Amazing Chocolate Tofu Cupcakes (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

tofu cc2

I know what you’re thinking. Tofu cupcakes…is she serious? I know…it sounds disgusting. Stop that train of thought immediately though because this is soon to be your favorite cupcake recipe!

Tofu Cupcake Collage

These cupcakes are so moist and chocolatey they are going to knock your socks offTofu gets a bad wrap, but that’s mostly because people don’t understand it. It completely blows my mind how many people still don’t really know anything about tofu. There is a common knee-jerk reaction when I mention tofu, it usually goes along the lines of “ewww, tofu is gross”. Tofu is essentially a block of soy. So yes, if you were to go grab it out of the fridge right now and start chewing on it, you might think it’s a little gross…and I might agree with you.

Long before all of my gluten issues surfaced, I was a vegetarian for 7 years and tofu became my best friend. It can be yours too. What I adore about tofu is:

  1. The texture, it reminds me of my favorite food in the world – cheese!
  2. The fact that it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Tofu is a chameleon ingredient that adds protein to whatever you cook or bake it with. To me, it doesn’t get any better than that!
  3. Tofu qualifies as low FODMAP, hooray! (It is listed here on Kate Scarlata’s blog, she’s a registered dietician and another FODMAP blogger I love).

Tofu Mix Collage

On that note, enjoy tofu, but if you have IBS don’t overdo it. I find that if I go tofu crazy it does cause issues for me. One week I made this amazing tomato sauce and I decided to slather it on my tofu. It was so good I ended up eating it for dinner every night that week! Needless to say, it caught up with me and I haven’t touched that combo since. That being said, moderation is key to any low FODMAP diet success…which is exactly why it is so hard for me. I am an ALL or nothing kind of girl…but hey, I’m working on it!

Now, back to the yummy chocolate tofu cupcakes. Here’s my recipe, which was inspired by Kim Sanders at Gluten Free Real Food, she’s a girl after my own heart; it’s all about keeping it simple with this recipe! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup Firm Tofu (drained but not pressed, I like Nasoya brand…you can even buy it already cubed if you want to!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (you can sub Earth Balance if you prefer), melted
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/8 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/8 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. Sugar (weird measurement, I know…just bear with me!)

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. Rice Milk (or Almond milk if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar (aka Confectioners Sugar…this is making me feel old!)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Drain the water from the tofu package and cut it into small cubes (don’t bother pressing it, you want the extra moisture and don’t let your perfectionism win here, it doesn’t have to be pretty, you’re going to smash it up!).
  3. In a blender, food processor, or whatever you have (I used my magic bullet) blend the tofu cubes and the egg together until smooth.
  4. Combine the tofu mixture with the melted coconut oil and vanilla in a medium sized bowl.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Line and fill your muffin tin. Each liner should be 2/3 of the way full, I was able to get 7 cupcakes from this batch.
  7. Bake cupcakes 11 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you burn them…well they are chocolate, they will still look pretty!
  8. While the cupcakes are baking make the frosting.
  9. Combine all of the frosting ingredients except the powdered sugar. Once your frosting base is mixed, slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency you prefer. You might end up using more or less powdered sugar.
  10. Chill the frosting in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before attempting to frost the cupcakes.
  11. Once the cupcakes have finished baking let them sit in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.
  12. Make sure they are completely cool before frosting them, otherwise your icing will melt into a puddle…don’t you watch Cupcake Wars?!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I know, getting the blender dirty in addition to the bowl goes against everything I stand for. But in this case you really do have to liquefy that tofu otherwise you’re going to get chunks of it in your cupcakes. I am trying to build a better reputation for tofu here, people are not going to like chunky tofu cupcakes, that I am sure of. If you are into it though, definitely try it and let me know how they come out…you are a rebel!
  • You don’t have to melt the coconut oil or earth balance beforehand for the cupcakes or the frosting. I do it because it makes mixing by hand a lot easier. If you are the queen of using an actual mixer, then don’t bother melting anything, you just do you!
  • Don’t worry, there WILL be extra frosting!
  • If you prefer vanilla frosting over chocolate frosting simply omit the cocoa.
  • If you don’t have an issue with dairy, I would use cream cheese in the frosting. Seriously, 1 oz of cream cheese will change the entire frosting experience!
  • Using the coconut oil in the cupcakes didn’t seem to change the flavor but you can definitely taste it in the frosting. If you aren’t a fan of coconut flavor I suggest substituting  the 3 Tbsp. of coconut oil with earth balance. I personally love the smell of coconut oil but the taste doesn’t do it for me.
  • You can put tofu in the frosting if you want to…again, keep me posted!

tofu cc1

           Are you willing to take a chance and try tofu in your cupcakes?

