Archive for May, 2011

Blackberry-Banana Coconut Muffin Bites

I must be into blackberries these days, or maybe I am just a sucker for good deals! Our local Sprouts Farmers Market had a sale on blackberries for 77 cents per container, and yours truly had to purchase! I bought two containers – one for snacking and the other to be used in coconut muffins.

I had an itch to bake and wanted to use up the rest of my coconut flour — so there you have it, bite-sized muffins with a burst of juicy berries and a hint of vanilla and coconut. These are light in texture and easy to pop in your mouth…maybe a little too easy. Let’s just say I no longer have any left…

Blackberry-Banana Coconut Muffin Bites 

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, room temperature and well beaten
1 egg white, room temperature and well beaten
1 small ripe banana, well mashed
1/2 Tbsp gluten free vanilla extract (I use McCormicks)
2 Tbsp honey (or other sweetener, if desired)
2 Tbsp oil (I use coconut oil in liquid state but other canola oil or melted butter would work fine too)
3 Tbsp milk (coconut, almond, rice, soy or cow’s milk could be substituted)

a small container of blackberries (raspberries or blueberries would work here too)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners or grease well.
2. Whisk all dry ingredients in a small bowl (coconut flour through cinnamon) until well combined.
2. In a separate medium bowl, add wet ingredients (egg through milk) and whisk until mixed well.
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir to mix. Divide batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full.
5. Press berries into tops of batter and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden brown and cooked through. (all ovens may vary so check at 12 minutes to check for doneness)

May 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm 5 comments

Healthier Fried Rice with Shrimp

Meals that spawn from leftovers make me smile. I don’t like seeing food go to waste, so dishes like this Healthier Fried Rice are a perfect way to use up cooked rice from a previous meal. Plus, it’s great for a weeknight when you want dinner on the table fast. You could easily change the protein in the dish if you aren’t a fan of shrimp – chicken, tofu or steak could be substituted with equally scrumptious results. If you aren’t a big protein guy or gal, that’s fine too, just leave out the protein component altogether and you have a simple side!

Healthier Fried Rice with Shrimp

Ingredients

1 Tbsp oil (coconut, canola, vegetable, grapeseed) or butter, divided
1/2 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk green onion, chopped
2 cups cold cooked rice (I use brown)
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s
1 egg, well beaten
Dash of sesame oil*
Pepper to taste

Directions

1. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a wok or a large skillet on high heat. Add shrimp and cook until flesh turns pink, stirring frequently (about 2 minutes). Remove from skillet and set aside.
2. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan and add chopped onion and carrot, stir and cook for about 3 minutes. Mix in green onion, rice, sesame seeds, ginger and soy sauce and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp back to pan.
3. Move the rice-shrimp mixture to the sides on the pan, making a well in the middle. Add the egg to the hole created and allow to set.
4. Stir to combine rice mixture and egg together, then add pepper to taste and a dash of sesame oil. Stir again and serve!

Serves 2 (you can easily double or triple this recipe if desired)

*Sesame oil has a very strong and distinct flavor, use very sparingly. I use just a couple drops for extra flavor.

Recipes Notes: If you want to bulk up on more vegetables, feel free to add edamame, bean sprouts, cabbage, bell pepper or mushrooms when cooking onion and carrot.

This recipe is featured on this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Amy’s lovely Simply Sugar and Gluten Free blog!

May 29, 2011 at 9:09 am 2 comments

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew

I adore my crockpot. Attendees at my bridal shower several years ago would be able to tell you exactly how much I love this appliance. I actually squealed with joy when I opened up the gift, and the rest of the ladies laughed at my excitement. You see, I had been following Stephanie O’Dea at A Year of Slow Cooking and her resolution to use her crockpot every day in 2008…and I couldn’t wait to try out her creative recipes. However, I didn’t own a slow cooker at the time and I was specifically told NOT to purchase one since I had hand-selected one for our wedding registry. To my delight, I did receive my own crockpot a month or so later and set off to start (slow) cookin’!

Here’s a crockpot recipe you can throw together before work so dinner will be ready to serve when you get home, not to mention your house will smell divine with a scent of cumin and sweet spices. The only additional item you’ll need to prepare is either rice (could use quick brown rice), fast-cooking GF couscous or quinoa for serving. Or, if you’re like me, you can defrost extra rice you have lying around in the freezer to speed up the process.

Are you tired of the same old slow cooker recipes? Instead of your usual beef roast with potatoes, give this recipe a try. I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time you’ll serve this dish!

Slow-Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients

6 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces, skinned (I’ve used chicken breast halves only before and it worked fine, but could use a combo of drumsticks, thighs and breast halves)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 14-oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour (could sub 2 Tbsp rice flour or all-purpose flour if not gluten free)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce, optional

For serving:
Hot cooked white or brown rice, quinoa, or couscous (GF brown rice couscous is available at grocery stores too!)
Slivered blanched almonds, lightly toasted
Cilantro, optional

Directions

1. In a 5-quart or 6-quart slow cooker, add onions and carrots. Place chicken on top of vegetables and sprinkle with sea salt.
2.  Sprinkle raisins and chopped apricots on top of chicken.
3. In a small mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients (broth through pepper) and whisk to combine. Pour over chicken.
4. Cover and cook on low for 6 1/2 to 7 hours or 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high.
5. Add rice/quinoa/couscous to bowl and spoon chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: If you are using boneless chicken pieces, you always shred the chicken in the cooker, then stir to combine and serve over rice, if preferred to chunky pieces.

This recipe is featured on this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Amy’s lovely Simply Sugar and Gluten Free blog!

May 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm 6 comments

Pecan Cheese Bites

Simple recipes utilizing simple ingredients are usually my favorite– nothing fancy or overly complicated, just letting the ingredients speak for themselves. That’s when you can really taste all the individual flavors. This “recipe” (if you can call it that) is a super quick, no-frills snack that is high in protein and is decadent enough that you won’t feel the need to consume a whole bowl full. It’s flexible too – are you in the mood for a little something savory or would you prefer a touch of sweetness?

Combining toasted pecans and a spreadable cheese of choice, you had a fuss-free snack you can take anywhere. You’ve seen cheese balls covered in pecans, right? This is an easy and portable version that doesn’t require any crackers or grains. Be careful though, they can be addicting…

Pecan Cheese Bites 

Ingredients

Pecan halves, lightly toasted (or raw if you prefer)
Spreadable cheese (I’ve tried goat cheese, Laughing Cow wedges, and cream cheese but blue cheese would be really good!)

Optional add-ins*
Sweet Ideas:
a dash of honey
finely chopped dried fruit (pineapple, dates, cherries)
cinnamon
dash of pumpkin spice
mini chocolate chips or carob chips, chopped
create your own variation!

Savory Ideas:
finely chopped green onions
a dash of paprika
a dash of hot sauce
finely chopped jalapeno
create your own variation!

Directions**

1.  Take a small amount of cheese and spread over one pecan half. Top with another pecan half and enjoy!

*My favorites are plain without any additions OR a touch of honey and cinnamon for a slightly sweet bite.
**If using add-ins, mix the cheese of choice and your savory or sweet addition in a small bowl before spreading between pecan halves.

May 26, 2011 at 11:16 pm 2 comments

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