Monday, January 26, 2015

Coconut Applesauce Shortbread Cookies

Hello lovely gluten-free foodie friends. It has been a long while.
A, LONG. while :)

Last summer when I took a hiatus, I moved from our home with two small kids to a temporary {more rural} location for 8 weeks, then finally to our new home in new part of town. It was a long summer and fall and we are still trying to make sense and the craziness and get settled in 2015. I gave myself the space to put a halt to blogging and creating new recipes and just live in the moment and the convenience of the present. And for those friends that I was living with over the summer, they know I can't stay away from the oven for long. They found me baking goodies late into the night as my kids finally went to sleep.

I can't stay away. Not from gluten-free baking. Not from you.

No matter how hard I sometimes want to or need to. I can't stop baking and enjoying the attempt at new recipes and ideas in the kitchen. So I will start again. I have been making a few new recipes that I love over the past year that haven't made it to the blog yet. So that is where I will start. I hope this year will bring many new creative ventures in the kitchen and a continual pursuit of health and healing in the home. Thanks for following along and giving me another reason to put my recipes and thoughts to pen, I mean blog :)

This cookie recipe was born over the holidays when trying to make a simple cookie to serve with Against All Grain's Pumpkin Pudding Recipe. I LOVE this pumpkin pudding recipe because it is so simple and can be eaten as a treat while still sticking to a very simple and healing diet. A friend of mine posted it on facebook around December and I pulled up the link and was like whoa, I have all those ingredients already to go! Yum.

But when I was going to bring this pudding dish to a party I felt like it needed something more with it to look more than just a bowl of orangy pumpkiny poo. I wanted it to be served with a some-thing special dipping treat. So to avoid nuts, and grains, I made a simple shortbread cookie that only required a few ingredients as well. Another way I added these cookies to a holiday treat was a chocolate fondue. I made my chocolate sauce or an easy chocolate dip made from 1 can full fat coconut milk and 1 bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips both melted together to create a creamy chocolate ganache dip. I made the chocolate dip and centered it in a bowl on a large serving platter then added these cookies, homemade marshmellows (recipe soon!), fresh fruit (clementines, strawberries, bananas, ect) and you have a pretty easy platter of simple deliciousness. These cookies are so simple with simple ingredients that I am sure you could find dozens of ways to enjoy them.

Coconut Applesauce Shortbread Cookie Recipe
{gluten, grain, dairy, egg, refined sugar, soy and nut-free}
1 cup of organic coconut flour
1 cup of soft or melted organic coconut oil
1/3 cup of homemade or unsweetened applesauce
1 TB to 1/4 cup of sweetener of choice: pure honey or maple syrup
1 ts. of ground ginger
pinch to sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If your coconut oil is not soft, then melt it in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Pour the flour and ginger and salt in a pour, add the wet ingredients and then stir quickly by hand with a spatula while wet and sticky. Let batter sit for 5 minutes to let the dough get tough. It should be a soft but pliable consistency. If it is still too sticky then add a dash of flour until it more stiff and pliable. If it is too stiff then add a spoonful of applesauce or sweetener to make it more pliable. Use your hands to press and roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out a 1/4 inch thick piece or dough. It is best to use small cookie cutters. No bigger than 2-3 inches in diameter. This will help the final cookie product to not be so easily broken. Coconut flour is very fiberous and it easily broken when baked and dried out. So it really works best to make a small half dollar or smaller sized cookie. 

This recipe will make 3-4 dozen small cookies. Place on baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Watch closely. They bake very fast you can bake a little lighter or longer depending on your preference. I a happen to like them a bit crispy and browned so I bake closer to the 12 minute mark. 

I hope you try these lovely simple treats out and the AAG Pumpkin Pudding as well. A perfect treat even if you are trying to cleanse and heal your body this new year.

