These are definitely treats for a long holiday weekend. They violate my usual code of fast, easy, and few dishes. They were none of the above. But because Jenn specifically asked for a coffee cake-like treat, how could I say, "Nah. Too much of a bother."? She makes very few culinary requests. Luckily they turned out great and thus, blog-worthy on the first try.
They are very moist, probably because I went ahead and used a full stick of butter rather than cutting it in half and adding applesauce. The butter was probably also the reason they didn't stick to the muffin papers. So, once in awhile, maybe it's okay to stress the "happy" and "gluten-free" part of Happy Healthy Gluten-free and know that "healthy" is found both in eating these in moderation and at your next meal in the form of a nice salad or plate of greens.
These muffins DO have two advantages: 1) because they are muffins, the portion control is built right in, and 2) they have the benefit of Xocai healthy dark chocolate which boosts your antioxidant intake and adds a nice sophistication, making them a little less than over-the-top sweet.
The creation of these muffins has a number of steps, and my younger son Scott had a great time helping out. He measured, mixed, scooped batter into the muffin tins, unwrapped and inserted the chocolate squares, spread and patted down the topping, and more. So though they weren't particularly fast to make, it was good quality time in the kitchen.
For the cake part:
1 3/4 gluten-free flour blend (I used Arrowhead Mills, which has xanthan gum built in. If your favorite gf flour blend does not, add 1 ¼ teaspoons of it for this recipe.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or the milk-like product of your choice)
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick of melted butter
12 Xocai Power Squares or other dark chocolate squares
For the topping:
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Combine the milk, sugar, butter and eggs in a big bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the milk-sugar-eggs and mix well. Spoon the rather sticky batter into a lined muffin tin. Worry that it may be too dry. Insert the chocolate squares upright in the middle of the muffin batter.
For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and combine it with the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers (I used my fingers) to mix until course and crumbly. Spread it evenly over the muffins and pat them down a little. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted (but not in the middle of the chocolate stripe) comes out clean. Eat them warm! Though room temperature was good too. We froze some of them to keep us from devouring the whole pan in one day. Keep your face over your plate. Oh wait, that's what I say to Scott.
My sister-in-law Kim told me about cauliflower crust pizza awhile ago, but I just hadn't gotten around to trying it. I did look it up on the internet, and I noticed that a number of examples shown in photos had quite crispy edges. I must confess that I've had one too many gluten-free pizza crusts that were a bit burned around the outside, and I don't particularly like the carbonara flavor. I decided to try something crazy and make little tartlets in a muffin tin using foil liners so that they could be a bit better contained and maybe reduce the likelihood of becoming too crispy. I'm also in the middle of reading Joel Fuhrman's book Super Immunity
, in which seeds get lifted up as a must-have in any super-high nutrient diet. I had picked up some roasted pepitas earlier in the day, and I decided that grinding
them and adding them to the crust would provide some healthy fat and let me reduce the amount of cheese in the crust.
Success! These little babies are delicious! I could even have used less cheese, and they would have been fine. The crust was a little puffy and nicely crustly, with no burnt edges. I had several for dinner, but these would be pretty fun as a party food too. You can't really tell from the picture because of the cheese, but two of them have mushrooms, one of them has mushrooms and tomatoes, and two are just plain cheese. I liked every combination.
Ingredients:1 cup grated cauliflower
(I used a cheese grater, and it went pretty fast)1 egg2 tablespoons roasted salted pepitas
, ground (I ground them in my coffee grinder. If you don't have this around, double the cheese in the crust to 1/2 cup)1/4 cup cheese for crust, plus ~1/4 more for topping1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
(I used this because we were out of dried basil and the oregano was at the back of the cabinet, but you should use whatever pizza seasoning you like)~1/4 cup pizza sauce
(I used jarred sauce from the pantry)Pizza toppings
(I had fresh mushrooms and some grape tomatoes on hand, and Joel Fuhrman likes them too)Directions:Preheat oven to 450. Line a muffin tin with 6 foil muffin cups and spray them with non-stick cooking spray. Grate enough cauliflower to have a cup of it (around half a head). Put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 4 minutes. (Almost everyone else on the interwebs says to nuke it for 8, but that's WAY TOO LONG in our microwave. I also saw a recipe that didn't microwave the cauliflower at all, so I split the difference and went with 4 minutes.) Let it cool for a couple of minutes so that when you add the cheese and egg it doesn't get weird. Stir in the ground
pepitas, cheese, herbs, and egg and combine thoroughly. Divide evenly among the 6 muffin cups until it's evenly divided.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the crusts are a little puffy and starting to brown on the edges (but not too brown!). Remove from the oven, turn the oven up to broil, and while it's heating, top your crusts with a spoonful of sauce, toppings and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.Remove. Let cool for a couple minutes to let the cheese set up, then pop the tarts out of the foil cups. Enjoy!
