Chickpea Nuggets….

Who doesn’t fondly recall childhood memories of chicken nuggets? They were a staple of my diet until the age of ten! These days the thought of breaded, fried chicken pieces makes me want to ralf! Instead, try these golden nuggets of goodness.

Mini Chickpea Cakes/ “Chickpea Nuggets”

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas/garbanzo beans coarsely with a fork or potato masher. Stir in carrots, breadcrumbs, salad dressing, and egg; mix well.
  4. Shape chickpea mixture into small patties, using about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture for each patty. Place on prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until chickpea cakes are lightly browned on both sides. Serve with additional salad dressing for dipping.
Feel free to switch up the Salad Dressing according to your preference, or to add your own flair with spices. Diced Jalapeno Peppers add an awesome “zing” to these nuggets!
What would you add?!
This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

    An Italian Grandmother, I Am Not….

    We are all too busy! 
     We run here and there, hither and thither, barely stopping to eat, much less cook. 
    As much as I would LOVE to have all day to loving stir a simmering pot of fresh tomato sauce, 
     …it just ain’t gonna happen!
     But… I have always wanted to make my own tomato sauce. Tonight was the night. I am turning into a rather adventurous old broad! 
    I used my in-laws as guinea pigs! While the pot simmered, we spiralized a few zucchini, steamed some brussel sprouts, and set the table. A delicious vegan dinner in no time flat! 
    Buon appetito!


    Working Woman’s Homemade Tomato Sauce
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
    • pinch Red Pepper Flakes
    • 2-3 stalks Celery, chopped
    • 1 Carrot, chopped
    • small handful Crimini Mushrooms, about 5-7, sliced
    • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
    • 2 (28oz) cans Eden Organic Crushed Roma Tomatoes (BPA Free!)
    • 1 Bay Leaf
    • 1 Tablespoon dried Oregano
    • a few handfuls fresh Baby Spinach
    • 1/4 cup packed fresh, Italian Parsley, chopped
    • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
    2. Saute’ onions, a pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes until translucent, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add celery, carrots, and mushrooms and saute’ until soft, add garlic and saute’ about 30 seconds.
    4. Pour crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, spinach, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.
    5. Reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes.
    6. After about 7 minutes, add chopped fresh parsley. Continue to simmer about 3 minutes.
    7. VOILA!
    Now Mangia!

    "Carol Style"….

    My last post, I promised to reveal my newest Vegan Drop Biscuit recipe. 
    GF Guy always loved when I made these biscuits, a fact that I am VERY proud of! They are packed with Omega 3 & 6 fats and fiber, and are, overall, a healthy gluten-free bread option. …PLUS, they can be whipped together in less than 20 minutes
    Normally, I create my own flour blend. But, I was getting bored with that. I decided to play with something new! 
    Hey, I’m a single girl now! Why not? 
    Behold….
    Carol Kicinski is an amazingly talented cook and an inspired blogger. I have had the pleasure of scheduling her to teach 2 cooking classes, so far (HINT, HINT!), at the store which received RAVE reviews. In addition to her wonderful recipes, Carol has now developed her own Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, which can be purchased through her blog, Simply… Gluten Free. She also has a gluten free desserts cookbook set to come out in the near future. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! It is sure to be brilliantly drool-worthy!
    Okay… back to the biscuits!
    I kicked my normal drop biscuit flour mix to the curb and tried things “Carol Style”. They turned out delicious, even leftover! 
    Give this recipe a try and support another gluten-free blogger!

    Vegan Herb & Feta Drop Biscuits

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
    4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
    5. Drop by rounded spoonful onto prepared baking sheet.
    6. Bake 11-13 minutes, until done. (These do not brown very much.)
    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

    Did You Miss Me?!….

    I am back! 

