/2 c coconut oil, melted

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 t salt

32 oz strawberries (if frozen, thaw before using), plus additional if you wish to decorate the top

Drain the cashews and place in a high-powered blender. Start to blend on a low speed until the cashews turn to crumbs and paste. Add the agave, lemon zest, lemon juice, and coconut oil and continue to blend, stopping to scrape down the sides often, until the puree is creamy and no more bits of nuts remain. This may take a while, even with a high-powered blender. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you may be more successful using your food processor. (I’ve made this with a regular blender before, but it took longer and I had to add a bit of water to “get it going”.) Once the “cheesecake” is sufficiently creamy, add the vanilla and salt and add half of the strawberries. Blend until no more strawberry chunks remain. Add remaining strawberries and blend again until creamy, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

Pour the strawberry puree into the springform pan once the crust is cool, spreading out evenly with a spatula. Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until firm. You can freeze overnight or even for more than a day; if you do, place in refrigerator several hours before serving to thaw. If desired, you can slice additional strawberries and decorate the top of the cheesecake.

(I was told by my friend that even leaving this cheesecake in the fridge for an entire day worked; that it held its shape. I haven’t tried this myself, but I imagine there is enough coconut oil to keep it firm.)

This post is linked to Iris’s 2nd Annual Gluten-Free Birthday Cake Challenge at The Daily Dietribe, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, and Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

Live Chat – Spring Foods and Adventures, Plus an Easter/Passover Round-up

Tomorrow, April 5, 2012 I will be co-hosting a Live Chat over at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community at 8 PM CDT/9 PM EDT. We’ll be talking about gluten-free spring foods, gardening, and other adventures. Please join us – it’s totally free! Just click on this link here at 8 PM CDT/9PM EDT and you’ll be there!

Also, while I don’t have a brand-spankin’-new recipe for you for the coming holiday weekend, I do have a collection of some yummy gluten and dairy-free recipes from Tasty Eats At Home and some fellow bloggers! Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover (or just want some yummy springtime recipes!), enjoy! I hope you have a joyous weekend.

Breakfast/Brunch

Peach Butter Coffee Cake

Blueberry Buckwheat Donuts with Lemon Glaze

Mini Florentine Frittatas

Broccoli “Cheese” Souffle

Lavender-Almond Tea Biscuits

Pineapple-Coconut Muffins

Appetizers/Small Bites/Soups

Gluten-Free Matzoh with Onion, Garlic and Dill

Basil Chicken Salad Puffs

Masala Ginger Carrot Soup (not dairy-free, but easily modified)

Mom’s Deviled Eggs

Matzoh Ball Soup

Salads

Raw Kale Grapefruit Salad

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw

Asparagus Basil Salad

Sides and Vegetables

Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins and Walnuts (not dairy-free, but easily modified)

Collard Greens with Crimini Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes

Green Beans with Smoky Pecans

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Steamed Asparagus with Lemon

Entrees

Perfect Lamb Chops

Braised Lamb Shank with Swiss Chard

Vegan Carrot-Pecan Nut Roast

Slow Cooker Mint-Glazed Lamb

Vegan Mock Chopped Liver

Desserts

Lemon Earl Grey Cookies

Spaghetti Squash Apple “Noodle” Kugel

Vegan and Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

Vegan Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Easter Eggs

Coconut Crispy Treat “Nests” with Jelly Bean “Eggs”

Jelly Bean Macaroon “Nests”

Nutty Chocolate Candy

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Easter Bunnies

Carrot Cake

 

…and if you’re dying Easter eggs, how about using some homemade natural dyes?

 

 

Minty Bison Meatballs

Whether you’re looking for another SuperBowl recipe (I’ve already shared some healthy sweet-and-spicy dip) or just a delicious treat to feed your family, these unassuming meatballs might just be the thing. Sure, I’ve shared meatballs before. We’ve had Swedish Meatballs. Spanish Almond Meatballs. Good ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs (these aren’t dairy-free, FYI). Needless to say, meatballs are a beloved dish in our house. They are one of the few things everyone in the house will eat without complaint, even the child who refuses to eat hamburgers will still gladly eat meatballs. (And even meatball sandwiches, which makes no sense to me – both are ground meat and bread..? I am not a picky eater, however, so some of the picky eating habits baffle me.)

