Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Refined Sugar-Free Lemon Squares from Z's Cup of Tea

On this last day of September, I have the last Gluten-Free Fall Special recipe to share with you. This is a memorable recipe for me because it's one I specifically asked Zoe to convert. Since starting this blog, I have become pretty adept at playing around with recipes that are already gluten-free; trying to adapt regular recipes to gluten-free has been much more of a challenge. Now, I like a challenge, but I've learned something about myself (and if you've been reading The Daily Dietribe for a while, you probably know this already): I don't do very well at eating desserts in moderation. This is fine if I'm making dessert every once in a while, but if I'm making a recipe over and over again, that makes for a lot of dessert hanging around. That means I eat a lot of dessert, which then means I don't feel so great. So as much as I've been wanting to convert my favorite dessert recipe to a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free version, I didn't have the guts to try it myself. So I decided to ask somebody who I thought could handle herself better. I chose Zoe, of Z's Cup of Tea, after making her agave sweetened marshmallows. I was so impressed by them, I knew that she could take on this challenge. 

A little bit about these lemon squares. They're a shortbread base with a baked lemon topping, and I've been making them since I was a kid. In fact, the recipe is from an old cookbook aptly titled "Kids Can Cook" by Dorothy Bates. I've been told from people who don't like lemon desserts that they still love these. Personally, I am crazy for lemon flavored desserts, but these are indeed different. The lemon is milder than other lemon squares I've tried, and as Zoe noted, the topping does indeed melt a little into the top of the base. Zoe also mentioned not loving the appearance of her adaptation, but I can tell you from many years of making these that her photo looks exactly like mine always did. They were never that pretty. They were one of those desserts that looked so-so, but was gone the second people began trying them and realized how delicious they were. 

Zoe has agreed to come back and let us know if she comes up with a version that she likes better than this one (although I'm pretty convinced I'm going to love this). I know a lot of you out there are experts in the gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free baking arena, so I'm presenting a challenge to all of you to come up with your own version of classic lemon squares. Together, I'm convinced we can come up with the perfect recipe. The only rules are: no gluten, no dairy, and no sugar. Everything else is up for grabs, although there will be extra "points" for anyone who can come up with a vegan version that my new housemate can eat. I'll post a roundup of any recipes we come up with in November, so you have all of October to work on this. Post your recipe by the end of October, and e-mail me at with the link and a photo. And if you don't have a blog, you can send me the recipe and a photo if you like, and I'll include that in my roundup. 

And now I'll be quiet and let Zoe talk. Finally...

Back in July, just for fun, Iris asked me if I’d like to try adapting a recipe for her favourite lemon squares, to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. When this series of Gluten-Free Fall Specials was announced, Iris asked if I would like to be a part of it; I said yes, excited and honoured to be a part of this amazing series and group of gluten-free bloggers.

As it is now the end of September, I’m not sure if lemons could be considered autumnal but for those who aren’t yet ready for summer to end, to me lemons carry a little bit of that summery sunshine or a touch of spring into just about anything you put it in, from a little squirt of lemon juice to perk up a dish to some zest used to add colour.

The flour blend I used is based on the gluten-free puff pastry that Helene of Tartelette created. This flour blend was incredible in that it had the same density like wheat all-purpose flour; it was even more magical when I added the water, because it smelled and felt like wheat dough. As of now, I have not had this with other gluten-free flour blends that I’ve used. To sweeten the shortbread, I ended up using honey and it works wonderfully. No disasters like I’ve had before when trying to substitute confectioner’s sugar.

For the butter, I would have replaced it with half coconut oil and half grapeseed oil, although remembering Iris’ current avoidance of coconut I decided to use something else (in this case, Earth Balance) so that she could enjoy these, too, when she wanted to make them.

With that said, I’m not completely satisfied yet with this recipe. The flavour is good - my brother loves the shortbread, even without the lemon filling - but by appearances, it could still use some improvement. (Some of the lemon filling was absorbed by the shortbread, strangely.) So this is a recipe still in progress, but for now we at least have a really good shortbread that my brother wants me to make for him again.

Lemon Squares - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free
Makes 24 squares (or more or less, depending on how you cut them)

For the shortening, I used Earth Balance. If you’re not sensitive to coconut, you could use solid, soft coconut oil in the shortening’s place or half solid coconut oil and half grapeseed oil. Spectrum’s palm oil shortening would also work.


1/4 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/4 cup brown or white rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/8 teaspoon guar gum
1/8 cup honey
1 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (I used soy-free; for options, see above)

2 eggs, beaten
About 1/4 cup honey
About 1/4 cup coconut or palm sugar
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Mix the flours together and sift in a bowl. 
  3. Add dry ingredients to the Earth Balance in a separate bowl, creaming until a soft, dough-batter consistency forms. Mix in the honey. 
  4. Cover and chill for 10 to 25 minutes in the freezer. Spread dough into an 8” by 8” pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Filling: While the shortbread is baking, mix the beaten eggs, coconut sugar, honey, and lemon juice for the filling.
  6. Remove the baked shortbread from the oven and cool. 
  7. Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread and return to the oven, baking for 20 minutes more or until filling is set. 
  8. Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy!
 Thank you, Zoe! Everyone, stop by Z's Cup of Tea for her amazing marshmallow recipes and more! And don't forget the lemon square challenge! As another idea for the shortbread, I've also made the base using Carol's All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, and that worked really well. Zoe was very kind and stayed away from coconut for me, but I've recently been experimenting with adding it back in, and so far so good. So if you like coconut, go for it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Basic Pancakes from...ME!

Welcome back, readers! Of course, I'm not really welcoming you back; I'm welcoming myself back after a month away. We've had some amazing recipes during this month's Gluten-Free Fall Specials, and there's one more yet to come (I didn't forget I promised you a treat from Z's Cup of Tea). But we had a slight change of plans and Zoe will be rounding off the month with a recipe on Thursday. In the meantime, I thought I would take advantage of my last night without homework for a while, and post this pancake recipe. I made these pancakes for my mom before I left Massachusetts, and I loved them! I think my mom did too because she asked what types of flour I used; I'm hoping that's a sign that she might want to make them in the future.