Faux Bagel Research…and a Dunkin’ Donuts Rant

gbagel

Glutino gluten-free bagel

The faux bagel research in order to perfect my “Fake-els” continues! I feel like it’s only right to give you an update on my faux bagel findings before the weekend gets here because if you are anything like me, the time when you crave bagels the most is usually on the weekends.

bagel slice

I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I have three ideas:

  1. The weekend is usually when I have some extra time to luxuriate in the morning and actually sit down to enjoy a bagel versus during the rest of the week when I would have to scarf it down in my car on my way to work.
  2. Maybe I’m still having a hard time breaking my Dunkin’ Donuts habit. Before these food allergies turned my life upside down I used to adore going to Dunkin’ (this habit literally started when I was in high school) for a vanilla iced coffee and a blueberry bagel (wow…old habits die hard…) it was always my favorite reward during the week and a fun weekend treat.
  3. I miss the entire bagel experience; bagels used to equal love for me. When someone would bring me a bagel, whether it was just while hanging out with friends at someone’s house, or at a corporate meeting; it made me feel special. Even the simple act of stopping in at Dunkin’ Donuts with the girls; it used to be so nice not to have any worries beyond “this bagel is totally going to make me fat”.

Now when I go to Dunkin’ my options are pretty much narrowed down to hot tea. Exciting right?! Wait (you say) they have a few other gluten-free, dairy-free options, like iced tea! Well for some reason I always end up with an iced tea that tastes like coffee and even those yummy Strawberry Coolatta’s (which I though would be safe in my quest to remove dairy) contain both milk and soy!

But I digress…

plain bagel

I am still working on the “Fake-els” recipe, so don’t worry! In the meantime I decided to sample how the pro’s are doing gluten-free bagels. Not only to see how high this bar is set but also to find out if a gluten-free bagel already exists that can make me as happy as a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel. I have eaten Udi’s gluten-free bagels before and as much as I adore their bread, the bagel just didn’t cut it for me texture wise. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside like I remember a really good bagel to be.

gbagel pkg

Glutino bagels on the other hand, now they are getting close to where I want my gluten-free bagel to be! The texture is there, they have that dense-ness that I am seeking. The flavor was pretty good too, but I did find it a little salty. The bad news is that these bagels contain milk and soy. I’m willing to let it go this time because I broke my own rules and slathered this bagel with cream cheese! I had to…it was calling me. To combat the saltiness I put some strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese (Welch’s Natural Strawberry Jam to be specific, because they don’t use high fructose corn syrup) and it was AMAZING!

cream cheese bagels

jelly bagel

So maybe just this weekend, instead of firing up the oven, wander over to the grocery store and get your bagel fix from a frozen Glutino bagel. Let me know what you think!

**Please note: I am not affiliated with any of the brands I mentioned. I am also not receiving any compensation for my product reviews; they are purely my opinion** 

If you’re going to buy a gluten-free bagel what brand is your favorite? What foods are you still emotionally attached to that you used to eat ?

 

The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY…A Food List

Fruit Collage1

It is now officially time for a heart to heart. As you check out my recipes, I think it is very important for you to know why they are the way that they are and exactly how they got this way. It was (and still is) a painful and twisted game of elimination, trial and error style. Would I love to add exotic and spicy flavors to my recipes? Absolutely! Is it possible? Absolutely NOT…well at least not right now. I have found that the best rule of thumb for me is “the blander the better”. That being said, it’s not the saddest thing in the world (though yes, it is pretty sad…) it’s a challenge and I am working really hard to make food taste great without making myself sick. I know it can be done, and I know I’m not alone with my weird food issues! Check out my food sensitivities list below and see if any of these sneaky culprits are affecting you too. Sometimes just hearing that someone else has an issue with a food that you thought was safe brings on a “lightbulb” moment. I know it has for me.

