Sunday, December 30, 2012

You Can't Catch Me

Winter chills brought out the recluse in me so excuse the lapse of lyrical lines from me dear readers. Many mugs of mulled cider were made and the fireplace cooed with flames around the clock. But I am back in business so to speak and kicking it off with a delightful treat. It wasn’t long before cabin fever came knocking and I began chasing imaginary gingerbread men around the abode. With my sanity restored enough to be allowed near my kitchen appliances I caught that little ginger and mashed him into a mouthwatering, buttery button of comfort. Oh the things I do for you.

So before you start “resolutioning”, dig into one of these beauties and savor the last sugary morsels of 2012. Happy New Year my friends, and I toast you with a mug and mushy cookie from my kitchen.

Soft & Slightly Spicy G-Free Gingerbread Cookies
I wouldn't call this cookie waist line friendly, but hey one never hurt right! The spices were bold enough to please our adult taste buds and light enough to not scare away my son. A perfect ending to any holiday meal and definitely a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Ingredients
·         1 ¼ cup gluten free all-purpose flour
·         1 tsp ground ginger
·         ½ tsp ground cinnamon
·         ¼ tsp ground cloves
·         ½ tsp baking soda
·         Pinch of kosher salt
·         ¼ cup + 2 tbs margarine, softened
·         ½ cup white sugar
·         1 large egg
·         1 ½ tsp water
·         2 tbs blackstrap molasses
·         1 tbs white sugar (to roll the cookies in)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl sift together your flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together your margarine and cup of sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. When combined, slowly add in the flour and spice mixture.

Shape dough into balls, a little smaller than a golf ball size, and roll them in the tablespoon of sugar. Place the cookies a couple inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and press down slightly to ensure they cook evenly.

Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. I baked for 9 minutes, pulled from the oven and let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before removing them and placing on a plate.
Enjoy with a tall glass of milk! (Almond milk for this gal). Store in an airtight container for the freshest cookies days later.

Indie: 1
Gingerbread man: 0.

Thanks again for reading this year and I look forward to providing you many more gluten free friendly recipes in 2013!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Pretzel My Buttons Mr. Winter

The once bright orange and blood red leaves are fading to earthy browns and littering the lawns. The autumn air is crisper, hinting of colder days to come. Our evening walks are now accompanied by big puffs of wispy breaths, smoking the air in between us. I found myself in shock yesterday, realizing that my favorite month is on its way out, waving its bare boned branches in farewell.


I am not ready to let go though. Stubbornly I sorted my mourning thoughts and dug into my cabinets, fishing out ingredients to soothe my aching soul. A recipe that fights back at the notion that winter is pushing its way in. And what says October more than a piping hot pretzel, sprinkled with salt, melting in your mouth?

Flour caked my pants all afternoon and dough clung under my nails. The courtyard doors were sprung open, but I dared not shiver and admit defeat. No, this last October Sunday afternoon would not be tainted by the north winds. Even if it meant I baked in my earmuffs.

Rosemary and Sea Salt Pretzels
Adapted from TwoPeasandTheirPod
This is my first foray into gluten free pretzels and I must admit it was quite a challenge. Sunday afternoons are recommended as it is a long process to make them. I boiled one batch before baking and made them into pretzel “bites”, and the other batch I curled and shaped straight to the pan. The non-boiled pretzels tasted more like bread, while the boiled and more of a pretzel consistency. Both were nonetheless delicious, especially dunked in spicy mustard. Enjoy!

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups warm water
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
• 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
• 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
• 5 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
• Canola oil, to grease bowl
• 3 quarts water (if boiling)
• 2/3 cups baking soda (if boiling)
• 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
• Coarse sea salt

Directions
In the bowl of your mixer combine first four ingredients (water, sugar, yeast, and butter) with a dough hook. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a bowl whisk sea salt, flour, and rosemary and slowly add to the bowl on low speed. Increase your speed and knead until the dough sticks together and pulls away from the bowl. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Lightly coat a large bowl with canola oil and add your dough ball. Cover with multiple towels, and place in a warm dry place for the dough to rise. I let mine rise for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove dough and divide into 6-8 pieces, depending on how large you want your pretzels. Shape by crossing the right side over the left, than left over right. Flip ends up.

Place on baking sheet. Whisk the egg with 1 tbs of water, and brush over the tops of the pretzels. This will give them a nice golden glow. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with spicy mustard!

If boiling:

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, slowly. Divide dough into “bites”. Submerge pretzels for 30 seconds than place on baking sheet. Be careful when removing as the dough is very flimsy!

Follow instructions for baking above.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Please

Fall is by far my favorite season, and with the crisp leaves crunching under the soles of my boots, I feel like taking a walk in a new direction. A direction that involves more deep breathes of brisk morning air, more meditation, more time carved out for family, and more cooking.
Obviously the last bit is where you’re supposed to be excited. I know it’s been a while since my last post and I could throw a million excuses at you, but instead I shall throw you a recipe that makes up for lost time. And what do you know, it happens to incorporate my favorite fall ingredient…pumpkin.


The last few weeks I have been drooling over a local café’s pumpkin cookies. Queenies, a small shop housing big seasonal flavors in Utica Square, has been a favorite drop in lunch spot for me since high school, so it was no surprise that I was inspired by all their fabulous fall treats. Unfortunately their pumpkin cookies aren't kind to the g-free tummy so I was once again on a mission to sate my sweet tooth.

I probably searched for an hour yesterday for a recipe that I could easily adapt gluten free without a bunch of substitutes. I've honestly always been a little leary of recipes involving ingredients like xanthum gum or 8 different flours. After a long search I settled on a couple recipes to adapt from...and then I bought my first can of pumpkin of the season, shocked that it just purchased. Usually by now the stuff is in permanent stock in my pantry.