I've just completed my first week with a dark chocolate protein shake breakfast, replacing my former non-chocolate protein shake. I've also eaten 2 little squares of dark chocolate a day, one around 3:00 pm and the other after dinner. It's too early to be sure if this will be a long-term sustainable strategy, but the first week's results are encouraging. I'm down two pounds and my pants are a little roomier. It could be solely because of my increased attention to diet in general - sort of a placebo effect. Still, it's nice to see movement in the right direction.
The other encouraging indicator is my energy level. With the exception of last Tuesday (following a Monday dinner that included a couple of slices of bread), I've been feeling really amazing. This is notable because I generally just feel pretty good. It was almost like a light switch being thrown. Again, I can't be completely certain it's the chocolate, but that's the main thing I'm doing differently.
Given these early successes, the research will continue!
Healthy Choco-PB Dip
I created this single-serving dessert which is totally guilt-free. It combines healthy dark chocolate with powdered peanut butter, inspired by my friend Robin's "dip strawberries in dark chocolate" idea and my friend Lisa's recent enthusiasm for powdered peanut butter, which has only 22 calories per tablespoon and 85% less fat than regular peanut butter. This choco-PB dipping sauce has only 55 calories, plus the caloric value of the fruit you are dipping into it. Nice.
1 6-gram square of dark chocolate (I used a Xocai Power Square)
1 teaspoon of powdered peanut butter (I used Just Great Stuff Organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot water
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and heat it until soft but not hot. Boil some water for tea. (You'll want a hot drink to go with dessert, right?) Add the peanut butter powder to the chocolate and pour the hot water over the top of both. Stir until combined. It will be the consistency of brownie batter (less water for thicker, more water for thinner.) Dip your cut up fruit chunks -- banana, apples, pineapple, berries -- in the choco-PB sauce and eat up! Lick the dish when you think no one is looking. Show restraint and don't go make a second one. Console yourself with the knowledge that you will be able to do this again tomorrow.
Since my big weight loss 3+ years ago, I've gained back 15 pounds from my target weight of 125. It's winter. It's cold out. I'm not running as often. I've been following the same eating plan for the last year. I need a change. As Matt Cutt says, if you want something badly enough, you can do anything
for 30 days. If you are a regular here, you know I've written about this before
One of my new year's resolutions was to replace some of the coffee I drink with green tea. I've kept up with this, and have been drinking anywhere from 1-3 cups a day, some regular, some decaf. Green tea is better for you -- lots of antioxidents, weight loss support and loads of good stuff to support overall optimal heath (more about that here
.) I have to admit that I don't actually like it. I mean, it's okay, but I never actually say "Ahhhh, green tea," like I do with coffee.
Not long after I started my tea resolution, I met up with a friend who began eating dark chocolate years ago for the same reasons I started drinking green tea. If you know me, you know I haven't eaten chocolate since the "Heaven From MANNA" truffle incident of 1994, when I came to believe that I do not have an effective chocolate off-switch. But my interest was piqued. After a bit of research
, it looks like my issue may have been with the fat and sugar of the chocolate I was eating, and not the cacao itself, which is loaded with antioxidents and other healthy stuff. I want to try something different, so I'm going to try dark chocolate for 30-days. I'll keep a log and I'll keep you apprised. If I find myself sliding off the edge in the presence of the chocolate, I will definitely pull the plug.
Today I started with a dark chocolate protein shake. I'll have a 30-calorie square in the afternoon to keep me away from the salted mixed nuts that I gravitate towards at work. I'll replace my after dinner raisin graze with a square of dark chocolate. I took "before" pictures and measurements (not sure I want to share that yet, but I will when my "after" pictures and measurements demonstrate my amazing transformation.) I'll let you know how it goes.
Adding greens to smoothies is, as I'm sure you've heard already, a great way to increase your consumption of those health miracle greens. I drink a green smoothie just about every morning. One version I invented is savory and uses spicy V8 juice. I like berries immensely and they make a delicious and refreshing drink. I've done a bit of experimenting with random ingredients (not a big fan of raw beets or romaine lettuce in my blender breakfast, by the way.) In my opinion, to make a tasty smoothie, you need something frozen and something with a little fat in it to make it creamy. Avocado or nuts can be good creamy ingredient for savory shakes. Banana is great for sweet ones. Until yesterday, I had never used peaches. I'm so glad a bag of the frozen beauties snuck their way into my freezer! I'm happy to share this recipe with you.
