My Sister’s Secret….

This next dish was inspired by my beautiful older sister (and her crazy husband)
She is the queen of one-pot, affordable family meals. When she shared with me her secret for cooking rice, I just knew I had to give it a try. 
The perfect excuse came in my husband’s carry-on bag. He arrived home with a foodie gift straight from Columbus, OH. He brought me a fresh spice mix North Market Spices
This quirky little spice shop is serious about the quality of their spices. If you are ever in Columbus, definitely check them out! 
Back to the recipe, this meal is perfect for a busy mom. Simply throw whatever you have in your casserole dish, cover it tightly with foil, toss it in the oven, and walk away for an hour to an hour and a half. Voila! Dinner is served!

“Cole’s” Go-to Chicken and Rice
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Brown Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Organic Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 3 Organic, Free Range Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • North Market Spices House English Rub
  • 8-9 Organic Baby Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 handfuls Fresh, Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Homemade Turkey Stock
  • 1 can Organic Diced Just Roma Tomatoes (Eden Foods brand is BPA Free and has No Salt Added!)
  • 1 cup Frozen, Organic Green Peas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Coat chicken on both sides w/ North Market Spice Rub and place in a 9″x13″ glass casserole dish.
  3. Place remaining ingredients in dish around the chicken.
  4. Tightly cover casserole dish with foil and place in preheated oven. 
  5. Bake 60-90 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender.
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A Recipe Conversion Request….

Months ago, a reader sent me one of her favorite “pre-gluten-free” recipes, and asked me to help convert it to a decent GF version. It was a fairly straightforward recipe. Her problem was avoiding the gritty “rice flour” texture so prevalent in GF baked goods. 
When I convert recipes, I try to stick as close to the original as possible. I could get all crazy, but why?! The best foods are often the simplest. 
My only changes to the original recipe were switching to a dairy-free butter substitute and finding the best GF cake mix to substitute for the Jiffy White Cake Mix called for in the original. See? Simple changes = superior results! 
It is all about knowing your ingredients. I am lucky/unlucky in that I have tried pretty much every GF product on the market, due to my job. It makes me a pretty good resource when it comes to finding the best GF products. 
The cake was super simple to throw together. It is, quite literally, a “dump” cake! That being said, it is not the most photogenic of desserts. Pardon me if I didn’t take a picture! (wink*) 
I brought this cake to my parents house last night. My “little” brother…

…came home from college so we had a mini celebration. Everyone LOVED the cake! Seriously though, what’s NOT to love about a cake topped with an entire stick of melted “butter”?!
Merry Christmas Cari! This recipe is for you!

Pumpkin Dump Cake
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 large, organic eggs
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 9 ounces Kinnikinnick White Cake Mix (1/2 a bag, or about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 stick Earth Balance, melted

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together except the cake mix and Earth Balance.
  2. Pour into a 9 inch square cake pan. 
  3. Melt Earth Balance. 
  4. Sprinkle cake mix over the pumpkin mixture – don’t mix, just sprinkle on top! Then, drizzle the melted Earth Balance over the cake mix. 
  5. Poke fingers through the Earth Balance and cake mix, but not into the pumpkin, allowing Earth Balance to seep through. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 20 minutes. 
  7. Serve warm, room temp or cold with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
** We enjoyed ours topped with Soyatoo’s Rice Whip
Rice Whip is far superior to any dairy-free whipped topping I have tried. It has no funny aftertaste and the perfect consistency!

At Home by the Fire….

Every Christmas, my mom makes pounds and pounds of Fireside Coffee Mix. We give them to friends, teachers, coworkers, clients… Heck, even the neighborhood back-gate guard gets a jar! It has become a family tradition, one I could not participate in, until now!

Thanks to Vance’s DariFree Powder, Fireside Coffee Mix can now be enjoyed by those of us whose tummies don’t particularly like dairy! 

So, put on your fuzzy slippers, slip in the dvd of The Grinch, and enjoy a cup of Christmas cheer!

Fireside Coffee Mix
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, mixing well.
  2. Store in an airtight container
  3. To make 1 cup, spoon 2 Tblsp + 1 tsp of mix into 1 cup of boiling water. Stir. Enjoy!

Linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free!

    Cheap Chocolate….

    I was looking for an economical way of making my favorite holiday beverage and ran into a major hurdle. Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix is daggum expensive!
    A little research online pulled up this awesome recipe on GoDairyFree.org! SCORE!!!!

    Make this recipe and stay tuned for the rest of the tutorial for Christmas Cheer in a Cup!
    Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate Mix
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
    2. To make 1 cup of Hot Chocolate, combine 1 cup boiling water with 1/4 cup mix.

    Vanilla Sugar
    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups organic, unbleached Cane Sugar
    • 1 whole Vanilla Bean, cut into small pieces

    Directions:

    1. Place sugar and vanilla bean in a food processor and process until vanilla bean is finely minced.
    2. Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.

    My Pumpkin is Back!….

    GF Guy is home for 2 whole weeks!!!!!!!! 
    To celebrate, I cooked his favorite “Man Meal”, my famous Pulled Pork, Collard Greens, Pumpkin Corn Muffins, and Baked Beans!
    This version of Baked Beans is something I made on a whim when I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for my usual recipe. The result was delicious! Though, I am so happy to have GF Guy home, I don’t think I could complain about anything! Enjoy!

    Pumpkin Baked Beans
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tablespoon Kelapo Coconut Oil (I like this brand because it is organic AND fair-trade!)
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
    • 2 tablespoon ketchup
    • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
    • 3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
    • 1/4 cup Peach & Mango salsa
    • 2 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large, oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for about five minutes or until soft and translucent.
    3. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more.
    4. Add maple syrup, agave nectar, pumpkin, salsa, salt, ground mustard, hot sauce and ketchup and simmer for five minutes.
    5. Add beans and bay leaves, stir, then cover the skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, stirring once during the baking process.
    6. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

    Kuri Squash Soup….