I am not claiming this recipe to be “healthy” dear readers, but we all need a treat or two every now and then right? I am sure you are hoarding halloween candies in your households so a little butter and sugar won't hurt. Just go for a long walk in the wispy autumn wind afterwards!

I decided to test the recipe on my husband and son without letting them know it was gluten free to get a true response. They both scarfed down a few within minutes so I think that gives you an honest answer. They were pretty astonished when I revealed my little secret, and then promptly both helped themselves to another. My co workers had praise as well, and I do believe I will be repeating this for them very soon.

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
These cookies turned out cakey, almost to a muffin top consistency. Fluffy and rich inside and topped with smooth icing helps them glide down easily, and the pumpkin and spice bring all the delicious flavors of fall to your taste buds. Try and eat just one, I dare you. My son loved them without icing, but everyone else doted on them with icing. You should definitely try both! Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking.

Ingredients
• 2 ½ cups bob’s gluten free flour mix
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 ½ cups baker’s sugar
• ½ cup butter, softened
• 1 can organic pumpkin
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
• Gluten free cream cheese frosting (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients (spices, baking soda, powder, and flour) and set aside.

With a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add in dry mixture until fully combined. Your batter will be pretty sticky so you may have to scrape down the sides every so often.

Spoon batter onto cookie sheets and lightly press down. This will ensure the middle cooks all the way and allow you to create form to the cookie.

I baked there batches of a dozen at a time, for about 13-15 minutes. Watch the edges of the cookies and pull when they are slightly golden brown.

Let cool completely, then ice with your favorite cream cheese frosting!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midwestern Comfort

Football arrived in a booming fashion last weekend. It blared from my speakers and spiked my blood with unrelenting energy! I’m using this as reasoning for my insane decision to run 4+ miles in Okie heat for a bag of okra from the farmer’s market on Saturday. I don’t live that far but it was necessary to hit the bank’s ATM first which made one heck of a sweet Saturday morning stroll.

I don’t know what sparked my desire for but sometimes we just need some good ol’ Midwestern comfort cooking in our kitchen. Sorry, since we don’t live in the south so I couldn’t justify this to be a southern comfort food and took the opportunity to rebrand if you will. Plus folks, it ain’t fried.

So as the wind came sweepin’ down the plains that morning (or rather the light breeze down the running path that was dotted with the sweet aroma of honeysuckles and sweat), I began to mull over recipes in my head. The thought of subjecting the fresh okra to Crisco torture made me cringe. My trek was making me put that okra on a mouthwatering pedestal!

So, I decided that to get the most of my woody green stems I would roast them. A little salt, pepper, and olive oil sounded simple and a dash of jerk spice found at the market sounded salivating. Obviously you can use whatever spice your little Midwestern heart desires but you know I always gravitate towards sides with a bit o’ kick!

This okra took no time at all and it gave comfort without any butter or deep fry bath. Eat your heart out Paula Deen.

Spicy Roasted Okra
This okra was slightly crunchy on the outside, and delightfully moist on the inside. I had to seriously refrain from eating them off the baking sheet before I plated. Okay, maybe I had two. Or five. Go for smaller okra as the large ones didn’t have as great of texture in my opinion. Simple Midwestern comfort at it’s best.

Ingredients
• 1 pound whole okra
• EVOO spray
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground pepper
• Seasoning of choice (I had jerk seasoning to use up!)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 450F.

Rinse your okra well and pat dry. Lightly spray with olive oil and toss in your spices. I am pretty liberal with mine, as you all know very well by now. Place evenly on a baking sheet and lightly spray one more time with olive oil. This is where spray versus liquid comes in handy.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning half way and watching closely so they don’t burn. Let cool and serve warm!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Eureka!

I get overexcited over pretty simple things, maybe to the point of embarrassment to those around me. I often catch myself overly panting and awkwardly commenting to myself when these periods of overwhelming elation happen. Case in point, the blueberry sale at whole foods yesterday. It was a “EUREKA” highlight and apparently my subconscious decided she had to celebrate publicly.


Let me paint a picture for you. I had been aimlessly wandering around the store prior to the eureka occurrence, pondering what kind of birthday cake I was going to make for my neighbor, and dear friend. It had to be quick. It had to be delicious. And, it had to be gluten free. Does anybody else feel the desperation that manifested itself while I mulled over these monstrous demands?

Ok, maybe not monstrous, but last second miracles rarely turn out as well as this did. I fist pumped the gluten free gods after this one.

I digress. After grabbing Pamela’s gluten free cake mix (yes I had to cheat friends, don’t judge), I found myself trying to find solace in the produce section. And there they were. Carton after carton stacked delicately upon wooden crates and screaming, “Here I am! Use ME in you cake and all your troubles will melt away.” I may have hit the point of frantic delirious cook at this point. Blueberries. Bright, juicy, unbelievable plump blueberries. The saliva pooled in my anxious dry mouth, and I began to tremble with excitement. Lemon zest, blueberries, whipped vanilla icing… perfection. And to pack in a real punch, and feed the crowd, I decided it had to be two layers. Yes, I embraced insanity and it never tasted so good.

Lemon Blueberry Gluten Free Cake
I have always liked how moist Pamela’s gluten free cake mix turns out for me. I am excited to try this recipe subbing my own almond flour mix next time, but trust me don’t overlook this recipe. The cakes stacked with fluffy delight on top of one another and burst with sweet blueberry and fresh lemony flavor.