This recipe comes with three warnings:
1) If you've never used kale in a smoothie, substitute spinach instead. Kale is very good for you, but I have to admit the first time I put it in a smoothie I likened the experience to glurping down grass clippings. Yes, glurping. No lie. Spinach is also quite healthy and it liquifies in the blender. Kale just gets littler and littler. I recommend easing into the green smoothie experience with spinach, a more blender-friendly green.
2) If you have never used protein powder before, don't start with this recipe. I mean, you can, but I'd hate for you to decide that my green smoothies have a gritty or chalky taste as a function of their greenness. I started using a protein powder about a year ago to boost my, well, protein. Duh, right? I read somewhere about balance between the macronutrients of protein, carbs and fats and decided as a nearly vegan vegetarian that I could use some more grams of protein. After trying probably half a dozen varieties, I have decided I like the unflavored Garden of Life Raw Protein powder. I prefer it because it does not have artificial sweeteners or added sugar (which means I can put it in sweet and savory smoothies), it doesn't contain dairy, it has 17 grams of protein per serving, and it is of course gluten-free. It's also loaded with other good stuff that I liken to taking a nutritional supplement. Those good points don't change the inherent nature that makes protein powder a rather distinctive and to many, unpleasant, beverage additive. I think the taste is tolerable and the health benefits trump my tastebuds. You can easily leave it out of this recipe.
3) I do not really measure my smoothie ingredients. I usually make them early in the morning. I throw ingredients at the blender and see what happens. Quantities below are estimates. Please don't get mad if it's a little off. Always adjust to your own tastes. Start with less greens if they make you nervous. Use more almond milk if you prefer a thinner beverage. Experimenting can be fun. Let me know what you came up with!
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen kale
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 medium banana
1 teaspoon of toasted flaxseeds (the ones from Trader Joe's are delicious!)
1 scoop of protein powder
Pour the almond milk and kale into the blender. Pulse and blend on high until it's a liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time, blending after each addition. Once everything is in the blender and moving, keep blending for a 90 seconds or 2 minutes (this will feel like forever, especially if you are blending in the pre-dawn hours and everyone else in your house is still sleeping.)
Pour the contents into a glass. Drink it through a straw. Feel very satisfied and secretly nutritionally morally superior to people eating Corn Chex. Take a picture and post it on Facebook.
[May is Celiac Awareness Month, and I’m giving away copies of my ecookbooklet: So What CAN You Eat? Gluten-free Paleo Vegan (mostly) Recipes for Health and Weight Loss, to all who join the mailing list. Visit the homepage here.
19 fast, easy recipes!]
1) I'm cooking most of my own food, so I know what goes into it
2) I'm more likely to just get a salad (with dressing on the side) when I eat at a restaurant that doesn't have a gluten-free menu, helping me meet my weight management goals
3) I can't succumb to the temptation of workplace pizza or doughnuts when they appear
4) I'm more mindful of the nutritients and calories I'm putting into my body
5) I've gotten to experiment with new foods and have found some new things to add to my list of favorites, and they are healthy (Beets! Brussels sprouts!)
6) I've befriended nutritional yeast as a replacement for some of the B vitamins I lost with enriched carbs, and I LOVE it!
7) I've come up with new ways to prepare vegetables and make them satisfying as the MAIN dish
8) I've begun using condiments in interesting ways (yellow mustard on broccoli is delicious!)
9) Nuts and beans are great protein sources, AND they make good dips, spreads and hummuses (or is that hummi?)
10) (This should be number 1!) I generally feel so much better and have so much more energy!
What gifts have you found from having to live gluten-free?
Last night's No Starch Stirfry
Cauliflower, broccoli, a red pepper past it prime, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, and a tablespoon of walnuts, sauteed in a tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook it til you're bored. Include onions and add gf soy sauce and serve over rice for a more traditional stirfry. Personally, I'm working on minimizing grains, and the great taste is driven by the veggies. Make a lot and enjoy!
I was so taken with the attractiveness of my dinner last night that I snapped a picture of it and shared in on Twitter in a short conversation with @gfdougie (who also has a helpful blog: http://glutenfreetip.com/
). I was flattered when he asked for the recipe, because it is essentially just fresh vegetables cut up and and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts sauteed in a little olive oil in a non-stick pan with some Trader Joe's smoked sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and sometimes (but not last night) I throw on some nutritional yeast. If you are thinking "I could never take the time to chop all those veggies," here are some tricks:
1) Buy them already cut up if possible. Produce Junction sells bags of broccoli florets. It's easy to find mushrooms already sliced. A nutritionist friend of mine suggested this to me a long time ago, and I felt strangely freed from the guilt of not doing all the chopping myself.