Lots of love to you!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gluten Free Carrot Cake without nuts and dairy

I'm a bit behind with this recipe. I've been wanting to post it for 3 weeks now. But better late then never, right?! It was my birthday a few weeks ago, then my daughter's first birthday last week, and all in the in between it's been busy busy. So I guess this time of year should just be known for being busy and life being very full. Hearts are happy and full so there is no ounce of complaining here. I am especially celebrating life this year. Thankful for life in all it's ups and downs and all that it has to offer with tears and joys and all. Life is grand!
Especially where carrot cake is involved. I never knew I loved this cake so much until this year. It is so moist and glorious. Plus with a hearty dose of carrots you might as well skip the veggies and eat your cake ;) Well, maybe just for your birthday :) It is a delicate and tender cake with a pinch of spice and a tangy sweet topping of maple cream frosting. I can actually say that I could not imagine a better birthday cake. So will I be making this again next year? Or will I imagine something greater for next year's 30th?
This birthday cake was very memorable for me. Not sure why I was feeling all nostalgic? Does this happen when you turn 29? I think about the last decade and where it has taken me and where I have travelled on so many adventures. This is the last year of a decade. And ending to the book. Turning the last page. But like all endings, there is a new beginning as well. I am looking forward to 30, and maybe 29 is my year to get ready. I will be totally ready in 335 days from now when I turn 30, I just know it ;)
I hope you are able to celebrate life for all it's gifts. I hope you find people to eat cake with and remember that life is about 2nd chances and finding the good. That is why I love birthdays so much. You are able to reflect on the year's past and all that you encountered and experienced. You are able to say with confidence that you would never do that again or that you can't wait to go to the next level. And it's a chance to plan, pine and wish upon a new year before you with a clean path and new chances to see the good and gifts in life. Please, if you haven't yet, celebrate, truly celebrate in your own way your day of birth. 
For me that last few years my celebration has involved creating a new cake and the excitement of having a  really good excuse to make something wonderful and share it with those I love. If I had a weekly birthday to celebrate I am sure I would loose the wonder. But with only coming once a year, it gives me time to ponder and really get excited and enjoy.
I have made this recipe a few times, once without any dairy and once with some grass-fed butter and organic cream cheese. Both ways turn out great and the dairy-free is just as wonderful and you'll never feel like you are missing some main ingredient. I did also make this recipe without walnuts or pecans, but you could easily add nuts if you desire or some raw sunflower seeds if you really want a crunch to your cake as well.

Carrot Cake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, soy and refined sugar-free}

1 cup of soft organic coconut oil
1 cup of powdered coconut palm sugar
4 farm fresh eggs
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
2 ts. of pure vanilla extract
3 cups of freshly shredded carrots
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce or coconut yogurt
1/2 cup of fresh ground oat flour
1/2 cup of fresh ground buckwheat flour
3/4 cup of tapioca flour
3/4 cup of white rice flour
(or 2 1/2 cups of your favorite GF flour blend)
1 ts. of ground cinnamon
1/2 ts. of ground ginger
1/4 ts. of ground nutmeg
1/4 ts. of ground allspice
2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

First, grind up your coconut palm sugar in a high powered blender to get a powdered sugar to cream with your coconut oil. Cream the oil and sugar together until soft and creamy. You can sub using grass fed butter for the coconut oil, which I actually did once and adds a rich butter flavor to the cake.  
Once you cream the oil and sugar, add the eggs and whisk all together until thick and creamy batter emerges. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Lastly grind GF oats and buckwheat groats in your grinder/blender to get the best GF oat and buckwheat flour. Add in the flours and dry ingredients. Make sure all the dry in mixed in well and then pour batter into oiled cake pan. I used 2 9 inch cake pans for this recipe, but you could use a bundt pan or a 9 x 13 cake pan as well. Bake cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. If you choose to use 2 9 inch round pan then check cakes around 30 minutes and should be done around then or 35 minutes.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 ounce dairy-free cream cheese (Daiya brand)
1/2 cup of softened Earth Balance butter spread (soy-free)
1/4-1/3 cup of pure maple syrup

Put all of the above ingredients in a bowl and whisk well with a hand whisk or a electric mixer. It is easier if you let the vegan butter and cream cheese sit out on the counter for 30 minutes beforehand for a easier time mixing. I think it yields a better whipped topping too.  

You can use dairy in this recipe and in place of coconut oil use room temperature grass-fed butter or regular yogurt in the cake recipe. And for the frosting use a regular organic cream cheese with grass fed butter instead. I have tried it both ways and both ways it tastes great!

