Cacao Nib Meringues

Colorado is a notoriously difficult state for bakers.

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Recipes must be tweaked to include more liquid (or less flour, whichever you prefer), extra leavening agents, and increased oven temperatures. Baking in the high altitude and dry climate is enough to intimidate even the most seasoned of bakers, not to mention a gluten-free one, at that!

Before moving here from Florida, I did quite a bit of research on the changes that would need to be made to my recipes, and, thankfully, the transition hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I had imagined. In fact, Colorado has allowed me to bake something Florida would never have allowed, Meringues!!!!

Meringues are fluffy, pillows of whipped egg whites and sugar that require a rather dry climate in order to be baked. The inherent Florida humidity that wreaked havoc on my naturally curly hair would have also wreaked havoc on the meringues’ texture. Too much moisture in the air ruins any possibility of accomplishing the hollow, crumbly interior of a true meringue. Colorado, however, is practically Saharan in comparison, and the perfect climate for baking meringues.

My first attempt turned out to be a winner! I used the below recipe, courtesy of the incomparable Joy the Baker, substituting an ingredient or two here and there. Since I do not keep white sugar in the house, I used turbinado sugar, which gave my cookies a darker color than traditional meringues. The taste? Perfection!

Now separate those egg whites and “whip it! Whip it good!”

Cacao Nib Meringues

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

adapted from Joy the Baker – Vanilla Bean and Cacao Nib Meringues

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Ingredients:

  • 3 large Egg Whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 3 Tblsp Cacao Nibs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine turbinado sugar and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer, whip egg whites on medium speed until frothy.
  5. Add salt and cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until egg whites are at the soft peak stage. Egg whites will be very frothy with small bubbles.
  6. Slowly add the sugar/vanilla mixture to the egg whites, increase the mixer speed to high, and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. Egg whites will be “spoonable”.
  7. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold in the cacao nibs.
  8. Spoon 2 heaping Tblsp of egg white mixture per cookie onto parchment lined baking sheet. Should equal about 12 cookies.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes until lightly browned and hollow sending when lightly flicked with a finger.
  10. Cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.
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Smoked Pumpkin Risotto

This afternoon, it was 50 degrees and sunny. Tonight, it is 21 degrees and snowing.

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME COLORADO?!!!

Not that I mind. In fact, it worked out beautifully. I was able to run all of my errands which included:

  1. Having 2 tires patched due to slow leaks caused by running over nails. (I don’t know how that happened….)
  2. Shipping a Christmas gift to my Aunt & Uncle.
  3. Grocery shopping.
  4. Picking up packages that were delivered while I was out of town.
  5. Stopping by the office to tie up some loose ends from the week.
  6. ………

You get the idea. I accomplished everything on my list, practiced my Spanish for 2 hours (I’m trying to teach myself), and still had time to experiment with a new recipe. By the time the snow started, I was curled up on my couch with a piping hot bowl of risotto and a glass of red wine. A lovely reward for a productive day.

I started by roasting rustic Shiitake mushrooms with fresh rosemary and thyme and finished with a sprinkling of Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese. Perfection!

Smoked Pumpkin Risotto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 2.5 oz sliced Shiitake Musthrooms
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Smoked Sundried Tomatoes, julienned
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 3 sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh Sage, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry White Wine
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock, warmed
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 large handfuls Baby Kale
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 2 Tblsp Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Shreds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Gently toss until evenly coated. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Drizzle 1 tsp EVOO in a large saucepan and heat over medium low heat.
  4. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and sundried tomatoes and saute until fragrant.
  5. Pour the rice into the saucepan and toast for 1 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until absorbed.
  7. Add the fresh herbs.
  8. Add 1/3 cup warm chicken stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding another 1/3 cup stock. Repeat until rice is cooked and broth is absorbed.
  9. Stir in the pumpkin puree and stir until smooth.
  10. Stir in the baby kale and cook until wilted.
  11. Remove from heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and Daiya. Stir until evenly combined.
  12. Serve immediately.