My Food Sensitivities List

The low FODMAP diet was originally developed by Dr. Sue Shepherd in 1999. The information on her website is very helpful, but my favorite FODMAP list is the one that Cassandra Forsythe has put together. There are a million different versions of the FODMAP list out there, along with some confusing disagreements on food classifications, but this is a good guide to get started. If you prefer more of a table versus a list you might like this outline better from ibsgroup.org. At the end of the day, what it truly comes down to is what foods you yourself can tolerate. The hardest part is that it is completely different for everyone.

Also, an honest disclaimer: I am not a doctor, quite frankly, my food sensitivities list is just a list of foods and food items that either work or don’t work for me specifically. Not all of my recipes are low FODMAP friendly. Yes, rebel that I am (why rebel against myself? I’m still working on the answer to that ridiculous question…) sometimes I just eat foods that I shouldn’t. It is as simple as that. I don’t ever eat gluten of course, but sometimes I get carried away with the foods I know I can only tolerate small amounts of. Sometimes when I’m feeling froggy I gamble with my stomach because I still have hope (however delusional it may be) that my stomach issues will just magically disappear and suddenly I won’t have to worry so much about this whole eating thing.

My biggest FODMAP vice at this moment? Onions. I want to eat them day and night. I have been adding them to everything…I might put them in my cereal, I dream of eating them apple-style; it’s crazy, especially since I never even used to like onions.**An important note, FODMAPs accumulate in your system over time. When I started writing this list a few days ago I was on my “onion-palooza” kick and right now I am so sick from the onions that I NEVER want to see one again….EVER. The more I learn about food sensitivities the more I’m starting to realize that my body is hard-core craving things that are really bad for it, things that hurt it…this is frustrating, but also really important to understand in this struggle to gain back control. 

What does your food sensitivity list look like? Did you find anything on my list that made you question if what you’ve been eating is making you sick?

 

Delicioso Tex-Mex Fajitas (Gluten-Free)

chix fajita

¡Ay Chihuahua! it must be fajita night! Only the thought of fajitas could make me excited enough to throw on a sombrero and dig my maracas out of the closet! These aren’t just any fajitas; these are simple yet delicious gluten-free fajitas…even better…arriba arriba!

I can never choose between chicken and beef fajitas, so I make both (whew, if only more life and death decisions were that easy!). These fajita’s were great before, but now that I’ve found Trader Joe’s pineapple salsa, they are on a whole new level! If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you I am so sorry…you might want to consider moving…just sayin’!

pinapple salsa

I have to tell you my pineapple salsa story. It all started one random day a few months ago when I was picking up some groceries at Trader Joe’s. Up at the checkout counter the cashier noticed my obsession with pineapple; there was a definite theme going on with my groceries that day. He asked if I had tried the pineapple salsa. I honestly hadn’t even heard of it at that point, and when I told him that, he literally stopped everything and ran to the salsa aisle! He brought back a jar of this magical salsa, put a flower sticker on it, and then he packed it in my grocery bag!

TJ sticker

I was floored; he said it was all part of their “customer experience” and then he gave me a few recipe ideas for the salsa! Awesome experience, and you better believe that as soon as I got home I was all about tasting that salsa. It was so good! Kudos to Trader Joe’s and Kevin the cashier, I’m officially addicted to their pineapple salsa. I literally buy it every time I go there now. It tastes great on chicken, pork, beef, lettuce, a spoon…that floorboard over there…you get where I’m going with this, it’s delicious! The best part is that my husband (who hates pineapple) even likes this salsa too. And it’s what? Gluten-free of course!

