The Best GF Carrot Cake. Ever.

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We are having a lot of birthdays around here this week!  My friend had a birthday on the weekend and my lovely husband has a birthday coming up in a couple days.  Also exciting is waiting on the birthday of our little baby which could be anytime in the next couple weeks!  We can’t wait!:)

So needless to say, some cake was in order.

My friend Emily requested a carrot cake.  Carrot cake and I get along fine.  Well any cake for that matter (as long as it’s gluten free that is).  Especially carrot cake with some tangy cream cheese frosting!  On a side note organic carrots have been a delightful pregnancy craving of mine!  I didn’t have a good recipe for carrot cake so I went hunting around online until I found one that looks reputable enough to try and I just put a gluten free spin on it.

This recipe is adapted from epicurious.com

Being on a dietitian blog, does that make this recipe “healthy”?  I’m not a black and white thinker when it comes to food.  All foods fit and for a birthday, I just wanted to make a straight up full sugar and fat birthday cake.  What’s the point otherwise!  But no, it’s not a recipe that you necessarily should be eating on a regular basis😉  If I can award any positive nutrition points it would be for the pound of carrots that are in this cake (I use organic as they taste waaaay better than conventionally grown), raisins and ground up walnuts or pecans for healthy oils.

Yields 2 – 9 inch x 2 inch round cake pans or 1 – 9 x 13 inch sheet cake pan

Ingredients:

For the carrot cake:

2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour blend (like this one)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup light flavoured oil like grape seed or canola (if not using nuts I would suggest increasing this to 1 cup of oil)

1 pound of carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated on the largest holes of a box grater or in the food processor (about 3 cups lightly packed cups)

Optional (but recommended):

2/3 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped, plus more lightly toasted nuts for garnish

2/3 cup raisins

For the cream cheese frosting:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (regular not light)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (or 155 grams if you have a kitchen scale)

1 1/3 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, ensure the rack is in the middle of the oven.  Prepare the cake pans by greasing the bottom and sides with butter and then line the bottoms with parchment paper.  I traced the bottom of the pan on the paper and then cut out.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  3. Put the paddle attachment on a stand mixer if you have one available.  Add brown sugar and turn on low to break up any chunks.  Add eggs one at a time, until incorporated and smooth. Shut of mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Turn onto low and add oil in a small stream until fully incorporated.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape off paddle.  Add flour in 3 batches, folding in with a spatula after each addition until just incorporated.  Fold in the carrots, raisins and nuts if using.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.  Bake in preheated oven until the layers are firm and the tip of a knife comes out clean.  About 40 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Then invert the cake onto another rack, remove parchment paper and invert the cake later again so it’s right side up.  Let layers cool completely.
  7. Make the cream cheese frosting when cakes are completely cool.  In your stand mixer (clean), add the cream cheese and butter and beat on a medium speed until smooth.  About 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Shut off mixer and scrape down the sides.  Add the icing sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium, scraping down the sides as needed until light and fluffy.  About 2 minutes.
  8. To frost the cake, first start by shaving off the rounded top of each cake round (1 cm or so) to make the tops flat.  Place 1 cake layer on a large cake plate and cover with 1/3 of the frosting.  Invert the second layer of the cake on top so the bottom (flat side) is facing up.
  9. Spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top of the cake.  If you desire, sprinkle the icing with lightly toasted nuts.
  10. Keep at room temperature until cake time!  If you will be storing this for more than a day, top with an airtight cake dome and keep in the fridge.  Gluten free baking tends to go stale faster than normal baking. Will keep for 2-3 days.

Enjoy your delicious cake!

 

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Groaning Cake (Postpartum Muffins)

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Our family is in the middle of a baby boom right now.

My sister and brother-in-law just welcomed their first baby into our family two weeks ago, she’s the sweetest little girl! She’s the first grand-baby in our family. My sister-in-law and brother will be welcoming their first baby around the middle of July!  I’ll be adding to the group around the beginning of August with our first baby as well!

Three babies in 11 weeks. And no, we didn’t plan it that way.  Life has a funny way about it sometimes but needless to say there are fun times ahead!

With all the babies arriving soon, you can very well imagine what most conversations revolve around.  Babies, babies, babies and everything to do with babies.  Since Tabitha and I are both dietitians, we talk about nutrition a lot too.  Nutrition during pregnancy, how to prevent stretch marks and prepare our bodies for birth, nutrition in breastfeeding….you get the idea.