This is a basic pancake recipe. Nothing fancy. No sweet potato coconut or cinnamon apple or pumpkin pie flavor. Just your regular old, "It's a chilly Sunday morning and I feel like indulging myself," stack of pancakes. Of course, if you're having company and you want to get a little creative, that's when you can start playing around with the basic recipe. If I wanted to impress someone, I might replace the milk with coconut milk to get a crispy hint of sweetness. Then perhaps I'd add some organic pumpkin pie mix, and knowing my propensity to go overboard, I'd probably drop in some chocolate chips just for good measure.

But I'm not looking to impress anyone today, so I'll keep it simple, and leave the fun stuff to you. Unless you invite yourself over for brunch, in which case I will make like Bree Van de Kamp and try to blow you away with my "effortless" culinary skills. (Which, as anyone who has seen me cook for company will tell you, is not effortless and usually leaves me frazzled and wishing I had ordered take-out).

Basic Gluten-Free Pancakes
Print-Friendly Option

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk (or skim or your favorite non-dairy alternative)

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, agave, applesauce, eggs, and milk. 
  3. Stir the wet mix into the dry only until it's no longer lumpy.
  4. Cook pancakes on a hot (greased) griddle until brown on both sides. I usually flip the pancakes over the first time once they're no longer shiny around the edges.
I forgot to write down how many pancakes this made, but I'm pretty sure my mom and I almost polished them off in one sitting, so if you're cooking for more than two people, you might want to make a double batch. On the other hand, I remember feeling pretty full afterward, so it could be I ate enough for two people. What can I say? It had been over a year since I had eaten pancakes!

Come back on Thursday for Zoe's fabulous recipe, and in October I'll be playing a little game called, "How many recipes can I come up with as an excuse not to study?" Since I'm a nutrition student now, I figure it's almost like studying.

Only more fun.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Baked Pumpkin Cranberry Rice Pudding from Ginger Lemon Girl

I was honored when Carrie, of Ginger Lemon Girl, agreed to be a part of Gluten-Free Fall Specials.  I am an avid fan of her blog. Carrie has been gluten-free since 2007. By 2009, she was also dairy and soy-free. Her recipes have evolved over time as she works to stay symptom free (she struggled with migraines for years) and strives to make meals using the healthiest ingredients. While I personally want to try all of Carrie's holiday dessert recipes, I'm glad she chose a simple breakfast recipe to share with us today. I find myself easily tempted by sugary treats during the colder months, so a healthy breakfast like this rice pudding is a lovely way to start the day. Sweet and filling, it satisfies that pumpkin pie craving without all the sugar.

I’m honored to participate in Iris’ series on Gluten-Free Fall Specials! My name is Carrie and I’m the author of I’ve been creating original gluten free, dairy/casein free, and soy free recipes since 2007.

This time of year is so busy for my husband and me. We work in academic settings, and by mid-September we both end up feeling frazzled and wishing for the slow days of summer again. Generally, we pack breakfast & lunch to take to work with us; some weeks I’m better at this than others.

One of my favorite gluten free quick snacks for breakfast or a snack is rice pudding. You can use any type of rice for this pudding. I’d love to try it with Arborio rice which would yield a super creamy rice pudding.  The best part about this dish is that you can use it as a base for lots of healthy ingredients. For instance, in the fall I love rice pudding with pumpkin, cranberries, and walnuts!  Apples and raisins are also a nice addition.  During the summer you can use fresh fruits such as blueberries or peaches.  Rice is easy to digest and naturally gluten free. Along with protein provided by almond milk and a few eggs – it makes for a filling, healthy, and delicious breakfast.

Rice pudding can be made in a variety of ways with or without eggs…on the stovetop, baked, etc…  I really like a baked version because I think it’s a little more versatile. Personally,  I like a creamy rice pudding, so when I make my serving I just add an additional half a cup of almond milk poured over my pudding and mixed in with a spoon. My husband likes his serving hot and held together right out of the oven without the additional milk… so this version pleases us both.

Baked Pumpkin Cranberry Rice Pudding
Free of gluten, dairy/casein, corn, and soy

2 cups cooked rice (-or- 1 cup dry rice, cooked with 2 cups of water)
2 eggs
1 ½ cups almond milk
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin or butternut squash puree
1/3 cup honey (-or- up to ½ cup for sweeter palates)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped apples, or raisins

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, for sprinkling on top
2 teaspoons of sugar + 1 teaspoon of cinnamon mixed together, for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Grease 2 quart casserole dish or large baking dish and set aside.  
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin puree, honey, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  
  4. Add the cooked rice dried cranberries to the egg/milk mixture. Stir to combine. 
  5. Pour the rice pudding into your greased casserole dish.  If you’d like, sprinkle chopped walnuts, and the sugar/cinnamon combination evenly over the top of the casserole. Place the rice pudding in the preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes. When done, the pudding should be firm, but jiggle slightly. It will also be bubbling around the edges and should appear golden brown. 
  6. Allow the pudding to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Can be eaten hot or cold. For a creamy pudding, add 1 cup of rice pudding to a serving bowl and pour ½ cup of almond milk over the pudding. Stir for a creamy, delicious breakfast or dessert!!
Carrie is a dedicated advocate of eating whole foods and living a life that’s full of healthy balance. As a food writer and recipe developer since 2007, she’s proud to share fresh, delicious, and original gluten free recipes on Carrie also loves leading her local gluten free/celiac support group in Eastern NC. Please visit for more of Carrie’s recipes, gluten free baking tips, and to contact her.

Thank you, Carrie, for heading up our last week of Gluten-Free Fall Specials. For those of you who want more recipes like this, check out Carrie's recipe index. And on Tuesday we'll have our final Gluten-Free Fall Special from a wonderful blogger, Zoe, of Z's Cup of Tea. Her recipe is definitely one I've been waiting for!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Individual Flourless Apple Crisp from The Messy Chef

Why do you eat gluten-free? This is a question I get often (and you can find my answer here). Years ago, most of the people eating gluten-free were doing so because they had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Today you'll find many people eating gluten-free who have not been given that diagnosis, but have found the lifestyle to be beneficial to their health. Sara is one of those people. Sara blogs at The Messy Chef and her story of turning to a gluten-free, whole foods diet is inspirational and educational. After being plagued by a host of health problems, she and her husband took their health (and their kitchen) back into their own hands and changed the way they ate. The result was a combined weight loss of 70 pounds and a fresh outlook on life. Today, Sara is sharing one of her easy dessert recipes with us, an apple crisp that is perfect for an afternoon snack on a chilly day. And for those of you who only dabble in gluten-free eating or are perhaps just thinking about it, this is a wonderful "beginners" recipe because it doesn't require any gluten-free flours other than a small amount of arrowroot powder (which could probably be subbed for cornstarch if that's what you have on hand).