Ingredients
• 1 bag Pamela’s gluten free vanilla cake mix
• 1 pint blueberries
• Zest of one large lemon
• ½ large lemon, squeezed
• 4 eggs
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• ¼ cup water

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease two round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except blueberries and mix well. Do not over mix. Gently fold in your blueberries. Pour evenly into the 2 pans.

Bake for 20-23 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes at least before transferring to stack. I made the cakes at lunch and let them settle and cool in the pans for a couple hours.

To assemble, tip first cake onto serving dish. Gently pat a thin layer of vanilla, whipped with a little lemon zest, icing over the top. Place second cake on top, and gently press down to help it stick. Lightly cover the top of the cake with another layer of icing. Add blueberries for decoration if you wish.

I let mine sit in the fridge until it was time to serve which helped it not crumble, and keep moist.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Honey Lavender Almond Butter

Bless my husband who deals with my erratic cravings. I am worse than a pregnant woman when I crave something. Seriously. Steer clear when I am with child because it might get ugly. There will be tears and tantrums in my future, and not from the kiddo. I will admit it friends.


My recent craving is almond butter, and loads of it. I stand sheepishly shoving spoonfuls of the goop hurriedly in my mouth while my husband looks like I have lost it. And maybe I have. But I’m taking the jar of almond butter with me. Just you try and pry it from my hands.

Have you ever noticed how pricey store bought almond butter can be though? I feel like I could dip into my son’s college funds just trying to cover the cost. Justin’s almond butter is so sinfully delicious but I cannot justify seven dollars a pop once a week. And with my craving not sated and going on three weeks I decided to take action. I rolled up my sleeps (spotted with bits of creamy dots from digging the last drop out of the Justin jar) and preheated my oven.

Honey Lavender Almond Butter
I cannot believe how simple it was to make almond butter! The lavender brings a clean earthy taste to the butter, and the honey a smooth sweetness. I roasted my almonds before but you can use them raw.

Ingredients
• 2 cups raw almonds
• ¼ cup honey or agave
• Dash of vanilla extract
• 1 pinch lavender

Directions
Roast the almonds at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. When you begin to smell them, they are ready.

Put the almonds in your food processor and blend for 15 minutes. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. The almond will form into a dough ball than smooth out into creamy heaven. Blend less for chunkier almond butter and more for creamier.


Add in vanilla and lavender. Pulse to combine. Pour into a container and stir in honey or agave.

Enjoy!! I am keeping mine in a mason jar in the fridge. Top your fruit or you can do what I do and eat it right out of the jar. This method repels husbands quite well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stinky and I Know It


I happily trotted down the produce section and eyed the snappy green asparagus bundle immediately. Oh the forbidden, oh the tormenter of my family’s soul, oh my gosh I can actually purchase without a side of guilt! I plucked the rubber banded stems out of the bin and placed them awe-stricken in my shopping cart.

Yup, I am throwing an “I’m-stinky-and-I know it” party tonight. My son seems to sing the M&M commercial, "sexy and I know it" song all the time now so it seems right to add my own G-rated spin off in hopes he'll adopt my version. Feel free to hum it while roasting.

Asparagus seems to be a point of contention at my house. My son looks at it like it’s the not so jolly green giant and my husband, well, let’s just say it makes him feel like the stinky kid in the room. I won't explain futher, you get the gist.

But, this week I am living solo so I can be "stinky" all I want. The boys are away and into the kitchen I play, cooking up dishes that have unfairly warranted teary eye ducts and turned up noses in the past. At least I think unfairly…then again I have proposed black bean brownies previously which probably lost me a few readers. I am more than okay with that though, more fudgy fingers for me. So a polite warning, those of you with an asparagus aversion don’t hate me for the following recipe.

I’ll be stinky and I know it,
An asparagus lover and I’m not afraid to show it.

Mustard Crusted Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms
Oven roasting vegetables brings out an incredible aromatic explosion of flavors without a lot of work or ingredients. This is very simple and very quick. After all, I wouldn’t want you slaving away in this heat to be the stinky kid the room.

Ingredients
• 1 bundle asparagus
• 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 3/4 jar stone ground mustard of choice, I found a lovely organic g-free french brand
• Pepper


Directions
Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Clean and trim the bottoms of the asparagus stems. In a large bowl coat mushrooms and asparagus witht eh olive oil. Add your mustard, combine well, and let marinate while your oven heats.

When oven has heated, lay spears and mushrooms evenly on a baking sheet. Lightly dust with black pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, turning half way.


Let cool and serve! I was eating it right off the baking sheet…but hey like I said, I am solo!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Reggae fest was recently in town so of course you know what WE did… throw a Jamaican pre-party mon! You know I will find any excuse to throw a theme party and entertain.

The smells of jerk wafted into my house into the wee hours as we visited over red stripes and rum punch. Sticky plantains and syrupy pineapple bits clung to our fingers but apparently didn’t sate the all of our sweet toothed guests. Enter the coconut peanut butter cookie.


Between the fruit bowl and punch I knew that it was quite possible I would be creating an angry sugar crashed mob but that didn’t stop me. As scorching as it was, I still wanted to bake. I was a stubborn little Indie in a dread wig rolling giant clumps of peanut butter and coconut in her kitchen. I promise you this idea came prior to the rum punch drinking.


This cookie was perfect for the occasion and simple to make. I had some guests say they didn’t like coconut and were surprised to find that maybe there was an exception to their preconceived opinion. I can't say I wasn't happy to have a few left over to treat myself the next day though! You know how it is when you entertain, you forget to serve yourself sometimes.