One wonderful book that influenced my thoughts around birth is called The Birth House by Ami McKay.  It follows a young woman as she learned the skills needed as a midwife and serves the woman of a Nova Scotia town in the early 1900’s.  This was a pivotal time in midwifery history during which women were struggling to maintain control of their bodies with the advancement of modern medicine.

One of the traditions mentioned in this book is the “groaning cake”.  I’ve added the excerpt from the book below (see more here):

Groaning Cake
The tradition of the groaning cake, or kimbly at (or following) a birth is an ancient one. Wives’ tales say that the scent of a groaning cake being baked in the birth house helps to ease the mother’s pain. Some say if a mother breaks the eggs while she’s aching, her labour won’t last as long. Others say that if a family wants prosperity and fertility, the father must pass pieces of the cake to friends and family the first time the mother and baby are “churched” (or the first time they go to a public gathering) after a birth. Many cultures share similar traditions…a special dish, bread, or drink, spiced with cinnamon, all spice, and/or ginger. At one time there was even a “groaning ale” made to go with it…

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If time allows during my early labour, I plan on making a groaning cake to eat before and after birth and to offer to my wonderful birth team.  I’ll also have some in the freezer ready to go if my plan doesn’t work out.

Of course I had to tweak the recipe to amp up the nutrition.  Let me tell you why it’s a good choice for pregnancy and postpartum:

  • Fiber – a pregnant and postpartum mom’s best friend.  I’ve added oat bran and flax seed to really pump this up. The grated apple helps with this as well.
  • Protein – 3 eggs and ground nuts make this higher in protein than typical muffin recipes.  This is important for development of your baby and also recovery after birth.
  • Iron – black strap molasses is a source of iron, helpful for preventing anemia in pregnancy and boosting iron stores after birth.  The orange juice helps you absorb this iron as well.
  • Oils – one effective way to help prevent stretch marks and tearing during birth is to boost the amount of healthy fats in your diet.  This improves the integrity of your skin to allow for better stretching.  These muffins are quite moist with oil both from the grape seed oil as well as the fats from the ground nuts.
  • Energy – during the last few months there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room left for the stomach but energy needs are high.  These muffins pack in a lot of energy and nutrition in a small package.  After birth these are a perfect snack to fill you up.

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat bran, certified wheat free
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, wheat free
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mixture (such as this one)….or use regular flour if you don’t need to eat gluten free
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pecans, walnuts or other nuts, ground
  • 1 1/2 cup apple (around 2 apples worth), peeled and grated

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar or honey


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare 2 9X5 inch loaf pans by lining with parchment paper or line 18 muffin tins.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Coarsely grind up nuts in the food processor, add into bowl. Grate apple or roughly chop in the food processor as well.  Add apple to the dry ingredients and mix to coat well.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, orange juice, molasses, sugar and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until set.
  5. As with any gluten free baking, if not eating that day, freeze in an airtight container until ready to eat.  Defrost on the counter for a couple hours.

Enjoy!

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Black Bean Salsa

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Are you a salsa person?  My husband definitely is, a bit of a salsa snob, if I can be so bold. Not saying that’s a bad thing, we definitely don’t buy the commercial shelf stable stuff, opting for fresh salsa like from the farmer’s markets or the deli.  If I am feeling really energetic I’ll try to make my own, especially with garden tomatoes!

Black Bean Salsa

Ever tried black bean salsa before?  Don’t be scared away, it’s just like normal salsa…but it has black beans in it!  It’s a deliciously sneaky way to add more fiber, protein and pulses to your diet!  Did you know that the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses?  The goal is to increase awareness of the nutritional benefits and how pulses are an important part of a sustainable food system.  Learn more here.

What is a “pulse” anyway?  Are they good for you?  

Pulses are a family of plants including:

– Dried peas (think split pea soup)

– Dry beans (think pork and beans you take camping)

– Lentils (small disc shapes you might see in soups or stews)

– Chickpeas (think hummus)

Things you may know:

  • Pulses are high in fibre!  This helps with regularity, keeping you feeling full longer and many Canadians are not getting the recommended amounts of fibre in each day.
    • The recommend daily intake of fibre is 38 g/day of total fibre for men and 25 g/day of total fibre for women.
  •   Pulses are a good source of protein!  Making them a great plant based alternative to meat or animal products.