    I’ve been going through a lot, personally, and have had no desire to cook. (Crazy! I know!) Thank you for understanding. 
    Tonight, I took some time for myself. I did a little cardio work-out, gave Dickens a bath, scrubbed the bathtub, and did some laundry. Man did it feel good to do normal, mundane tasks!  When I was done I finally felt like creating a bit in the kitchen. I used leftover bits of randomness that I found lurking in my sad, nearly empty refrigerator to create a surprisingly delicious and comforting meal for one. As you have probably guessed, these are going to be a majority of my recipes for the next couple of months. That, or I will be giving away LOTS of leftovers, which I doubt anyone will mind too terribly! (Locals- Let me know if you want to be added to the “leftover list”!) 

    Chicken “Noodle” Soup
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

    Ingredients:

    • 1-2 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Shallot, diced
    • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
    • 1 carrot, chopped
    • 1 Tblsp dried Tarragon
    • 3 cups Organic, Low Sodium Chicken Broth
    • 1/4 cup White Wine
    • 1/2 leftover, pre-cooked chicken breast, chopped
    • 1/2 Zucchini, spiralized into “noodles”
    • 1 handful organic Baby Spinach
    • 1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
    • Herbamare and Black Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Heat a oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    2. Saute’ carrots until slightly softened, add shallots and garlic and continue cooking about 1 minute.
    3. Add tarragon to pan and deglaze with White Wine and chicken broth.
    4. Bring to a slight bubble and add remaining ingredients.
    5. Cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
    This simple supper is quick, delicious, and the perfect dish to go along with my new Vegan Herb & Feta Biscuits
     Tune in tomorrow for that recipe! 
     I’m such a tease!
    It’s going to be a busy week full of cooking classes, demonstrations, and lots of work! I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful job where I get to help so many people! Off to bed!

    Stress Can Be Semisweet….

     GF Guy is packing to leave.
    This causes stress.
    When I am stressed I bake. 
     Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards, so it only makes sense! Right?…
    I have not done much playing with Coconut Flour. So, I decided to see what I could create with this high protein, high fiber flour. 
    But first, a little “schooling” on the health benefits of this healthy, gluten-free flour choice!
    High in Fiber:
    Coconut Flour contains 58% fiber! In a diet where it is sometimes difficult to come by fiber, this is a
    welcome addition. In fact, Coconut Flour’s fiber percentage is the highest fiber level of all the flours! 
    Low GI:
    Because of it’s high fiber content, Coconut Flour is considered to be Low on the Glycemic Index, making for a slower release of sugars into the blood stream.
    Protein Power:
    According to research by the Coconut Research Center, Coconut Flour contains just as much protein as Wheat Flour, and more protein then rye, cornmeal, and white flours!
    Okay! School’s out! Now on to the recipe! These brownies are cake-like and only slightly sweet, making them the perfect foil to Coconut Milk Ice Cream! Enjoy!
    Semisweet Brownies
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

    Ingredients: 

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. In a small saucepan, melt Earth Balance. Once melted stir in Carob Powder and allow to cool slightly.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Eggs, Maple Sugar, and Extracts until smooth. 
    4. Add Carob mixture and whisk until smooth.
    5. Slowly add Coconut Flour and beat until smooth.
    6. Add Chocolate Chips and stir until just combined.
    7. Pour mixture into an 8×8 square baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
    8. At this point, you may sprinkle the top with additional Chocolate Chips, if you desire.
    9. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until done.
    10. Allow to cool in the pan before cutting.

    Questions:

    1. What do you do when you are stressed?
    2. What shall I bake next?!

    A Rootin’ Tootin’ Cake Walk….

    Tonight, I arrived home from work with a bottle of Root Beer. This may not seem strange to you, but it is if you know me. I don’t drink soda… EVER! So, what was I doing with a giant bottle of Root Beer? I had an idea, a crazy strange idea. It all began on last weekend’s road trip. My father in-law bought a giant bottle of root beer for a dollar at a random truck stop along the way. The smell was deliciously rich and sticky and sweet. I am embarrassed to admit, I wanted a sip! I decided instead to make a Root Beer Cake! It sounds strange, but it is surprisingly yummy and a fun twist on a classic! 
    Enjoy!
     
