Tuesday, October 28, 2014

White Bean and Escarole Soup


If you dismiss soups as nothing more than a starter dish or one half of a complete meal, you're missing out on a warming and satisfying way to get your fill of vegetables, protein, antioxidants and a host of other nourishing nutrients. Soups are a great one stop meal. Not only are they easy to make (although not quick, if you are using dried beans) but full of flavor as well. This recipe is for a White Bean and Escarole Soup is naturally both gluten and dairy free. Escarole is one of my favorite leafy green vegetables and although not a very common green, it is worth seeking out, as it adds layers of flavor to this simple soup. It is a member of the endive family but is less bitter than many other types of endive and has a complex flavor. Although you can use a different green in this soup (such as dandelion, kale, or even spinach), nothing will give you the same unique flavor that escarole will.


WHITE BEAN AND ESCAROLE SOUP



Recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 leeks, white and light green part thinly sliced 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 heads escarole, washed and chopped (10-12 cups)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock 
  • 1 15-oz can tomatoes, with juice, well chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • sea salt to taste (optional)

Preparation:
  1. Soak the beans overnight. Drain. Place the beans in a large pot with water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are completely tender, about 45 to 75 minutes. If you are not using them immediately, let the beans cool in the cooking liquid. If you are using them now, drain and reserve the liquid.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic, celery, leeks and red pepper flakes. Saute for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the escarole and cook for one minute, until it wilts. Add the beans, stock, tomatoes, pepper, and 3 cups of reserved bean cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the basil and parsley and serve. Add salt to taste.
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesdays
    Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free WednesdaysDIY Tuesday, Fat Tuesdays, Real Food Friday 



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween GF/DF Chocolate Mini Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting (Made With Natural Vegetable Colorant)

My inspiration for making these mini GF/DF Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes was to provide parents of kids with allergies and/or gluten intolerance with a recipe for a special Halloween treat. Unfortunately, often children following a restrictive diet feel different or left out especially around the holidays, but that will not be the case with these winning cupcakes.They are even more special than most! Regarding the decorative orange frosting, I prefer to use natural frosting rather than food coloring, though when I do use coloring, as I did to create these holiday cupcakes I use "India Tree" brand of food coloring made from natural vegetable colorant.



GF/DF Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes


Recipe: Makes 48 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour Note: I like both Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur's all purpose GF Flour.
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup palm coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil 
  • 2 eggs; beaten Note: Alternatively, if you are egg free use 3 tablespoons of Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed with 1/3 cup of warm water.
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Frosting:

Preparation:
Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 mini cupcake pans with mini cupcake liners and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and the lemon juice, mixing well. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, sugar, baking soda and salt, mixing well to combine. Add the eggs ( or prepared egg substitute), coconut oil, vanilla and coconut milk mixture. Beat for 2 minutes, on a medium speed setting, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure even mixing.
  3. Using a small portion scoop, portion the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with GF/DF Vanilla Frosting and decorate, if desired.
Frosting:
  1. Once the coconut milk is thoroughly chilled, when you open the can, the fat will have risen to the top and hardened.This is the only portion you will use. Do not mix it with the coconut water in the can below the cream. Add the coconut cream to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high for about 5 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and a few drops of the orange food coloring and beat again until well blended.
  3. Top the cupcakes with the frosting. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator and let sit as room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow frosting to soften before eating.
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Motivation Monday, Hearth and Soul
    Allergy-Free WednesdaysFull Plate Thursday, 



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Banana Walnut Date Balls; the Perfect Healthy Halloween Treat; Paleo

When it comes to scrumptious, healthy, gluten free no bake treats, this "Banana Walnut Date Ball" recipe offers a "big bang" with very little work! Mash up a ripe banana, throw it in the food processor with some nuts, dates and a few other ingredients, roll them in either chopped nuts or chocolate chips and voila- an amazing "Halloween Treat". I always make a double batch of these as they are not just for the kids! Additionally, this is a fun treat to make so have your kids roll up their sleeves and help you roll these into balls and then into the topping!


