Monday, February 28, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs and Trefoils

It's Girl Scout cookie time and I think this is the first year ever that I haven't bought or eaten their cookies.  I was a Girls Scout when I was little and my mom was not only my leader, but was also in charge of the cookie sales for our area.  So, this time of the year, a huge semi truck full of Girl Scout cookies would pull up to our house and our garage would be filled from floor to ceiling with cookies, until all of the leaders would come and take their troops cookies.  I remember playing hide and seek in between those boxes, smelling the yummy cookies and wishing they were all ours. :)  Well, I still want my Girl Scout cookies and there are quite a few gluten-free recipes to choose from, so I decided to try making a few this weekend.  This recipe is adapted from Gluten Free Betsy, with a few minor changes--I left out the milk that she called for in her recipe and it turned out fine, and of course we made it dairy free as well. But her recipe worked out very nicely, so I give her all the credit for this.

The cookie base is your Trefoil cookie, to make the Tagalong add the peanut butter and chocolate. The cookie is more like a crisp sugar cookie than a shortbread cookie, but my boys loved them plain, so I was satisfied.  The cookie base also works for Samoas, but I'm still perfecting the caramel for it, once I do that, I'll post the recipe. :)

Also, I used Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom rice milk chocolate bars to make the chocolate coating, this was a huge splurge for us, because they are not cheap, but these cookies really do need the milk chocolate taste, it was worth every penny to have the milk chocolate again--trust me!

Gluten Free Tagalongs
1 cup dairy free, soy free margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in vanilla extract. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt at a low speed. The dough should come together nicely and not be too sticky, if it's crumbly added a 1-2T dairy-free milk, I didn't need any though.

Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and flatten, or roll the dough out between gf floured wax paper to about ¼ inch thickness. Use round cookie cutters to make small circles.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, they won't be really browned, but promise me they are done.

Tagalong Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Coating
1½ cups natural creamy peanut butter (soy-free)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom Rice Milk Chocolate Bars (at least) or 1-1 1/2 bags of Enjoy Life mini chips
2 T Palm Oil Shortening (1T per cup of chocolate)

 In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, powdered sugar,  and vanilla. Spread a spoonful of the filling onto each cookie.

Chill cookies in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm. 

Chop Enjoy Life chocolate bars into small chunks, then melt in a double boiler with shortening until smooth. Dip each cookie into the chocolate, covering competely and place on parchment paper to set. Cookies can be pleaced in the fridge to spped up the setting process.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the peanut butter filling:

Soy Update

Okay, I usually don't do posts outside of reviews and recipes, but this is part of our life and so I wanted to update we were are right now.  My little one has a soy sensitivity, but I know it isn't too bad, because it wasn't triggered until we switched all the dairy items to soy items.  But, we played it safe and took anything soy related out of his diet.  We soon discovered that soy lecithin was safe, so that made life a lot easier.  Now, I'm pretty sure that soybean oil is fine.  I've been using our Nucoa margarine instead of our Earth Balance Soy-free margarine for the past few weeks in cooking and on toast, etc.--and he's still the same happy boy, no reaction at all.  So, I'm starting to feel comfortable with the oils now.  It'll still be a long while before I test soy protein, because I know that is where the sensitivity lies, but for now, we have more leeway some of our food. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Banana 'Ice Cream'

Okay, I can not take credit for this recipe at all.  My brother told me about this and I had to try it out, so thank you to my brother for passing this along!  This is a very, very simple recipe...well, not even a recipe really. 

Take a banana, or two, or whatever you have. :)  Slice it into chunks, stick it in a ziploc bag and freeze it.  Once completely frozen, take those chunks and put them in a food processor and mix it until its nice and creamy.  Suddenly, you have a soft serve frozen treat that consists of a banana. :)  It has the same texture as ice cream, I love it!  If you want to change up the banana flavor a little add in cocoa, peanut butter, berry puree, etc. Mine has about 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa for 2 medium bananas and a handful of Enjoy life chocolate chips. :)

See doesn't it look just like ice cream?  Heck, this is the cheapest ice cream replacement I've found, and it's actually pretty healthy, too. :)

