Posts tagged ‘honey’

Cranberry Cha-Cha-Chia Muffins (grain-free)

Happy, HAPPY New Year to you all! I hope the holidays were lovely and that 2015 is off to a super scrumptious start for each and every one of you. I’ve been pretty incognito during the “go-go-go” of the holidays this year, so I am now playing catch-up :) Serious catch-up.

cranberry chia muffins 2

I’ve cooked more new meals and dishes in the last two months than I have in the past year…I must have caught a bit of a cooking bug in the kitchen, and I’ll ride that as long as I can. Trying new ingredients, taste-testing and experimentation have all been so fun…and sharing food with people who you care about just makes it that much better! cranberry chia muffins single

While I’ve actually been doing cooking than baking lately, I can’t deny my cravings for homemade goodies and sweets….add that to the fact I had half a bag of cranberries waiting to be used up and these muffins were born…or baked. cranberry chia muffins1

Sweet yet tart, light yet filling, these cranberry chia muffins are not only grain-free and refined-sugar free, but they are high in fiber, nut-free and dairy-free. I ate them for breakfast, a snack slathered with melted coconut oil and for a light dessert (when I wasn’t craving chocolate) after dinner. You can make a batch and freeze some if you’d like. Mmmmm muffins….
cranberry chia muffins

Cranberry Cha-Cha-Chia Muffins 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
2 eggs, whisked (room temperature)
1 egg white, whisked (room temperature)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (or you could probably substitute coconut nectar, maple syrup or other liquid sweetener for a different taste)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk, at room temperature (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted butter or other neutral oil could be substituted if you prefer)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, rough chopped

Optional: feel free to add shredded coconut and/or your favorite chopped nuts for a different texture and a flavor variety.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners or grease well and set aside OR use silicone muffin cups and lightly grease.
2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs through coconut oil and whisk until well combined.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir well until batter is smooth and thickens slightly (coconut flour is really absorbent, causing the batter to thicken as it sits). Stir in cranberries and chia seeds and
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners or muffin cups (mine made 10 muffins, depending on the size of your pan or liners). Bake for 22-25 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool, then enjoy!

I stored the muffins in the refrigerator, but these also freeze well.

Makes about 9-11 muffins, depending on your pan or cups; my silicone cups

cranberry chia muffin bite

January 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Baked Quinoa (or Oats) with Pumpkin and Bananas (SRC)

I sure hope you aren’t tired of pumpkin yet! I have a delectable baked dish that can triple as breakfast, a quick snack or a healthy dessert…now that’s a win in my book.

baked pumpkin quinoaIt’s Secret Recipe Club time again this month, and I was assigned Laura’s darling blog, A Healthy Jalapeño. Not only does Laura have a laundry list of recipes I want to try, she seems like “my type of people”…and the way she describes herself as “having no special talents, but I am passionately curious” is one fantastic statement. I searched through multiple recipes that I debated on trying this month, but finally settled on Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin and Bananas. Not only is this a dish that’s appropriate for pumpkin and holiday season, I was enticed by the layered look and the combination of flavors. Prior to making this dish, I hadn’t combined pumpkin and bananas but I loved it!
baked pumpkin quinoa slice

Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made a few changes based on preference and what I had on hand: I swapped out quick oats for quinoa flakes, used maple syrup instead of brown sugar and added maple extract to quinoa mixture. I wound up adding milk to the flakes as well because the mixture appeared to be a little dry for the middle and wanted to ensure it would cook. I also threw in 1/3 cup of pepitas in addition to walnuts (in lieu of pecans) for a little color and to play up the pumpkin flare.