Banana Walnut Nut Balls


Recipe: Makes about 20 Balls

Ingredients:
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts;  Note: You can alternatively, use a mixture of several nuts if you chose.
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • additional chopped walnuts for rolling the balls in Note: I used chopped walnuts, however some other options are coconut or chocolate chips.
Preparation:
  1. In a food processor blend dates, banana, cinnamon and water.
  2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, add the coconut and almond flours and mix together.
  3. In the food processor blend the walnuts and flax seeds.
  4. Mix the nut mixture into the large bowl as well. I found it easiest to use my hands to mix it all together.
  5. Lastly in the food processor, blend the additional walnuts and an additional 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  6. Roll one tablespoon of the dough mixture into about 20 balls.
  7. Roll each ball in the walnut and cinnamon mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mess Free Oven Baked Chicken Cacciatore (GF/DF)

As strange as it seams I actually dreamt up this recipe while sleeping last night. We eat lots of fish in my house, but I really wanted to make chicken and wanted to do so without creating a kitchen full of pots, pans and bowls. Additionally, I did not want to make a huge mess on the stovetop either. There is nothing worst than cooking up a storm and being left with a huge clean up. I am always looking for easy short cuts without compromising taste. End result this time was a mess free "Oven Baked GF/DF Chicken Cacciatore". I actually cooked it in the oven in one of those "Oven Bags" designed for cooking a turkey. My husband said it might be my best chicken creation ever! I have to agree it was amazingly delicious and once again no clean up! In my book that is a total win win!


OVEN BAKED CHICKEN CACCIATORE


CHICKEN IN THE OVEN BAG READY FOR COOKING






 Recipe: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken; cut up with skin on or chicken parts
  • 1 large onion; diced
  • **1/2 cup GF All Purpose Flour  Note: I like the "Bob's Red Mill" (For those following a Paleo or Whole 30 diet omit this ingredient.)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts; drained and cut up
  • 1 14 ounce jar of your favorite GF Marinara sauce or homemade sauce
  • 1 oven cooking bag Note: I used a Reynolds Turkey Oven Bag but you can also use their large oven bag.
Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set up oven cooking bag in a oven safe baking dish. Dredge each piece of chicken separately in the all purpose gf flour. Place inside the oven bag in a single layer.
  2. Add onion and artichokes to the chicken in the bag and distribute evenly. Pour marinara sauce over chicken, artichoke and onion mixture already in the oven bag, making sure to spread it around so it covers all the chicken.
  3. Close the oven bag up (letting out as much air as possible) and tie either in a knot or with the twist tie enclosed in the package of oven bags. Prick several fork holes in the bag and place on the middle rack of your oven. Cook for 55 minutes.
  4. Remove baking dish from the oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the bag and pour out the chicken and sauce back into the baking dish. Note: I usually place the baking dish in the sink while I do this to avoid splattering the sauce all over. Return the chicken to the oven leaving it uncovered and allow to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve. Delicious with some healthy broccoli or pair this with your favorite gluten free pasta. Enjoy!
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mini Apple Crumb Pie; GF/DF/Grain Free

The only thing better than a slice of freshly baked apple pie is having a whole pie all to yourself. That said, to devour an entire full size apple pie with no one to share it with is not always the best idea. The solution is to bake a half dozen Mini Apple Crumb Pies so that you can have your own pie and still share with friends and family.These mini apple pies are grain free using coconut and almond flours to make both the crust and an absolutely delicious crumble topping. Unlike full sized pies, where the filling bakes while the pie is in the oven, this filling needs to be prepared on the stove top because there is not enough time for the apples to completely soften in the oven with the mini pies shorter baking time. Additionally, the filling can be made in advance and refrigerated allowing for less prep work to do when you are ready to bake those pies.


Mini Apple Crumb Pies




Recipe: Yields 6 Individual Mini Pies
Ingredients:
For the Crust:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 cups coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil*, cold  Note: Alternatively, you can use 6 tablespoons of Earth Balance Buttery spread in the red container which is GF/DF and soy free. *Note: You may need to add a little more coconut oil if the dough appears too dry.
For the Apple Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or or 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices NoteGranny Smith is one of the most well known apple varieties around, known for its bright green color and tart flavor. Great for baking as well!
  • Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices NoteWith a crisp bite and a mellow sweetness, the Gala complements any recipe. You can even get away with using less sugar because of its natural sweetness. The crispness helps it retain its shape throughout baking so it does not become mealy.
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
For the Topping:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, cold or 6 tablespoons Earth Balance