Things you may NOT know:

  • Pulses have a low glycemic index, meaning that they are digested and absorbed slowly in the body and help to keep blood sugar levels more stable.
  • Pulses can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the body, because they contain soluble fibre.
  • Pulses use half the non-renewable energy inputs of other crops and have a low carbon footprint!   For more information click here.

Information based off of Pulse Canada.  For more information check out their website!  

http://www.pulsecanada.com/food-health/nutritional-benefits 

Tomatoes and Lycopene:

Let’s also talk tomatoes.  Garden tomatoes in season, taste fantastic (like they should taste), but store bought ones out of season….generally taste and look bland.  The key to any recipe is fresh ingredients!  In the winter and spring I prefer to use canned tomato products because they are harvested and preserved at the peak of ripeness.  Did you know that the heating process involved in canning tomatoes increases the amount of “lycopene” in tomatoes by about 7 times?

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is strongly linked to preventing cancer!  Lycopene is particularly well known for the protective effects it has against prostate cancer.  Tomatoes are by far the winner when it comes to lycopene content of food or consider canned tomato products a nutritious option.

Information based off of the Canadian Nutrient Files 

 Salsa recipe ideas:

Serve this salsa with lettuce and veggies, avocado, chopped cooked chicken, corn for a simple Mexican salad.

Top your favourite burrito or taco filling with this salsa for a high fiber punch.

Add salsa to scrambled or poached eggs and serve on toast for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Spoon salsa over white fish or chicken before baking in the oven.

 black bean salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Recipe sourced from: Dietitians of Canada Cookbook, Simply Great Food, by Patricia Chuey, Eileen Campbell and Mary Sue Waisman

Makes enough to feed a crowd

Ingredients:

3 cups tomatoes, diced (if in season) or 750 mL can of diced tomatoes (you can drain the juice if you like your salsa more chunky than wet)

1 small red onion, finely minced

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced (optional)

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional if you aren’t a cilantro fan)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Juice of 2 limes

Directions:

  1. Chop tomatoes, if using, or empty canned tomatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Mince onion, jalapeno and cilantro and add to the tomatoes.
  3. Rinse black beans and add to the salsa.
  4. Add olive oil, salt and freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir well to combine.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Gluten Free Paska (Easter Bread)

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Paska, or Easter Bread, is a serious staple in my family around this time of year!  Particularly on the Mennonite side of my family.  If you don’t have Eastern European roots and aren’t familiar with it, paska is a delicious slightly sweet, rich bread made with eggs and is delicately flavoured with citrus peel and some lemon and/or orange juice.  At least that’s how my family makes it.

Also in the style of Eastern Europeans, my family paska recipe makes enough for about 20 (if not more) loaves of bread.  I’m serious.  It’s an all day affair of kneading (by hand!) and waiting for the dough to rise.  My recipe?  I made enough for one loaf of bread.  And it only took me about 30 minutes of prep time.  I was happy with that.

Paska can also have raisins or candied fruit added to it.  My family calls paska with raisins hot cross buns…but my husband’s family, Ukrainian background, insists that it should have raisins.  So I’ll leave that important decision up to you!

Paska is always eaten on Easter morning and usually served as a dessert as well with Easter dinner.  In my family it’s usually smothered in a simple white icing sugar glaze with sprinkles and served with a sweet cottage cheese, egg, whipped cream spread called glums.  Believe me, glums is delicious but definitely a “once-a-year-kind-of-food”.  If you are interested here is the recipe.  Paska also tastes amazing slightly warmed with butter melted over it….mmmmh.

Enjoy the recipe and the wonderful smell that fills your house while you are baking this special bread!  Happy Easter to you!

This recipe adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe and my family recipe.

This recipe makes enough dough for 8 mini loaves or 1 loaf of bread in a standard bread pan.  It can easily be doubled or tripled to suite your needs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp regular/traditional yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk or milk substitute if needed (I used almond with great results)
  • 1/4 cup grape seed or other light flavoured oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 – 1 whole lemon – juice and zest (depending on how citrus-y you like it, I use the whole fruit for zest)
  • 1/2 – 1 whole orange – juice and zest (same as above)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups gluten free flour mix (such as my Essential Mix) or (Better than Cup 4 Cup)

paska doughDirections:

  1. Mix sugar, gelatin and yeast in a medium sized bowl.  Heat milk in the microwave for about 1 minute or until just barely steaming but not too hot. Whisk into yeast mixture and let proof (bubble up) until about doubled in size.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, lemon and orange juice and zest in a medium sized bowl.  Add into mixer if you have one.
  3. Add proofed yeast.
  4. Blend together all the dry ingredients until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients all at once to liquid ingredients in the mixer and beat on high for a couple of minutes.  The gluten free bread dough should look like cake batter and not typical bread dough, as seen in the picture above.
  6. Spoon into desired well greased pans or tins (smooth tops with wet fingers) and let rise in warm place for about 60 minutes until doubled in bulk.  I used mini bread loaf pans but muffin tins or one bread loaf pan would work fine.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
  8. Let sit in pan for a few minutes before removing to cool on rack.
  9. Let cool completely and then ice with white icing and decorate with sprinkles – coloured or chocolate if desired.
*If you are not eating it the same day, freeze until needed. Thaw on the counter at room temperature before eating.

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My favourite zucchini muffins

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Why I’ve taken so long to post this recipe I don’t know.  And I’m sorry.  You need to make these muffins if you are living in the gluten free world.  Or even if you aren’t, just make them with regular flour.  My non-gluten-free-friends I have offered these to give them a big thumbs up.

I make these muffins every couple of weeks and freeze them.  Every morning I pull out a muffin for my husbands and my lunch.  Hubby actually told me the other day that one of the best parts of his morning is his morning muffin with coffee as his desk.  Awwww now that’s love!❤

The fear with making a new GF recipe is that it will come out dry, tasteless and boring.  This muffin is none of those things, in fact it’s just dang delicious.  And since it has 3 1/2 cups of grated zucchini, it has a third of a serving of veggies in 1 muffin.  I consider that pretty substantial.  I also love that it doesn’t use up a ton of my precious, and very expensive, stash of gluten free flour.  The oat flour adds a bunch of soluble fibre and nutritious energy to these beauties.

I use chocolate chips because, again, they are dang tasty.  If you prefer you may use raisins or chopped nuts instead.  The chocolate is good though….trust me.

Recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

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Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups grated fresh zucchini and/or yellow squash (I used almost 4 small zucchini)

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (or quinoa flour)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

2/3 cup certified gluten free oat flour (or just grind up certified gluten free rolled oats into a powder)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar or palm sugar

1 cup raisins (can replace with chopped nuts, chocolate chips or another small dried fruit)

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled or other liquid oil

4 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (can replace with 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soured with 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar which is what I did)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins and set them aside.

  • Prepare the zucchini/squash. Place the grated zucchini and/or yellow squash in the center of a large clean tea towel, gather the towel around the zucchini, and twist tightly to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set the zucchini aside.

  • Make the batter. In a large bowl, place the all purpose flour, xanthan gum, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, breaking up any lumps. Add the grated zucchini and mix to combine, breaking up any clumps in the grated zucchini. Add the chocolate chips or raisins, mix.

  • Mix together in a separate bowl, coconut oil, eggs and buttermilk. Mix into the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. The batter will be thick but not stiff.

  • Bake the muffins. Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tins about 2/3 of the way full with batter. Place them in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed gently and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Freeze for later. These muffins freeze very well in a freezer-safe container.  They can be refreshed in the toaster oven before serving.

 

The Best Veggie Burger

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 The Best Veggie Burger

I’ve searched for a long time for a good veggie burger.  Not just any kind with flavour but the texture has to be right, not too mushy in the middle, crisp on the outside with the texture in the middle.

This recipe was easy to adapt to gluten free with some quick substitutions that I had in my pantry anyway.  We splurged on some gluten free buns and had a gorge-fest on these high protein, high fibre, non-animal protein beauties!

Give these a whirl!  Make a big batch and then freeze the rest individually wrapped in parchment paper.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Yield: 8 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
  • 1 cup oat flour, certified gluten free (or other flours likely work)
  • 1.5 cups gluten free bread crumbs (Dry out some GF bread in the toaster oven and then processed until fine crumb)
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
  • Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped (toasted if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (toasted if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil or other oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten free Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more)

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 Directions:

1. In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil until soft and fragrant. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 minute to allow it to thicken while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Then add seasonings and salt to taste.

3. With slightly wet hands so the dough doesn’t stick, shape into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together and not too thick. I made 8 medium patties.