Coconut & PB Cookies
These little gems don’t require any funky flour mix! They are simply gluten free and definitely finger lickin’. The coconut lightly toasts on top and gives a crunchy texture to the very smooth melt in your mouth cookie. I doubled the recipe below since I was feeding an army of rambunctious reggae guests but the original makes plenty for the family!

Ingredients
• 1 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 large egg
• Dash of organic vanilla
• Pinch of salt
• ½ cup shredded coconut, plus more for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a mixer beat your egg, sugar, baking soda and vanilla. Add your peanut butter and mix until combined.

Remove from the mixer and fold in coconut. Lightly wet your hands and form golf size dough balls. Place on a non stick cookie sheet and lightly flatten. Sprinkle coconut on top for a nice crunch.

Bake for 15-17 minutes depending on how gooey you like your cookies. I pulled mine right before 17 and let cool for 10 minutes.

Did they taste delicious? YA MON!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Morning Margherita

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

When your godmother gives you cherry tomatoes, make a margherita.

A little miracle happened this weekend. My son slept in until 8:30 Saturday morning! A promising start to the weekend you would think right? Well, my husband decided coffee at the crack of dawn was more important. So much for sleeping in. Groggily I putted to the patio, and openly welcomed the summer air. After all, the fortunate consequence of awaking early is the brief but delightfully cool  hours before the sun begins to beat down unbearably. Four cups of coffee and rocking later, I was buzzed, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Oh, and starving of course.

I headed right for the little brown bag of cherry tomatoes that my godmother gifted me the day before. As a child I would pick her vines dry, popping every little red balloon into my mouth in a frenzy. I had to restrain myself from eating the entire bag and instead pursued the recipe I thought of while taking inventory of the cupboards and fridge. Mozzarella, fresh farmer’s market basil, cherry tomatoes, and eggs… Oh yes, I would toast the weekend with a morning margherita.

Margherita Scramble
Fresh and simple ingredients made this a healthy and filling breakfast. This one will definitely be repeated! Recipe makes two large servings.

Ingredients
• 4 free range eggs
• ½ cup fresh basil, julienned
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• ¼ -1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, pulled apart into thin pieces
• Pepper and salt to taste

Directions
Cut and prepare all ingredients. Add eggs into a medium sauce pan and cook on medium/high heat. When the outsides look solid, add basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. Fold and scramble until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste and serve!

And wouldn't you know, all that margherita caused me to get Naked after! ;)


Have you tried coconut water yet? I am officially obsessed and highly suggest you do!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Paleo...So Easy A Caveman Could Do It

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Banana.
Banana who?

It was a long holiday weekend of bright sunshine, bubbly company, and boisterous surroundings. To say we were exhausted yesterday would be a gross understatement. My dear husband, sun crisped back and all, spent the day on the golf course so naturally I was responsible for the clean up/organization of our house. Typical. However, it was worth the recipe that sparked when I began to put away our leftover food stash. Loads of bananas, walnuts, and honey crowded the counter, provoking my creating juices. Apparently my body was weak but not my cooking drive. Lucky for you and for me dear readers.


I wanted to bake something simple, healthy, with clean ingredients. Obviously gluten free muffins don’t fall into any of those categories for me usually (especially simple) but that is the first thing that came to my mind. A banana base, almond flour boost, and spiced burst of flavor.

For you dedicated cross fit friends of mine, these puppies are for you too! They are “paleo” and gluten free. Maybe I need to exhaust myself in the sun and lake waters more often if this is what comes of it.

Banana Nut Muffins
Adapted from With Style & Grace
These paleo and gluten free muffins are so easy a caveman could do it! They had a great texture and melted in my mouth. I didn't even think they needed any butter or other additions. I know what my new breakfast go to is going to be now! Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup almond flour
• 1 tbs ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 tablespoons whole flaxseed
• 1 tsp of nutmeg
• 1 tsp of salt
• 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1-2 tablespoons organic honey
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
• 1/3 chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Combine all dry ingredients, except walnuts, in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mash your bananas well with a fork. Add in all wet ingredients to the bananas and mix well.

Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredient bowl and combine well. Do not over mix!
Fold in your pecans. Spoon batter into a lined 12 cup muffin pan, about ¾ of the way full.

Bake for about 20-23 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

ENJOY!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's A Big Dill

Sundays are a day of both catch up and preparations. The drifting smells of laundry detergent and dish soap fill the inside of my house while pungent pinion dominates my side patio during brief coffee break breathers. My mind is racing with plans for the week, checking my shortage of supplies and making endless lists.


After multiple circles around piled up clothing and stacked dishes I decided to take care of a more enjoyable task on my list: the fresh bundle of dill taking up large residence in my fruit bowl. Every time I passed the island I was filled with sweet ideas and desire.
Dill chicken, dill cheese, roasted dill vegetables…OR, Lemon Dill crackers.

An idea that sprung from the spread at Farmer's Market last Saturday. Between the booths of fresh cut flowers and grass fed meats were bundles of green, leafy dreams. Fresh Swiss chard, romaine, spinach, arugula and of course herbs provoked me from the wooden baskets and crates. One bouquet in particular seduced me in, its forest green, fluffy, skinny stems allowing me no chance of refusal. I snatched a bundle up and the delightful smell of dill pressed into my fingertips and nose. Daydreams of potential recipes skyrocketed until the sounds of the market throttled me back to reality. Back to my kitchen. Back to my oven. Back to my next recipe for you.

Lemony Dill Crackers
Based of Oh She Glows Vegan Crackers
These crackers are bursting with fresh flavors and are super easy to make. They pair beautifully with cheese but also make a pretty darn good snack by itself. Filled with nutrients and low in good fats, I know you will be making them over and over again. Feel free to sub different herbs!

