Monthly Archives: November 2013

Gluten Free Stuffing

Image

A couple weeks ago, with Thanksgiving coming up, I couldn’t imagine that I would have made such an easy stuffing for tomorrow’s big feast! I’m pretty thankful that I saved lots of my gluten free bread in the freezer. I didn’t have a plan for what I would do with it, it was mostly ends that I wouldn’t throw away, and I had been saving them since August. I thought about bread crumbs at first, but that is so boring. So this morning when I opened my freezer, to get some cornbread muffins out, I took out my saved bread ends too!

This recipe starts with cornbread muffins, that are excellent, although much too crumbly. They held their shape better as mini muffins than regular size muffins, mostly because with the mini ones, they popped in your mouth instead of taking a bit. So I made ahead of time a dozen crumbly corn muffins that I knew would become stuffing. I froze them on the sunday before Thanksgiving.

Corn Muffins:
Ingredients:
1 Cup Unsweetened rice milk or other non dairy milk
1 Tablespoon raw organic apple cider vinegar
2 Cups Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 Teaspoon Baking soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 Banana, mashed
1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
Coconut oil for greasing

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin pan with coconut oil. Combine milk, apple cider vinegar, and chia seeds together. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients to the mixer and combine. Poor into muffin pan. Bake 23 minutes.

Now that you have muffins, you can let them cool and freeze them for future use, or use them now.

Stuffing Ingredients:

Leftover Cornbread muffins, cut into 1 inch pieces, 3-4 cups Leftover Gluten free bread, cut into 1 inch pieces, 3-4 cups
1 Large onion, diced
4-6 Stalks of celery, diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Cup of craisins (dried cranberries)
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Teaspoons dried thyme
1-2 Cups of low sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spread the cubes of bread and cornbread on baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the pieces twice to prevent overcooking.
IMG_9207

In a large pan, cook onions, celery, garlic, olive oil and Earth Balance, salt, pepper, and thyme. It will seem like a lot of oils, but once it is mixed with the bread, it’s not a lot. Cook on medium low heat until the onions are translucent and the celery is tender, about 15 minutes.
IMG_9212
In a large mixing bowl, combine bread cubes, onion/celery mixture, chicken broth and craisins. Place in a 9 x 13 baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.IMG_9213
I am in love with my Christmas cactus’ that are blooming in the background of all of my pictures. They make my kitchen so joyful for this time of year!

Candied Pepitas

Image

I have been nut free since my early 20s. My family didn’t believe that I have a nut allergy for years.  I’ve had my allergy since my early teenage years. I had an “ah-ha” moment when I was about to bite into a brownie with walnuts on it, and my face got itchy. A total “Pavlov’s dog” moment; I think I dreamed up the itch as a subconscious warning to myself not to eat it. From that moment on, I knew I was allergic to nuts. I don’t have anaphylaxis, thank goodness, but I do get a swollen tongue, and itchy bumps on my mouth and face. Since allergies can change, sometimes for the worse, I don’t take any chances with it.

It may be that I haven’t eaten a real nut in a long, long time, but I really think these candied pepitas (the seed of a pumpkin, shelled) are great! My first time having them, I felt the urge to make homemade Cracker Jacks. Ok it’s been a longer time since I’ve eaten Cracker Jacks, so I have no idea if the taste really is similar at all!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups Pepitas (I like to get the ones with sea salt already on them)1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 Cup Brown rice syrup (substitute honey)
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground ginger

Image

Directions:

Preheat Oven 300 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, making sure to spread out the brown rice syrup thoroughly. It tends to clump together but by using the back of a wooden spoon it should spread out. Some of the pepitas may break doing this, that’s ok! Spread out on the 2 baking sheets, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring the pepitas twice as they bake for balanced baking. They are done when they are bubbly but not yet browning. Allow to cool completely, and then break up into chunky pieces using your hands.

These are so delish, my sister, husband and I ate it all in one sitting. Thanksgiving is only 2 days away, and I hope the batch I cooked up today makes it that long!!

Image

Pumpkin Pie! Gluten free, nut free, vegan

Image

I’m so grateful to have this vegan pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year! Without eggs and milk, I was really afraid the flavor would not be right. I was happily surprised! We tried this out when my sister came to visit, she loved it! And she is a traditionalist in all things Thanksgiving, so for me that was a huge win! My daughter also loved it, and asked for more! With pumpkin and tofu as the main ingredients, I really feel as though it could be a semi-complete meal in case it’s the only thing my children will eat!