Indian-Spiced Halibut Curry

Well, hello!…

It’s been 3 weeks since we last shared a kitchen together. If your life has been anything like mine, it has been a bustle of holiday activity. I visited GF Guy for a week in Oklahoma. (And, yes, he LOVED the Banana Bread.) Then, I booked a last minute flight to Florida to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. After having to say goodbye to GF Guy, and not having seen them in months, a trip home was necessary, for both my soul and my sanity!

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My sisters are now gluten-free, as well, so our Thanksgiving meal was a GF smorgasbord of deliciousness. We used the new Glutino Stuffing Mix to make our stuffing this year, and, according to the gluten-eaters in the house, it tasted better than regular, “gluten-full” stuffing!

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Score one for Glutino!

Beyond the main meal, my mom stocked up on every flavor of Udi’s Muffins she could find at her local grocery store. We had Blueberry Muffins and Double Chocolate Muffins and Cinnamon Rolls that were devoured by everyone from my dad to my 16 month old nephew as we played board games and decorated the family Christmas Tree. I was only there for 30 hours, but it was 30 hours of bliss.

Last week was spent driving around Idaho. This week, I will be in California. Next week, Portland is on the calendar. But, for now, I am home.

I took in a Christmas parade…

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…decorated my tree…

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… and spent some time with dear friends. I love being home. Especially since it gives me the opportunity to cook!

I started cooking without much forethought as to the end result. This caused a near panic attack during which I poured broth into the pan, threw on the lid, and just walked away, praying that the end result would be delicious. Guess what? IT WAS!

Indian-Spiced Halibut Curry

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/3 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • pinch of Cloves
  • pinch of Ginger
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Roma Tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp Water
  • 1/4 tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Green Kale & Carrots
  • 1 Halibut Filet, about 1/3 lb
  • 8 oz Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Tblsp Tofutti Non-Hydrogenated Better Than Sour Cream

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, curry, mustard, cinnamon, cloves, & ginger. Set aside.
  2. Heat coconut spread in a large skillet over medium heat until melted.
  3. Add spice mixture and stir to combine. Cook 10-15 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add the sliced onions and cook 2-3 minutes.
  5. Next, the mushrooms go into the pan with the onions. Allow to cook until mushrooms begin to sweat.
  6. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  7. Add the chopped tomato, water, and brown sugar and cook another minute.
  8. Add the chopped kale and cook 2 minutes until kale begins to wilt.
  9. Move ingredients to the sides of the pan, creating a center space in which to place the fish, skin side down.
  10. Pour the broth around the fish.
  11. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook 6-8 minutes, until fish is opaque.
  12. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream.
  13. Serve over rice.

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

Guess who is going to visit GF Guy tomorrow?

…. THIS KID!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t seen him in over two months! …Too long, if you ask either of us. I have been bustling about all weekend doing laundry, packing, and baking GF Guy’s favorite treat, banana bread.

I have developed countless versions of my mom’s classic recipe, rarely making the same one twice. Today’s version features a new product by Earth Balance, makers of my favorite non-dairy buttery spread. Earth Balance recently released two Organic Culinary Spreads, Sweet Cinnamon and Roasted Garlic & Herbs.

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Both are delish, and transform any dish they are added to. I have used the Roasted Garlic & Herbs Spread to saute’ vegetables, make homemade GF/DF garlic bread, pan-fry tofu, and countless other recipes. The Sweet Cinnamon, I had only spread on toast. Well, with today’s recipe, I have discovered a whole new world of uses for this spread! I can’t wait to keep exploring it’s many uses.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Spread. You can substitute any butter or butter substitute. However, if you are able to find the Culinary Spreads in your local grocery store, I highly recommend you give them a try!