Ingredients
• ½ cup brown rice flour

• ½ cup almond flour
• Half lemon, shaved peel and juice
• 3-4 tbs fresh dill, roughly chopped
• 1 tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• 2 tbs whole flax seed
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• ¼ cup water
• ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil


Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and mix well. Knead the dough and form into a ball.

On a baking sheet, preferable lined with parchment paper which I will do next time, roll out dough to desired thickness. I like a little thicker of a cracker but whatever you prefer of course!


Slice the dough with a pizza cutter, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!!



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

100th Post Toast!

GF INDIE has reached 100 posts. WHEW! We made it!
I believe that with any landmark in one’s life comes an appropriate celebration. We could drink oodles of champagne or yell from the top of the mountain but…that one glass of champagne simply won’t cut it and unfortunately the only thing close to a mountain around Tulsa is “Turkey Mountain” which my friends is sadly a tall hill. However when someone asked me what I did over the weekend I CAN legitimately say I climbed/hiked/trail ran a mountain right? I trust you will keep my secret.


I have a better celebratory contender that beats the bubbles and the belt out though. Sprinkles! Oh yes, those colorful little slits of sugar that sit atop sundaes. But these won’t be adorning cupcakes or creamed desserts my friends. Oh no, that wouldn’t be enough for this Indie.

Enter, cake batter cookies. Moist, addicting, ooey gooey celebratory sprinkle bliss. Spread all over pinterest I knew this would be the perfect recipe for disaster on my diet celebrating 100 posts. A small fix here and there to the ingredient list to make it gluten free and these cookies were close to holy grail standard. I added an egg for binding, and upped the oil just a tad to keep them moist.

Ill keep the cork on the champagne, skip the hike, and instead toast you from the kitchen in a cake batter cookie salute.

Thank you all who have put up with me for 100 posts. Maybe I will sneak one more cookie to cheers to the next 100…

Gluten Free Cake Batter Cookies
I don’t know what else you could possibly ask for in a cookie. They are packed with fun sprinkles, easy and quick to make, require few ingredients, and even come out splendid with store bought gluten free cake mix! But I had you at sprinkles right? I made 2 batches of 12…some of the cookie dough may have not made it to the cookie sheet though!

Ingredients
• 1 package gluten free cake mix, I used Pamela’s Yellow Cake Mix
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 3 eggs
• ½-3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup sprinkles!

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Try not to eat too much of the dough.

The batter will be sticky so I suggest to light wet your hands for the next part.
Roll into small almost golf size balls, and lightly pat down onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

ENJOY!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Farmer's Market Fixation

I adore going to the Farmer’s Market. I eagerly await Saturday morning every week when I can jump out the covers, grab my basket and thermos brimming with local coffee, and briskly bounce a mile or so to Cherry Street. I let the whole market envelope me with its smells, early morning smiles, cute children groggy with bed head (my son and husband are included in this bunch), and the sweet smells from strawberries and sun kissed flowers.


I am daydreaming drearily as I write this post dear readers because alas it is but Monday and I have days ahead before I can indulge in my farmer’s market fixation again. Maybe the few photos from Saturday will sate me until then, and to sate you…how about carrot juice? I couldn’t think of a better and clean way to use up a bunch of carrots! I had a little glass myself yesterday and am craving another! I know my basket will be piled with a few bunches this weekend and definitely some more strawberries which didn't last longer than 2 days between the three of us.

Now if that juice and these pictures don't satisfy you, I beg for a day or two to refine a devilish delight I have been toying with in my kitchen. I won’t disappoint my friends!

à bientôt.

Breathtaking Flowers!


Luna Bread's enticing options on Saturday! Loved seeing more gluten free on the street!


Pre-Juicing


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Spring in My Step

The weather is warm, the trees budding, the flowers blooming…spring is here and for once I am welcoming its presence instead of cursing my allergic reactions. I don’t even mind the nose drips or the dry eyes that consume me while devouring the delicious delights of mother earth. Maybe it’s the calming strolls in the dewy grass of the nearby park in the early morning, or the blissful breezes that brush against your skin while running. Or maybe it’s the invigorating bubble in your soul that flickers excitingly with the sounds of rebirth. Whatever the reason, consider me a changed woman when it comes to my thoughts on the season.


Another reason to adore spring? Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available to remedy any dinner! I am breathing better (despite the pollen) and thinking more clearly about what dish will satisfy our hunger pains. I don’t despise cooking on the spot, hunkering down in the hot ovens while the winter chill baits me, but rather indulge in the process while basking in the spring winds that flow through the open French doors into my kitchen, spreading the aromas throughout the house like wild fire.

Last night’s dinner was a product of my husband’s craving and imagination. A brown rice pasta base smoothly snuggled with warm puttanesca, roasted asparagus, cremini mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes. It’s early in the morning and yet I could definitely take another bowl down right now. Simple and satisfying without weighing too heavily on a tummy recovering from a fast evening sprint.

Spring Puttanesca Pasta
This recipe can easily be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. We had store bought puttanesca in the pantry but of course making your own would be fantastic! I had some leftover asparagus from the farmers market so I baked it quickly for some green nutrition. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients
• ¾ bag Tinkanyada Brown Rice Pasta
• 2 chopped tomatoes
• 6 cremini mushrooms sliced
• I bunch asparagus
• Salt & pepper
• Garlic and herb seasoning
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red bell pepper, slicked
   ½ jar puttanesca sauce
  
Directions
Toss asparagus with a little olive oil, garlic and herb seasoning, and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the asparagus bakes, bring a large pot of water, 2 tbs olive oil, and pinch of salt to a boil. Add pasta and cool for 13-15 minutes.

