August 23, 2016

Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Pie



Recently, my husband and I decided to try a Gluten Free diet.  Purely for experimental purposes.  Turns out, my husband has had amazing results.  He hasn't had any of the Asthma problems he usually has on a daily basis.  No inhaler needed for weeks. I haven't been on it as long so I haven't noticed anything yet but we'll see.

Anyways, we've gotten a couple of cookbooks to help us out and we've tried a couple of great recipes lately. Some of you might be wondering what Gluten is exactly.  Well here you go:
  1. a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.

So, Gluten can also just be a sensitivity in some people which apparently it is in my husband and switching to non-gluten items is pretty easy. It's such a common problem now that there are Gluten Free items available everywhere. There might even be a "Gluten Free" section of your grocery store.

I did have to run out and get some new items to bake this pie but they are items I'll use over and over in the future.

The Pie was wonderful.  The flavor was just what you'd expect with the added benefit of those chewy cranberries.  The crust was a little difficult to work with.  It crumbled easier then a normal crust so I needed up adding a little water and making sure it was really cold before trying to work with it. Make sure your rolling pin is well gluten-free floured up. After moving most of it to the pie plate I ended up just pressing pieces into the dish to make a complete pie crust.  It worked well in the end, just be aware that it's much more crumbly. The flavor is great however, similar to a regular pie crust but the texture is more on the crumbly side as I just mentioned. I used Gala apples but you can use whatever apples you want, just adjust the sugar based on how sweet the apple is.

Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Pie


Ingredients

Filling
  • 6 medium apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Crust
  • 2 cups Gluten Free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
Cooking Directions
  1. Make the dough first, so there's time to chill it. Add the first 6 ingredients to a bowl and use a pastry cutter to blend it until only small pieces of butter remain.
  2. Make a whole in the center and add the eggs and vinegar, mix together just until incorporated.
  3. Cut into two equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  4. When the dough is chilled, start preheating the oven to 425º
  5. In a large bowl mix the filling ingredients and stir together so it's all coated.
  6. Roll out one of the crusts on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4 thick and place in the pie dish. I found it easier to just press the dough into the dish since the dough can be crumbly.
  7. Add the apple filling on top of the dough and then top with the other piece of dough that has been rolled out.
  8. Cut the dough to allow for ventilation.
  9. Bake at 425º for 12 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350º and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check the apples to make sure they have softened.

August 16, 2016

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread



Every now and then my husband and I try a new diet, or a new way of eating just to see if we like it or if it makes any difference in our general health.  Currently my husband is trying out a Gluten Free lifestyle, and therefore, so are the rest of us. 

So far it's been pretty easy because I haven't baked anything in a while anyway and pasta's are easy enough to find in any grocery store.  It wasn't until I happened to notice the banana's on the counter looking a little dark that I decided to give a gluten free banana bread a try.  I already had all the ingredients so it was easy. 

If gluten free it new to you, your grocery store might have a section already dedicated to gluten free items which makes life so much easier. 

This recipe is easy to throw together.  The bread doesn't rise much to don't expect a big loaf here.  But the flavor is very good.  It's soft, full of banana and chocolate flavor and not overly dense.  I love that the sweetness from the banana's came through so no sugar is needed.  I have to be honest, that surprised me a bit.  Sometimes you try a no sugar recipe and you can definitely tell, but not on this one. Definitely a great gluten free recipe that I'll be making again. 

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Recipe from AmbitiousKitchen


Ingredients
  • 3 medium (1 1/4 cup) ripe banana's, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (diary free if needed)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper and spray again.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the banana's, vanilla extract and almond butter and mix well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients mix until combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.

August 3, 2016

Creamy Crock-Pot Chicken Tikka Masala


At times during my life I've been one of those well organized people who plans dinner, makes the grocery list and only buys what I need. 

I'm not that person right now. 

We basically decide what we're having for dinner while we're eating lunch. Don't be like me. 

Luckily, this recipe was pretty easy to throw together into a slow cooker and have ready in 4 hours. My husband chose this recipe from Pinterest.  Since he rarely gets to be the one to choose the recipe I'm gonna make I jumped on this one.  Finally something new and good for you!

We both loved this recipe.  Ton's of flavor, most of the ingredients are in your pantry right now.  I did have to run out for a couple of items but overall I had most of it. I started cooking the rice (in the microwave) at the same time you begin to add the last couple of ingredients and it all came together at the same time.  

Obviously you don't have to serve with rice, it'll just depend on you personal tastes but I thought it was fantastic with rice. 

Creamy, tender chicken and the last minute addition of the lemon juice was perfect.  I didn't need salt at all, the lemon juice was perfect. 

If you're feeling adventurous tonight, you should give this recipe a try. Delicious! 

Creamy Crock-Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe from The Iron You


Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all the ingredients except the bay leaves, heavy cream, arrowroot powder and lemon juice in a bowl and mix together until the chicken is well coated.
  2. Rub the inside of your slow cooker with olive oil.
  3. Pour the ingredients into the slow cooker and place the bay leaves on top. Cook on low for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  4. Mix the heavy cream with the arrowroot powder and then pour into the crock-pot and mix together. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  5. Pour in the lemon juice right before serving.

July 27, 2016

Guavaberry Colada



I was lucky enough to get to travel to St. Maarten at the end of March of this year, with my daughter. We fell in love with the island, the people, the food and especially the drinks.  Tropical drinks are my favorite anyway, I love fruit flavored drinks that you can't really taste the alcohol in.  I had several great drinks but I was only able to get the recipe for a couple of them.  This one was by far my favorite.

