10 December 2012

Gluten Free Brownies

So, since I last left a posting here I have gone off the gluten free way of eating many times.  Usually one meal, or one day.  While travelling through Scotland in August there was no way of adhering to the gluten free diet, and frankly I didn't want to-I was in freaking SCOTLAND! Fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding, digestive biscuits...not to mention some yummy pizza in Edinburgh from an Italian run eatery down the block from our hotel (which despite it's upscale set up had the worst food).

October brought my daughter's 13th birthday and news that my dad has diabetes and needs to watch his diet.  We decided on a birthday pavlova and gluten free brownies for my daughter's birthday.  I found a recipe by Ghiradelli for Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies. I switched it up to make it more body friendly for me, replaced the rice flour with coconut flour to reduce the carbs and increase the fiber.  This recipe results in a very fudgy brownie, which is expected given the ingredients. It is necessary to have all ingredients at the ready and mix it quickly and well because coconut flour absorbs a ton of liquid if given the chance so the faster the batter is blended the better.  I find baking 20 to 22 minutes is essential otherwise the brownie edges are very dry and crumbly.

Ghirardelli Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies

1/2 cup whole almonds* ( I use almond flour)
1/3 cup brown rice flour ( subbed equal amount of coconut flour)
1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet
Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper.
2. If using whole almonds, add them to a food process with the rice flour and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix it with the rice flour. Set aside.
3. Place the chocolate, butter and salt in the top of a large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly about 40 strokes. Stir in the walnuts or pecans if using.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Cool the pan on a rack. Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan to detach the brownies. Lift the edges of the parchment paper to remove the brownies. Cut into squares.

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16 July 2012

Lettuce Roll Ups

So, I've been mostly wheat free since the first week of February.  I had a few days in the last three weeks where I tried the old foods just to see how my body responded (eeps, not pretty!).  Weighing myself this morning, Ugh!, I am so disappointed and frustrated.  I no longer fluctuate in weight AT ALL, I'd go over a ten pound span and never quite lose weight.  When I went gluten free I gained weight, probably ten pounds, and manage to lose a few pounds since but have not budged since.  It is so frustrating!

So, I've been thinking that I need to cut carbs hard.  My gluten free alternatives have primarily been garbanzo flour, coconut flour and almond flour-all low on the glycemic index.  My *bread* intake has been very low so I cannot figure out why the weight won't budge.  I can't even bring myself to take time to exercise anymore, I am so maddeningly frustrated. I hate PCOS, hate it with a blinding passion.  I know that my beta blocker isn't helping any either with the weight loss.

So, fresh start again. I decided to really focus on a more vegetarian diet.  I'm still wheat free and sugar isn't really in my diet either.  I need to eat more, at least 3 meals a day, preferably a couple snacks too.

The garden is struggling, the heat and lack of rain has been hard on my plants, even though I water them daily.  So I am still relying on grocery and local farms for my veg. So my options aren't as abundant in my mind as they should be. I am also trying to get more on board with the blood type diet for type A-so making sure I keep clear of the foods on the avoid list.

Today, however, I decided to try a recipe idea I've been drooling over for awhile now.  I love sandwiches and miss them dreadfully.  So today I gave it a go and this was the end result:

2 large head lettuce leaves
2-4 slices of turkey (I use the nitrate free stuff)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 carrot, sliced very thin
1/2 cucumber, sliced very thin
basil leaves


1 can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
2 TB tahini
sea salt, to taste
1 tsp mustard
a few splashes of lime juice (lemon would work but the store hasn't had organic lemons in ages)
several fresh basil leaves, chopped

layer 1-2 slices of turkey on the lettuce leaf, spread with hummus and layer remaining ingredients then roll up.  Not too much hummus otherwise it oozes everywhere and is rather messy.

10 July 2012

Homemade Granola

My daughter loves the granola mixes for her breakfast, however the cost is through the roof.  She has spent the last few days shelling pumpkin seeds I had toasted last fall and we went to town creating her own granola blend. Sorry, no measurements,-I threw things in as I went.  I can guesstimate.

Pixie's Granola

gluten free oats-about 2-3cups (maybe 4c)
shelled pumpkin seeds-about 1/2 c
blueberry infused dried cranberries abt 1/2 c
pomegranate infused dried cranberries abt 1/2 c
1/4c golden raisins
1/4c honey
1/4c bittersweet chocolate chips
1/ 8 c butter, melted
1/8c olive oil
3tb Nutella
2 tsp allspice

Mixed all ingredients well and then poured out over a parchment lined shallow pan and baked at 300* about 35min.

I found it too sweet for me but she loves it

08 July 2012

Spiced Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto

 My daughter has been craving this warming dish, despite the weather being hot and humid, so I have whipped this up for her today.  I subbed woodear (her favorite) and oyster mushrooms, sliced into thin strips.