Fried Mac and Cheese

So, if you recall, I made mac and cheese the other day, and we had half a pan left over.  So, what did I do with the leftovers?  Well, I had been restocking my 'convenience' foods for my little ones (i.e. chicken nuggets, corn dogs, fish sticks), so I had nice hot oil ready in the deep fryer, so of course I had to try my hand at fried mac and cheese.  I know, I know, it's not healthy, but it was good. :)

Fried Mac and Cheese
chilled gf/df mac and cheese
gluten free flour blend for dredging.  I used my blend, but you could also you the Gluten-Free Bisquick instead, or whatever blend you feel like.
1 1/2 tsp Ener-g egg replacer
2 T water
gf corn flake crumbs
oil for frying

Mix together egg replacer and water, set aside. Take a tablespoon full of mac and cheese and dredge it in flour, rolling it into a ball. Dip the ball into the egg replacer then into the corn flake crumbs.  Repeat with the rest of the mac and cheese.  Fry at ~350F until golden brown on all sides (it only takes a couple of minutes). 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vegan Lemon Custard Icecream

Anyone that really knows me knows that my all time favorite ice cream, ever since I can remember, has always been lemon custard.  It's not really a flavor you find very often, unless you're at an ice cream shop, and even then they may not have it.  I have really enjoyed the Purely Decadent Coconut Milk ice cream that I've tried, but I have missed my lemon custard.  So, I set out to make it, it actually took a little while to get it how I like it, I may still tweak it a little.  But, I knew it was a success when my little when had three helpings of it this afternoon.  And yes, it's a vegan custard--I decided it may as well be egg-free if I'm doing dairy-free, and honestly, I think it made it a lot easier.  And now I have a good vegan custard recipe out of it, too. :)

Vegan Lemon Custard Icecream

1 can coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
2 cups So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon zest
3 tablespoons Ener-g egg replacer
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring the coconut milks, sugar, and zest just to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Whisk in the egg replacer and mix constantly until thickened. Immediately pour the custard through a strainer into a bowl and stir in vanilla.  Refrigerate, covered, for ~3 hours or until chilled.

Once chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

(By the way, this is a custard, so instead of freezing it, you could also put it in a gf pie crust and have a custard pie!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Totally Vegan Mac and Cheese (Gluten and Soy free, too)

I have been meaning to make a mac and cheese for my little one that's dairy-free, because that used to be one of his favorite foods to eat before this whole diet change...but, I just never got around to it.  But a dear friend asked me for advice on how to make mac and cheese, and I decided I had better get off my butt and actually make some!  There are so many different recipes out there, many of which call for nutritional yeast.  I have no problems using it, but I kept thinking, can't I simplify this and just make a cheese sauce with our Daiya cheese? Daiya cheese actually has a pretty decent recipe on their website, but once again the nutritional yeast...I opted to make a typical bechamel type sauce as my base and adding the 'cheese', like I would have done prior to our dairy-free days. :) Enjoy!

Mac and Cheese

8 oz gluten free pasta
2 1/2 cups Daiya cheddar style shreds
2 tablespoons soy-free margarine
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
2 cups So Delicious Original Coconut Milk or other dairy free milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I save the hills of my bread to make crumbs, and freeze or dry them)

Cook pasta until firm al dente (we used shells that required 14-16 minutes to cook, I cooked them ~11 minutes, you don't want to overcook the pasta or it will fall apart in the oven). Drain thoroughly when done. And place in a greased 8x8 pan.

Preheat oven to 350F. In a saucepan melt the margarine, then added the flour and mix to make a roux.  Stir in the milk, and heat until thickened.  Stir in pepper and cheese, and cook over medium-low heat until cheese is melted and well incorporated.  This will only take about 2 minutes. Pour cheese sauce over the pasta and cover this mixture with bread crumbs.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Valentine's Pizzas

I'm sorry, I haven't been posting much lately.  I've been busy at work, and tired when I get home, so we've been eating whatever happens to be easiest at the moment--thank goodness for Udi's bread, so we can eat plenty of sandwiches lately.  I'm also grateful that my boys will happily eat hot dogs without buns, because we've done that way to often lately, too.  But, at least on Valentine's day I made an effort for my little guys (and my husband, too) and we made heart shaped pizzas.  The pictures are below.  I used my pizza crust recipe and my friend's pizza sauce recipe.  Now my little ones are excited about making pizza in different shapes, so I'm pretty sure we'll have star, triangle, crescent, and square pizzas, but isn't that what makes homemade pizza fun?