Preparation:
  1. Crust: Place almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, sugar and gelatin in the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine. Add the coconut oil and pulse with 10 quick pulses and then let the food processor run until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Pour dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap then press the dough into a large disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and adjust rack to middle position. Remove plastic wrap from the dough. 
  3. Roll out the pie crust dough on a lightly floured (can use a little almond flour for this) surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Cut dough into 6 rounds about 1 inch larger than the size of the mini pie pan that you will be using. (I used 5 x 1 1/2 inch pans) Press dough into each pan and up the sides. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Place a piece of parchment on the bottom of each mini pie crust and cover with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until the crust begins turning golden brown. Please note that cooking time may be less if you use smaller pie tins.
  4. Filling: Melt coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add apples, coconut sugar, cinnamon and sea salt. Increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until apples release their moisture and sugar is melted. Pour coconut milk over the apples and continue to cook, stirring frequently until apples are soft and liquid has thickened, about 7 minutes.
  5. Topping: Place almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, gelatin and coconut sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine. Add coconut oil. Pulse with several one second pulses and then let the food processor run until the mixture just comes together (you want it to be a crumbly mixture). Spread crumbs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove from oven. Carefully remove sheet of parchment with hot crumbs to the counter and place the pie crust (still in the pie dish) on the baking sheet. Pour the apple filling into the crust and then top with hot crumbs. Place strips of foil over the edges of the crust to avoid burning. Bake for 10-15 minutes until topping is just turning golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and serve. Serve with homemade coconut cream if desired. Enjoy!
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul,

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Apple, Pear and Spinach Salad; Paleo

So I am still working my way through those apples from our recent family trip to the orchard. Tonight I decided to make a salad using some of them. With that in mind I thought I would add some crisp pears, also in season and some spinach to make a simple "Fall Apple, Pear and Spinach Salad". This fun combination of ingredients comes together beautifully with the crunchy apples and ripe, juicy pears tossed with spinach and dried cranberries, in a tangy and slightly sweet dressing. Although I served this as a first course, feel free to add some grilled chicken and make it a complete meal.




Fall Apple, Pear and Spinach Salad

Recipe: Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced (I used Green Anjou pears which are sweet with a smooth and juicy texture.)
  • 2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced (I used Empire apples which are a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious Red; a sweet, tart apple and excellent for salads.)
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 cups packaged fresh baby spinach 
  • dash ground black pepper
  • dash of sea salt 
  • 1/3  olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar or fresh apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon honey (Note: if you are following Whole 30 omit the honey from this recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Preparation:
  1. Place pears and apples in a bowl; drizzle with lemon juice. Fill bowl with enough water to cover pears and apples. Place a small plate over pears and apples to submerge them in the water with lemon juice; set aside. In a large bowl combine spinach and cranberries; set aside.
  2. For dressing, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, pepper, salt and dry mustard. Add to spinach and cranberries. 
  3. Drain apples and pears; add to spinach mixture and toss gently. If desired sprinkle with additional cranberries. (Note: If you are not dairy free or nut free feel free to add a little goat cheese and/or pecans and toss in gently.) Enjoy!
    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesdays
     Full Plate Thursday, http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/http://,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Homemade Apple Cider; Paleo/Whole 30

Nothing says Autumn like a glass of Fresh Homemade Apple Cider. That crisp, tangy smell is a treat all its own and one of the best treats of the season! The most flavorful cider has a balance between sweetness and tartness and often times, is produced by blending different apples together to get just the right combination. Finding your perfect blend is just a matter of experimentation and personal taste. Some basic characteristics of common apple varieties to chose from are:
  • Red Delicious: Large, firm red apple with a sweet flavor.
  • Yellow Delicious: Large, firm yellow apple with a sweet flavor.
  • Jonathan: Medium, crisp semi-tart apple
  • Granny Smith: Medium/small, crisp, tart apple with green color.
  • Gala: Medium, crisp semi-tart apple 


HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

Recipe: 

Ingredients:

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 red delicious apples
  • 4 gala apples
  • 3 cups of water, plus additional for soaking the apples
  • 2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 11/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup Note: If you are following the Whole 30 Diet please omit the maple syrup. 


Preparation:
  1. In a large bowl of water add the lemon juice and stir quickly.
  2. Peel and dice the apples, adding them to the water as you go along.
  3. Drain the apples and put them in your blender. 
  4. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup to the blender followed by 3 cups of water.
  5. Start off blending on low and slowly increase the speed as all the apples blend with the other ingredients.
  6. Blend on high for about 5 minutes.
  7. Drain through a strainer lined with cheesecloth for about 10 minutes.
  8. If you want to warm it, heat in a saucepan on the stove top on low until warmed through.
  9. Enjoy!


    Don't forget to check out my Weekly Grocery Specials found under pages in the side bar. This is a new addition to my blog. Additionally, please remember to sign up via the subscription or " follow by email box" on the upper right side to receive all my upcoming recipes, product tips and grocery specials. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

    This recipe was shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesday
     Full Plate Thursday, http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/http://,