2) Since many fresh veggies are fine eaten raw, chop them big (which goes much faster) and cook them longer or shorter depending on your patience level. This won't work for folks who have trouble with raw veggies, but I find them most enjoyable when there is still some structure left to them. Not crunchy exactly, but that place between crunchy and soft. "Cook it til you're bored" is a common phrase in our house for recipes.
3) See my blog post on Beans and Greens
(another common go-to dinner in my house) for other ideas for seasonings to keep things interesting. Keep it easy!
I've recently become a BIG FAN of Kind Bars -- nutty and fruity and I want to eat them like candy bars. Hundreds of calories consumed in less than a minute. I need to stay away from them.
Fortunately there are many options. Since we're loaded with post-Easter hardboiled eggs around here, I thought it would be a good time to share my video with tips for fast, easy, cheap, healthy gluten free snacks and breakfasts. Your tips?
I went to another Philadelphia gluten free potluck
this afternoon. As usual, it was a lot of fun -- casual, low-key and there was lots of great gluten free fare. I took oven roasted veggies, and they turned out really well, so I'm sharing the recipe. You can see that I'm not a precision cook. If that makes you nervous and you want more specifics, let me know and I'm sure I can come up with something.
If you think you don't like Brussels sprouts, you really owe it to yourself to try them like this. Get some fresh ones, cut the bottoms off of them, cut them in bite-sized chunks and include them. Really. You won't believe how good they
are. I'm not kidding.
Nutritional yeast may also be unfamiliar. It is savory -- it is a umami seasoning (the 5th taste, along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter.) It's loaded with vitamin B6 and is a complete protein. But never mind that, it makes a great seasoning and can easily be used in place of parmasan cheese. Enjoy!Oven Roasted veggies
Preheat the oven to 375. Our oven is hinky, so precision isn't necessary. I'd say today's batch hovered somewhere between 350 and 400 degrees.
Cut up the vegetables. Many kinds will work. I have used beets, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and others in addition to today's combination listed here.
Ingredients: Random quantities of the following fresh veggies based on taste and availability, cut in smallish bite-sized chunks:
Brussels sprouts (little leaves of the Brussels sprouts will fall off when you cut them up. Include them in the roasting. They crisp up and are very tasty!)
Potato (I wash them well and leave the skins on)
Red Bell Pepper
Put the chucks in a big bowl, drizzle them with enough olive oil to lightly coat them and stir it all up. Spread it on a baking sheet one layer deep. Put it in the hot oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Check toward the end of the time to make sure they aren't getting overdone or burning to the pan. It's okay if the little leaves of loose Brussels sprouts get a little burned, and some of the chunks of vegetables will likely get a browned on one side, and sometimes the little bits on the end of broccoli get toasty. This is all perfectly fine and adds to the taste.
Remove the veggies from the oven. While they are still hot, put them in a bowl, season with freshly ground smoked sea salt (or regular salt is fine, or if you can't do salt, then they are still good anyway -- experiment with seasonings you like) and black pepper to taste. Then sprinkle with a spoonful or two of nutritional yeast. The yeast flakes sort of melt down and stick to the hot veggies. Start with a little if you've never had it before. Taste it and add more seasonings or yeast as you are so moved. Eat hot or at room temperature and then marvel at how good the Brussels sprouts are. Tell everyone.
The picture of these vegetables was before they were roasted, but I thought it would be helpful to show the size of the pieces. The yeast flakes come in a big canister, and the Trader Joes smoked sea salt comes in a regular sized grinder. Illustrations not drawn to scale. :-)
It's both wonderful and frustrating to have so many things to want to blog about and not having a good stretch of time to write them all up. We are getting a dog -- our first since we've had kids -- this weekend, so I'm taking a few minutes to get one thing down and I may have to let the others percolate. Just know that I HAVE to HAVE to HAVE to write up my experience at Philadelphia Chutney Co -- So good!
But in the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about how I came to the decision to do my detox, which I continue to follow. The path leads back to two TED Talks presentations I watched over the past months.
The first was this one with Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days. The big takeaway? If you want something badly enough, you can do anything for 30 Days. It's shorrt -- 3:27. Watch it here:http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.html
The other was this video by Dr. Terry Wahls. Longer, but really powerful:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc&sns=fb
She has MS and went from wheelchair-bound to complete mobility in a very short period of time through diet. Her recommended diet is not one that most people would be willing to try, but when the stakes are high enough and the will strong enough, we can do anything. After watching both videos, what other conclusion could I draw than to do a detox for 30 days?
Which brings me back to the top of the entry in which I bemoan lack of time to share my bloggy wisdom and to put into this site and my gluten-free coaching endeavor the things I've decided to pursue. If I want anything badly enough, I can do anything for 30 days. Now time for me to start my next 30 days. It's going to come to pass whether I rise to the challenge or not.