What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

October 24, 2010

Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread (Lower Fat Version)

Filed under: Breads,Desserts — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 9:14 am

For a quick bread, this is pretty low fat.  The original recipe comes from a King Arthur Flour Cook Book that’s been in my pantry for years.  I’ve used low fat Buttermilk in place of full fat Sour Cream which insures the bread remains moist despite only 1/3 cup oil in the batter. 

I was going to make Pumpkin Bread again, but these bananas were calling out to me.

They look much worse that they are because we store our bananas in the refrigerator.  Some people say that’s a no-no, but I find that as soon as the bananas reach the perfect ripeness – which in and of itself a contentious matter at my house (just a touch of green left according to me but spotted with brown according to my husband) – placing them in the refrigerator will cause them to stop ripening, so you can enjoy the perfect texture and ripeness you like for at least a few days.  Oh, they won’t look very good, since the outside will begin to brown despite refrigeration, but the interior will still be perfect days later.  Try it.

Unlike with most of my baking, I decided to include the walnuts my children detest since I just can’t fathom Banana Bread any other way!  Spawn #1 still ate it, but he picked the nuts out of his slice.  Crazy Boy!

 What you’ll need:

2 Large Eggs

1 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Canola Oil

1 cup mashed (very ripe) Bananas

2 tsp Vanilla

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Solda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

2 2/3 cups Gluten Free Flour Mix (I used Brown Rice Flour Mix – see below*)

1 cup Buttermilk (or Yogurt or Sour Cream)

1 cup chopped Nuts

(*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 2/3 part Potato Starch, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line with Parchment Paper.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well.

In bowl of mixer, beat together Eggs, Sugar and Oil. 

Blend in mashed Bananas and Vanilla.

Add flour mixture and mix until combined.

Add Buttermilk and mix again,  just until combined.

Stir in nuts.

Spread in prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in center of the bread comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Slice and serve spread with butter or whipped cream cheese! 

Sure, to you that may seem to defeat the purpose of the lowfat bread but in my view, making a lower fat version of anything is the perfect excuse to compensate with the toppings!  For example: At Starbucks, I always order a Venti Decaf Nonfat Cafe Mocha topped with Whipped Cream!  Come to think of it, that would be a very tasty accompaniment to a slice of this bread!

Oh..and while your enjoying that little slice of Banana Nut Heaven, would you mind chiming in and telling me…who’s right about the Bananas?  Me? Or my husband?  When do YOU think they are the perfect ripeness?

October 13, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Filed under: Breads,Desserts — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 7:14 pm

I was wrong.

When I’d posted the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe a few days ago, I’d said:

“I did alter the spices in the recipe, since it calls for not just Cinnamon and Nutmeg (which are also used to flavor my traditional Pumpkin Bread) but also Ginger, Cloves and Molasses.”

But my traditional Pumpkin Bread recipe does NOT have Cinnamon in it!  I had remembered it wrong, and when I set out to convert that original Pumpkin Bread recipe to gluten-free today, I realized my error. 

Will you ever forgive me?

Instead of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Molasses, this bread is flavored with Nutmeg and Vanilla only.  It’s a quite a bit different flavor (the gingerbread-iness isn’t there) and now that I have sucessfully converted this recipe, dare I say it’s even better tasting than the muffins!  In fact, after conversion, there is no discernable difference between this bread and the traditional gluten-filled recipe that my younger son often begged for.  I just love when that happens!

He wouldn’t even let me finish photographing this bread before he nabbed a second slice!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup Canola Oil

1 1/3 cup Sugar

2 large Eggs

1 cup Pumpkin (I used canned Libby’s again)

1/3 cup Water

1 2/3 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix* (you can use All-Purpose Flour if you are a gluten-eater)

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum (only required for Gluten Free version)

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

3/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

3/4 tsp Vanilla

1 cup Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Walnuts or Pecans (if desired)

(*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 2/3 part Potato Starch, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch)

What to do:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and line bottom with parchment.