Spread the frosting over the cake and top with shredded carrots for color and fun.
Time to share and celebrate! This cake is so moist and rich. I love everything about it! I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy! Much love and light to you this year and may you find joy in the gifts of life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gluten-Free Honey Oat Dinner Rolls

Two recipes in one week?! What has gotten into me after only posting like once a month for the last year?! Well, these rolls. They are fabulous. And since we have a holiday coming up this Sunday I thought I better get my game together and post the recipe. They are a perfect addition to any Sunday dinner feast and then not to mention they are also yeast, sugar, dairy, nuts, and of course gluten-free. 
If you have made or are a fan of my Soft and Chewy Oat Baguette Bread then you for sure ready to try this recipe out. Or maybe you have made something like this already with the recipe. I just tweaked a few of the amounts of that recipe and came up with this recipe to make one dozen hand sized rolls. So the ingredients are super simple and this recipe is very easy to make with no rising time.
They have a nice crust and yet very chewy and soft. They are a tad sweet and nice and soft. Perfect to pair with a feast of a meal to sop up any juices or sauces you have sprinkling the plate of savory foods your family so wonderfully prepared. It is also a great pair to any hearty bowl of soup. I myself have just warmed up some leftover soups for a simple dinner of soup and a hearty roll. If you have felt a little left out since going gluten-free at the family dinner table when they pass the roll, I say, "NO MORE" my friend, "no more!"
Honey Oat Dinner Rolls Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, soy, and sugar-free}

3 TB of psyllium husk powder (must be powder, not seed or husk)
1 cup of pure water
1 cup of non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened hemp or coconut)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar

3 TB of raw honey
2 TB of olive oil

1 1/2 cup of finely ground fresh GF oat flour
(grind 1 cup GF rolled oats in high powered blender)
1 cup of brown or white rice flour or sweet sorghum flour

1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. aluminum free baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda

sprinkle up to 1/4 cup extra oat flour for dusting and kneading rolls

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the psyllium husk powder, water, milk and apple cider vinegar together. It will turn into a thickened blob in a few minutes, then whisk in the oil and honey in together. *You can sub the honey for maple syrup if you are a strict vegan* 

Then, add all of the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until all of the flour is blended, but be careful to not over mix and make it too sticky. 
It will be spongy and you can dump the dough on a parchment paper or wood cutting board. Then roll the dough into a ball, cut in half and then each half into 6 parts. 
Then roll out with your hands each roll. The trick I learned while working at a bakery in college was to take the roll dough portion and keep it on the table or board with your hand caged over it with your fingers secured to the board. Rotate your hand cage over the roll dough until it forms a ball. You may need to use a little rice or oat flour if the dough is a bit sticky on the board. You can also reserve a little flour for dusting the rolls before baking.
Then finally arrange the rolls on a parchment papered baking sheet and pat the rolls with a drop of water and sprinkle with some oat flour or whole rolled oats. The water helps the oats stick while baking. Then put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, but can last for 45 minutes if you want a thicker crust. The rolls will be soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.
Pull from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting or handling. This will help the baking process finish and yield a non-gummy roll. When cooled you can store in an air tight container or ziplock bag on the counter for 3-4 days. Or else you can also keep in the fridge to store longer and pull out to warm up before serving. 
These rolls would be perfect to-go snacks as well with a slather of seed butter. But for Easter dinner you could put them all in a warm kitchen towel in a basket and serve with your favorite version of butter. They are easy to slice through the middle, or if you prefer the pull-a-part-roll, these fit the bill as well. Really these lovely sweet rolls could be used in many ways to make your gluten-free heart and tummy happy.