When I was asked to create a guest blog post all about fall, I jumped at the chance. You see fall is my absolute favorite time of year, closely followed by winter. Why do I love it so much? For one thing, there are the colors of the trees. Here in Colorado we are lucky enough to experience four seasons. Granted, the colors we see here aren’t nearly as stunning as the Midwest or East Coast. I love how the temperature starts dropping and snow starts to make its wonderful first appearance of the year. Most of all, I love the flavors of fall. I love anything and everything pumpkin. I love the smell of apple cider simmering on the stove for hours on end. I love coming home to a crock-pot full of soup that has been simmering all day. Yep, I love fall!

I love that apples are truly coming into season during the fall months. The very idea of being able to pick your own apples in the morning and have an amazing dessert in the evening is so appealing, in fact it’s making my mouth water now just thinking about it. So when Iris asked me to do this guest post, I just had to do something with apples.

It’s been about a year since I started cooking gluten free. I think my biggest struggle has been around all of the different flours. Each one has its own delicate consistency, texture and flavor that makes it extremely challenging for beginners. So I decided to try to steer away from flour for this post. I still wanted to do a dessert though. So why not try a flourless apple crisp. The only thing was that pretty much every blogger has their own fruit crisp recipe; I didn’t want to copy everyone else’s. Why not make it into individual servings instead of a large pan? Kids would love to fill a muffin tin full of dessert in a way that’s different than cupcakes. Why not try a granola topping for the crisp? I think this is one of my favorite things – mixing a few different concepts to come up with something delicious. In this case, it was apple pie filling topped by granola. I am very satisfied by the results and I hope that you’ll try it. Its very simple and you will have an awesome dessert in an hour at the most.

Individual Flourless Apple Crisp

3 large organic honey crisp apples (or 6 medium granny smith)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ Cup agave nectar or honey
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
2 ¼ Cup gluten free rolled oats
1 Cup almonds, crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ Cup agave nectar or honey
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (gluten free)

12 muffin tins
1 muffin pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 300˚.
  2. Peel and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix the apples, first round of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, agave nectar (or honey), and arrowroot powder.
  4. Cook this, stirring every minute or so for about 10-12 minutes (the liquid should be thick and bubbly and the apples should be a little crisp).
  5. In the meantime, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, second round of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  6. Add the second round of agave nectar (or honey), oil and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
  7. Prepare the muffin tins in the muffin pan.
  8. Fill each tin about 2/3 of the way full with the hot apple mixture.
  9. Top each tin with enough of the granola mixture so that it’s even with the top of the muffin tin (make sure you can see some of the paper so its easy to pull out of the pan after its done).
  10. Place the muffin pan in the oven for 40-45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to make sure its not getting too brown.
  11. Pull the pan out of the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Serve. This makes 12 individual apple crisps.
Sara is the author of The Messy Chef. It’s a blog that’s all about creating food from whole, fresh ingredients rather than processed, refined or preservative-laden “foods”. Because of a wheat sensitivity for her husband, she decided to play it safe and cut out all forms of gluten.

I'm putting gluten-free oats on my grocery list so I can make this recipe. I love the idea of individual apple crisps. Also a good way to practice portion control and not eat half of the pan in one sitting! Stop by The Messy Chef for more simply delicious gluten-free recipes. Then come back here on Sunday for a treat from Ginger Lemon Girl, the amazing creator of hundreds of gluten-free (and now soy and dairy-free) recipes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Flat Bread from Living Free

Aubree Cherie is a horticulturist by trade, but creating healthy recipes is her second passion. After suffering from a number of health problems, she learned that eating gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free not only improved her health, but allowed her to live a happier and more creative life. Ever since, she's been coming up with recipes that combine ingredients in novel ways and make me wish I lived nearby so I could taste test all of her creations! 

One of the areas I have yet to venture into with gluten-free baking is breads, but Aubree Cherie has a number of biscuit and bread recipes on her blog, Living Free. Today, she's sharing with us a new recipe for flat bread that I can't wait to try! With classes starting soon, I love the idea of a gluten-free flat bread that I can take with me for lunch.


Aaahhhh, autumn. it's finally here! Heat wave after heat wave and I think it's about time I let out my held breath and start enjoying that cool fall breeze. Autumn was always my favorite season growing up. Ironically, it was because I just loved school so much I couldn't wait to get back. Where else could you see your friends every day? And after recess, lunch was my favorite time of the day. The school I went to was small and we only had lunches we could buy from school once a week. All the other times, I packed my own lunch with the help of my mom. Good memories there. It does bring back some memories that I used to think were bad; I rarely had any packaged food in my lunch and so I was left to look longingly at my friend’s assortment of string cheese and Little Debbie's.

I like to think that, in the end, I'm better for it.

Now that I'm "all grown up" (yeah right!) and in graduate school, I still look forward to lunch time; even if it's not as exciting as it was in grade school. Finding the time in my day to actually eat continues to be a challenge. I usually end up shoving something down at my computer while I'm working, because I'm really cool like that.

My weekly dilemma is finding ways to make lunch something I really look forward to, so that even if the event itself (such as working) isn't that great, at least the food is! And no, it's never anything too catastrophic. But with food, sometimes the little things have the biggest impact.

I love the recipe I'm sharing with you all today because it's a great base for an overall exciting lunch! When I went gluten free, I gave up sandwiches. I hated the idea of buying a dense and usually somewhat crumbly loaf of bread that cost $12.89 (only a slight exaggeration). I also just don't have the skill of gluten free yeast breads. My bread machine likes to mock me and does so frequently. I've recently been experimenting with all sorts of "other" bread, and to my excitement, some of it is actually really good! This flat bread is one of them.

To me, flat bread is a hybrid; a type of food that spans into different categories. This flat bread can do so many things that other breads can't! You can have a traditional sandwich like with regular yeast bread (stack it), you can roll it with your filling (wrap it), or you can treat it like pizza or toast (top it). And those are just the beginning. I make a batch of this bread about once a week, but rarely have the same meal twice. See what I mean? It's impossible to NOT be creative with it. What would you do with your flat bread?

