Zucchini or Cucumber Hummus Rolls

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These little beauties are reminiscent of a tea sandwich but are made with yummy fresh vegetables instead of bread.

Simply use a vegetable peeler to make long “ribbons” with your cucumber or zucchini, spread a thin layer of hummus and pesto (if you’re feeling perky!), roll up gently from one end.  And voila!  A tasty and nutritious appetizer, snack or fancy meal accompaniment.

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Apricot Amaranth Bread, Whole Grain!

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Amy:

Did you know?

Amaranth is a tiny seed that dates back hundreds of years to the Aztecs in Mexico.  It offers a particularly high-quality protein and is high in fiber.  The flavour is toasty and nutty which makes it a nice alternative to nuts in a wide range of baking recipes! – Camilla V. Saulsbury, Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

This recipe is from the cookbook Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook.  I was drawn to this recipe because I have had amaranth sitting in my pantry for about a year….and I didn’t know how to use it and wasn’t inspired to figure out how!  This recipe looked so easy and delicious I was excited to try it out!  I love the earthy, nutty flavour that the amaranth gives this bread.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup amaranth

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

1 cup boiling water

1 2/3 cup amaranth flour

1/3 cup potato starch

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup liquid honey

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine apricots, amaranth, flax seeds and boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

3. In a large bowl, whisk together amaranth flour, potato starch, ginger, baking powder and salt.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, coconut oil and vanilla until well blended.

5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.  Stir in the apricot mixture until just blended.

6. Spread batter evenly in a greased 9X5 inch metal loaf pan.

7. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Store tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Banana Quinoa Muffins, Whole Grain

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Amy:

This recipe is one that I tried from my new cookbook Bob’s Red Mill: Everyday Whole Grain Cookbook.

I’ve never tried to bake with quinoa flour before!  It’s a wonder flour to use because it is mild tasting, is high in protein and gives the muffins a nice richness and earthy flavour without tasting “off” like some other flour mixtures.

I’m pleased that I don’t have have to use a mixture of starches, rice flours or use refined grains!  I chose to take out the sugar in this recipe and rely on the sweetness of the bananas and added some chocolate chips because….why not?

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa flour

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas

1/2 cup milk or plain non-dairy milk

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil or olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips

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Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, flax seeds, baking powder and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, bananas, milk, coconut oil and vanilla until well blended.

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

4. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.  Grease muffins tin or spray muffin papers.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 18 to 23 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on wire rack for 3 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Or wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Book Review: Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

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Photo Credit: Robert Rose Inc

We are thrilled and excited to be completing our first cookbook review!  It is a big mile stone for us here on our blog.  What better way to start things off than with a book that sets my (Amy’s) heart a flutter….Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook: 281 delicious whole grain recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury.

Considering my reality of having a husband with celiac disease and personally feeling significant symptom improvement when eating gluten free, I was quite curious to read this book!  My first impression was excitement when I realized that this was EXACTLY what I was looking for – a gluten free cookbook that actually uses whole grain flours! I didn’t know that was possible!!!

If you are in the world of gluten free living, you know the realities of what a “typical” gluten free muffin looks like.

If you are not in that world, allow me to enlighten you.  A gluten free muffin traditionally consists of a lot of rice based flours (most of which is white/processed), add a good bit of pure starch in there to lighten things up, lots of oil to make it palatable and then a dash of xanthan gum to help it all stick together (what is xanthan gum made of anyway?)  The result?  You get a “muffin-like” product that tastes a little funky, it turns stale within a day and is nutritionally questionable considering the amount of refined flours that go into it.  I’ve been attempting to experiment with using more whole grains but I get frustrated and discouraged when my recipes fail!  Those specialty flours are expensive!

IMG_0219Rice based gluten free muffin – Photo and recipe credit deliciousdietitianduo

Lunches and suppers in a typical gluten free world?  It’s usually a whole lot of rice based bread, steamed brown rice, rice based pasta, quinoa and potatoes.  Not so stimulating.

As a dietitian I believe in the importance of eating a VARIETY of foods, including grains, and focusing on foods as close to nature as possible.  The less we process food, the more nutritious they are for our bodies!