These particular meatballs are a light and lean variation with clean, Mediterranean spices (I used cinnamon, cumin, garlic, mint, and parsley), but a delightfully American slant, as I used ground bison in place of beef or pork. When I can find ground bison, commonly referred to as buffalo, I love to get it. It’s leaner than beef, but boasts a great amount of protein, iron and vitamin B12. If you can find grass-fed buffalo meat, even better. The meat is flavorful in spite of the leanness, which means your meatball can be “meaty” without being fatty. Not that I’m one to shy away from fat – you won’t find me cutting off the fat on a delicious, grass-fed beef rib-eye anytime soon – but once in a while, lighter is better. That, and I’m an equal opportunity eater – bison deserves a chance at my table just as much as any other protein! That being said, if you prefer to use beef in this recipe, feel free to substitute.

You can serve these meatballs with a squeeze of lemon, or even a more substantial sauce, if you feel like experimenting. I imagine a tzatziki or other cool, creamy sauce would be delicious with these babies. They are great both as an appetizer, or as part of a main meal. For me, they were a success for the picky eaters, as each could decide whether to eat them unadorned, mix them in with a gluten-free pasta I’d made, or squeeze some lemon juice over. Personally? I enjoyed mine on top of a heap of these collard greens. Delish!

 

Minty Bison Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

 

1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 T olive oil

2 1/2 lbs lean ground bison or beef

2 eggs

1 c packed flat-leaf parsley

½ c packed mint leaves

½ – ¾ c gluten-free bread crumbs (can substitute almond flour as well)

3 T ground cumin

½ t ground cinnamon

¼ t cayenne pepper

1 ½ t kosher salt

½ t ground black pepper

Lemon wedges

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and arrange one rack in the upper third of the oven, and one rack in the lower third. Place the onion and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until it becomes a paste. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and scrape onion paste into skillet. Sauté paste until it softens and no longer has a raw taste, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Combine onion paste, ground beef, eggs, parsley, mint, bread crumbs, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well (using your hands is the easiest method). Form into 1 oz meatballs and place on 2 foil-lined baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake both sheets of meatballs on two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 10 minutes. Rotate sheets and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and serve with lemon wedges for garnish.

Makes about 40 meatballs.

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes (Gluten-Free and Vegan)

The other day, I was ironing out holiday plans with my sister and parents. It was determined that the only time we could all get together for Christmas was in the morning, so we decided on a brunch. At the time, the only thing I knew I’d be serving would be a nice ham, and some sort of baked egg dish (I’ve since determined we’ll enjoy a variation on this frittata). When I called my mom to discuss plans and mentioned ham, she suggested scalloped potatoes.

It sounded delicious – ham with scalloped potatoes. But I felt a twinge of heartache as I envisioned the creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes I was accustomed to; after all, I wouldn’t be able to indulge. (Yes, that might be a touch self-centered, but I’m being honest here.) And those dairy-free cheeses (such as Daiya), while I enjoy them, don’t fool the rest of the cheese-eating members of my family. I started to go down the path to decide whether to make it and just not eat (after all, there would be plenty of other safe things for me to eat), or to make something else. Then, I thought, what if I could find another way to make dairy-free scalloped potatoes?

And just like that, I was researching.

I browsed what seemed to be a hearty handful of recipes, no two of which were alike. (Except for, you know, the potato part.) I considered the flavor combinations that were used, and started to formulate a recipe that was unique to my own tastes. I wanted creamy and decadent, but didn’t want it to taste like “fake” dairy. I wanted it to be so flavorful that no one would wonder where the cheese was.

I think I’ve accomplished that goal. These scalloped potatoes are decadent. Creamy. Golden brown on top. Rich and full of flavor. You might even think that they’re better than the traditional version, finding ways to sneak just one more bite. I hope so. I hope these potatoes steal the show at your next meal, as I’m afraid hoping they might just do that for me.