I served this both warm and cold and thought it was delicious! If you don’t like it cold though, I blame it on my cold-pizza and refrigerated leftover fetish :) For a healthy dessert option, I drizzled my “yogurt glaze” over a slice to amp up the protein and to give it a more dessert-like feel.

baked pumpkin quinoa 2

Baked Quinoa with Pumpkin and Bananas (adapted from A Healthy Jalapeño)
Gluten-free, Oil-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Refined Sugar-free

Ingredients
4 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2″ pieces*
1 (15 oz) can organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
1 tbsp honey
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or 2-3 tbsp coconut sugar, sucanat, or brown sugar)
1 cup uncooked quinoa flakes (or gluten free quick oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans) – omit for nut-free and substitute more pepitas if desired
1/3 cup pepitas
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened Almond milk, divided (or any milk you desire)
1 egg, whisked
1/4 – 1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Garnish and serving ideas  (optional)
a drizzle of maple syrup or honey
sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg
extra pepitas, walnuts or pecans
coconut cream
Greek yogurt
Yogurt “glaze”

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray a 9 x 9″ ceramic baking dish with cooking spray or coconut oil (my favorite) or line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft (I didn’t cook them until mushy though).
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the quinoa flakes (or oats), pepitas, 1 cup of milk, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and salt; stir together.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, maple syrup, maple extract, maple syrup/sweetener, remaining 1/2 cup of milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
5. Remove the bananas from the oven, then spread the quinoa mixture over the bananas. Next, pour the pumpkin mixture over the quinoa, spreading to make sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the the top.
6. Bake for about 32-38 minutes (mine baked for 38), or until the top is golden brown and the pumpkin and quinoa has set. Garnish with nuts/seeds/yogurt if desired and serve!

*If you aren’t a fan of bananas, try swapping out apples for a different taste.

baked pumpkin quinoa bite
For more recipes from this month’s reveal, please click here!

November 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm 7 comments

Lightened-up Orange Chicken and a Cooking Technique (SRC)

Orange Chicken (or Beef) is a popular Chinese dish that I don’t usually get to order when eating out. I tend to miss out on the traditional stir-fries and specialties because I ask them to “leave off the sauce” because they typically contain gluten. When I’m in the driver’s seat in my kitchen though, I prefer to prepare dishes that are “off limits” when eating out to jazz up my menu choices…plus, then I won’t feel deprived!

orange chicken 1When I was assigned Karen’s Kitchen Stories this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was drooling over all her homemade bread recipes… but I admit, I was intimidated to try and de-glutenize them while staying true to the original recipe. After reading that Karen participates in Wok Wednesdays, I was sold on both her Velvet Chicken and Orange Chicken recipes! I’ve always been intrigued with the way Chinese restaurants prepare their meats, I never could achieve the same texture or tenderness when using a wok…until now!

I opted to cook an un-fried version of Orange Chicken to lighten up the dish a bit (you know, so I could have more of it!). Taking cues from Karen’s Velvet Chicken post, I used the water velveting technique instead of the oil one…. woohoo! The result was very tender chicken! Turns out you can also prepare other proteins in the same way — beef, pork, shrimp — so I will have to try my hand at that soon.

orange chicken 2

I made a few adjustments to the orange sauce by subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce, adding a bit of ginger, using honey instead of brown sugar and using crushed red pepper flakes in place of the cayenne. I also chose to use coconut oil for sauteeing and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, but either works in this dish! I served the chicken with brown rice sprinkled with green onion and sauteed broccoli, carrots and onions — a balanced, healthy and yummy meal!

Lightened up Orange Chicken (adapted from Karen’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free

For the Chicken

1 T coconut aminos (or tamari or gluten free soy sauce)
1 T rice vinegar (or dry sherry)
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (can use thighs or even beef, pork or shrimp)
For the Orange Sauce
1/3 C orange juice
1/4 C chicken broth or stock
1 T apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 1/2 T coconut aminos, tamari or gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T honey (or other sweetener) – increase by a couple tablespoons if you prefer a sweeter sauce
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

Sauce Preparation

1 tsp oil for sauteeing (I used coconut oil)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp tapioca starch (or 1 tsp cornstarch) dissolved in 1 T water or broth

Chicken Preparation

2 tbsp coconut oil, divided (or other oil)
For serving (optional) 
Cooked brown or white rice, or quinoa
Sauteed veggies