In a saucepan add mushroom and red pepper tossed in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and cook until soft. Drain pasta and add back into the pot with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauce. Mix well and divide up into four bowls. Top with asparagus (chopped if you please) and serve!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nirvana Asparagus & Strawberry Salad

Yesterday was fruit and veggie nirvana. I felt inspired, light, and maybe a little light headed but nonetheless content. I love the energy I get from vegetables, the spikes of happy juice from fruits. Talk about getting down to earth!

I bought many vegetables to roast and rummage through throughout the day which eventually brought me to dinner. I couldn’t decide if I was craving something savory or sweet. So I got a little selfish and satisfied both!

After examining the fresh local spread in my refrigerator I plucked the plump local strawberries and ostentatiously green asparagus from the crisper and set to work. What followed was so tempting it felt sinful and heavenly at the same time. Roasted asparagus sprinkled with herbs and roasted to fork tender perfection. Ripe ruby red strawberries sliced thin, waiting to be married with its merry partner. Ah my mouth begins to pool with drool just remembering the burst of flavor that flooded on first bite. A dish that would sate any palette at any time of the day. Have I teased you enough?

Well if that is not enough to convince you, it took only 15 minutes to make and mate the two contenders and quite less to devour. A perfect spring simplicity that dotes on every taste bud.

Roasted Asparagus and Strawberry Salad
This salad was easy to throw together and tastes like you spent a pretty penny. As long as you use equal parts of both ingredients you can make it as large as you want. This recipe below was overly filling for one and would make a great side dish for two!

Ingredients
• 1 bunch asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• Mr. dash garlic and herb (no sodium) seasoning
• Strawberries, sliced thin

Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse your asparagus and trim the bottoms. Toss in the olive oil and seasoning to coat. Lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes, tossing once.

Slice strawberries, and chop roasted asparagus. Eat a couple right off the baking sheet while your husband looks away...then toss together and enjoy!!

Still craving ASPARAGUS recipes? Check out Carole's featured asparagus recipes on her blog this week!
Carole's Food on Fridays

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wonder Soup!

I look at the title of this soup and automatically the superhero chime dings along side it in my head. And here it is…WONDER SOOOUUUP. No? You didn’t get that bouncing melody while reading it? My overactive imagination must be in high gear today. Maybe it is from the large potato I consumed for my breakfast this morning. Honestly it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be…I just should have “baked” it in the microwave versus baking in my oven. 1 hour and I couldn’t call breakfast well done.


Potato insides that are tougher than my stubborn streak aside, I am delighted to share with you this delicious and healthy recipe acquired from our GM diet. If I don’t get anything out of this week besides this soup recipe I’ll be satisfied. I will definitely be adding this soup to my weekly menu as it is fiber packed and simple to throw in your crock pot OR stock pot. But you know which one I chose already right?

WONDERful Detox Soup
A versatile veggie soup based off the GM diet’s Wonder Soup, you won’t have any trouble filling up with one fill of your bowl! I cut the recipe in half and put it in the crock pot to slow simmer all afternoon. You can put whatever veggies you like but my advice is to not skip the cabbage! It was my favorite addition.

Ingredients• ½ head cabbage, julienned
• 1 can Amy’s Organic whole fire roasted tomatoes
• I bunch celery, chopped
• 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
• 1 packet Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup Mix
• 24 ounces water
• Kosher salt & pepper
• 1 green pepper, sliced
• 3 large onions, sliced

Directions
I combined all the ingredients in the crockpot and simmered on high for 5 hours. It was delicious! It made 4 servings so much to munch on for tonight and tomorrow. You can add other vegetables to your liking to switch it up and keep your taste buds from boredom.

Diet Diary Update

Today I honestly don’t feel much different...yet. My husband and his fellow male companions have already dropped a few pounds. Oh you men and you're easy peasy attempts at dropping LBs. Hopefully I will follow suit with at least feeling lighter. My goal has never really to pipe down the scale but rather feel a different fit when zipping my dress up, or taking on a long run with ease due to a heatlhier diet.
I can’t complain about all the yummy food I get to eat though and definitely have not felt deprived. I think I may have overdosed on the fruit yesterday but it just made me want all these veggies today.

Toasting my tea to you dear readers!



Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Cleaning...for the Body!

Have you started your spring cleaning? I take extreme precautions on when to start mine these days and know not to touch my fleece and feather trimmed dresses until at least the middle of April. In the past years when I have finally moved all my winter weather wear into storage the weather has inevitably turned icy, mocking my attempt to jump start on organizing. I refuse to be fooled by the Oklahoma weather this year my friends and will keep super superstitious.


While pondering my start date I got to thinking about spring cleaning and the extreme gratification I feel after, and decided that I can apply it to other parts of my life. Enter the GM CLEANSE DIET. My husband wanted to “jump start” his diet regime and decided this was just the ticket. Passed down from his boss who had great success, the diet’s outline landed in my mitten free hands on Friday. Still not touching those clothes my dears. It intrigued me although I am both a skeptic and cynic with “cure all diets”. Nevertheless, I will give you one guess on who his fellow cheerleader/motivator is…

Me. Anti-fan of fad diets Me. Nevertheless, he needs a partner in crime and well you all know by now that I am always a willing guinea pig. Best part? The diet is gluten free so I didn’t have to do any leg work there. Worst part? I am starving right now. My Inspiration? Curiosity and a white bathing suit I will be slipping into in 2 weeks. Scottsdale here I come!

delicious local strawberries for inspiration today
We started the diet today and I am keeping my fingers, toes, and bikini strings crossed that it is a success. I will let you know how it goes friends! To join me on my journey see the detailed instructions below. I have included the vegetarian version at the bottom, which I will be following since I personally feel better with a plant based focus diet.