Combine Flour Mix, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg in large bowl.

Whisk to combine, then set aside.

Place Oil and Sugar into large bowl of mixer.

Mix together until creamy, then scrape down sides of bowl , then beat in Eggs, Pumpkin, Water and Vanilla.

Add the flour mixture.

Mix until combined, then add Chocolate Chips (and Nuts, if desired).

Pour batter into pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until tootpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and leave on counter overnight.  

It’s going to be difficult to wait, but this will be much tastier and much easier to slice the following day. 

Get up early, slice and serve for breakfast with your morning coffee.  This bread is ridiculously moist, so you won’t need any butter or other adornments.  Enjoy!

October 12, 2010

Homemade Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce

Filed under: Desserts,Fruit,Recipes,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:44 am

Warning: After tasting this, you will never buy the jarred stuff again!

Thank goodness, it’s easy enough to make your own!  Since it’s Apple Season, it’s inexpensive to make as well!

You might even be able to get some damaged apples for a song this time of year and since you’ll be peeling them, who cares about any bruises or blemishes on the skin? 

I used pretty apples this time, though.

It is fairly important to use a variety of apples for this recipe.  Since you are cooking them, and you want this to be chunky, some of the apples will turn to mush and some will retain their texture and shape.  Make sure to have at least 1 or 2 Granny Smith or any other apple variety you might use in a pie.

You’ll need:

9-10 Apples

Sugar (to taste – I use about 1/4 – 1/3 cup)

Cinnamon (to taste – I use about 2 Tablespoons)

2 – 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/3 cup Water

What to do:

Wash apples.

Peel, core and slice apples. 

Do you have one of these gadgets? 

If not, I would highly recommend getting one.  They aren’t expensive – I bought mine for less than $8 at Meijer in a half-off sale a few years ago – and they do the job in a jiffy and entice helpers to come into your kitchen to share the work with you!

Here is my Sous Chef at work.

The  slicer cuts the peel into one long – and fun – continuous strand, perfect for slurping.

So, once your coring-peeling-slicing is done by the super-gadget, your apples will look like this.

 

The leftovers will look like this.

This is going to make some chickens I know very, very happy!

Now, cut the apples into pieces.  Just quarter each apple.

And viola!  They’re not too big.  They’re not too small.   They’re just right!

Place all apples into a large saucepan, and add lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and water.

Toss together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook until apples reach the texture you desire.

You can serve this warm – it’s AWESOME over Vanilla Ice Cream – or let cool before eating. 

How about using this to top your favorite Pancakes or Waffles for breakfast?  Mmmmmm.

This will keep in the refrigerator for several days – IF it lasts that long!

October 10, 2010

Hot Potato, Hot Potato! Spicy Breaded Oven Fries

Filed under: Potatoes,Recipes,Sides,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:57 pm

(Oh great – now that song by The Wiggles is going to be stuck in my head all day!)

Do you like French Fries? 

I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that you answered “Yes” to that question.

These are a much healthier and much tastier alternative to regular French Fries.  We first tried this recipe, which was loosely adapted from a recipe I’d seen in some cookbook I’d checked out of the Library, a few summers ago during one of our camping adventures in the yard.  Although I cooked these inside the house in a regular oven (one of the great benefits of camping at home), we served them beside veggie burgers and ate them around the fire pit.  They were a big hit!

Back then, I made them with regular bread crumbs, but since we discovered Spawn #1 is gluten-intolerant, I now use gluten-free Bread Crumbs, which I easily make myself.  Here’s how to do it:

You’ll need some slices of Gluten Free Bread.  The leftover ends work well, but any slices will do. 

Cut into cubes (or just tear if you don’t want to get your cutting board and knife dirty).

Place into bowl of your Food Processor.  If you don’t have a Processor, you could use a coffee grinder, working in small batches.