I hope you are finding ways to plan for a stress-free Easter meal and that these sweet rolls make an appearance. Much love and light to you this holy week and Easter spring season. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Honey Yogurt Cake with Honey Cream Glaze and Fresh Strawberries

Cake. One of my favorite things to make. And eat of course. But still I think I might just love making it more. A moist, dense, fluffy cake to share with a table of people. To celebrate. To give thanks. To share. It is a treat to enjoy by just sitting and being with those you love. This cake specifically has already been shared and celebrated a few times over the past few weeks, and it isn't even my birthday yet! (hint hint, yes another cake recipe in the near future :)
This cake celebrates spring. It's finally made it's appearance and I have been enjoying every ounce of it, even the spring thunderstorm in the background of my typing keyboard. It took a while to get here this year and now that it's finally here it feel so rich and deep that I can't imagine having waited for it for so long. But that is the beauty of spring. The wonder of popping crocuses and buds. The amazement that we still have grass and plants under all those inches of frozen snow we had covering us for months. It's unbelievable, spring came again! And it's fresh morning breath breathes life, goodness and new hope for all the tomorrows.
Hope. Hope that life is so much deeper and fuller than we have ever expected and dreamed. That is also what is a needed reminder when traveling this gluten-free and healthier lifestyle. Some days are hard. You have symptoms, stress and needs that seem to never end. I encourage you to breathe deep and focus on the tomorrow. Take the steps you need to feel strong again and even if they are inch-sized steps and you are only taking one. You can do this. Celebrate the accomplishments you have made. And breathe deep gratitude for life and all it's gifts.
Celebrate. May I suggest maybe with cake? And maybe with those who love and support you most. This life is not meant to be lived alone friends. Even this gluten-free life. We are doing this together and we can find ways to make it seem more normal, more simple, and dare I say....happier than we have known before. That is what this blog is about for me. Encouraging you to stay the course with good recipes and hope for the journey and the healing process. Keep on keeping on dear friends!
Honey Yogurt Cake Recipe
with Honey Cream Glaze and Fresh Strawberries

1 cup of softened organic extra virgin coconut oil
1 cup of powdered coconut palm sugar
3 farm fresh eggs
1/3 cup of pure raw honey
1 cup of coconut culture milk or yogurt (I used So Delicious)
2 ts. of pure vanilla
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup of fresh ground GF oat flour
1/2 cup of fresh ground buckwheat flour
2 ts. of baking powder
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt

First, grind up your coconut palm sugar in a high powered blender to get a powdered sugar to cream with your coconut oil. Cream the oil and sugar together until soft and creamy. You can sub using grass fed butter for the coconut oil, which I actually did once and adds a rich butter flavor to the cake. If you don't have to worry about dairy, grass fed butter is a favorite choice! Also I used So Delicious' newest product of a cultured coconut milk which is very much like a sour cream or plain yogurt. It worked perfect for this cake and makes it dairy-free. I loved how it made the cake moist and dense. If you are fine with eating dairy you could sub the coconut yogurt for any organic plain yogurt or even a greek yogurt if you prefer.
Once you cream the oil and sugar, add the eggs and whisk all together until thick and creamy batter emerges. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Lastly grind GF oats and buckwheat groats in your grinder/blender to get the best GF oat and buckwheat flour. Add in the flours and dry ingredients. Make sure all the dry in mixed in well and then pour batter into oiled cake pan. I used a angel food cake pan for this recipe, but you could use a bundt pan, or 2 round  9 inch cake pans. Bake cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. If you choose to use 2 9 inch round pan then check cakes around 30 minutes and should be done around then or 35 minutes.
Let the cake cool and then you can whip up the cream glaze to spread over when completely cool. 
Cream glaze recipe is 2 simple ingredients.

Honey Cream Glaze Recipe
1/3 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup of raw local honey

Use a small spatula to whip up the glaze and spread over. It is super simple and delicious. Then slice 4-5 fresh organic strawberries side by side and you get 20-25 slices to decorate the top of the cake. I liked making a large strawberry flower on the top of the angel food cake circle pan. 
This cake is somewhere in between a pound cake and a sponge cake. It is so moist and not crumbly. No gums were needed to get this great texture and I love how you don't feel like you are trying to chew a gummy cake log. Cake should be perfectly moist and easy to swallow . This cake is that and recipe that I have made again and again to come out perfect every time.
This would be a good recipe to try out for an after Easter dinner dessert. Strawberries make it look and taste so fresh and beautiful.  I would make this cake again for my birthday next week, but I am thinking of making a carrot cake this year... we'll see what happens :)
Much love to you and yours. May you find a new found hope this spring and ways to rid your life of pain and bondage and welcome fresh beauty and new life. Happy Easter to you!