Ha ha, can you guess which half is mine? I love my veggies. :) And my little one loves his with Daiya cheese, thank you Daiya for making decent vegan cheese!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I love avocados and so, of course, I love guacamole, too!  I made some this weekend and realized I never make it the same twice, mainly because I don't ever write down what I did.  So, I wrote it down this time. :)  I still may change it up again, because that's what I do. :)


4 avocados
2 jalapenos
1/2 of a large onion
2 cloves garlic
2-3T fresh cilantro
2 T lime juice
1/2 t salt
dash of pepper

Roughly chopped everything (just so it will fit) and put it in a food processor and mix until smooth and blended.  If you prefer a chunkier guacamole just chop everything and mix it in a bowl. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Eats

Okay, I'm not into watching football, but I am more than happy to watch the Superbowl for two reasons: (1) food and (2) the commercials. :)  Here is the spread I made this year for the game: 

(1) Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps.  This is Paula Deen's recipe, and it is really, really good.  And it made a ton, so I get to enjoy these tomorrow, too! I've listed the recipe below, too, but all credit goes to her!

(2) Lloyd's babyback ribs in the orginal barbeque sauce.  They are soy and gluten-free!  I know they must of just changed their recipe, because they weren't safe just a few months back when I checked. Here's the label to prove it (not a good picture, sorry):

(3) Asparagus and Ham Roll-ups with a cucumber dill yogurt dip.  YUM!  I'm the only one that ate these, but I'm also the only one that likes asparagus.  I got the recipe from here, but also have it below with my changes.
 (4) Ham and Pretzel Rollups...this was my older son's creation.  When he saw the asparagus roll-up, he asked if he could have those but with pretzels instead.  He and his little brother ate dozens of these roll-ups.  I think we have a new lunch idea!
(5) Last but definitely not least: Chili topped potato skins, these are super easy to make and they turn the potato bar into finger food..LOVE IT.  I used Hormel Chili, which is gluten-free, but NOT soy-free.  My little one had no desire to eat these, so it wasn't a problem. Of course, you could make your own chili, too.  I was just being lazy. :)

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps by Paula Deen
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (I used 2 large breasts)
1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon (I didn't quite use all of the bacon)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Cover a large cookie sheet with foil and spray a rack (I used a cooling rack) with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken wraps on rack in broiler pan. Bake 375 for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Asparagus and Ham Roll-ups
~1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 tablespoon water
~3/4 pound thin slices fully cooked ham

1 cup (8 ounces) So Delicious Coconut plain yogurt
1/2 cup diced seeded and peeled cucumber
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place asparagus and water in a microwave-safe 1dish. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Immediately place asparagus in ice water; drain and pat dry.

Wrap each asparagus spear with a slice of ham, my asparagus was quite slender, so I actually put ~5 spears in each bundle.  Just before serving, combine sauce ingredients. Serve with roll-ups. Yield: 8 servings.

Chili Topped Potato Skins (adapted from Cooking For Isaiah)

4 russet potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
cheese (unless dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Using a fork, poke the potatoes in a few place, then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake about an hour, or until done.  Let cool slightly, then halve potatoes lengthwise and scoop out some of the potato flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch .  Rub flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and bake again for about 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and golden.  Top with warm chili and cheese and return to oven to melt the cheese (about 2-3 minutes). 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eggplant UnParmesan

I hated eggplant when I was little, literally it would make me gag. I grew up and tried it again and realized that it wasn't so bad, in fact it was pretty good, especially in Eggplant Parmesan.  So, here is my cheeseless version of my favorite eggplant dish....I ate it all myself, it was so incredibly good. :)

Eggplant UnParmesan

1 eggplant sliced thin (~1/8"-1/4", however thick you like it)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 cup gluten-free fresh bread crumbs (I save the hills of my bread to make my bread crumbs)
1 cup almond flour
salt and pepper
olive oil
spaghetti sauce (you can use the recipe below or use my other recipe minus the sausage...hmmm, it may be good with the sausage, too.)


Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Mix together bread crumbs and almond flour (season with salt and pepper) in one dish and the milk and egg in another dish. Dip eggplant in the egg wash, then in the crumbs. Cook in olive oil until both sides are golden brown.  Top with spaghetti sauce and enjoy.

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce
1 can tomato sauce
3-4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2-1 tsp salt
sugar (if needed, based on your diced tomatoes)
1/2cup-1cup sliced mushrooms (optional)


Mix together all ingredients.  Simmer until ready to serve.

This post is featured on The Whole Gang's Real Food Weekly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pomelo Yogurt Cake ("pound cake")

I had never heard of a pomelo until last Saturday when I picked up my Bountiful Basket and I had two of these fruits--they are the size of a cantaloupe, I know because I also had a cantaloupe in my basket. Okay, for those of you that don't know what a pomelo is, it is the largest of the citrus fruits and has a sweeter, milder taste than grapefruit.  It is pretty yummy, and it nearly isn't as big as it appears because it has a thick, spongy skin...but, still it's big.  I wanted to do something fun with it, besides just eat it, and also in the process find a way to do a decent 'pound' cake.  I came across this recipe for a grapefruit yogurt cake and knew I had to try it out with my pomelo.  Of course, I had to convert it to our diets, too, but it worked and it is delicious.  The mildness of the pomelo just gave enough citrus taste to the cake without being overwhelming, it is one amazing 'pound' cake. :) You don't need a pomelo, just use whatever citrus fruit you have...this would make a wonderful lemon 'pound' cake, just sub all the pomelo ingredients for lemon ones. :) 

Pomelo Yogurt (or mock pound) Cake

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup So Delicious plain coconut yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
zest of one pomelo (I probably had about 2 teaspoons or so) :)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed pomelo juice

for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
~2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed pomelo juice

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a large bread pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup pomelo juice and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place it on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the pomelo-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For theglze, combine the powdered sugar and pomelo juice and pour over the cake.

Book Review + Easy Strawberry Frosting

So, I splurged and bought 4 new cookbooks that I have been wanting: Allergen-Free Baker's HandbookGluten-Free Baking Classics, The Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook, and The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes.  This would be the reason I haven't been posting, I have been trying their recipes, instead of creating my own.  But I just made some really fantastic cupcakes using Cybele Pascal's recipe in her Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook.  I really love this book, because I don't have to convert anything for my family, she has our bases covered.  THANK YOU, Cybele!  I can't leave well enough alone, so I did use my flour blend, instead of her's, but they were amazing chocolate cupcakes--amazing, they were really that good!  I love this book so far, and this recipe is proof enough for me to keep trying her recipes, because they work and they are delicious.

All of her recipes are free from the top 8 allergens and gluten, she also goes through and helps you with how to use the substitutes for them, I actually really appreciated the eggs and dairy section.  No, we don't have an egg issue, but I know someone who does, and I want a better understanding of how to cook without eggs, so I can. :)  She has great explanations and great pictures that make you want to try the food right then, and this recipe (chocolate cupcakes) worked, which makes me excited to try more.  This book gets 5 stars from me.  Thank you, Cybele, for making my life more enjoyable!

To go along with these delicious cupcakes, I made a simple strawberry buttercream frosting:

Strawberry Frosting

1 cup palm oil shortening
1/4-1/2 cup strawberry puree
1 16 oz package powdered sugar

Mix ingredients together until smooth, pipe or spread on cupcakes or eat straight out of the bowl . ;)

Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

There was this recipe of a sheet cake that I absolutely loved prior to my gluten-free days, so I set out to make it, in cupcake form, today.  If you're not a fan of almond extract, or you just want a different flavor, use vanilla extract, or well, about any extract you want. :)

Almond Cupcakes
1 cup palm oil shortening
1 cup water
2 cups gluten-free flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins. In a large saucepan, bring shortening and water to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in rest of ingredients until smooth.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you're going to do a sheet cake, use a half sheet pan (18"x13"x1") and cook 22-25 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (we use tropical source, since my son doesn't have issues with soy lecithin)
1/4 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Agave Syrup (optional)

Scald milk over medium high heat, stir in chocolate and agave syrup.  Cool to room temp before drizzling or spreading over cupcakes.