Process until they are the texture you desire – coarse or fine.

Place crumbs in a baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  You don’t want them to brown much, you just want to get the moisture out.

 

 Let cool until ready to use.

I usually like to make a batch with whatever GF Bread is leftover on the weekend when I make a fresh loaf for my son.  Recently, we rarely have any bread leftover from the week to make crumbs because my new everyday bread is so tasty that it’s often all gone even before I can bake up another batch! 

Just store your crumbs in a freezer bag inside the freezer, and remove only what you need for your recipes.  They will keep practically forever.   I use my frozen crumbs frequently for Zucchini Au Gratin during summer’s bountiful Zuchinni harvest.

Now that we have our crumbs, we can make our Spicy Breaded Oven Fries!

Here’s what you’ll need:

4 large Potatoes

4-5 Tbsp Bread Crumbs

1 Tbsp Canola Oil

1/4 tsp Cayenne (or less if you can’t handle spicy)

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Thyme

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with Parchment and set aside.

Measure out your spices into a bowl.

Combine spices with Bread Crumbs, then set aside.

Scrub Potatoes and cut in half.  Then cut each half into wedges, leaving some skin on each wedge.

Place Potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle half of crumb mixture over potatoes.

Toss well with a spoon.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top.

Toss again, until all the potatoes are fairly evenly coated with the mixture.

Individually lay each wedge on the parchment lined pan, trying to keep them from touching too much.

Once all the potatoes are in the pan, sprinkle any remaining crumb mixture left in the bowl over the top.

Slide trays into oven on middle rack.

Bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on size of wedges) at 425 degrees, until crisp and golden.

Enjoy piping hot with Ketchup on the side for dipping!  Yummy, Yummy! :-)

October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Gluten Free, Of Course!)

Filed under: Desserts,Muffins & Quick Breads,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , — admin @ 6:41 am

Well, another very busy workweek is behind me, and I’m feeling the guilt of not having blogged since last weekend’s Layered Fiesta Dip.  It’s not that I haven’t cooked this week, but I haven’t made many new things and certainly haven’t had any free time to talk about it!  

Early this week though, before the mad rush of work took over my time, I did make these muffins.

 

Since it’s officially Autumn now, and there is no longer any way I can remain deluded about it, my taste-buds are beginning to crave one of those familiar Fall favorties – pumpkin!  Spawn #2 is crazy about my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread, but it’s not a gluten-free recipe and I was determined to give him the taste he was looking for in a treat that Spawn #1 could enjoy as well. 

I thought about converting my tried-and-true recipe into a gluten-free version, but I really didn’t have the time to experiment.  After all, if the conversion flopped, I would be faced with my Spawns’ dissapointment and no extra time to make up for it.  I was determined not to let my babies down! 

So, I brought out The Cookbook.

There has yet to be a recipe from this book that hasn’t worked for me.  We love Annalise’s  Blueberry Muffins and her Chocolate Fudge Cake, the latter of which I haven’t posted for you yet but really, really need to do so soon!  Even when I change up the recipes a bit, I have success, like with my Rosemary and Sea Salt French Baguette

So, I decided to give her Pumpkin Muffins a try.  I did alter the spices in the recipe, since it calls for not just Cinnamon and Nutmeg (which are also used to flavor my traditional Pumpkin Bread) but also Ginger, Cloves and Molasses.  I was a little fearful of a very Gingerbread-y tasting Pumpkin Muffin and – I don’t know about you but I’m just not ready for Christmas flavors yet! 

So here’s what I used in my version of these muffins, which turned out beautifully by the way!  Of course, if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be posting them here.  That is my continued promise to you – I’ll never post a lousy recipe! :-)

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix (*see below)

1 cup Sugar

1 tsp Baking Soda

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

3/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon (I increased this from the 1/2 tsp the recipe called for since I was omitting other spices)

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

2 Large Eggs

1/4 cup Water

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 Tbsp Molasses

1 cup Pumpkin Puree (I just used the canned Libby stuff)

1 cup Chocolate Chips

*(Brown Rice Flour Mix – 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch, 2/3 part Potato Starch)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.