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Style Crust:
1 1/2 Cups Ground gluten free graham style crackers (I used Schar Honeygrams)
1/3 Cups Sugar
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 16 oz can pumpkin or equal amount of cooked pumpkin, well drained
3/4C Brown sugar
10 oz Firm Tofu
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

I used my food processor for this project. It did the best job. Put gluten free graham style crackers in the food processor and pulse until all big pieces break down. Add sugar, Earth Balance, and cinnamon, and pulse again until you can press the crumbles into pieces with your fingers. Pour crumbles into a pie plate and press into a pie crust shape. Place aside.

Also using a food processor, prepare the pumpkin pie filling. I found it a slight pain to have to wash out my food processor. I tried to make the filling in my kitchen aid mixer, but it did not work. It just made a lumpy mess that no one wanted to eat!

First, process the tofu until it is smooth and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until fully mixed. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the pie cooked, because the graham cracker crust edge burned. Next time, I will use foil all around the edges. Also, I’m planning not to let the pie crust rise up as high in the pie plate. The crust was perfectly cooked under the pumpkin filling.

This pie was a HUGE hit with my sister, the traditionalist, and my kids and husband! Mmm! My daughter has been asking for pumpkin pie ever since. Thanksgiving is the week, so the wait is almost over to have this pie again!!

 

 

French Potimarron Squash

Image

I cooked this beautiful French Potimarron Squash a few weeks ago. Isn’t it beautiful? I bought it at the farmer’s market stand in Yorktown Heights, New York. There was a woman ahead of me who was buying one as a decorative squash for the fall, but the lady at the register told her this squash is more delicious than a sugar pumpkin and makes the best pie! I had to have one too! When it was my turn at the register, the lady, who was quite a bit older and very informative, claimed to know a group of Eberhardts from Vermont! I was surprised because my father in law was born there! Perhaps they are the same, but I don’t think I’ll ever know. It was quite an interesting conversation to say the least!

I cut the squash in half same as a regular pumpkin, avoiding the stem part. The stem just snapped right off. The seeds were especially large, and I scooped them out.

Image

I baked this squash in two 9×12 baking dishes, as each half filled one. Cut side down, with a splash of water on the bottom to steam the squash. Bake at 350 degrees for just over an hour. When a fork easily pierces the skin it is done. Allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh. The scooping was a great task for my kids to do! It was so soft, and they had fun. They taste tested it too!

Image

Image

If you are going to bake with it, I suggest letting the squash further drain of liquid by using a cheesecloth inside a colander and allowing the extra water to drip for about an hour. If you are more pressed for time, you can wrap the cooked squash in the cheesecloth, and squeeze the liquid out. Image
You don’t want all that water if you are making baked goods. If you are using the squash for a sauce or a curry, or just as a side, it’s totally fine as is. 

A note on the flavor: The potimarron squash has an excellent flavor, with a lot of depth. It is often described as a cross between a chestnut and a pumpkin. It was a huge hit with my children, and I used part of it to make mini muffins for a Halloween preschool class, which all the children loved! 
Image

Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Pancakes

I have been craving pancakes for a while. We made GF, DF, egg free pumpkin waffles a few weeks ago, and they were not a success. Although edible, in my opinion, my husband disliked them a lot, and they were a no-go for trying again. He blames the pumpkin and although says they weren’t “terrible”, we won’t be doing them again.

Back to the drawing board, and this time I decided that I needed to perfect a basic, plain pancake before venturing into flavors and fancy things like the waffle maker!

These pancakes were so good that we made them and ate them before I even thought to take a picture! Sorry for not having a picture ready. I will update this post when I make them again. They are so good that I am going to be making these weekly.  We made them last night as the children’s late night snack. Please tell me in the comments if any of your children have this habit of eating before bed.

Ingredients:

1 C Brown rice flour
1/2 C Sorghum flour
1/2 C Potato starch
1 Tablespoon Tapioca flour
1 Teaspoon Xanthan gum
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups So Delicious Coconut milk
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread, melted, plus more for pan frying
Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips or other vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions:
Mix the dry ingredients in an electric mixer. Add the coconut milk and melted butter. Blend well. If the batter looks too thick, add another 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Heat a wide frying pan over medium heat, and melt a little Earth Balance spread. When spread starts to bubble a bit, laddle batter onto pan. Add a few chocolate chips on top of each pancake if using. Flip pancakes when bubbles appear on top, and bottom starts to brown lightly.  Remove from pan before over-cooking, and allow to cool for a few seconds before your children swipe them off the plate! (That’s what happened to mine!). Actually, allow pancakes to cool longer just so little hands and mouths don’t get burned. The pancakes came out a nice thickness; the kids literally ran off with them and they didn’t fall apart. We refrigerated some overnight for breakfast today. They fit nicely in our toaster and held their shape.

Since I don’t have a picture of the pancakes, I thought I would leave you with this beautiful picture I took last weekend at Croton Gorge Park. Brr it’s getting cold outside!
Image