Friday, February 24, 2012

Free Fridays! GINGER!

I'm so excited about today's free Friday. So, the secret ingredient is ginger! Super exciting! Wait... how are you not excited about ginger? It's only one of the most ugly plants out there - the edible part anyway. Like a potato, you wonder who was the person who thought it was a great idea to eat this in the first place. Well, I'm sure you've seen ginger used in Asian dishes, teas, cookies and holiday breads. I used ginger in the first recipe ever posted to this blog.

A few years ago, before I found I had celiac, I was pregnant at Christmas and craving orange ginger. I set out to find the perfect thing for that craving and came up with an amazing orange ginger cookie, that I actually packaged and sent as Christmas presents that year. They were crispy, hot with sweet orange frosting and everyone loved them. I missed that flavor, it was one of my favorites. Something about the hot sweet spicy, really made them unique and fun. So, of course, I wanted to try to replicate it. Today, I'm going to show you this recipe, which was originally my best attempt at a ginger cookie - and completely failed. When dealing with high protein flours, most of the time, crispy isn't the description of the end product. Unless you've burned it to said crisp. I've made cookies that are the consistency of cakes, coconut flours are like corn breads, and it's a work in progress for me, even though after a few days of internet searches, I find that there are lots of well versed people out there writing GF blogs that are very knowledgeable. I have not used anything today from their sites and certainly reference them when or if I do.

I took the failed cookie recipe and realized this would make such an amazing breakfast bread. I've not baked it as a loaf yet, but just in cupcakes. You can do 2 things with these: 1: bake them and eat them as they are or frosted, or 2: bake them, hollow them out and fill them then frost them and eat them. Either way they can be refrigerated in an airtight container until you're ready to use them. I found the flavor was amazing 2-4 days out from originally baking them. Filling them is a bit time consuming, so for all practical purposes, the recipe will just frost them. They are healthy, full of protein, and calcium and can be a great sugar free way to start a fast paced morning. Or to pair with a slow paced afternoon tea!

Note: today, since some of the measurements are so tiny, the scale does not register them - I do not find this to be an issue, because I'm the type to know if I need a few dashes of something it's not the end of a recipe if it's 3 dashes or 5. This applies mostly to using spices. It's a flavor issue. However, for reproduction sake, I did use tiny measure spoons (1/4 teaspoon) which, I listed first in the recipe, then switch to the scale. Remember to zero out before adding anything else!

Ginger Breakfast Muffins

1/8 tsp salt (basically 2 pinches)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp white pepper
8 oz almond flour
1/8 - 1/4 oz of cinnamon
1/8 oz cloves
1/4 oz of flax seed
1/3 oz NuNaturals stevia

3 oz sugar free maple syrup
2 oz unsalted butter
5 oz shredded fresh ginger
1/4 oz vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350f. Line regular muffin tin with muffin cups. Mix almond flour and all dry ingredients, including spices, together in a bowl. Blend in wet ingredients. Fill muffin cups almost to full and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Watch them. Depending on your oven it may require a little more or less time. They should be a warm brown on top.
Allow to cool. Frost and eat or refrigerate for later.
Frosting can be found: Here!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sneek Peek Monday!

Ok, so I'm already excited about Friday and it's still the entire week away. But, I have something really fun I'm working on, and have been for a few weeks, so I can't wait to get it out there for everyone to see - the whole four people who read my blog!

I am going to try to get pictures this time, and by Friday will have a new recipe, not a meal this time, but something definitely good for breakfast or on the go. Gluten free and sugar free, it's made with high protein, high fiber almond flour, eggs and the secret ingredient that's going to warm up your mouth!

Even though the northern states are going to start pulling out of winter soon, it's great for a cool morning when you're in a hurry or just don't want to cook. These taste AMAZING when they are precooked and stored in the fridge.

Here's your hint:

Sugar Free Frosting!

1 package of sugar free cheesecake flavored pudding (jello brand works)
1 and 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
splash of vanilla

Whip all ingredients together until stiff peaks form. Use immediately or store in fridge, in a sealed container.

Ready to know what we're using it on??? =) Come back on Friday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Purple on Free Friday!

Here is our next Free Friday! It's sometimes hard to deal with the gluten free sugar free life, and over this past week, I've found quite a few blogs (written light years more eloquently than mine) and more people who are reaching for no wheat. It seems I'm definitely not the only one who has realized that wheat should not be such a staple in our diet. Perhaps a facet of our diet, but certainly not the main show as it tends to be now. Refer to my first post if you'd like an idea of a 'typical' American diet. It's very wheat heavy. Nutrition experts encourage people to eat a varied diet to increase vitamin and mineral intake and maximize health benefits, with emphasis on colors. So, why do we insist on continuing the old government pyramid with 12 servings of 'grains' a day - this usually equals consuming breads, pastas, and any additives in sauces and foods you didn't really know about.