Thanks Kevin, this one’s for you!

beef fajita

beef fajita rolled

Ingredients: (Serves 3 – 4)

  • 3/4 lb fajita style sliced beef (the grocery store sells them raw, pre-sliced; easy!)
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning the meat
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 splash of olive oil for the skillet
  • 4 Toufayan gluten-free wraps

For Topping:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° (for the tortillas)
  2. Season and cook the fajita beef strips and chicken breasts (separately). I prefer to use a George Foreman grill; cook the beef 4 – 6 minutes and the chicken 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked completely through. You will notice the juices running clear when it is finished.
  3. While the meat is cooking, add a splash of olive oil to a skillet on medium heat and then add the thin sliced onions.
  4. Cover and stir occasionally for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Once the onions have softened and are starting to turn clear remove the cover and add the chopped tomato.
  6. Saute´ for another 5 – 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have cooked down and are heated thoroughly.
  7. Once the chicken and beef have finished cooking set them aside to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing (the chicken, the beef is ready to go) and plating.
  8. Cover 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Put the tortilla wraps on the baking sheets, 2 tortillas on each sheet.
  9. Heat the tortillas for 5 minutes or until they reach your maximum level of toasty-ness. The edges will brown quite quickly.
  10. Remove the tortillas from the oven and cut them in half for maximum fajita rolling size.
  11. Chop the lettuce, grate the cheese, and put the salsa and sour cream in serving dishes.
  12. Transfer the tomato and onion mixture to a serving dish and call your amigos! Dinner is ready, let the fajita assembly begin!
Gluten-free "Tortillas"! Hurra!

Gluten-free “Tortillas”! Hurra!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • If you prefer your tortillas to be softer you can microwave them (10 – 15 seconds each) instead of toasting them in the oven. I like the crunch the oven gives them, but they are definitely easier to roll if you microwave them. Sometimes I just use the whole tortilla toasted in the oven to make a salad-esque creature, like a salad “shell” if you will.
  • I use Cracker Barrel Vermont Sharp White Cheddar because it’s naturally lactose free, FODMAP friendly and it’s not colored with annatto like most yellow cheddar cheeses. I’m not 100% sure annatto is an issue for me, but whenever I can avoid eating it, I do.
  • You can use any kind of beef that you prefer, I like the fajita beef strips because they are pre-sliced (hooray…errr…hurra!) and so thin that they cook really quick, but they can also get really tough really fast if you overcook them.
Sauteed tomatoes and onions

Sautéed tomatoes and onions

Beef fajita strips

Beef fajita strips

Chicken

Chicken

Shredded lettuce

Shredded lettuce

Cheese!!!

Cheese!!! El queso!!!

Have you tried Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa? Do you love it as much as I do?

What other toppings are you adding to your fajitas…are you getting fancy or keeping it simple like me?

Quick Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken (Gluten-Free)

Fett alf with veggies

There is nothing like coming home to a decadent, rich and creamy plate of fettuccine alfredo after a long day. Honestly it’s a little plate of heaven. You can dress it up or keep it simple, either way it’s an elegant treat. This recipe isn’t quite like the Olive Garden version (that I still eat in my dreams…) but it’s still closer than I expected to be able to achieve in a gluten-free version, especially with a simple jar of sauce. It’s also a little less greasy than the original (that means more healthy too! Just saying…). I can still remember all of that butter in the alfredo sauce at Olive Garden, (oh how I love butter) which would inevitably drip out of the sauce and off of the end of the fettucine on my fork (and onto my clothes, especially if I was wearing something cute). Don’t worry, you won’t have that problem with this recipe.

gf alfredo

Classico lists gluten-free very clearly on their sauces

Classico lists “gluten-free” very clearly on their sauce labels

Rice Pasta Brand

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz jar of Classico Creamy Alfredo sauce (or another GF flavor,check, not all of the versions of Alfredo actually state “gluten-free”)
  • 1 14 oz package of Tinkyada Fettucini style gluten-free brown rice pasta
  • 2 raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning the chicken breasts
  • Assorted cooked vegetables, (optional). Carrots, green beans, zucchini…

Instructions:

  1. Boil 4 quarts of water and then add the pasta.
  2. While that is heating up, season and cook the chicken breasts. I prefer to use a George Foreman grill; cook the chicken 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked completely through. You will notice the juices running clear when it is finished.
  3. Place the cooked chicken on a cutting board to the side and allow it to rest while the pasta cooks.
  4. Cook the pasta for 13 – 15 mins stirring occasionally, the water will get cloudy and it won’t smell like traditional pasta, but trust me, you’re in for a treat!
  5. After cooking the pasta, strain, rinse with cold water and transfer it back into the pot.
  6. Pour the jar of Alfredo sauce onto the pasta, mix, and keep the mixture on the stove on low heat.
  7. Cut the chicken into slices or large chunks and add to the pasta mixture. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally for 5 – 10 minutes. You can also slice the chicken and put it on top of the pasta after you plate it if you want the true authentic Olive Garden style. Up to you.
  8. Plate and enjoy! Gluten-free never tasted so good!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • If you choose to add vegetables you can either mix them directly into the pot or I plated them underneath my pasta since I was the only one who wanted to add veggies. I had leftover veggies in the fridge that were already pre-cooked, so I used french cut green beans and yellow squash which really added to the texture, plus vitamins, score!
  • You can cook your chicken breasts in any manner that you feel is quick and easy, I just love my Foreman.
  • This pasta absorbs a lot of sauce. If you prefer a dish that is “saucier ” you may want to add an additional half of a jar of alfredo sauce, or have extra bowl of sauce heated on the side to drizzle over the top once you plate.
  • This dish holds up quite well once cooked just warming on the stove. You can leave it if you’re 1). waiting for the family to get home, 2). need to walk the dog, or 3). if you’re just not in the mood to eat right away (not that number 3 would ever be the case with this dish, you won’t want to wait a second longer than necessary before digging in!).

sliced chicken

fett alf

Fett alf with veggies

                Did you add vegetables to your alfredo? Which did you choose?

A Beach Vacation! (Part 2)

Shells1

On to the rest of my vacation! I have to call this one an extreme beach vacation because it simply was not your typical lay out, catch some waves kind of trip. That’s usually how I roll; just kicking back, no schedule, no “to do” list. Apparently this is not how the rest of my family rolls; not this trip! This my friends, was a trip so intense even extreme doesn’t seem to do it justice. It was more like boot camp! We were up at dawn every day either biking, hiking the beach, or kayaking for hours followed by a power swim in the ocean. There were always a series of afternoon activities ranging from power shopping to sightseeing which finally would lead to ending the day at one of the many laid back beach restaurants where we could just sit outside, relax…enjoy the humidity (yuck) and listen to a band or two. Nonstop but lots of fun, exhaustion, and sheer bliss.

Regarding the beach restaurants, I need to say that although the atmosphere was lovely, eating gluten-free safely was a very stressful task. In restaurants where everything is deep-fried and all of the meals are served in a basket, I didn’t get the feeling that cross-contamination was on anyone’s mind; well except for me that is! I just stuck to the basics, even though it wasn’t very exciting – usually a plain grilled chicken salad since I don’t really like fish. It was a bit brutal to eat that while everyone else was digging into french fries, hush puppies and deep-fried southern bliss, but I didn’t get sick, and that’s what matters. Plus, with the hefty workouts and super clean eating I even lost a few pounds (now that is my kind of vacation, going home smaller than you arrived!).

Rock Shrimp!

Rock Shrimp!

There was one really exciting treat that I hadn’t even heard of before, rock shrimp. These huge shrimp look like mini lobster tails, and they taste like it too…yummm! I ordered mine without seasoning, but they also come coated in what looked like an Old Bay seasoning mix (oh how I love Old Bay and it’s gluten-free too!). You can eat rock shrimp as is or dip them in butter (just like lobster) and they are delicious. Best Florida discovery by far. I am not into fish, but shellfish are my weakness…I blame that on growing up in Maine…lobster…yummm…

rockshrimp2

rockshrimp3

In addition to the scrumptious shrimp there were live dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees…oh my! No sharks thank goodness…well at least none that I actually saw, I had those moments in the water where I felt something slimy graze my legs, ewww. Where are the pictures you ask? Well as you’ve probably noticed, I am not the world’s best photographer, but I give it my all with my iPhone! Trying to get wild dolphins and sea creatures on film is harder than you may think. Every time a dolphin would crest I would grab my phone, but by the time I actually took the picture all you could see was the water! I have a lot of those…. The sea turtle nests were really interesting, we kept checking them but no hatchlings while we were there. Did you know that the only lights safe for checking turtle nests on the beach at night are red LED lights?