When I got this cookbook in the mail I immediate cracked it open to the baking section.  Every recipe I saw got me more and more excited….these recipe all are made primarily with whole grain flours (xanthan gum isn’t even mentioned)!  The cooking sections are equally interesting featuring twists on common recipes and ethnic dishes.  A variety of flours and grains are used to make “normal” everyday recipes into nourishing food for those needing a gluten free diet!  Honestly, these recipes are even so appealing that someone able to eat wheat would be intrigued to diversity their cooking and baking.  Simple, nourishing and easy – it truly is an everyday cookbook.

color (4)Banana Quinoa Muffins – Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook, photo credit – Deliciousdietitianduo

The cookbook also features a fantastic reference section at the beginning of the book which offers historical background, characteristics, storage and cooking methods of a variety of gluten free grains and seeds.  It is engaging and motivates the reader to courageously try different grains.

After this inspiration I made a serious shopping list, headed out to the local bulk foods store and bought myself $50 worth of different gluten free flours that I have always curiously eyed in the grocery store but never took the time to figure out how to use them.  Things like amaranth, millet, teff, quinoa and buckwheat flour.

color (2)Amaranth Apricot Bread – Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

All of the recipes that I have tried so far have been a success.  These have included Banana Quinoa Muffins, Amaranth Apricot Bread and Ethiopian Injera. (Stay tuned for blog posts)  I love how the recipes seem to celebrate the individual characteristics and flavours of the grains instead of masking them or trying to make it taste like wheat.

Next up?  For breakfast: No-Cook Maple Buckwheat Porridge and Salted Caramel Banana Waffles. For lunch: Waldorf Steel-Cut Oats Salad and Wheat-Free Thins. For supper: Trinidadian Fish Stew with Millet and Quinoa Tortillas. For dessert: Teff Shortbread and Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Pie Crust.  Whoa!

Thanks Camilla Saulsbury, I’ve officially diversified the GF grain inventory in my pantry.  No longer will my amaranth, millet and steel cut oats sit idle.

Disclaimer – This cookbook was provided to me free of charge to review for the blog. All opinions and photos are my own. 

Two Ingredient Maple Walnut Frosting

Maple walnut frosting

I’m not one for fiddly recipes that require a lot of measuring and fussing.  Like frosting….if it involves whipping things with a mixer or using egg whites and cream of tarter…I’m out!

This recipe was actually my husband’s brilliant brain child!  I made some vanilla gluten free cupcakes (with some leftover bulk barn GF cake mix) and they needed some pizzazz.  He said – why don’t you just zip up walnuts and maple syrup in your food processor?  So I did.  And it’s delicious.  Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated 🙂

Ingredients:

(Make enough for 12 cupcakes)

1/2 cup raw walnuts

2-3 tbsp maple syrup, or to taste

Pinch of salt, optional

Directions:

1. Blend up the walnut in the food processor until finely ground.

2. Add the maple syrup and blend until well incorporated.  Mix by hand if needed.

3. Spread frosting over top of cupcakes!

 

Nut Butter Apple-wich

Applewich

Here is another super quick and easy breakfast or snack idea to add to your routine.  So quick, easy and kid friendly!  Grab an apple, your favourite choice of nut butter and munch away! 🙂

Ingredients:

Apple cut horizontally into thick slices, remove any big core pieces

Nut or seed butter of your choice

Directions:

Slice, spread, devour!

 

 

Pesto Zoodles!

Pesto Pasta

Amy:

I’ve been into making simple meals these days. Life has been super busy with a Hawaiian vacation, crazy work schedule and the purchase of a new house! This means lots of quick, simple meals!

The other day in the grocery store I picked up some pesto and read  the recipe idea on the label (you get some great ideas that way!).  It said to stir in 1-2 tbsp of pesto per serving of pasta…sounds simple enough!  I decided to use zucchini noodles since I bought a big bag at costco and wanted something light and “springy”!

Feel free to leave them raw or sauté them gently in a pan before adding the pesto.

Ingredients

– 3 medium-sized zucchini, made into zoodles

– 2-3 tbsp pesto (I didn’t make my own but bonus points if you do!)

Directions

1. Using a spiralizer, make zoodles from the zucchini.  I have a hand-held one but you can also make “fettuccine” ribbons using a standard vegetable peeler too!

2. Either saute the zoodles in a pan to soften or serve them raw.  Mix pesto into the noodles and let them sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavour!

Happy Spring!