After cutting grains out of my diet, I was shocked at how much better I felt. Lethargy, grogginess, depression and join pains started fading. It was an amazing transformation which was not miraculous or extreme by any means, but enough to notice that this something different was a good change for me. This may not work for everyone, but imagine the next time you snack on a candy bar only to feel tired an hour later. The body is not designed to function on empty calories and sugar, but to store those when it has a chance because it's obviously a 'treat'. Our bodies know this and react accordingly.

Today's recipe will help combat that after dinner lethargy (or lunchtime sugar crash if you prefer!). And since I'm such a fan of purple, it's so fitting that today's meal actually IS purple. LOL.

To the best of my knowledge, this is my recipe. I have adapted it from a recipe my mother made for us as a kid, and I still make it today. No internet searches were involved in the making of this meal. =) My kids do not tend to like this meal much but do tolerate it well. If you have picky kids, perhaps this won't work so well, however, it's well worth the effort to freeze in containers and take when you're in a hurry. Also, this is perfect for a nice cold winter night.

Purple Soup

1 already cooked (leftover) ham - use the bone, meat around the bone and any extra you have, a few handfuls of leftover meat is great.
1 small head of purple cabbage
2 cans cannellini beans
1/2 onion
1/2 head of garlic
handful of chopped chives

Throw all the meat into a crock pot with the spices, add about 5 oz of water, put it on high, and walk away for about 6 hours.
Chop your cabbage into small chunks, about 1" cubes - add to the crock pot after the meat is falling off the bone and can be pulled apart easily. Also, add enough water to cover the meat and cabbage. Replace the lid, cook another 2 hours on high.
1 hour before serving, add the beans. They only need to be heated, but the longer they sit, the more purple they turn!
Salt and pepper to taste, serve hot. Goes well with a side of brie or sprinkled with some walnuts for some crunch.

Freezes wonderfully, put it in individual containers to pop in the freezer and grab when you're in a hurry but need a healthy lunch!

The perfect purple soup!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Introducing Free Friday!

Sooo, this is kinda an inspiration from somewhere else, but I figured this would be a good way to get me here, writing on the blog once a week - introducing free Fridays. Basically, I'll try to come up with a simple or at least creative meal for Friday. IF somehow I can't come up with any amazing recipe, I'll make sure I post something edible. I promise not to say shrimp cocktails too many weeks in a row.

Today is for comfort food. I think I had a hard few days and decided that when you're worried about food all the time, it starts to weigh on you instead of being a good thing. Decidedly yesterday was one of those days nothing looked good. Insert reach for pasta here. Now every person out there with sugar and wheat issues knows pasta is not a great choice. There are a lot of different gf pastas to choose from: rice, quinoa, corn, amaranth. Pick a pasta you like the taste, texture and isn't too strong. Some people find quinoa to be too strong, but I really like the flavor and love the texture, it's as close as I can get to wheat. I'm so addicted to the texture of wheat - I'd never eat it again if it lost it's nice smooth, elasticky, rich texture. Ohya. I'm not supposed to eat it ever again anyway. I digress.

Watch portions of pasta very carefully, in regards to sugars. A single serving of quinoa corn pasta can have 46g carbs and that means a nice sugar crash 45 min later. Pair it with steak or shrimp, AND (yes I said and) some strong leafy veggies like kale, spinach or escarole. If necessary only have 1/2 serving. I'm a pasta fiend. I could eat a whole box in one sitting and have nothing more than garlic, butter and salt on it. yum.

So here's today's recipe (I'm going to super cheat here on ingredients so you can see how easy this would be to pick up and toss together - some work necessary but you'll be so glad you did.)

Craving pasta!

Cook 1 serving (for each person) of your favorite GF pasta
1 bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce (yikes! or if you have your own use it but try to make it ahead so this is available!)
1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies like squash, zuccini, carrots and whatever fun blend you want to use, red peppers, green peppers (whatever is already chopped!)
Couple handfuls of chopped kale
1 crock pot or rotisserie chicken (check labels for wheat used as a stabilizer in the marinade for these chickens)

Ok you have your pasta done in the sink with butter melting all over it. Take those frozen veggies and kale and omg /gasp (microwave them till soft) - no one heard me say that. Just get them unfrozen asap!

Open up the jar of sauce, pour into a pan or (yes you can microwave that too.) Toss the softened veggies/cooked kale in a food processor and pulse till you cannot recognize it for much more than baby food. =)
Pour into the tomato sauce.


Place pasta on a plate, top with sauce, some cheese of your fav variety (I like mozo) and then a few slices of chicken on top.

Voila. Comfort food for the SFGF crowd. Everyone will love it. The sauce texture is amazing, the flavors pop and the balance is beautiful for when you're really craving pasta!

I realized today I have no real pictures of any of these foods or anything resembling a nice plate of wholesome foods... but I have a lot of pictures of Johnny Rzeznik. /sheepish grin. Does that help a food blog? Oh yes, I love good scenery while I eat. Ahem.

(Thank you J for your picture contribution, that is my favorite guitar of all time.)