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 over-ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Organic Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread
  • 2 Tblsp Unsweetened Original Almond-Coconut Milk
  • 2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, & tapioca flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together one cup of the flour mixture, the sugar, xanthum gum, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
  4. Add the mashed banana, Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread, & almond-coconut milk.
  5. Beat on low speed until just blended, & then on high speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs & the remaining flour and beat until blended.
  7. Fold in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased 8x4x2 loaf pan. (or 3 mini-loaf pans)
  9. Bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, until done. (35-40 minutes for mini-loaves)
  10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before turning onto a cooling rack.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.

Honey Lemon Roasted Salmon

Today, I felt like a grown-up.

Not a common occurrence when I act like this on a pretty regular basis…..

Why don’t I feel like a grown-up? It makes no sense, if you think about it. I have been married for quite a few years. I have a full time job, complete with benefits. I own a home. I have a dog. I have a retirement account for heaven’s sake! Why do I still feel like I’m 12 half the time?! And, why is it that small, seemingly insignificant things can make me feel like an adult.

Take, for instance, today’s maturity inducing task….

I bought & cooked salmon.

WHOOOAAAAA!!!!!!!

Ridiculous, right? I don’t know why, but for some reason purchasing salmon makes me feel like a grown-up. I did feel slightly pitiful asking the fish monger for a single portion size fillet, but that’s not the point…. I held my head high, took my single size fillet home, & prepared a meal that would make any adult proud!

Honey Lemon Roasted Salmon

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving size portion Salmon Fillet
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tblsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Mirin
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme

Directions:

  1. Season salmon fillet with salt, pepper, & thyme, and place in a small baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients to form a marinade.
  3. Pour the marinade over the salmon and set aside while the oven preheats.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Place salmon in the oven and roast 10-12 minutes, until desired doneness.

One Pan Baked Chicken & Vegetables

No muss. No fuss. That’s the kind of girl I have become lately.

…..at least in the kitchen…..

Yes, these are purple polka dot pants. My fashion sense is clearly slightly less “no frills”.

I used to spend hours in the kitchen preparing one meal. Homemade hamburger buns to complete our slow cooked pulled pork feast…. Homemade almond milk…. Homemade hummus….. What has become of me?! I’ll tell you what has become of me… LIFE!

I swear! When not traveling, I leave the house at 6:20AM to head to the office, work through lunch, and don’t arrive home until just after 6PM. I work long hours, and I love my job, but I am starting to neglect myself a little…. I just realized that, literally…. Hmm…. Maybe I will take a lunch break today. 😉

Well, now that we have had our daily revelation, let’s get on to the recipe!

A one dish wonder, this baked chicken recipe is quick, delicious, and can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled to feed an entire family! Enjoy!

One Pan Baked Chicken & Vegetables

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Baby Carrots
  • 1/4 cup Crimini Mushrooms, halved
  • 1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Thyme, dried
  • Rosemary, dried
  • drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • about 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (375 for high altitude)
  2. Place chopped vegetables in an 8×8 square baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.
  3. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and herbs, and place in the baking dish atop the vegetables.
  4. Pour 1-2 Tbsp of chicken stock over the vegetables, and drizzle everything with a little extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Cover, tightly with foil and bake 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Savory Gluten-Free Oatmeal

Confession: I haven’t been blogging, and I’m okay with it….

Life is fantastic out here in the Rockies! Work is challenging, the weather is beautiful, and fall-themed outings with friends have provided weekends full of laughter and cheer.

“Pumpkin Posing”

 

I have been cooking, but felt no desire to measure ingredients and take pictures. I have spent the last few weeks cooking instinctively, playing with flavors, textures, and aromas. It has been soul-feeding cooking, and I highly recommend you give it a go. Last night, I started dipping my toes back into blogging. I snapped a quick photo and took mental note of the ingredients and amounts I used in my meal preparation.