Turtle nest on the beach

Turtle nest on the beach

At least these turtles were slow enough for me to photograph!

At least these turtles were slow enough for me to photograph!

Even the manatee’s managed to keep their identities hidden. We kayaked with them and I was sure they were going to tip me over; their little noses would pop up way too close to my unsteady kayak and they would sniff and blow water. But it turns out I was the culprit here, I didn’t need any help falling in, I did it all on my own! It was so gross being thrown into the murky brown bay water; I hoped Flipper would come to rescue me but apparently in real life dolphins don’t care if you drown from your own stupidity! Fortunately, after my initial panic attack I realized that I could touch the bottom, so crisis averted.

What was my favorite animal sighting in Florida you ask? Even at the beach you can’t take the country out of the girl. The cows of course!

Cows by the river

Check this out, only in Florida will you find Egrets hanging out in the cow pastures!

baby cows

Where did you go on your last vacation? Do you find it difficult to eat gluten-free when you’re away from home?

“Spaghetti” and Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

spaghetti and meatballs

Oh Mama Mia; spaghetti and meatballs how I have missed you! Finally a gluten-free dish just as tasty as the real deal. And don’t just take my word for it (I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I had real gluten filled pasta) my crazy-for-gluten family can vouch for the legit faux gluten flavor! Seriously, they won’t eat anything gluten-free that tastes sub-par and this was a hit all around the table. Wait, you say, this isn’t spaghetti, this is fettucine! Well I consider it both…to me the sauces determine the title. For those of you who can’t live with this potentially life altering inconsistency (I get it, I’m particular too!) please note my quotation marks around “spaghetti” and feel free to sub in actual gluten-free spaghetti, angel hair, linguine…whatever YOU consider your “spaghetti” to be!

Rice Pasta Brand

I am in love with these Tinkyada brown rice fettuccine noodles, seriously love. I bought a package months ago and I have been terrified to try them. I pretty much stare at them daily in my cupboard, but I was just too scared to try them for fear of the potential disappointment and inevitable let down of faux pasta. All of that anguish was for nothing! I found out I’ve only been denying myself unbridled fettuccine joy because these noodles rock, yummm!

rice chex

crushed rice chex

I also convinced the “fam” that crushed rice chex in the meatballs would be all we need to bind them (this was also a horrifying idea, thank goodness I was right, lest I be burned at the stake…err…dinner table!) instead of traditional bread crumbs.

Here is the recipe; try it out secretly and see if your family can tell it’s gluten-free or include them in the cooking process and make it a family affair; group cooking is fun!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder (or fresh chopped garlic) optional, see note**
  • 1 cup Rice Chex, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Canola Oil
  1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and mix together with your (clean!) hands.
  2. Place a saucepan on the stove, coat the bottom with a thin layer of canola oil.
  3. Form the meatball mixture into small meatballs and place them into the saucepan on medium heat.
  4. Cover the saucepan and cook the meatballs until they are cooked through, approx. 20 – 30 minutes, rotating them periodically to cook evenly and prevent from burning.
  5. Once cooked, remove meatballs from pan and place on a serving platter.

**A note about the garlic; no it’s not FODMAP friendly. I usually leave it out but I had protests from the entire crowd at dinner about that, so I used just a little. If you can avoid the peer pressure then definitely leave it out!

meatball mix

meatballs in pan

cooking meatballs

meatballs

Gluten-Free Pasta:

  • 1 14 oz package of Tinkyada Fettucini style gluten-free brown rice pasta
  • 1 jar of Classico Tomato and Basil pasta sauce (or another GF flavor, check, not all flavors state “gluten-free”…or make your own, go for it…but don’t forget to share the recipe with me!)
  1. Boil 4 quarts of water and then add the pasta.
  2. Cook for 13 – 15 mins stirring occasionally, the water will get cloudy and it won’t smell like traditional pasta, but trust me, you’re in for a treat!
  3. In a medium microwave safe bowl, add the jar of sauce and heat covered in the microwave  3 – 5 minutes or until hot.
  4. After cooking the pasta, strain and rinse with cold water. Serve immediately (mix the sauce into the pasta if desired).
  5. Plate the pasta, sauce, and meatballs; enjoy!