    I made up a new recipe and it was yummy!!!!! In fact, it was more than yummy! It was gosh darn delicious, and I will definitely be making it again!

    The inspiration for this recipe was this week’s CSA pick-up. Red Kuri Squash and Rainbow Chard in all of their organic, locally-grown glory seemed to belong to one another. I worked on pure instinct, marrying the flavors and enjoying their pristine beauty. Bon Appetit!

    Rainbow Chard & Kuri Squash Soup
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 Red Kuri Squash, cut into bite size pieces
    • 3 cloves Garlic in skins
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • dried Thyme
    • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
    • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
    • 2 Carrots, chopped
    • 1 palmful dried Thyme
    • Herbamare & Black Pepper, to taste
    • 1 quart Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
    • 1 can Great Northern White Beans, drained & rinsed
    • 1 bunch Rainbow Chard, removed from ribs and chopped
    • dash Nutmeg

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Place Kuri Squash & Garlic cloves in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and dried thyme.
    3. Pour squash & garlic onto a foil lined baking sheet and roast in preheated oven about 30 minutes.
    4. While squash is roasting, prepare remaining ingredients.
    5. Heat a large pot and a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
    6. Saute onion, celery, carrot, and spices until soft, about 5 minutes.
    7. Add the stock and bring to a low boil.
    8. Add beans and roasted squash. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins, mash with a fork, and add to the soup.
    9. Add the chopped rainbow chard and nutmeg. 
    10. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.

    Christmas Cookie Time….

    Who says Cranberries are just for Thanksgiving?

    AND/OR

    Who still has leftover Cranberry Sauce?


    Waste not, want not and tackle your holiday baking in one fell swoop!
    Cranberries are naturally the perfect color for the holidays. Which is of utmost importance to a “girly-girl” like myself!  They are also powerful, antioxidant packed super-berries with health benefits to boot! 
    This holiday season, consider making these gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free Cranberry Jam Dots! They are made with a GF Cookie Mix by Namaste Foods for convenience, BUT… trust me, Santa will never know they came from a box!

    Cranberry Jam Dots

    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

     

    Ingredients: 

    • 2 large, organic Eggs

      – 1/2 cup Oil

      – 2 Tblsp Water

      – 1/2 tsp ground Ginger

      – 1tsp ground Cinnamon

      – 1 14oz can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce (or leftover Cranberry Sauce) 


      Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

        2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and water.

        3. Ad the dry ingredients and stir until well combined, mixture will seem a bit dry.

        4. Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

        5. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

        6. Place about 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce in each indentation.

        7. Bake about 13 minutes until set and light gold in color.

        8. Allow to cool on a wire baking rack.

    Stress Induced Scones….

    I admit it…. I am a “stress baker”. Whenever I feel stressed or anxious, for any reason, I bake. (see example)

    Today, I took Dickens to the groomer. It’s this really cool place called The Green Dog Wash

    They use all eco-friendly shampoos, etc…, low-flow hose nozzles, are cage free, and even save the discarded dog hair to send to a company that uses it to make a product used in cleaning up oil spills! However, poor little Dickens started shaking as soon as he realized I was going to leave him. I FELT AWFUL! I immediately ran home and began to bake. I didn’t have time to start making my Vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies. So, I made up something new! Apparently, today stress = scones! Bon Appetit!

    So Delicious Chocolate Chip Scones
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).
    2. In food processor, place flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, xanthum gum, salt, and sugar. Pulse on and off to combine the ingredients.
    3. Add cold Earth Balance and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the lightly beaten egg, coconut milk creamer, and liquid stevia. Pour over the flour mixture and process  until the dough forms large curds.
    5. Scrape the dough into a bowl. Quickly, but gently fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
    6. On the baking sheet pat dough to into an 8 inch circle, 3/4 of an inch thick. Brush the top with the 2 Tblsp of coconut milk creamer.
    7. Bake 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into 8 wedges.

    Fa-La-La-La-Fantastic!….

    HAPPY DECEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    This month is going to be Fa-La-La-La-Fantastic! It seems as if winter came overnight with the sudden chill in the air this morning! It makes me want to pull out my crock pot, make some soup, and snuggle under a blanket while watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!
    The holidays are also a wonderful excuse to bake!

    Let’s be serious. Who doesn’t love cookies?

    Okay… maybe reindeer don’t, but get them organic carrots and leave the cookies for Santa!

    To celebrate the season, December is all about Christmas Treats!

     These delicious cookie bars taste like decadent Andes Mints and have been a huge hit at home and work! Even people who claim not to like mint/chocolate combos can’t stop raving! So… hop to it, and make these cookies!
     
    Grasshopper Cookie Bars 
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)

    Ingredients
    BOTTOM LAYER

    MIDDLE LAYER

    GLAZE

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
    2. Grease and flour a large jelly roll pan, or cookie sheet with an edge. 
    3. In a large bowl, cream together the agave, Earth Balance, and eggs. Add the vanilla and mix well.
    4. Stir the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl, then add to the wet mixture a little at a time. Mix well.
    5. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
    6. Make the middle layer: In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix together the powdered sugar, Earth Balance, and Creme de Menthe. Spread all over the chocolate bottom layer, and then put the pan in the refrigerator.
    7. Make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate chips and Earth Balance together, stirring continuously until combined. Allow to cool slightly, and then spread all over the top of the mint layer. 
    8. Put the pan back in the refrigerator and allow to chill thoroughly. Cut into small squares and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.