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.

 

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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.

Ratatouille

IMG_1505Ratatouille.  Simply a stewed French vegetable dish.  Such a wonderfully simply yet flavourful recipe.  The key to this dish?  Fresh, local vegetables.

The flavours of the vegetable ingredients are the essential flavours in this dish. I’ve been indulging in local, organic food boxes all throughout this summer.  I’ve finally got my favourite vegetables all in one box….zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant.  Love it.

Ever seen the movie, by the way?  It’s charming.  And will make you want to make ratatouille. Moral of the story…the cook wins over a famous food critic with a traditional French peasant dish.  What a wonderful lesson in cooking simply.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgiK-HWKPjw

There are a lot of different ways to cook this dish.  I prefer it to be simple and I make it without milk ingredients….just vegetables, herbs and spices.  Delicious.

IMG_1527Ingredients:

Start with the freshest ingredients

  • Olive or grape seed oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Oregano and basil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Chop the onions, eggplant and add to hot pan with a couple tablespoons of oil.  Cook down for about 5 minutes or until starting to become translucent and tender.  Add garlic, season with fresh or dried oregano & basil, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Lightly grease the bottom of a casserole dish with oil.  Add the cooked eggplant and onion mixture to the casserole dish.
  4. Thinly slice zucchini and layer over top of the eggplant mixture.  Sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

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5. Thinly slice tomatoes and layer over top of the zucchini.  Sprinkle again with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

IMG_15145. Bake covered, in preheated over for 45-60 minutes or until vegetables look tender and done.

IMG_15296. Serve with hot steamed brown rice or toasted hearty bread. You may season with Parmesan cheese or your favourite sharp cheese.  I served this with crumbled toasted pecans to make it vegan.  Delicious.

Who says delicious food has to be fancy?  🙂

Walnut Pesto

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I need to do a pesto recipe before the end of summer….sob.  The leaves have started to turn already in Northern BC and it’s making me half sad and half excited for autumn vegetables and fruits!

Throughout the summer I’ve been getting local food boxes that are filled with all sorts of local goodies.  I do a fist pump when I get a big bag of basil!  I LOVE local food and I LOVE pesto.  It’s chocked full of flavour and adds pizzazz to tons of different foods.  Or you could just eat it with a spoon.  We may have done that…..ahem…

Pesto is usually made with pine nuts…but pine nuts are expensive!  So a nice alternative that you probably have in your pantry already are walnuts!

Pesto can be whipped up in your food processor in about 3 minutes.  Grab some basil and zip up some today!

My neighbor has a big pot of it on her deck – I’m going to swap her some tomorrow for rosemary from my planter and slather it to some lentil patties.  Yay for neighbours!

Ingredients:

1 cup washed packed basil (really pack it in)

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Dash teaspoon salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Chop up garlic, add to food processor.  Wash basil, remove stems and add into food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.

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Book Review: Vegan Everyday, 500 Delicious Recipes

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We were thrilled at Delicious Dietitian Duo for the opportunity to do another book review.  This time we are going totally plant based and gluten free:

Vegan Everyday – 500 Delicious Recipes

by Douglas McNish

 

This vegan recipe book features tons of whole food, plant-based recipes that are simple, easy and highly nourishing.  This book has interesting recipes that start you off in the morning to stews and stir-fry to baking to entertaining!

The first thing that I love about this recipe book is that the author not only has a passion for plant-based cooking BUT is an actual chef with culinary training.  I feel confident that the recipes will be good quality and will have great flavour.  This has been true for all of the recipes that I have tried so far.

The second thing that I like about this recipe book is that recipes are vegan AND gluten free.  This is particularly good for my family as we medically require a gluten free diet.  This also ensures that the recipes don’t heavily rely on wheat which can be a very easy trap to fall into when trying to adopt a plant based diet.

The third thing I like about this recipe book is that the recipes are simple, easy to prepare for any home cook and don’t include any processed ingredients.  Instead these recipes promote using whole foods and even include recipes for kitchen staples like condiments! Homemade BBQ sauce and vegetable stock?  Yum!

 

My two favourite sections in this cookbook are the Vegan Gluten Free Pantry and the Vegan Basics section.  This information is invaluable when attempting a diet like this as it may leave a lot of people wondering what they CAN actually eat.  Focussing on foods and options are that available is empowering and encouraging.  The pantry section lists staples such as grains, starches and thickeners, legumes, seasonings and oils.  The vegan basics provides recipes for things you use everyday like “cheeses”, salad dressings, whipped non-dairy butter, vegan sour cream, gravy and others!

So far I have tried and enjoyed the following vegan recipes:

  • Vegan pineapple upside down cake
  • Lemon vanilla cashew yogurt
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Acai smoothie bowl
  • Maple chipolte BBQ sauce
  • Glazed lentil loaf
  • Vegetable stock

Overall I would recommend this recipe book as a fantastic resource for anyone trying to delve into a more plant-based lifestyle.

 

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

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

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Have you ever made your own pudding?  Seriously….hop to it.

Pudding is surprisingly easy and quick to make.  You know exactly what’s going in there and you can make a variety of different flavours.  Plus it’s a great way to get more calcium in…with a dessert!

I have made vanilla and chocolate pudding before but never tried butterscotch.  Turns out that all you have to do is swap brown sugar for white sugar and voila!  And don’t replace the butter for margarine…it’s called butterscotch for a reason.  It’s delicious.

This recipes is from this blog post from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar which is why it’s not quite a dark in colour)
Several pinches of salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups milk (higher fat is better)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Directions

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and reduce heat to medium-low. Let it heat and bubble for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let it smoke or burn.

2. Reduce heat to low. Add salt and cornstarch, stirring until combined — it’s going to look like a thick paste. Switch to a whisk and add the milk in a thin drizzle, whisking the whole time, so that no lumps form.

3. Cook over low to medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer for a full minute, stirring, it should clearly thicken at this stage, although it will finish thickening in the fridge.

4. Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract. Divide into glasses and let chill in fridge for 1 to 2 hours, until set.

Yield: 6 1/2-cup servings or 8 petite ones

 

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Smoothie Bowls!

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Smoothie bowls!  How hipster!  I’ve been seeing these pop up quite often over the past year or so in online blogs and in raw vegan restaurants.  I thought I better get into the trend and try one out!

No need to be scared….smoothie bowls are just a smoothie…in a bowl…with some toppings.

I don’t know where you live but where I live it’s been HOT!  I’ve not been in the mood for oatmeal the past few weeks…it’s definitely smoothie time.  Have fun, experiment and get in the kitchen!

Directions:

1. Take your favourite smoothie recipe.  Blend it up and pour it into a bowl.

2. Top it with more of your smoothie ingredients or different ones entirely.

Toppings like:

Seeds (hemp, flax, chia, sunflower or pumpkin)

Nuts (walnut, toasted pecans, cashews or a drizzle of almond butter)

Fresh berries

Sliced banana or other fruit

Dried berries (goji, dates, cranberry)

Granola

Raw buckwheat groats or quick oats

 

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