I have the special soup in the pot as we speak and will report back with photos and feelings in the next couple days. Hopefully with a little less of pooch ;) I will also let you know any alterations I make for better/worse.
PS- winter clothing still snug as a bug and holding up permanent residence in my downstairs closet for one more week. I advise you to follow my lead fellow Oklahomans.

GM DIET
This plan can be used as often as you like without any fear of complications. It is designed to flush your system of impurities and give you a feeling of well being. After seven days you will begin to feel lighter because you will be lighter by at least 10 lbs. You will have an abundance of energy and an improved disposition.

During the first seven days you must abstain from all alcohol
You must drink 10 glasses of water each day

Day One All fruits except bananas. Your first day will consist of all the fruits you want. It is strongly suggested that you consume lots of melons the first day. Especially watermelon and a loupe. If you limit your fruit consumption to melons, your chances of losing three lbs. on first day are very good.

Day Two All vegetables. You are encouraged to eat until you are stuffed with all the raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. There is no limit on the amount or type. For your complex carbohydrate, you will start day two with a large baked potato for breakfast. You may top the potato with one pat of butter.

Day Three A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice. Any amount, any quantity. No bananas yet. No potatoes today.

Day Four Bananas and milk. Today you will eat as many as eight bananas and drink three glasses of milk. This will be combined with the special soup which may be eaten in limited quantities.

Day Five Today is feast day. You will eat beef and tomatoes. Eat two 10 oz. portions of lean beef. Hamburger is OK. Combine this with six whole tomatoes. On day five you must increase your water intake by one quart. This is to cleanse your system of the uric acid you will be producing.

Day Six Beef and vegetables. Today you may eat an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables. Eat to your hearts content.

Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

Tomorrow morning you will be 10-17 lbs. lighter than one week ago. If you desire further weight loss, repeat the program again. You may repeat this program as often as you like, however, it is suggested that you are allowed two glasses of white wine in addition to the instructions on the program. You may substitute champagne for white wine. Under no circumstances are you to drink any other alcoholic beverages with the exception of beer which is allowed. Any liquor (bourbon, vodka, rum) is forbidden. Cream drinks are especially forbidden. You may have an occasional cordial such as crème de menthe or schnapps, but you must always limit yourself to two drinks. If you wine, drink only wine that day. If you have beer, drink only beer that day, etc. Alcohol adds empty calories to your diet. However, after the first week it will help your digestion and settle your stomach.

G.M.’S Wonder Soup

The following soup is intended as a supplement to your diet. It can be eaten any time of the day in virtually unlimited quantities. You are encouraged to consume large quantities of this soup.
28 oz, Water, 6 Large Onions, 2 Green Peppers, Whole Tomatoes (fresh or canned), 1 Head Cabbage, 1 Bunch Celery, 4 Envelopes Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Herbs and Flavoring as desired.

Additional Comments

Vegetables as may be taken in the form of a salad if desired. No dressing except malt, white or wine vinegar, squeezed lemon, garlic, herbs. No more than one tea spoon of oil.

You have been given a recipe for the WONDER SOUP which can be eaten in unlimited quantities. This soup is a supplement while you are on the program and it should be a pleasure to eat. Not everyone likes cabbage, green peppers, calory etc. This recipe is not inflexible. You may substitute vegetables according to your taste. You may add any vegetables you like: asparagus, peas, corn, turnips, green beans, cauliflower, etc. Try to stay away from beans (lima, pinto, kidney, etc.), however, because they tend to be high in calories even though they are very good for you.

Beverages you may consume while on the program :

1. Water (flavoured with lemon/lime if desired).
2. Club Soda is OK.
3. Black Coffee. No cream or cream substitute. No sugar or sweetness.
4. Black Tea = Herb or Leaf.
5. Absolutely nothing else except the fruit juices which are part of day seven. No fruit juices before day seven.

How and Why It Works

Day One you are preparing your system for the upcoming program. Your only source of nutrition is fresh or canned fruits. Fruits are nature’s perfect food. They provide everything you could possibly want to sustain life except total balance and variety.

Day Two starts with a fix of complex carbohydrates coupled with an oil dose. This is taken in the morning for energy and balance. The rest of day two consists of vegetables which are virtually calorie free and provide essential nutrients and fiber.

Day Three eliminates the potato because you get your carbohydrates from the fruits. You system is now prepared to start burning excess pounds. You will still have cravings which should start to diminish by day four.

Day Four, bananas, milk and soup sound the strangest and least desirable. You’re in for a surprise. You probably will not eat all the bananas allowed. But they are there for the potassium you have lost and the sodium you may have missed the past three days. You will notice a definite loss of desire for sweets. You will be surprised how easy this day will go.

Day Five, Beef and tomatoes. The beef is for iron and proteins, the tomatoes are for digestion and fiber. Lots and lots of water purifies your system. You should notice colorless urine today. Your allowance calls for the equivalent of five “quarter ponders”. Do not feel you have to eat all this beef. You must eat the six tomatoes.

Day Six is similar to day five, Iron and proteins from beef, Vitamins and fiber from vegetables. By now your system is in a total weight loss inclination. There should be a noticeable difference in the way you look today, compared to day one.

Day Seven finished off the program like a good cigar used to finish off Victorian meals, except much healthier. You have your system under control and it should thank you for the flushing and cleaning you just gave it.

Schedule for GM Diet Vegetarian


Similar to the typical GM Diet, the vegetarian version of GM diet also requires you to follow a seven-day schedule.