Flat Bread: Wrap it, Stack it, Top it

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp dry active yeast
2 Tbs date sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs applesauce
1 Tbs canola oil
1/2 cup water

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, xanthan gum, and date sugar. Mix in the salt and dry active yeast. 
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs and then add to them the applesauce, canola oil, and 1/2 cup water. Mix well. 
  3. Next, you'll combine the wet and the dry. Because the batter will be quite thick, I recommend using a strong fork to mix the dry into the wet ingredients, and in sections. I've found that on the batches I dumped all the dry with the wet before I started mixing, there are inevitably dry clunks hidden within the bread once it's baked. To prevent that, I simply mix in a small amount of the dry ingredients at a time. It takes longer, but I find that the end product is better!
  4. Prepare a cookie sheet. I use one that is about 12" by 18". There are two ways of preparing it and they both have worked out great for me. One is to simply spray the pan with a cooking spray. The second is to completely cover the pan with a thin dusting of rice flour. Once your pan is ready, place the dough down onto it.
  5. Now here's the fun part. I take the pan close to the sink and run water over my hands. I then use my hands to manipulate the dough and make it evenly spread across the pan. The dough will become very slippery and it will look 'too wet'. But it's not! 
  6. Once you have the dough even and spread to all the edges, set the pan aside. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to give it a chance to rise just slightly.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Add the pan to the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Bake it for 25 if you're looking for a crispier flat bread. 15-17 minutes is just the right amount of time if you're wanting to make a flat bread that is also malleable (i.e., firm but able to be folded or wrapped without cracking).
  9. Once it comes out of the oven, I let mine cool for about 15 minutes, then I cut the pieces like I would with a cake. Although, I only do two pieces lengthwise, so the bread 'slices' come out to be about 6" long and 3-4" wide. I get about 10 pieces of bread from one batch, so 5 traditional sandwiches or a whole lot of creative sandwiches!
Happy autumn! And happy creative sandwich making :)

Aubree Cherie Pack blogs over at Living Free where she dreams up new (and sometimes random) ways to create tasty food. Although Aubree has not been tested or diagnosed with Celiac disease, gluten is something that her tummy just can't tolerate. Throw in being lactose intolerant and a long history of family diabetes, and you'll understand why Aubree's blog is gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free! With her blog, she hopes to inspire others with food restrictions to still have fun and get creative in the kitchen.

Well, now I'm really craving a turkey flat bread wrap a la Aubree Cherie. Stop by Living Free for more gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free recipes, like her Banana Coconut Cream Pie. And on Thursday, we'll be featuring a dessert recipe from the queen of kitchen clutter, The Messy Chef

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Blueberry Explosion Muffins from Veganlicious

Veganlicious is a fabulous gluten-free blog that I've been following since I started blogging over a year ago. Selene often posts raw foods recipes, and those have been the inspiration for my raw desserts. In fact, I enjoy Selene's recipes so much that I'll often give her a nudge if she hasn't posted in a while. I'll "gently" leave a comment on her blog asking for a new recipe. Luckily, Selene doesn't mind my bugging her and has indulged me with a guest post today. 

I love fall! I love the smell, I love the fashion – the greys, aubergine, burnt umber, the knits and suit material, tweeds – I love the soups, and that you can have soup again! And I love, love, love that I can turn on my oven again.

To celebrate, here's a recipe for what can only be called the Blueberry Explosion Muffins. Low in sugar, calories and fat, this egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free muffin is full of flavor.

Like Iris I'm going back to school. I will be working towards becoming a registered holistic nutritionist two evenings a week, after work. All very exciting, but of course it means less time to make food, and a greater need to have premade food that's easy to grab and go! A great breakfast-on-the-run or mid-day snack, these muffins are a deliciously perfect answer to that problem.

Blueberry Explosion Muffins 


2/3c soy milk (I used Silk Organic Soy Milk – Original)
1/2tsp apple cider vinegar*
2 ripe bananas (Note: this muffin is more like a blueberry banana bread, in that it's subtly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter muffin, swap out half of one of the bananas for 1/4c agave nectar. Also, using very ripe bananas will make it sweeter.)
1/3c unsweetened apple sauce

1/2c + 3tbsp brown rice flour
1/4c tapioca starch
1/3c + 2tbsp potato starch
1/2tsp baking soda
3/4tsp baking powder
2tbsp flax seed, ground
1tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1 1/2c blueberries (frozen or fresh) – for a real blueberry extravaganza, use 2 cups; it'll be like more blueberry than muffin! Note: using frozen blueberries will give your muffins a pretty purple swirl. You could also try using spiced apples instead of blueberries for a true fall flavour.

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Mix the soy milk with the apple cider in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 min until it curdles.* You can use lemon juice in a pinch if you don't have apple cider vinegar on hand.
  3. Blend the applesauce with bananas to form a puree.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except the blueberries).
  5. Add the wet ingredients (banana/applesauce puree, agave nectar if you're using any, soy milk mixture) to the bowl and stir until well mixed. Don't over mix. Fold in the blueberries.
  6. Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and bake right away. 
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Makes 14 muffins 

*“In vegan baking applications, vinegar is often used for it's leavening and flavor enhancing properties. Adding 1 ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of soy milk and letting it sit for about 10 minutes allows the soy milk to curdle. The acids in the vinegar also help activate baking powder and baking soda which enhance the leavening or rising of your baked eats, making a better crumb.” (Source:

 Selene is the author of veganlicious, a vegan, gluten-free and sometimes raw food blog. In 2002, Selene became vegan and discovered she was gluten intolerant. Since then she has become increasingly interested in food, and especially its connection to health. Observing that many people seem to feel that “good for you” and “tastes great” are mutually exclusive, she has made it her mission to promote just how delicious healthy eating can be.

Thank you, Selene! For those of you wondering, I'm in Seattle now and so grateful to everyone who has provided us with delicious recipes this month! Our next recipe will be from the delightful Aubree Cherie at Living Free. Wonder what she'll bring us? Your guess is as good as mine!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Curried Sweet Potato and Pea Wraps from City|Life|Eats

Valerie is one of my newer blog friends, but we bonded quickly over our love of Brooklyn and good food. I was delighted when she tested a few of my recipes as part of Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger in July (and secretly relieved that she liked them, as I always get nervous when someone tries my recipes). After perusing her recipes, I'm sure I'll be trying out many of them in the upcoming months as well. Like me, she has a love of curry recipes, and I've been wanting to try her Curried Adzuki Beans with Mango. Now I can add her Curried Sweet Potato and Pea Wraps to that list!