Rice Pasta

spaghetti and meatballs

I’m so excited for your feedback, can you tell this is a gluten-free dinner?

No Bake Cookie-in-a-Bowl (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Cookie in a bowl

Here is another quick, easy, and addicting sweet treat! I wouldn’t call this super healthy but when you’re having a sugar/chocolate/texture craving this will be your new go to. Plus it fills you up!

This recipe has some interesting roots on it. It was an odd favorite when I was growing up; I think it developed from times when we were low on groceries in the house…dessert is still necessary (daily!) so we got creative. It all started with watching my dad put peanut butter on his store-bought chocolate chip cookies (weird), then my brother mixing a bowl full of semi-sweet chocolate chips with peanut butter (weirder), which finally led to me adding oatmeal to peanut butter and chocolate chips (weirdest, but SO good!).

I thought I would share this simple joy, plus if you need a sweet pick-me-up you almost always have these 3 ingredients at home. I’ve modified this recipe just a little for my allergies, but it still tastes like it did when I was a kid! It’s all about the texture here, and hey oatmeal adds fiber! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Gluten-Free Oats
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter

Instructions:

  1. In a cereal bowl mix the oats and peanut butter.
  2. Work in the chocolate chips and that’s it! You’re done! Eat up!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • You can make this mixture in any amount that you like, big or small. These are rough measurements. The general rule of thumb is 2 parts oats/chocolate chips to 1 part peanut butter. This will also keep well if you can actually stop yourself from finishing it in one sitting! Life’s too short…just eat it!

What crazy recipes have you come up with in a pinch when you are severely in need of a good sugar fix?

Incredible Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

THC Pile

Chocolate chip cookies…yummm! The epitome of childhood happiness (well at least it was for me!). It takes me back to those cold and snowy winter nights growing up when my mom was completely stir-crazy from being cooped up inside for too long. She would channel her anxious energy into baking up her very own storm! She used to religiously bake Nestle Toll House cookies for us, and in our house nothing less than a double batch would do. Maybe that explains why every time I get in the kitchen no matter what I create, it always seems to make enough to feed an entire neighborhood!

There are a lot of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies out there and so far this recipe is the first one that actually made my nostalgia come back! I will warn you that this recipe isn’t as simple as the recipes I usually bake; but I did try to un-complicate it a little. It’s still a one bowl wonder as long as you use a bowl that you can microwave (hooray for glass mixing bowls!!). My gluten-free baking is getting more daring; I think it’s a good thing. I adapted this recipe from Mama Pea’s version at Peas and Thank You which ultimately lead me back to Alton Brown’s version, so I need to give him a shout out as well. Some seriously amazing gluten-free work is going on out there!

THC Lone Dense

I made these cookies dairy-free also, as my quest to find out if dairy is making me sick continues. I have to say, once I adjusted to the dairy free chocolate chips they started to taste pretty freaking awesome (my husband still doesn’t completely agree with that, but he loved these cookies and hey he can still have the “real thing”, so disregard his opinion right now!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks/16 Tbsp) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Sorghum Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup chopped Walnuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl microwave the Earth Balance sticks until melted.
  3. Add the wet ingredients: sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Start adding the dry ingredients: salt, cornstarch, tapioca flour and baking soda. Mix well.
  5. Then mix in the oat flour and sorghum flour. Don’t overmix from here on out; oat flour can get overworked.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Complete a final light mix (almost folding them in if you will).
  7. See recipe notes/thoughts on refrigerating the dough (below); chill dough for 1 hour or spoon onto baking sheets immediately, your choice.
  8. Bake unchilled dough for 11 minutes, refrigerated dough for 13 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven when they are browned to your preference; let cookies cool on the pans for at least 2 minutes before moving them.

Once they are completely cooled, store in an airtight container and continue to enjoy day by day!