Day 1 Only fruits. Just like in the regular GM diet, only fruits are allowed to be consumed on the first day. All fruits can be consumed in generous quantities except for bananas, as they are high in carbohydrates and potassium. Water intake should also be observed at 10-12 glasses during the whole day.

Day 2 The second day involves potato and vegetables. A cup of baked potato would serve as the body’s main energy source for the day, and then it can be followed up with vegetable dishes during lunch and dinner. Vegetable soup is highly powerful during this day, as it provides all the energy the body would need.

Day 3 Fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables may be served the whole day, from breakfast to dinner, including midday snacks. Fruit juice can also be taken aside from water, although no bananas or potatoes are allowed.

Day 4 Bananas and milk. Banana and milk combos may be consumed all day, with vegetable soup servings during lunch and dinner. Banana and milk may be taken in the form of shakes, during breakfast and midday snacks.

Day 5 Brown rice and tomatoes. Instead of beef, brown rice is used on Day 5. One cup of rice is good to last for the day together with tomatoes in order to induce cleansing.

Day 6 Brown rice and vegetables. On this day mixed vegetables may be consumed all day, together with one cup of rice.

Day 7 Up to two cups of brown rice may be consumed, together with fruit and vegetable servings.





Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lucky's Restaurant on Cherry Street


Luck has nothing to do with the impeccably crafted menu at Lucky’s on Cherry. Tucked into a small section of a ‘mini strip’ if you will, they hide behind a simple exterior and surprise you immensely upon entering. Sunshine radiates during the lunch hour and warm candlelight bathes the dinner crowd. Rich hues and tasteful touches add a creative and decadent ambience. Try the food and you melt into the complex symphony of fresh, crisp, delicacy. And I must add of course that their gluten conscious menu is no exception.


We took our g-free neighbors to STOMP the other night (quite entertaining) and let them choose the place for dinner. After listing six or so to her she decided on Lucky’s, a spot she had yet to try in town. Upon mentioning they had a gluten free menu it made this cherry street gem sparkle even more.

We sat down and immediately informed our waitress that the three of us would be dining gluten free that evening. Menus were dispersed, drinks ordered, and our tummies began to grumble just in time for the rich complimentary hummus to arrive. Usually served with pita, the dish was accompanied instead with a plate stacked highly with crisp crudités. There is something so charming about vegetables that look like they were just plucked from the garden and served straight to you. Note the cute little carrot tails.

the pictures are dark due to lighting sorry folks!



 I chose the Trimabach Riesling Chicken ($22.00). I am one of the "exceptions" to the food world that doesn’t cower when wanting to order the chicken. My husband insists that “chicken is chicken” and is mostly dry when ordered at a restaurant. Maybe I have more faith in our local chefs, and after trying this dish I more than delighted to say that it didn’t disappoint. It was served in an earthy lemongrass broth on top of jasmine rice, green beans, and enoki mushrooms. The chicken was bursting with moist and tender flavor, the accompaniments pairing perfectly in texture and flavor. Take that chicken doubters.
My neighbor Myrsini opted for the same dish while her husband delighted in his choice of the salmon.

Everyone’s (well the g-free diners that is) overall consensus? A must try for an upscale night out, stylish lunch hour, or spectacular brunch. They also offer a wonderful vegetarian menu! This place caters to all palettes.

Lucky's Restaurant
Monday - Thursday 11am to 10pm
Friday from 11am to 11pm
Saturday 5pm to 11pm
Sunday from 11am to 3pm

They are located at:
1536 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
(918) 592-5825

Visit their website for additional information

Friday, March 2, 2012

40 days & 40 nights

Remember in highschool/college you gave up something for lent that inevitably aided in your mission to lose weight? You had this amazing perception of 40 days of diet bliss where you would emerge on Easter and look glowing and thin? I had my spiritual goals I made for Church and then my “giving up” something goals I wrote down at the Catholic school I attended. No fried food, no refined sugar, etc.


Maybe I should have focused on a less “shallow goal” if you will but hey, I looked at serving two purposes and all leading to a healthier enlightened life right? Right?

Anyhoo, this year I was deciding on what I was going to give up for lent. After much deliberation, I decided that I was going to give up “raising my voice”. I don’t do it often, but when I do it is unbecoming. I never wanted to be the person that yelled when I was frustrated or didn’t get my way. Maybe with another year under my belt I am growing wiser. Maybe.

But I gave up fried food too. What can I say, old habits die hard.

That said I bring you a delicious recipe. You knew that was coming right? If I am going to be perceived as shallow a pursuer of 40 day health, I might as well give you a finger lickin’ UNfried recipe out of it to redeem myself. One of the hardest things for me to turn down is French fries so I knew that had to be one of my “Lenten revamp recipes.” Oh I do adore a good French fry…and 40 days without one? Get OUT of here!

Garlic & Rosemary Baked French Fries
Baked to crispy crunch with seasoning that melts over your tongue, these un-fried fries definitely compete with it’s deep fryer counter part.

Ingredients
  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbs dry rosemary
  • 1 tbs Kosher salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Directions
Preheat your oven to 450˚F. Cut your potatoes length wise about a quarter inch thick. Place in a large mixing bowl, lightly drizzle olive over them then toss to coat.

Add garlic, rosemary, and salt. Toss again to coat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Flip at this point and bake for another 20 minutes.
Let cool for about 5 minutes then enjoy!
Warning, do NOT get so excited and try to eat them right off the pan as burned finger tips will ensue.

**Sorry there weren't pictures of the fries. They went fast. And there may be band-aids on my fingertips.