I am so excited to be part of The Daily Dietribe’s Gluten-Free Fall Specials Series.  My name is Valerie and I blog at City|Life|Eats.  My contribution to the fall series is a gluten-free lunchbox recipe. I bring my lunch to work every single day; even before I switched to eating freely (aka gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, refined-sugar-free), I brought lunch with me to work often, but now it is a daily necessity.  And keeping lunches varied and interesting can get a bit tedious.  In fact, in preparation for this guest post, I decided to start blogging my lunchboxes.  Originally it was meant to be a week-long project, but now I hope to continue the lunchbox series as long as possible as I have been getting lots of great feedback.  I usually rely on leftovers, but once in a while I want something more lunch-like, by which I really mean sandwich-like. Lately I have been on a huge sweet potato kick, and then I was thinking of some gluten-filled former favorites (like samosas, kati rolls and empanadas) which were all stuffed with some amount of potato.  At the time, I used to think that it was the potato plus bread carb-on-carb combination that would make my stomach and my joints feels heavy and achy after lunch, while my head would be beset by foggy headachiness.  Now I realize it was the gluten.

I have not yet attempted to recreate gluten-free versions of those old favorites, but instead have been playing with lighter, easier and faster interpretations, such as these Curried Sweet Potato and Pea Wraps.  I have included below the recipe for about four to six servings of the curried sweet potatoes, along with tips on making the wraps.  When we make this dish, my husband and I actually eat the curried sweet potatoes as part of dinner one night, and then use the leftovers to make the wraps.  Finally, the approach to cooking is totally not traditional Indian cooking – I recommend steaming the sweet potatoes and then adding them to the aromatics – for two reasons: speed and texture.  This approach means you can cook the dish in under 20 minutes once the peeling and chopping is done.  And by steaming the sweet potatoes you can easily mash them without mashing the peas.   If you would like to see the lunchbox that included this recipe, click here for Monday's lunchbox.

Curried Sweet Potatoes and Peas

3 sweet potatoes (or yams), peeled and cut into large cubes
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, diced
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 scallions, chopped into rounds (about 1/3 cup)
¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Steam the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, using either a steamer basket or a rice cooker with insert.  When the sweet potatoes are soft, set aside.  
  2. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan and add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Cook for 2 minutes, until softened, and add the spices, stirring constantly.  You may need to add a bit of water to prevent the spices and vegetables for sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the steamed sweet potatoes, mashing them right away with the back of a wooden spoon or a potatoes masher.  You are looking for a chunky texture.   
  4. Once the potatoes are mashed, add the defrosted peas and heat through for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the scallions, stir, and turn the heat off.  
  6. Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir. Taste for seasoning. I ended up adding about a ¼ teaspoon salt.
Note: feel free to substitute curry powder for the spices in the recipe.
To make the wraps:   I use the Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas.  I think the key for using these tortillas is to run them under water so they are a bit damp (but not soaked through or breaking) and then toast in a dry frying pan on high heat on both sides.  For each wrap, heat a frying pan on high, run a tortilla under water, and place in the frying pan. Reduce heat to medium and flip the tortilla after 30 seconds.  Arrange about a 1/3 cup of sweet potato filling on one side of the tortilla, and fold over the tortilla.  You can leave the tortilla in the pan longer, and even flip to get the other side toasted, but then it wrap will get crispy, while my goal is to keep it soft and pliable.  That said, it is up to you.   I make the wrap at night, and store it in the refrigerator and bring it to work with me the next day, and I find that the pliable wrap maintains a nice texture.

Makes 4-6 servings. 

Valerie blogs at  City|Life|Eats about mindful living, allergy-friendly eats and city life.  In addition to always cooking gluten-free and dairy-free (and often vegan) recipes, Valerie loves exploring farmers’ markets, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband and loved ones. You can subscribe to City|Life|Eats via RSS or email or connect with Valerie via Twitter or Facebook.

I've been eating salads daily all summer, but now that the weather is cooling down, I want heartier lunch fare. Valerie's curry dishes are exactly what I need right now! You can continue to follow her lunchbox series at City|Life|Eats for more innovative gluten- and dairy-free lunch ideas. And on Sunday, I'll be hosting a guest post from Selene at Veganlicious, who is treating us to a perfect Fall snack: gluten-free blueberry muffins!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Oatmeal Marble Squares from Gluten Free Easily

Do you recall the bake sales you had in elementary school? I remember that the older kids would bring in baked goods, and at recess, we got to go down and buy a treat with our quarters. I always bypassed the requisite jello and went straight for the oatmeal squares. There was something about the dense and chewy texture that satisfied me more than the other desserts. As an adult, oatmeal squares are still a favorite treat, but one I have to admit, I haven't had in years. Enter Shirley. I already tried her Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies, and decided it was my favorite recipe. Now it's time to try her Oatmeal Marble Squares. I have no doubt they'll take me right back to second grade, paying my twenty five cents for a delicious treat. And because the recipe comes from Shirley, it couldn't be easier. It's Gluten Free Easily!

I tend to use oatmeal more in the cooler months. There are oatmeal breakfast dishes like Oatmeal Brulee and simple pleasures like Flourless Oatmeal Cookies. Occasionally, there are even more indulgent treats like Magic Oat Bars. Of course, oatmeal provides more nutrition, and “sticks to your ribs”---as grandma used to say---for when the body needs more fuel to face the harshness of cold weather. And I love baking once the heat of the oven becomes a plus factor!

The following recipe, Oatmeal Marble Squares, is another crowd pleaser that uses oats. I’m sharing two versions. The first is one that was simply adapted to be gluten free, substituting gluten free flour for all-purpose (gluten) flour. The second has been adapted further, so that it’s not too unhealthy. (Yes, sometimes, that is the goal!) Both versions offer chewiness and gooeyness. Admittedly, the first version is far more chewy and gooey, but I like the healthier, second version just as much. I don't feel like I need to eat the whole pan with the latter version ... The same can't be said for the first version.

Mr. GFE’s former boss, Robert, would do flips over the original version of this recipe. (Because he was hubby's former boss, he’s never tried the new, healthier version.) We had all gone to a concert together and I’d made these squares for our tailgate party. Robert ended up eating most of them. He did so quite unabashedly, too. He raved over them so much that I sent the few left home with him. After that, if Mr. GFE had a work function that included food, I’d make these treats for him to take in ... every time. I even sent in some out of the blue on occasion. The fact that Mr. GFE was going to be requesting vacation leave on the spur of the moment a few days later (to better work with my own schedule) had absolutely nothing to do with my kindness. Seriously. It was pure coincidence. Uh huh ... Yes, these are bribe-worthy treats, even covert bribing, if you will.