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I’ve been using the Enjoy Life brand for dairy free chocolate chips, my only complaint is that I can’t get the correct size of chip that would compare to Nestle’s and it does make a difference (to me anyway). For this batch I started cutting the mega chunks in half (I made it through half a cup but I get bored easily, yes…it’s another issue I’m working on!) and I had about 1 cup of mini chips left so I combined the two.
  • I don’t bake with xanthan gum…I bought two packets that I constantly stare at in the pantry, but I haven’t had the nerve to try them yet…I just have this sixth sense that it’s not going to do good things in my stomach…
  • I used eggs and nuts in this recipe. For those of you who can’t eat them I’m SO sorry, definitely make your needed substitutions, but as for me I’m embracing them for as long as I still can!
  • This was my first experience with Sorghum flour. I can see how it might get overly sweet very quickly. When I tried these cookies hot out of the oven I was nervous; it reminded me of an overly sweet gluten-free flour mix, but don’t worry, as they cool the over-sweetness will disappear!
  • I mixed it by hand and it was just fine…
  • I’m not one for multiple bowls and I will do crazy things in just one bowl; but mix how you feel best…be true to yourself.
Left - Unrefrigerated         Right - Refrigerated

Left – Unrefrigerated                                                                                                                          Right – Refrigerated

  • Regarding refrigeration: Both of the recipes I consulted recommended refrigerating the dough for an hour prior to baking. I am 1.) completely not patient enough for this and 2.) I think I might like them better unrefrigerated, but I tend to like a denser cookie. I scooped the first batch onto a pan and popped it into the oven right away then I threw the dough in the fridge while they baked – 11 minutes. Once I had a few cookies in my  stomach (yes they were very hot!) I regained some patience and let the dough chill out for a while. However, I noticed that the rest of the batches took 13 minutes to cook and the cookies seemed “fluffier” (yes, that is a very technical baking term). The next day (which is when I tend to prefer gluten-free cookies the most, I think they must need to settle overnight to achieve the best flavor??) the refrigerated cookies were soft and had a more delicate texture while the unrefrigerated batch seemed crisper, almost denser with a more crunchy texture. So I put the decision in your hands; if you like a crunchy cookie then don’t refrigerate the dough, if you want a softer version then let it refrigerate before cooking (warning, the refrigerated kind can be a bit crumbly, so careful when you pack them up).

THC side by side inside

I hope you like my modifications…now go, get in the kitchen and happy baking to you! Let me know if you choose to refrigerate or not; yes, it is one of life’s bigger decisions, you alone hold the fate of these cookies in your hand…errr…refrigerator!

“Fake-els” Faux Bagels (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free) (Part 1)

Banana Creature

By now you know how much I like to say “life is a journey”? Ummm yeah, well so is gluten-free baking! I am not going to just give you perfect, delicious, amazing gluten-free recipes…nope, I’m not that girl. I’m also not the “recipe fairy”. We are in this together you and I, so here we go, brace yourself because there will be good and bad but we will eventually get there, I promise. Where is there you ask? To the land of perfect recipes of course!

This recipe is definitely a “creature from my oven”. I want a gluten-free, dairy-free bagel. I want it to be simple and quick and I want it to taste fantastic. I am not there yet. Bagels should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They should taste great alone or with toppings. Did I mention this is not that recipe? Well not yet anyway! I was feeling very inspired by Foodie Fiasco’s Easy Grain Free Bagel recipe, but there were a lot of things I just couldn’t eat in there, like applesauce, garlic (oh how I miss garlic!) and xanthan gum. So this is my version; here we go!

Trial #1 – Banana “Fake-els”

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. In a medium bowl mash the banana, then mix in the eggs one by one.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients and voila´, batter complete!
  4. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper form 4-5 bagel-esque looking creatures.
  5. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes; the weird antenna’s on the “fake-el” will turn brown (yes, I am aware that normal bagels do not have antenna’s!)
  6. Let your creatures cool on the baking sheet, then attempt consumption in whatever manner feels right to you. They WILL slice in half, like a real bagel…resemblance ends there…

Recipe Notes/Thoughts:

  • I thought the banana was genius; until I realized that the “fake-el” would be banana flavored! That being said, if some sugar was added to the batter it may have resembled banana bread…don’t worry, it’s on my list of things to do and I’ll keep you posted.
  • The batter was very wet, hence adding more and more coconut flour, plus tapioca flour. “Fake-els” were a bit grittier than I was hoping for, but the flax did seem to help.

Banana Creature 2

                          How did your “fake-els” come out? What did you change?