I have been cooking more “rustic”, humble meals, of late. Comfort food, I choose to call it. Last night’s comfort food involved a little BFD (Breakfast for Dinner). I took a stab at creating a bowl of savory oats, which I topped with a scrambled egg. Delicious, simple, and filling. Bon Appetit!

Savory Oatmeal

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup certified Gluten Free, Old-Fashioned Oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp Nutritional Yeasts Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa (I used a Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Salsa)
  • 1 cup Power Greens (combination of Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale)
  • 1/2 tsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2-3 dashes Hot Sauce
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add gluten free oats and reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Add bay leaf, thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper to the oats. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired doneness.
  3. Meanwhile, melt coconut spread in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Saute garlic in coconut oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add greens in 2 batches to the skillet and saute until wilted.
  5. Season greens with hot sauce, salt, & pepper.
  6. Add sauteed greens, salsa, and nutritional yeast to the oats. Cook until heated through.

I topped my savory oats with scrambled eggs comprised of 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites and a little more nutritional yeast.

Pumpkin Green Monster Smoothie

With fall in the air, pumpkin has been fore front on my mind.

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…Who am I kidding? When is pumpkin NOT on the fore front of my mind?! I am obsessed with pumpkin year round!

Fall is just an excuse to consume even more pumpkin than usual! Take, for instance, my latest smoothie creation. An autumnal take on a Green Monster, if you will. From kale to chia seeds, this power house breakfast smoothie will fuel you through your morning and nourish you body and soul.

Pumpkin Green Monster Smoothie

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful Red Kale
  • 1/2 frozen Banana
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Process until smooth.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Fennel

I am, as much as this pains me to admit, sick….

A fever, chills, sore throat… The Trifecta.

Had you seen my shopping basket at Whole Foods a few hours ago, you would have steered clear! Wellness Blend, Sambuca, Vitamin C, Cold Season Tea….

I was like a walking germ alert. Kids, this is what happens when you move clear across the country from your family, your husband is traveling, and you get sick. You are left to fend for yourself. It’s not pretty. It’s not glamorous. This is, straight up, life, my friends! Currently, I have some sort of concoction of chicken broth and vegetables simmering in the crock pot. Not so sure how it will turn out, but at least I won’t have to think about making dinner later.

Before being slammed in the face by “the sickness”, I had a chance to play in the kitchen with one of my favorite ingredients, Brussel Sprouts! Since my head is about to explode, and I need another cup of tea, I am going to cut to the chase, and let you all get on to the recipe. Bon Appetit!

Shaved Brussel Sprouts & Fennel

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 7-8 Brussel Sprouts, thinly sliced/shaved
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Fennel Fronds, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry White Wine

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add brussel sprouts, red pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and saute 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the fennel to the pan and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to reduce, 5-7 minutes.

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Vegetables

I had grand plans to make a stir-fry, or a stuffed chicken breast, or something fancy for myself for dinner this weekend.

Then, the time came around to eat and all I wanted were vegetables. …Lots and lots of vegetables.

I walked a block to my favorite little Italian market and returned with a bag brimming with veggie goodness and good Italian Balsamic vinegar. The dinner preparation was minimal, the meal was delightful, and the clean-up a cinche. I even had leftovers for lunch the following day! …I win….

Roasted vegetables have to be one of my favorite foods. What about you? What is your favorite roasted vegetable recipe?

Balsamic Dijon Roasted Vegetables

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Brussel Sprouts, halved
  • 1 Yellow Squash, chopped
  • 1/2 pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Carrots
  • 1/2 cup Crimini Mushrooms
  • Herbamare
  • Black Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • 2 Tblsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tblsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbslp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place all vegetables in a large bowl and toss with herbs and spices.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine the EVOO, Mustard, and Vinegar. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Pour liquid over the vegetables and gently toss until evenly coated.
  5. Spread vegetables in an even layer on a foil lined baking sheet.
  6. Roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tomatoes burst, stirring every 20 minutes.