 Oatmeal Marble Squares—Version #1

3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (dairy or non-dairy)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup uncooked oats (gluten-free; regular or quick---see notes)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or seeds, like sunflower)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (dairy or non-dairy)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars, and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy.
  3. Mix in egg.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  6. Spread into a greased 13 x 9 x 3 glass baking pan using spatula. Mixture will not be very thick at all. Bake 5 minutes, then remove from oven and slightly drag the back of a spoon over the surface in a swirl design to create a marble effect. 
  7. Return to oven and bake about 10 minutes longer. Total baking time should be about 15 minutes. Test if it's done by using a toothpick.
  8. Let cool and cut into small squares.

Oatmeal Marble Squares—Version #2 (healthier version;
also dairy free and refined sugar free

3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (see notes)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup coconut (or palm) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup uncooked oats (gluten-free; regular or quick---see notes)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or seeds, like sunflower)
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (dairy or non-dairy)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy. 
  3. Mix in egg.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  5. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  6. Spread into a greased 8 x 8 glass baking pan. (Note the change in size of baking pan from previous version. This version does not spread as well due to the oil instead of butter; therefore, a smaller pan is used, which results in thicker squares.) 
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and slightly drag the back of a spoon over the surface in a swirl design to create a marble effect. 
  8. Return to oven and bake about 13 minutes longer. Total baking time should about 20 minutes. Test if it's done using a toothpick.
  9. Let cool and cut into squares.

Both recipes adapted from an older Nestle’s Toll House Cookbook

Shirley’s Notes: While it’s fun to hold true to the name and produce the marble effect using a spoon, sometimes I just skip that part. The taste is just as delicious, although the appearance may not be quite as novel. I use Gifts of Nature Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats, which are certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to less than 10 ppm. (You can read more about gluten-free oats here. If you are gluten free, it's imperative that you eat oats that are certified gluten free.) Sometimes I use the oats “as is”; sometimes I run them through the food processor or my mini-chopper to make them more like quick oats. Quick oats do bind a bit better with the other ingredients to make a more solid square, and are slightly less chewy. I have used all types of combinations for the small amount of gluten-free flour required in this recipe. I’ve used my “fallback” mix of Asian white rice flour and cornstarch, but I’ve also used a mix of white rice flour, brown rice flour, and cornstarch. However, my favorite recent combination includes ¼ cup of almond flour. In regard to the "fat" in the recipe, in my opinion, coconut oil is not as flavorful in baking as one would expect; that's why I also used some extra virgin olive oil in the second version. Coconut oil is usually substituted one for one for the amount of butter, but a lesser amount of olive oil is usually substituted for butter. I love using olive oil to make recipes dairy free (like in my Perfect Pound Cake and Mediterranean Chocolate Cake). In addition to giving one a quick alternative to dairy, it also provides both amazing flavor and moistness. Here's a helpful chart for substituting olive oil for butter. Finally, no xanthan gum is required for this recipe.

Get into some fall baking by adapting traditional recipes to meet your needs and tastes. It's actually pretty easy. Enjoy!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Shirley Braden was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in June 2003. She writes gfe—gluten free easily. She also leads the King George Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Group, which she formed in 2004. Shirley also serves on the core council of a large GIG group, as well as contributing to and editing its quarterly newsletter. Her mission is to educate all about the effects of gluten on one’s health and share her gfe approach, which focuses primarily on real food, but also includes some mainstream processed foods that are gluten free, and a few gluten-free specialty foods. She believes that the gfe approach is a simpler, healthier, and less expensive way to eat gluten free. Shirley often shares her gfe approach in public forums like health fairs and community events. She will be presenting at the Gluten-Free Cooking Expo in Spring 2011!

Can you believe we're halfway through September? And halfway through our Gluten-Free Fall Specials! Five down, six to go! A special thanks to Shirley for sharing her gluten-free wisdom with us! And on Thursday, Valerie of City|Life|Eats will be sharing some of her ideas as well. She's been posting a great "lunchbox" series this week to give her readers ideas for packing a healthy lunch, so I'm excited to see what she'll be sharing with us here!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Granola Bars and Breakfast Tips from The Gluten-Free Homemaker

Happy Sunday! Yesterday, I was busily packing when I suddenly realized I needed to put up Sunday's Gluten-Free Fall Specials post. Yikes! Do you ever find that the more you have to do the faster time goes? That's certainly been the case this past week. I don't even know what day it is most of the time. Today's post was supposed to be from Shirley of Gluten Free Easily, but like me (and I imagine like most of you), this month has been hectic for her, so Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker is treating us with some wonderful breakfast ideas today. Perfect for a Sunday, right? And Shirley will be here on Tuesday with a recipe that I've heard got rave reviews. 

Now, Linda's blog is one of the first I found when I started eating gluten-free. I feel a little bit like I have a celebrity here today because she's so well-known in the gluten-free blogging world! Every Wednesday, Linda hosts Gluten-Free Wednesdays, which is a great place to start if you're looking for new recipes. She also has a ton of her own fabulous recipes, including one for pumpkin pie, which made my top ten list last year! Today, Linda's sharing a recipe with us that I've had on my "must-try" list for months.
Here in Maryland we had record-breaking heat this summer.  I am simply not a summer person.  I like cold weather.  I like snow.  I like to use my oven.  When the heat hits, I quit using my oven.  It’s nice for a change to be forced to use other methods of cooking, but I miss my oven.  So, I’m glad September is here and we’ve had a few days that were pleasantly warm rather than hot.  September also means that kids are back to school and in need of a good breakfast.  Mornings can be hectic, though, so providing a relatively fast breakfast can be important too.  Here are a few ideas for a homemade gluten-free breakfast.

These items can be made ahead and frozen or refrigerated, then reheated in a microwave or toaster:
•    waffles
•    pancakes
•    muffins
•    sausage
•    scrambled eggs

Here are a couple of things you can put together the night before, then bake in the morning:
•    breakfast casserole – there are different recipes, but here’s one I like.
•    baked oatmeal – could also be baked the day before

If you want something that doesn’t require any heating at all, try:
•    granola
•    granola bars

I know Iris has some great recipes here, but if you need more, take a look through my breakfast recipes. Here is a recipe for granola bars that I really enjoy.  They hold up well and can be packed for snacks or lunches. 