    Root Beer Float Cake
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt Cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, eggs, and 12 oz root beer. Stir until smooth.
    3. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
    4. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out onto a plate to continue cooling. 
    5. Meanwhile, prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and 3 Tblsp. root beer until smooth.
    6. Poke holes around the cake every 2 inches with a wooden skewer. Pour glaze over cake being sure to pour into holes.
    7. Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream (regular or coconut milk).
    Do you drink soda now, or did you as a kid? What is/was your favorite? What is your beverage of choice now?

    A Taste of Home….

    People often tease me about being a stereotypical 1950′s housewife.

    I can’t help that I like to cook things from scratch! It’s healthier and tastes so much better. Even working full-time, if you plan ahead, homemade meals can be a possibility every day!
    Sadly, most children today are unfamiliar with the smell of a good home cooked meal. Pizza and fast food are taking over our dinner menus and ruining our health.  Studies by the American Dietetic Society are finding an increased risk of developing cancer due to a standard American diet, rich in red meat, processed foods, and sodium and lacking in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In fact, one-third of all cancers are directly related to poor nutrition!
    Cooking at home can solve a myriad of health problems ranging from obesity to high cholesterol. Americans are busy people, but the American Institute for Cancer Research is here to help! They have compiled a guide entitled “Homemade for Health”, filled with helpful cooking tips for busy families. Tips include:
    • Buy frozen, pre-cut vegetables or prewashed greens. Toss vegetables into salads, pasta sauces, stews, lasagna, pizzas, quiche, sandwiches or omelets.
    • Buy bags of frozen berries for breakfast smoothies.
    • Reclaim prime time. Instead of taking your dinner into the family room – by eating takeout food on the couch – take the TV into the kitchen. Ask the entire family to help prepare dinner while watching their favorite shows.
    • In place of shuttling kids between games and lessons – and stopping for fast food on the way home – cancel one activity a week and ask the children to help you make dinner.
    • When using prepared foods or frozen dinners, add one or two steamed or microwaved vegetables to the plate.
    • Choose the right ingredients. Red or tan new potatoes give a meal extra fiber, for example, but don’t need to be peeled.
    • On the weekend, cook an extra-large batch of a healthy dish, divide it into individual servings and freeze small portions for later.
    • When making tomato sauce, tacos or fajitas, use twice as many vegetables but half as much meat or cheese.
    • Stock the pantry with healthful foods that can be prepared quickly, such as minced garlic and canned chickpeas.
    • To coax kids into eating more vegetables, purée the veggies into soups.
    My latest homemade challenge was gluten-free Granola Bars using certified Gluten-Free Oats by Bob’s Red Mill.
    • Oats Help Lower Cholesterol- “Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%.”  By lowering high cholesterol, you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke! (- whfoods.com)
    • Oats Help Stabilize Blood Sugar- The soluble fiber found in oats aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout your day. Oats are much lower on the Glycemic Index than white bread or rice due to their high fiber content. By eating a fiber filled breakfast, you are taking control of your blood sugar from the very start of your day!
    • Oats Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes- Oats are rich in magnesium. Studies have shown individuals who eat a diet rich in magnesium displayed significantly lower risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
    The following recipe can be tweaked to fit your personal tastes. Change the fruit, nuts, or spices! Use Quinoa Flakes instead of Rolled Oats! Enjoy!

    Homemade Granola Bars

    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×12 baking dish with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
    2. Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seed meal.
    3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
    4. Place the coconut oil, agave nectar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
    5. Pour mixture into the prepared 8×12 baking dish. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until light, golden brown. Cool in pan at least 2-3 hours before cutting.
    What would be your dream Granola Bar combination? 
    This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!

    Some Bunny Loves You….

