Gluten-free eating means I rarely eat toast, breakfast pastry, etc. Sometimes, I just need a carb ‘fix’ and this recipe sounded delicious. I slightly altered the original recipe and loved the results. The second time I made this recipe, I substituted blueberries for the Craisins and baked in muffin paper/tins. I’ve shared both versions with good feedback. I’ll even admit that I didn’t eat all of it soon enough and the last piece was a bit dry. I thought, ‘why not put almond milk on it?’ like a bowl of oatmeal. It was delicious.
A new favorite for my gluten-free recipe box!
CRAN-APPLE OAT CAKE
2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 single-serving packets of Pure Stevia
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 small tart apple, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins (original recipe called for cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Soak the oats in the almond milk in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, combine all ingredients.
Spread in greased 9-inch pie plate (or muffin tins).
Ham Bone Soup was a recipe I found in a great cookbook given to my by my brother-in-law, Ron, and his wife, Cathy, many years ago. I was use left-over ham bones to make the broth, just like my Mother taught me. This particular recipe was a favorite of the entire family and I was sad when my cookbook and this recipe disappeared from my kitchen.
Many years later, my sister-in-law, Betty, found the recipe copied down by my late Mother-in-Law on a recipe card and gave it to me. God bless them! It was great to make the soup again, although I substituted Quinoa pasta for regular pasta. I cook the pasta separately and add to the soup when ready to serve, otherwise the pasta tends to fall apart.
Without the pasta added, the soup freezes well.
HAM BONE SOUP
3 quarts water
1 ham bone
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 package (10 oz.) frozen whole corn
1 package (10 oz.) frozen lima beans
1 16 oz. can black-eyed peas
1 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes
2 cup macaroni or pasta of choice
salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, combine water and ham bone and simmer for 1-2 hours.
Add carrots, celery, onion, corn, lima beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Cook until vegetables are cooked through, about a hour.
Poisonwood Bible (1998) was our recent Book Club read. I remember trying to read this great book in the late ’90s but work, teenagers and life interrupted my reading experience. I was delighted when our Book Club added the book to our 2014 list. While the book is long, the time flew by as I read this marvelous book by Barbara Kingsolver.
The book was originally suggested to me by my sister-in-law, Betty, when they were living in Malawi, Africa on a medical and education mission. During their time in Africa, Betty wrote many emails to family and friends capturing the many wonderful and tragic moments there. Poinsonwood Bible brought back a flood of memories from her stories.
Our book club always begins the evening with a potluck dinner with a theme from the book, so African recipes it is! Betty was kind enough to mail me her cookbook, The Malawi Cookbook:
The cookbook was originally published in 1972 by the Malawi Ministry of Health to raise money for children’s vaccinations and the Save the Children fund. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity in young children in developing countries.
The recipes are fascinating and I will keep a few for my future cooking experiences, although I doubt I will ever serve Bee Larvae, Flying Ants, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts. Instead, I decided to use the eggplant recipe that Betty shared directly with me. I love eggplant, made any which way, so this was a perfect choice. As Betty shared, Mashed Eggplant is served everywhere during harvest season.
Other wonderful dishes shared at our dinner were Ingera (sponge bread), Chicken and Peanut Stew (recipe to appear in Friday’s post), Fried Plantains, and an array of Ethiopian dishes from a local restaurant.
I took several wonderful pictures of the Eggplant and Peanut Spread, to later discover I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. My apologies but let me assure you the dish was a big hit, even for those that confess to not liking Eggplant. Serve this spread with wedges of pita bread or, for those eating gluten-free, a gluten free cracker.
The only change I would make the next time I make it, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven to decrease the amount of fat in the dish.
MASHED EGGPLANT & PEANUT SPREAD
2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (in Malawi, they would use local made groundnut butter)
salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
Prepare the eggplant in the usual way of slicing, salting, weighing down the eggplant during the two hours you are extracting the liquid and bitterness.
Pat dry, then fry eggplant slices for about five minutes in the olive oil, turning once.
Mix and pour remaining ingredients over the fried slices, mash with fork, then serve with pita wedges. (I admit to having used a food processor which made the finished product a bit smoother).
My youngest daughter LOVES vinegar potato chips and I spotted this recipe some time ago on a blog that I follow, Lucy’s Friendly Foods. I am a popcorn hound and had to try it. If my daughter, Sarah, liked it, it was a winner.
I’m happy to report we both liked it! The reduction of the balsamic vinegar had a delightfully sweet, and salty, taste. A nice, lighter, change from the traditional (and always yummy) buttered popcorn.
Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack. I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.
This soup is light and, oh, so healthy. Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it! I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.
SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.
In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.
SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP
1 lb. dried lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach
In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.
I love traditional cornbread but for those trying to avoid gluten, it isn’t a fit. Last night I made a big pot of beef stew with cornbread for the family but needed a gluten-free version. The Almond Flour Cornbread is delicious with the slight sweetness of honey. Yummy!
While I was writing this post today my good buddy, Jan, sent me a link to a ‘Today’s Dinner Party‘ that brought a smile to my face, given all of the dietary restrictions we all face.
ALMOND FLOUR ‘CORNBREAD’
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the honey to the beaten eggs and add to flour mixture. Stir until fully combined and no lumps remain.
Pour into a well-greased 8×8″ baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Sour cherry desserts are a big favorite. While trying to avoid gluten, I was craving a cherry something, crisp…pie…cobbler. I decided to try a Cherry Crisp with almond (instead of wheat) flour using applesauce instead of butter. The result is a gluten and dairy free dessert. The girls likened the Cherry Crisp to a really good cherry granola bar.
If you prefer to skip the whole gluten and dairy free scene, substitute all-purpose flour for almond flour and margarine instead of applesauce.
2 cups cherry pie filling (gluten-free)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the cherry filling in the bottom of the baking dish.
Combine the oats, almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and applesauce together.
Almond Flour is a new experience for me and I love it. I am truly a ‘nut’ job, loving nuts and often acting like one. Using Almond Flour in place of wheat flour was right up my alley. Oldest daughter, Megan, shared this recipe with me since she is also trying to be gluten-free.
I can’t wait to experiment using almond flour in other recipes!
ALMOND FLOUR ZUCCHINI BREAD
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup honey
1 ripe banana
1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini (squeeze some of the moisture out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the wet ingredients in the bowl and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until frothy and fully combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
Spoon the batter into 2 mini loaf pans (or use to make muffins).
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.