Gluten-Free Granola Bars

•    2 c. gluten free oats*
•    1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
•    1 c. sunflower seeds
•    1 c. nuts (I used cashews)
•    1/4 c. ground flax seed
•    1/2 tsp. salt
•    3/4 c. nut butter
•    3/4 c. agave nectar

  1. Combine the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, nuts, flax seeds, and salt in a food processor and process until well mixed and in small pieces.  I had to do this in batches since I don’t have a large food processor. Put in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the nut butter and agave nectar. Pour this over the ingredients in the large bowl and stir to evenly coat.  
  3. Place everything in a greased/sprayed jelly roll pan and pat it down with a spatula or greased fingers. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.   Cool before cutting.  They will keep at room temperature for a few days, or you can store them  in the refrigerator for at least a week.  They freeze well for long term storage.
*Not all oats are gluten-free.  Be sure to look for certified gluten-free oats such as Bob’s Red Mill or Cream Hill Estates.

Linda has been on a gluten-free diet since 2000 when she was diagnosed with celiac disease.  She lives with her husband and three teenage boys, two of which she home schools.  Her family enjoys her gluten-free cooking and baking, even though they are not exclusively gluten-free.  In 2008 she began blogging at The Gluten-Free Homemaker where she shares her recipes and tips with the gluten-free community.

Thank you, Linda! I think I need to take this recipe off of my "must-try" list and actually make it! For more delicious gluten-free recipes, stop by The Gluten-Free Homemaker (and if you get a chance, make her pumpkin pie!). Come back on Wednes Tuesday to see what Shirley is bringing us! (I still don't know which day is which. On Wednesday I'll be on a plane to Seattle!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans and Brown Rice from Tasty Eats At Home

I can't remember how I first found Tasty Eats At Home, a gluten-free recipe blog written by the lovely Alta Mansch. But I do know that I quickly became an avid follower of her blog, anticipating her monthly Daring Bakers posts and Kids in the Kitchen series. I was delighted when she decided to join in with a guest post for this month's Gluten-Free Fall Specials. Alta's recipes are always healthy and delicious, but more than that, she thinks outside the box. I've noticed that Alta brings a unique blend of ingredients to classic recipes, like her Vegetarian Bean and Pumpkin Chili, which uses a cinnamon stick to tweak the traditional flavor of chili. Likewise, here she brings us a recipe for Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans and Brown Rice. It's a fresh take on an old favorite!

I was honored when Iris asked me to guest blog on The Daily Dietribe. I love her blog – her recipes are always tasty and healthy, and she regularly discusses topics that are honest, down-to-earth, and very real. She’s true to herself. It’s what truly makes The Daily Dietribe special. It took me a while to decide what to write about that would feel at home. Since we’re ushering in fall recipes right now, I finally decided on this simple, vegan meal that’s not only healthy, it’s delicious.
Yes, the recipe is for beans and rice. That’s about as humble as it gets. But the flavors are unique, and are still comforting and delicious. You could use a variety of beans for this recipe (although you might have to alter soaking and cooking times), but I like adzuki beans because they cook up relatively quickly and are very easy to digest. They’re slightly sweet (and so are often used in sweet treats in Asian cuisine), which pairs well with the garam masala and cayenne. And of course, this dish packs a good amount of fiber and protein. It just also happens to be vegan, gluten, and corn-free. Most of all, for a cooler autumn day, this is a comforting dish that won’t weigh you down. 
A quick word about kombu. Kombu is a variety of dried seaweed often used to make dashi, and can be found in the Asian section of groceries, at a specialty store, or online. What I love about kombu is that when simmered with beans, it improves their digestibility and lessens the (ahem) side effects. It also works as a flavor enhancer, adding a bit of umami to the dish. If you haven’t had the chance to cook with it, give it a try. Same with this twist on the good ‘ol standby – beans and rice. You might be pleasantly surprised at how delicious healthy can taste! 

Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans and Brown Rice 
Recipe by Alta of Tasty Eats At Home 

1 t garam masala
1 t cumin seeds
1/8 t cayenne
2 T olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t fresh turmeric, minced (can substitute dried)
2 c butternut squash, cubed
1 c adzuki beans, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
1 piece kombu
3 c water
Salt to taste
¼ c cilantro, chopped
1 c brown rice, rinsed and steamed


  1. Place garam masala, cumin seeds, and cayenne in dry skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant. (Be careful not to burn!) Remove and crush/grind with a mortar and pestle. 
  2. Add olive oil to a large saucepan or dutch oven and bring to medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add toasted spices, ginger and garlic and sauté for another minute. 
  4. Add squash, beans, kombu, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, and cook for 1 hour or until beans are tender. 
  5. Season with salt generously to taste. Serve with brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Serves 3-4

Alta Mantsch started Tasty Eats At Home simply as a way to share recipes with family and friends. But after dealing with worsening health issues, and understanding the ill effects gluten caused on her other family members (her father, sister, and brother were all gluten-intolerant), in June 2009 she decided to remove gluten from her diet in an effort to find wellness once again. Soon after, she was on the road to healing, and now focuses her efforts at Tasty Eats At Home on sharing nourishing, delicious, gluten-free food that will bring your heart joy and that the family will actually EAT!

Thank you, Alta! For more traditional recipes with a twist, visit Tasty Eats At Home. Then come back here on Sunday for a new Fall recipe from Shirley of Gluten Free Easily, the famous creator of my favorite chocolate chip cookies!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Vanilla Protein Chai from The Crazy Kitchen

Today's Gluten-Free Fall Special comes to you courtesy of Chelsey at The Crazy Kitchen. One thing that I love about Chelsey's blog is that she shares mouthwatering recipes like her recent Fresh Blackberry Tart, but she also admits that with three children, she needs simple, fast solutions to staying healthy. So for those days when there's no time to bake something from scratch, she gives us recipes like her Power Wake-Up Strawberry Banana Shake and today's protein packed Vanilla Chai. I've never made chai before, but after seeing her pictures, I think it's about time I start. This would make a perfect start for a chilly Fall Seattle morning...

September is a CRAZY month.  Last week my calendar was empty and now each day wants to be three times booked.  Does that sound familiar to you?  Perhaps you too are feeling the hustle and bustle of activities, school and new routines tidal wave into your life.