    Moooooooooom!!!!!!! I want more zucchini!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is one phrase you rarely hear come out of a child’s mouth. As adults, we know we must eat our vegetables for optimum health. Our taste buds have even learned to like and, dare I say, love vegetables. The green hue of broccoli no longer sends us into gagging spasms and shudders of horror. Poor, broccoli! It’s going to get a complex!
    There are ways to sneak vegetables into meals without your child’s (or husband’s) knowledge. Adding puréed vegetables to muffins and smoothies is a tried and true method. Vegetables can also be used, instead of food coloring, to add color to foods. For example, if making mint chocolate chip ice cream at home, add a bit of puréed spinach. This will turn the ice cream the lovely green color of many store-bought mint ice creams, but will not have any chemicals or a funny spinach taste! 
    These delicious treats have no added fat, are gluten-free and dairy-free, and best of all, they are chock full of carrots and zucchini! In fact, if you leave off the frosting, you could eat these for breakfast! Make these cupcakes for some “bunny” you love! I guarantee they will jump for joy!

    Bunny Cupcakes

    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

    Ingredients:

    • 3 Eggs
    • 1 cup Applesauce
    • 3/4 cup Water
    • 1/4 cup Blackstrap Molasses (opt.)
    • 1 bag Namaste Gluten-Free Spice Cake Mix
    • 1 cup Carrots, grated
    • 1 cup Zucchini, grated
    • 1/2 cup Walnut pieces
    • 1/2 cup Crushed Pineapple

    Frosting Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, applesauce, water, and molasses (opt.) until smooth.
    3. Add Namaste Gluten-Free Spice Cake Mix and stir until just combined.
    4. Add grated carrots and zucchini, walnuts, and crushed pineapple and stir until combined.
    5. Scoop batter, by 1/4 cups, into lined muffin tins and bake about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

    Frosting Directions:

    1. In a large bowl, beat together margarine and Tofutti “Better Than Cream Cheese” until smooth.
    2. Slowly add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
    3. Frost cooled cupcakes.
    What is your favorite way of adding more vegetables to your diet?
    This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

    Pom-Poms Aren’t Just for Cheerleaders….

    “Pom-poms” aren’t just for cheerleaders!

    Behold, the Pomegranate!

    This delicious fruit, native to Persia and the Himalayan mountain range of India, is full antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, decrease risk of stroke, protect against certain forms of cancer, prevent osteoporosis, and lessen the symptoms of arthritis! Pomegranates have also been used to combat menopausal symptoms, such as night sweats, due to the naturally occurring phytoestrogen found in its juice!
    Whether you drink pomegranate juice or eat pomegranate arils, this fruit is exceedingly beneficial to your over-all health.
    Many people are intimidated by the pomegranate. I admit, extracting the arils can be a daunting task when first presented. However, there is a trick!

    Eating a Pomegranate 101:

    • Cut the pomegranate in half.
    • Using a knife, score the outside of each half four times, like you would if you were segmenting an orange. This will make it easier to separate the fruit into manageable pieces.
    • Submerge the halves, one at a time, in a bowl of water and scrape out the arils. The arils will sink to the bottom and the pulp will float.
    • Drain the arils and enjoy!
    The wonderful folks over at POM Wonderful were kind enough to send the Gidget household some of their awesome Pomegranate Juice to review. 
    Dickens was very excited!
    We aren’t normally juice drinkers. But we could barely keep our paws off of this juice!

    In addition to the health benefits, pomegranate juice has a taste that can only be described as luscious! We love to make frozen treats with fruit juice in the hot summer months. Here are a few awesome treats we have been enjoying courtesy of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice.

    For a delicious summer treat, make Pomegranate Popsicles!

    Pomegranate Popsicles

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
    • 6 Popsicle Molds or 6 paper cups and 6 Popsicle sticks
    1. Pour Pomegranate Juice into molds.
    2. Place in your freezer and allow to freeze completely, about 3 hours.
    Pomegranate Sorbet

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup Turbinado Sugar
    • 1 cup Water
    • 3 cups POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
    1. Place sugar, water, and POM Juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
    2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
    3. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until well chilled.
    4. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process about 30 minutes.
    5. Serve immediately or place in your freezer and allow to harden to desired consistency in a freezer safe container.
     Thank you to the wonderful folks at POM Wonderful for giving me the chance to sample such a delicious, antioxidant packed treat!
    What is your favorite summer treat?
    *This post is linked to The Crazy Kitchen‘s Simply Hot Recipes.