4. Cooking methods: You can fry the burgers in a bit of oil on a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If baking in the oven, bake for 25-30 mins (15-17 minutes on each side) at 350F, until golden and crisp. For the BBQ, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side. We fried them in a skillet and they were awesome.

5. Serve on a bun with all the fixin’s and a nice green salad!  Is it summer yet?

 

Cinnamon Bun Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Sometimes you need a cinnamon flavoured goodie in your life.

For those of us that must have a gluten free diet, making cinnamon buns is a daunting task.  The sticky dough….the screams of frustration as you try in vain to roll it out and then roll it up again to make the swirls…the sad looking cinnamon buns that look nothing like what a conventional one would look like.

Fortunately there are ways to get the flavour of a cinnamon bun without all the fuss.

Muffins.  Yup.  Swirl in a hearty amount of cinnamon sugar and frost these babies with some cream cheese frosting and you will be left smiling for the rest of the day!

Valentine’s Day is coming up, why no surprise your sweetie with a lovely breakfast!

Recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill, Everyday Gluten Free Cookbook

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

Cinnamon swirl – 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

1-2 tbsp cinnamon

Icing

1/2 block Cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tbsp of milk or as needed

Directions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, flax seeds, potato starch, baking soda and salt.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil until well blended.

3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.

4. Divide batter equally among 12 paper lined muffin cups.

5. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon….divide and spoon over top of  batter.  Swirl into batter of each muffin with a spoon.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375F and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden and a test inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

6. Mix together icing ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Spoon over cooled muffins before serving.

 

Chipas! South American Cheese Bread (naturally GF)

1934383_252833860547_4494028_nMyself (right) and a friend eating authentic chipas on a bus in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2009! This was six year ago but I can still remember how amazing they tasted!  It’s a common and expected occurrence for street vendors to climb aboard tour buses and sell chipas out of giant baskets.

Chipas (pronounced chee – pahs) are cheese flavoured rolls that are a cheap street food in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.  Chipas are made with cassava/tapioca starch which is a common root grown and eaten in Paraguay.  They also call this root  “manioc” and we were served it boiled a few times for a meal, like a potato.  Manioc or cassava is what is used to make tapioca.

Chipas are really easy to make.  I actually saw them in the store frozen selling for $10 for a dozen!  Like anything you make in your kitchen, these are going to be a fraction of the cost and will taste far better.  My uncle actually e-mailed me yesterday saying he saw another company selling this product on Shark Tank for distribution to grocery stores in Canada.  It’s catching on!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg (preferably at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup olive or grape seed oil
  • 2/3 cup milk or unflavored milk alternative
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a mini-muffin tins very well with oil.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a blender to combine well.  The batter comes out very watery looking.  Divide among muffin cups.
  3. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until all puffy and  lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.
  4. Pop them out of the muffin cups with a spoon.

Note:  These are best when you eat them warm (you can reheat them later in the microwave)

This recipe makes enough batter for 24 mini muffin size chipas.

 

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Easy Homemade Vegetable Stock

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One essential kitchen skill is the ability to make your own stocks.  I am always annoyed, when I buy store bought stock, at the price of those tetra packs!  Plus being in the gluten free world add another element of frustration when you can only buy a couple of (more expensive) brands.  I did find one brand of chicken stock in Costco but I really disliked the taste of it.

I’m currently working through a new Everyday Vegan cookbook!  Check out my book review ;)  One of the recipes that I tried right off the bat was vegetable stock!  It took 5 minutes to assemble, 45 minutes to simmer and then I divided it into 1 liter containers and froze it in my freezer!  I made enough for 4, 1 liter portions.

The flavour is nice and light and won’t over power your food while providing a gentle and pleasant flavour.  There was also a variation for dark vegetable stock which uses mushrooms and pre-cooked onion.  I’ll have to try that next.  I used my first liter to cook some steel cut oats like brown rice in the oven with some chopped vegetables and it turned out lovely.

This recipe is from the cookbook Everyday Vegan by Douglas McNish.

Ingredients:

18 cups of water

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 large tomato, halved

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

1-2 teaspoons of salt

1 tbsp whole peppercorns

sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary, optional

Directions:

1. Chop vegetables and add to large stock pot.  Add water and bring up to a boil.

2. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until very fragrant and vegetables are quite soft.

3. Remove from heat.  Once cool, pour through fine mesh strainer into containers.

Use within 3 days in your fridge.  Freeze for up to 6 months.