Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Katy's Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten/Grain/Egg/Dairy/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)




































I posted this photo on Facebook today with the question, Which recipe do you want to see tomorrow?














The cookies won, 25 to 15.

(Don't worry, you'll get gluten-free, vegan banana muffins next Wednesday.)

I don't know why chocolate chip cookies are so amazing. I just know they are.

And it seems you agree. 




































Katy's Chocolate Chip Cookies Print-Me

My friend Katy adapted my Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe to be grain-free, and shared her version in the comments of the original post. I further adapted her recipe to be lower in sugar and this is the result. Mildly sweet with a hint of coconut, these cookies are not meant to taste like a traditional chocolate chip cookie. They're a bold health food cookie, each bite robust and filled with coconut-almond flavor. Don't take my word for it. Give them a try yourself!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, palm sugar, baking soda and salt. 
  3. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla, then stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Shape into twelve balls and flatten slightly on the cookie sheet. They won't spread at all. Bake for 12 minutes. 
Note: I measure flours by spooning flour into the cup and then leveling it off. If you normally scoop the measuring cup into the flour, you'll get more flour than you need in my recipes. My scale is packed away but I'll go back to using cups and grams once I'm moved to Missouri and have it available. 
Makes 12 cookies. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Buckwheat Crepes (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Sugar-Free)




































I know Monday is not everyone's favorite day, so I'm hoping I can make it a little nicer by bringing you a simple recipe that you can make this week. These buckwheat crepes are egg-free and so easy to make that I know I'll be making them often. Because they don't contain eggs, they don't have the flavor of a typical crepe, but rather taste closer to a buckwheat pancake. In fact, I think it would be more accurate to say they're somewhat of a cross between a crepe and a tortilla. They roll easily and would work well with savory fillings for a week night dinner or sweet fillings at Sunday brunch.

As I'm sitting here, I'm wondering how they would taste if they were baked and topped with sauce, like enchiladas. I guess I know what I'm trying for dinner one night this week!





































Want to share a recipe here today? 

Last week, the reader favorite was Buckwheat Krispie Treats from Marya at Part-Time Health Nut. I am absolutely planning on making these! They contain peanut butter, but I can easily sub that out for sunbutter (made with sunflower seeds). With only two teaspoons of maple syrup as a sweetener, I would feel comfortable eating these as a treat.

What will your favorite recipe be this week? 























Here are the rules for 5-Ingredient Mondays:

  1. The dish must contain 5 ingredients or less. But to make it easier, pantry staples are not counted as ingredients. Neither are optional ingredients.
    1. Examples: salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder...basically if you think you would find the ingredient in any kitchen, you don't have to count it as one of your 5 ingredients. On the other hand, if it's a staple in your kitchen but not the average American's (i.e. coconut oil), count it. If you're unsure, go ahead and add the link. I'm not a stickler for rules!
  2. The dish must be gluten-free. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple. 
  3. You must leave a link to your own recipe that goes to that week's 5-Ingredient Monday post, not on this static page. 
Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share. I will sometimes share photos of the recipes with links back to your blog, so by sharing your recipe, you are giving me permission to use your photo and link back to your recipe. 

The linky will be live through noon on Thursday.









Buckwheat Crepes Print-Me

Don't expect these babies to taste like a typical crepe, which is made with eggs. They're closer in flavor to a buckwheat pancake but with the pliability of a crepe. They taste absolutely divine topped with sweet fillings like peanut butter, nutella, and banana. Or you can serve them for lunch or dinner with savory fillings, such as hummus, roasted red peppers, and avocado.

Ingredients:
2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked in water overnight, rinsed and drained*
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or pureed pear
1/4 cup ground chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (melted coconut oil or butter will probably work fine, although I haven't tested them) plus extra for cooking
1 1/4 cups dairy or non-dairy milk

*Raw buckwheat groats can usually be found in the bulk section at your grocery store. I've found them at mainstream grocery stores, like Ralphs, as well as health food stores.

Directions: 
  1. Puree the buckwheat groats, applesauce, ground chia seeds, salt and grapeseed oil in a food processor until creamy. Remove to a bowl. 
  2. Stir milk into the creamy mixture, until the batter is slightly thinner than typical pancake batter.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium. Allow to heat up really well before adding about 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of batter to the pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter in ever widening circles until you have a crepe that almost reaches the edges of the pan (like spreading pizza sauce on dough). Allow to cook about 2 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 minutes. 
  4. Spread your favorite toppings and roll up. Eat and enjoy!
Makes approximately 8 crepes.