Man, is my pan ever stained and old!  Well it still works, so I’m okay with it if you are. 

Next, place all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) together in a large bowl.

Whisk until combined.

In bowl of electric mixer, combine all wet ingredients.

Mix until well combined, then add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Don’t overmix.

Now, mix in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.  I love my spring release scoopers for this task!

Once filled, place in 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in one of the center ones comes out clean.

Remove from pan immediately to a wire rack.  I use a soup spoon to gently lift the muffins out.

Let cool before serving. 

These muffins were very tasty, and even better the next day with my morning coffee once the chocolate chips firmed up.   The Molasses did give these a slight Gingerbread flavor that I don’t get with my traditional Pumpin Bread and I’m really glad that I left out the Ginger and Cloves because that probably would have been over-the-top.  Nonetheless, nearer to the Holidays, I’ll try this recipe as written when I can better appreciate those flavors! :-)

October 3, 2010

Layered Fiesta Dip and a “Falloween” Party

Filed under: Appetizers & Dips,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 7:34 pm

It practically seems insulting to post this, since it is so ridiculous easy and has been around such a long, long time.  There are a few different versions circulating though, and I am asked for this recipe from time to time, so I am going to go ahead and share it, in the hopes that some of you out there might appreciate it and – hopefully – not be insulted.

We attended a “Falloween” party last evening, and I brought along this dip, along with my Gluten Free Brownies.  We went home with a couple Brownies leftover, but this dip was wiped right out. 

My husband tells me that this Layered Mexican Dip recipe actually originally came from the Hostess whose party we attended last night.  It was passed on to his mother back in the 70’s and then to me many years after, and it has changed through the years I have made it so that I no longer even remember the original incarnation. 

Before I share the recipe, let me share a few snapshots from the party, will you?

This party is an annual shindig and it is always so much fun, especially for the kiddos.  Each year, there is a different theme and different activities.  This year, there was a bounce house.

And pumpkin decorating.

My baby decided to keep it pretty simple.

There were more elaborate decorations on display, though.

Last year, professional face-painters were on hand to adorn the faces of the wee ones…

…and the not so wee ones.

The “I’ve Just Been Run Over” design was a big hit with both the big and the little boys.

This gathering is one of the highlights of our Autumn each year, and my boys are looking forward to the next year’s event before we even pull into our driveway on the way home from  the current year’s party!

They talked about the party tonight over Layered Fiesta Dip.  Yes, I did say that the dip I took was wiped out last night.  But I have learned through the years that nobody is really satisfied unless I make two dishes: One to take along, and one to keep at home for the next day! 

Here are the recipe proportions for a single 9 x 12 dish or a single large round platter or pie plate.  Double everything if you are making two dishes like I did.

What you need:

1 – 15 ounce can Refried Beans

4 oz block Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 packet Taco Seasoning Mix (about 2 Tbsp if you buy it in bulk like I do)

1/2 -12 ounce package Shredded Mexican Cheese (or Colby or Mild Cheddar)

1/4 cup Chopped Green Onion

1 medium Diced Tomato

What to do:

First, spread Refried Beans in bottom of serving dish.

Combine Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Taco Seasoning with mixer until fairly smooth.

Spread Cream Cheese mixture atop Beans in dish.

I like to leave a little of the Beans on the edge uncovered if I’m using a round plate.

Sprinkle with Shredded Cheese.

Top with Green Onions and Tomatoes. 

You can also add chopped black olives, and as much as I would love to,  my family begs me not to so I don’t.

Serve with Tortilla Chips.

This really is so simple, and so yummy!  Try it for your next party or potluck, but be sure to make an extra dish that you don’t have to share! :-)

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