Spiced Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto

2 large shallots, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or more)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5-6 cups of hot vegetable stock

2 cans organic pumpkin (or if you have fresh pumpkin 2 cups of finely diced and pureed)
1 cup chanterelles, large dice
1 cup morels, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 Tb fresh thyme, minced
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground coriander
Salt and black pepper to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds, garnish (opt)

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil and saute shallots and garlic.  Add rice and stir to coat rice with oil.
Add wine and continue stirring until wine has been absorbed.  Add 3 cups of the hot veg stock so that rice is completely covered.  Add more if needed.
Continue to cook, stirring frequently until stock is absorbed.

Add 1 cup of hot stock and continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed, repeat with last 1-2 cups. Rice should be chewy and much of the liquid absorbed.
Stir in pumpkin, thyme, nutmeg mushrooms and parmesan and turn heat to low and let cook 5 min. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

~Stephanie Lowell-Libby

07 July 2012

Kitchin Witchin

So today my daughter and I are tackling homemade granola for her and grain free bread for us both.  She is a huge fan of the granola cereal blends in the natural food section of our grocer.  However, for $5-$7 a pop for her faves that only give her maybe 3-4 bowls its just not worth it and has become a once in a blue moon treat.  The other blends are ho hum for her, she adores pumpkin flax granola, chocolate, anything a bit unusual, so we are going to poke through our supplies and see what we can add.  I usually keep dried dates, cranberries and raisins on hand so I'm sure those will go in and Pixie is shelling pumpkin seeds as I type.  Just bought some gluten free oats, we have organic honey and a lovely supply of local maple syrup we bought last summer so we are good to go.

As for the bread, I'll be trying this Grain-free Sandwich Bread recipe, will comment on the experience later

11 June 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

If you have a mad love of peanut butter, then this is for you!

1 jar of creamy peanut butter
1/2c demarara sugar (original recipe called for 1c but I don't do super sweet too well)
about 1/8-1/4c Ahh-laska (or the equivalent) chocolate syrup
2 TB coconut flour
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder

I scooped with a tablespoon and rolled them like those peanut butter blossom cookies (the ones with the choco kiss pushed in after baking) and pressed them down a bit.  Baked at 350* for 10-12 min til slightly brown.  They lightened up considerably while baking, you'd never know there was choco syrup in the mix.  I might try chocolate or cocoa powder next.  These made 2 1/2 dozen but as they are SO peanut buttery and stick to the roof of your mouth rich, scooping smaller portions out would definitely make this go further.

An excellent first attempt.  The coconut flour gave it a hint of indescribable yum.

06 May 2012

gluten free, low carb eating Summer edition!

As the days grow longer (and warmer!) I am looking at what to plant in the garden as well as what will sound good in my belly!  My daughter and I were craving Mexican flavors, she wanted tacos, I balked at the limited and usually overpriced GF, non-GMO options.  So we took a *salad* route-and went with brown rice, organic black beans, fresh squeezed lime juice, organic grass-fed ground beef, browned (she is a cancer patient with a serious meat tooth) with sauteed onion and garlic.  Add to that cumin, chili powder, sea salt, pepper and we had a yummy base to add avocado, some low fat cheese and pineapple salsa and served gluten free, non-GMO tortilla chips on the side.  Still not as low carb as it should be for my needs but it fit the bill for my healing, growing girlie.

So now that I have these cravings for fresh veg, flavor and crunchy goodness with the convenience of a sandwich I am revisiting lettuce wraps again.  I hadn't fully realized the advantages of this back when I seriously low-carbed (ie: pre child) so it was rather unappealing, of course in those days I was fighting a serious carb addiction that has since been eliminated.  So now I dream of flavorful fresh, raw veg wrapped in with pesto, soy-free mayo, tahini or hummus...yummmm.  I am also in love with black beans and plan to tinker with recipes for meals and salads featuring them as well as quinoa. 

I have also found, via my new addiction Pinterest, a coconut flour tortilla that I must find a good recipe for.  It's a great base I think, however after reading on Wheatbelly blog I learned that coconut flour absorbs a ton of liquid and can cause it to stick in one's throat!  So I will try a combo of a small part coconut flour with almond flour and perhaps garbanzo flour. For now, fresh yummy lettuce leaves will be my wraps!

If you have some yummy organic, non soy low carb food ideas please share!  (oh, and must be no shellfish-I'm highly allergic!)

p.s. Speaking of allergies, mowed the grass today, first time this year and on top of seasonal allergies I am still relatively allergy-free!  I have not taken any allergy medicine since March.  Grass mowing has always stirred up massive itchies and congestion for me.  Today it was a mild post nasal drip and a slightly tingly nose.  I love seeing the tangible results of my lifestyle change!  I feel human again!