Scalloped Potatoes (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

About 3 lbs gold potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) peeled and sliced thin ( I used a mandoline)

1 c coconut milk

1 c vegetable broth (chicken broth can be used)

2 T vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

2 T arrowroot starch

2 T sweet white rice flour

2 T nutritional yeast flakes

½ t onion powder

¼ t garlic powder

½ t dry mustard powder

¼ t white pepper

¼ t nutmeg

3 T mayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise to keep it vegan; regular can be substituted)

¼ c white wine

1 T lemon juice

Salt to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking dish and set aside. (I used a dish that was 7X11 inches.)

Combine potatoes, coconut milk and broth in a saucepan. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving milk mixture. (Use a sieve and a bowl underneath to catch the milk.)

Clean out saucepan and add vegan butter. Melt over medium heat and add in arrowroot starch and sweet white rice flour, whisking for 30 seconds or so, to cook the flour. Add back the milk mixture, the nutritional yeast flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, pepper, nutmeg, mayonnaise, and white wine. Continue to whisk until smooth. Continue heating
and whisking until thickened. Remove from heat.

Layer about half of the potatoes in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Pour half of the sauce over this layer. Press down the
potatoes to make sure the sauce covers them all around. Add the remaining potatoes and pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Press again to ensure the sauce covers the potatoes.

Bake for an hour or until potatoes are browned on top and tender throughout. Serves 8.

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

 

Looking for other gluten-free holiday dish ideas? Check out this discussion over at the Udi’s Gluten-Free Community!
.

A Gluten-Free Holiday: Holiday Desserts (Chewy Apple Cider Blondies)

Welcome back for the final (and possibly the most important) week of A Gluten-Free Holiday! Why is this the most important week? Well, because we’re sharing desserts! After all, children didn’t dream of casseroles and green beans while they were nestled all snug in their beds, did they? Hardly. The holiday season conjures up visions of sugarplums, and candies, cookies, and possibly even chewy apple cider blondies. Yes, chewy apple cider blondies. But we’ll get to those in a minute.

First, I have to share with you the details about this week’s A Gluten-Free Holiday Event. Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake is hosting. She’s sharing a crave-worthy recipe for gingerbread cupcakes. In addition, she’s giving away some more awesome prizes – two, in fact. Maggie is giving away a copy of Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free by Karen Morgan, as well as a copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski.

I personally own a copy of Carol’s book and love it – there are all sorts of decadent desserts in there, including a recipe for this delicious mango sticky cake. Blackbird Bakery is on my wish list, so hopefully I’ll own a copy soon! Be sure to head on over to She Let Them Eat Cake to enter for your chance to win!

Back to these chewy apple cider blondies. These blondies are chewy like a good brownie, with caramel and apple notes, dotted with the occasional chocolate chip, just for fun. At first glance, you might think that they’re not nearly as festive as the average holiday treat. They’re unassuming and unadorned. No sprinkles, frosting, or decadent toppings here. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not deserving. Sometimes, it’s the rustic, homestyle treats that I cherish the most. These are an entirely new creation (for me, at least), but they taste like something that would come out of my grandmother’s kitchen. In my mind, anything that stirs up memories of Grandma’s kitchen is automatically worthy of holiday treat status.

Chewy Apple Cider Blondies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free)

1 c almond butter (unsweetened)

1 c turbinado sugar (or other granulated sweetener)

3 eggs

1/3 c apple cider syrup (you can get the recipe to make it at Lexie’s Kitchen. Mine was thick, like molasses. You can substitute about 1/4 cup honey for a different flavor)

scant 1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t almond extract

1/4 c coconut flour

1/2 c dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper; grease the paper.

Put all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for 1-2 minutes or until well-blended. The batter should be thicker than cake batter, but thinner than cookie dough. If it’s too thin, add a tablespoon of coconut flour and blend. Too thick, then add a tablespoon of water and blend. (Depending on your almond butter, the thickness of your batter may vary.) Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Serves 16.