Now I'm kicking myself for only bringing back one bottle of this rum.  Is is SO good.  I was able to find some American locations that carry this rum but sadly none of them are near me.  I guess another trip to St. Maarten is necessary.  I wonder how many bottles I can bring back without getting arrested.

This drink is a little hard to describe unless you've had Guavaberry Rum.  It's sweet but not overly sweet, fruity but not necessarily a guava flavor as you might expect. It's sort of creamy due to the coconut cream. You don't necessarily taste the pineapple juice either, all the flavors just blend together so well that it's sort of a nondescript fruit flavor.  Sorry, that's the best I can describe it.

If you ever see a bottle of this rum, do yourself a favor and grab a bottle or six.

Guavaberry Colada
Recipe from Guavaberry.com


Ingredients
  • 2 oz. St. Maarten Guavaberry Rum
  • 1 oz. coconut cream
  • 3 oz. pineapple juice
  • ice
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh pineapple

July 20, 2016

Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies



These brownies were a late night decision by my family after dinner.  As usual, I named off the not so appealing items we could have for an after dinner treat.  And, as usual, my family named something they wanted in which we didn't already have, but needed to be made.

I should probably mention that when they asked for brownies, my mouth almost immediately started drooling.  But, I put my wrist to my forehead and threw my head back very dramatically and said "yes, of course I will whip up a batch of brownies, even though I just slaved for hours making dinner".  That probably would have actually worked, had we not just had salad for dinner.

Anyways, never one to turn down a request from my family, I jumped online to find my next brownie recipe.  This one jumped out at me for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it was made in a 9x13 inch dish which means there would be plenty....for my family. Second, the description said "chewy" which is a key word for me.  I love chewy brownies and chewy cookies.

I have to say, the recipe was easy to throw together.  There's plenty of chocolate in there with the addition of the chocolate chips (you could frost them if you really wanted more chocolate). They are chewy, the edges get nice and firm, and the flavor is very chocolaty.  Exactly what you're looking for in a brownie.  Most of us have these ingredients in our pantry, so whip some up tonight.


Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies
Recipe from AllRecipes


Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Spray a 9x13 inch dish with non-stick cooking spray
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment add the sugar and butter and mix well.
  4. Add the eggs one by one blending after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and whisk together.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet with the mixer on low until thoroughly incorporated.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and mix briefly.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared dish, even out and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool on a cooling rack and serve.

July 13, 2016

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies



My husband was at work one day, when his Captain pulled out a bag of little Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies and was telling my husband how wonderful they were.  They're healthy, gives him energy, curbs his appetite, and tastes delicious.  After my husband tried one, he called me to see if I could track down a recipe.  Which, of course, I could.  I mean, I practically live on Pinterest after all.

During the course of making these cookies I discovered how I didn't have all of the same ingredients the original recipe called for, so I substituted for what I did have. The important ingredient being Chia seeds, which I have plenty of.

Chia seeds are so very good for you.  They can puff up to more than double their size if left in a liquid, which means if you eat them as just a regular seed then they will fill you up, because of all that puffing up they do inside your stomach.  So, eat a cookie, wait, and soon you'll forget about being hungry.

You can make these to be dairy free (if you can find dairy free chocolate chips) or gluten free if you follow the original recipe.  Mine are neither, but they are delicious! I love the chewiness from the oatmeal and the slight coconut hint I got from the coconut oil.  Obviously the chocolate chips are obvious.  I'm loving this recipe.  Great flavor, and texture with the added bonus of filling you up when you're starving and getting all the added benefits of the oatmeal, chia seeds and coconut oil.  My husband will be taking these on his trips from now on.

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe modified from huffingtonpost


Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together and then mix them together.
  2. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 355º, lightly oil a baking sheet.
  4. Roll the dough into golf ball sized pieces and then flatten half way.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Check on them in the oven and if they aren't spreading you might have to help them by pushing down on them with a fork.
  6. Bake for another 2-3 minutes or until very lightly golden.
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack before moving to a plate or storage container.

July 7, 2016

Cherry Cheesecake Dip



You're looking at the dessert I made to bring to the 4th of July party we attended.  Even though it was smokin hot, this dip held up pretty well.  I served it with graham crackers and it was D-lishious!  We were only at the party for a couple of hours (because we got a new puppy, and we brought her with us) and we wanted to get her home for dinner and to cool down.

Talk about an easy appetizer or dessert to put together.  Only four ingredients and then whatever you want to dip into it. It was ready in less than 15 minutes and then just keep it cool until ready to serve.

I have to say, this is one of my favorites.  I mean, I love cherry cheesecake and this is SO much easier and just as good.  Plus, you can just take what you want.  The graham crackers are a perfect accompniament with this dip as they serve as the "crust".  I just loved it and apparently so did everyone at the party.  We were only there for 2 hours and yet I took home a half empty 9x13 inch dish.

I had to share a picture of our sweet little girl.  Her name is Kacey, she is my daughters puppy and we all just adore her.  She is a Mini Australian Shepherd.  She's taking up much of my time as we potty train her but she's super smart and it's going really well. 

Cherry Cheesecake Dip
Recipe from The Country Cook



Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 of a 7.5 ounce jar marshmallow cream
  • 8 ounces cool whip, thawed
  • 14.5 ounce jar pie filling, I could only find the larger can size and it worked perfectly
  • graham crackers for dipping
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together the cream cheese and marshmallow cream until smooth.
  2. Add the thawed cool whip and mix until smooth.
  3. Spread into a 2 quart casserole dish or a 9x13 inch dish and top with the cherry pie filling.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.