It's busy times like these when we are most likely to eat junk food to compensate for our hectic schedules.  Just the other day I felt the full weight of my new routine heavy on my shoulders. The real weight translated into me eating two pieces of cake and a chocolate bar....What?  I never eat like that....  I love to make home cooked meals with vegetables at every sitting.  Somehow stress makes me run for the panic button.  When I hit it, it sends up the white flag and I surrender my healthy attempts at eating and change sides with the bad guys.

Luckily I don't have to succumb to my fate of eating junk just because I am temporarily over-extended.  I can make a choice to eat healthy with a little preparation the day before.  My best ally is my planning skills, and it only translates into a few minutes of time each day to birth a stress-less day for the next morning.  If I plan the evening before what I am going to eat rather than deciding at the fridge or pantry the next day, I eat well.  Eating well makes me feel good and diffuses the stress.  When the stress is diffused I have no desire to hit the panic button: life is good!  On the flip side, eating crap makes me feel like garbage, feeling like garbage adds more stress in my life, and the more stress I have, the more I hit the panic button.  It's the cycle of junk, it's my choice and let's be honest, who wants to live on the dark side?

Three o'clock is often the turning point in my day.  If I am tired and hungry without plans for a snack, I instinctively go for the junk food, so I make sure to plan a snack that is satisfying and healthy to eat every day.  Hands down my favorite planned mid afternoon snack is my Vanilla Protein Chai.  It is one of those recipes that keeps the weight off my hips and also happens to be tasty to my lips.   If you are trying to lose weight, or maintain your weight this snack is a life saver.  It's a sweet treat full of protein that will dazzle your taste buds, and keep your energy levels steady.  Feeling satisfied keeps you ready to take on the rest of the day and maintain healthy eating.

This recipe makes enough for three servings, so that way you have an afternoon snack for three days that you don't have to think about (plus it is sooo good, I never tire of it).  This is a treat, yet it's healthy....  I guarantee you'll love it.  It is also kid friendly.  My daughter requests me to make this for her all the time (with caffeine free Rooibos Chai tea).  So if you have some picky eaters in the house, perhaps they would enjoy a cup of Vanilla Protien Chai along with you.


Vanilla Protein Chai

makes 3 servings (1 1/2 cups each)
an original recipe by Chelsey Beda

Time estimate: 15 minutes


1 1/2 cups of water
3 chai tea bags(or 1 1/2 Tbs. loose chai tea)
2 Tbs. brown sugar
6 drops Liquid Stevia

2 slices of ginger (quarter sized) squashed with the butt of your knife
the seeds of 3 green cardamon pods

3 cups of Soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of liquid egg whites (I buy the carton of liquid egg whites in the refrigerator section of the grocery store - it's pasteurized so you won't catch anything scary!)
-Bring the three chai tea bags, 1 1/2 half cups of water, 2 Tbs. of brown sugar, and six drops of liquid stevia to a boil.  Reduce temperature to medium and set your timer for five minutes.

-When the timer beeps, add 3 cups of soy milk, 2 ginger coins and the cardamon seeds.  Keep the heat on medium and slowly warm the milk.

-When the soy milk comes to a boil, strain the tea bags and loose spices.  Add the tsp. of vanilla extract.  I like to store the chai in a clean wine bottle.  Cool in the refrigerator.  

-When you're ready to pack/eat your snack, add 1/3 cup of liquid egg whites to 1 1/3 cup of the brewed chai.  Serve cold and drink right away.  If you desire a hot beverage, warm the chai and then add a little of the hot chai to the egg whites stirring, and immediately pour the egg white mixture into the chai.

 Bon Appetit!

Chelsey is the author of The Crazy Kitchen. She shares gluten-free recipes with her readers, and hosts a monthly roundup of recipes from gluten-free bloggers.

Thank you, Chelsey, for giving me a new snack idea to keep me going once I'm back in school! On Thursday, we'll be featuring a savory meal from Alta at Tasty Eats At Home. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Fall Specials: Sweet Potato Doughnuts from Gluten-Free Flavorfull

I'm excited to start off this month of Gluten-Free Fall Specials with a recipe from Alea of Gluten-Free Flavorfull. Alea made doughnuts for us! The only doughnuts I've had since becoming gluten-free were Kinnikinnick, and while they were wonderful, I always like to have a recipe of my own to make. It's more affordable that way, and a lot more fun. How often do you have company over when you can say, "Would you like a gluten-free doughnut? I made them myself." Yes, this recipe will make you famous. And although Alea is humble and doesn't think these turned out very pretty, I have to disagree with her. Do these look ugly to you? I think not!

One of the things my daughter missed most after going gluten-free was doughnuts. Pumpkin doughnuts, in particular. So I set about creating a gluten-free pumpkin doughnut for her. After 2 batches that were declared “close, but not perfect," I had used up my pureed pumpkin supply. I  went to the store for more, only to discover that they, and the six other stores I visited, were out. Since the stores did not have fresh pumpkin either, I decided to try pureed sweet potatoes. Once home, I made my revised recipe with the sweet potatoes and my daughter declared them “the best pumpkin doughnuts ever." I thought they tasted great, but were kind of ugly. I am continuing my efforts to develop a sweet potato doughnut that is both delicious and photogenic, but for now we are settling for delicious.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Doughnuts
Recipe by Alea of Gluten-Free Flavorfull

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup milk or rice milk
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pans.
  2.  In a medium bowl, mix flours, potato starch, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. 
  3. Add sweet potato, eggs, milk, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until mixed.
  4. Fill the doughnut pans 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until tops are brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Place the doughnut pans on cooling rack and let the doughnuts cool in the pans. Once the doughnuts are cool. Place them on the cooling rack and spoon glaze over the doughnuts.
Cinnamon Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Add sugar, milk, and cinnamon to a small bowl. Mix well to ensure sugar is completely dissolved. Place wax paper beneath cooling rack. Spoon glaze over doughnuts.

Makes 1 dozen

Alea Milham shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home at Premeditated Leftovers. Since 3 out of 5 in her household are gluten intolerant, she has declared majority rule, and made her home a gluten-free zone. She shares gluten-free recipes at Gluten-Free Flavor Full.

Thank you, Alea, for sharing this recipe with us all! I don't think any of my new roommates would complain if I hogged the kitchen to make these, do you? 

Readers, come back on Tuesday for a quick and healthy treat from Chelsey of The Crazy Kitchen!  


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