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in the combined soy sauce, vinegar, oil, starch and egg whites for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
  3. Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan for about a minute until fragrant, add the above sauce, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the starch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.
  4. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring one quart of water and 1 tbsp oil to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the simmering water, stirring to prevent the pieces of chicken from clumping together. Cook until the chicken is opaque, but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain the chicken in a colander
  5. In a wok or large sauce pan over high heat, swirl the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the chicken and saute for three minutes or until cooked through. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour half over the chicken. Stir fry, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Toss with remaining sauce.
  6. Serve immediately with steamed rice/quinoa and sauteed veggies if desired!
orange chicken 3
For other recipes in this month’s reveal, click here!

September 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm 9 comments

Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream with Grain-free Shortbread

Summer is finally here and I am feeling the heat! You know what that means — light, fresh and fruity flavors are popping up in recipes around the blogosphere and in magazines like crazy!

I was delighted when the creative and trendy ladies of EDGE Marketing and Design approached me a couple months ago to come up with a “summery recipe” to be featured in their upcoming issue of their magazine. These women are not only spunky, stylish and creative, but they are beyond talented and know how to run a cutting-edge marketing business. They say “yep, we’re small. but we like to make a big difference.” Nicely stated!

lemon poppyseed ice cream

I immediately started brainstorming a unique summer treat that would be worthy of making their fashionable publication. I knew I had to stick to my roots and feature a rockin’ gluten free recipe that wasn’t complicated or require strange ingredients.

Bam, it hit me. How about create a dairy-free ice cream recipe that plays off the flavors of the popular lemon poppyseed muffin? Unique yet approachable and oh-so-refreshing, this vegan ice cream will satisfy your sweet tooth but not weigh you down.

lemon poppyseed ice cream3

It’s free of refined sugars, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts and soy. Eliminate the optional vodka (though it produces a more creamy end result), and you have a grain-free Paleo treat…and isn’t Paleo all food rage these days?

I also adapted my pie-crust to create a quick grain-free, dairy-free almond shortbread. Simple, easy and delicious. What’s not to like about ice cream and cookies? Dig in and enjoy the flavors of summer!

lemon poppyseed ice cream1

Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Vegan, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Quick 

Ingredients

1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used two medium lemons)
1/4 cup agave or your favorite neutral flavored liquid sweetener (honey or coconut nectar)
1 Tbsp gluten free vodka*, optional
pinch of stevia to taste or 1 more Tbsp of sweetener
zest from one lemon
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

lemon zest for serving
Grain-free Almond Shortbread cookies (recipe below), for serving

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well until combine.
2. Let chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. Pour into your ice cream maker per your maker’s instructions. (I used a Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker and it took about 20 minutes to freeze down).
4. Serve immediately for a soft-serve version or pour into a freezer-safe container and let freeze until hardened. Scoop and enjoy!

Yields 4 cups

*This recipe was tested with Smironoff vodka, but Chopin and Blue Ice Vodka (make sure you buy the blue bottle as it’s potato based) can be used. The vodka allows for a creamier ice cream consistency but feel free to omit if desired.

lemon poppyseed ice cream2

Grain-Free Almond Shortbread Cookies
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free option, Egg-free, Vegan, Quick

Ingredients

2 cups almond flour (I buy mine from nuts.com)
2-3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or other granulated sweetener
1/8th tsp sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp butter, ghee, coconut oil or Earth Balance softened (use oil or Earth Balance for vegan and dairy-free)
2 Tbsp honey or agave (use agave for vegan)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
optional add-in: 1 tsp poppyseeds

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper and set side.
2. In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients until combined. Add wet ingredients and stir until a thick dough forms.
3. Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes until chilled.
4. Line your counter with parchment paper and place ball of dough. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into rectangles (or roll into a log and cut into slices).
5. Transfer carefully using a spatula to baking sheet and bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let cool completely before moving as they are fragile when warm. Enjoy!

Yields 15-16 cookies

July 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm 4 comments

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