Friday, February 22, 2013

Romantical Fridays: Did I Ever Tell You...?

Read the last installment here




















About the time I asked Blue Eyes if he was gay?

No?

I didn’t think so.

This actually happened before he told me he loved me, but it marked a shift in our relationship that I had forgotten about until this moment. And since it was so funny important, I couldn't very well leave this story out, could I?

Blue Eyes doesn’t know this (or I guess he does now) but I was feeling rather meh about our physical relationship at first. Here was this beautiful, exciting, intriguing man who was treating me like a goddess, yet things in the bedroom were rather…lackluster.

I kept wondering where that throwdown was, that intense, throw-me-up-against the wall kiss that tells you he doesn’t just want you, he needs you. Where was the passion?

I began to have this niggling feeling that maybe he wasn’t so attracted to me.

I present to you the clues that something wasn’t as it should be:

Exhibit A: At some point during our first long, drunken conversation, he told me he had kissed a guy. He never told me the context and I didn’t really think much of it at the time. Mostly I was just impressed at how open and liberal he was.

But then..

Exhibit B: His Facebook profile said he was interested in men and women.

Hmm… Okay, so maybe he was bisexual. I was okay with that.

But combine that with the lack of raw desire I was feeling? What if he was actually gay, but not ready to admit it to himself? What if I was the kind of girl he imagined he should be attracted to, but he was really attracted to men?

What if his real reason for wanting to wait to have sex was actually because he just didn’t want to have sex with me? With a woman?

Maybe I’m a drama queen and I like to make things complicated.

I don’t know.

I’ve been told on multiple occasions that my gaydar is completely off. And Blue Eyes is not the first straight guy that I’ve asked if he’s gay. He is the first guy I was dating at the time though.

I eventually got up the guts to ask him about it. The last thing I wanted was to fall head over heels for someone who would inevitably break my heart. (I guess that’s the last thing anyone wants.)

We went for a hike one afternoon and I stood in his arms as we watched the sun set. And then I turned to him, looked into his bright blue eyes, and jumbled my way through, “So...um...hey I was just wondering, um, so do you like guys? I mean, are you gay?”

I really don’t know what's a proper response to that question, but he took it all in stride. Once I explained my reasoning, he told me the Facebook profile was a joke, the kiss was a drunken dare to get two girls to kiss each other, and no, he wasn’t into guys. The reason I didn’t feel the passion was exactly what he had told me. He wanted to wait for our first time. He just didn’t trust himself to wait so he was very studiously holding back.

He realized then that he was holding back too much, and that was when things shifted. It wasn’t long after that we stopped waiting. 

Which brings us back to where we left off last time. 

Girl met boy. Boy fell in love with girl. Girl fell in love too. Cue the montage of cutesy love scenes. 

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gluten-Free Baking 101: Faux Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)


I haven't written a Gluten-Free Baking 101 post in a while, so I thought this would be the perfect recipe to give you some tips on making substitutions. I recently posted a Cream Cheese Cookie recipe that I absolutely love, but it uses dairy and I know many of you can't eat that. I also have a dairy-free version of the recipe that uses cashew cream cheese. Also delicious, but what about those of you who can't have nuts? There's always soy cream cheese, but I know many of you can't have soy, plus I think it's more fun to get creative with substitutions on my own.

So want to know how to go from dairy to dairy-free, bypassing nuts and soy? Here you go:

Substituting Cream Cheese:
  • I could make a sunflower based cream cheese, using the same basic recipe as cashew cream cheese. This would probably work for flavor and texture, but a) I wasn't in the mood, b) I was out of sunflower seeds, and c) sunflower seeds can react with baking soda and result in green cookies. Maybe for St. Patrick's Day?
  • The recipe calls for cream cheese. Cream cheese can sometimes be substituted for sour cream. Sour cream can sometimes be substituted for applesauce. Applesauce and pear sauce can often work interchangeably. (Side note: I was developing this recipe for someone who can't eat apples.) Therefore, pear sauce might work in place of the cream cheese. However, these cookies have a richness that comes from the fat in the cream cheese, so rather than doing a straight substitution, I subbed half pureed pear and half coconut oil. 1/2 cup cream cheese became 4 tablespoons of pureed pear and 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. 
But wait! The recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons each of pureed pear and coconut oil. What gives? To answer that, let's talk about sugar. 

Substituting Cane Sugar: 
  • I could replace the sugar called for in the original recipe with an equal amount of coconut palm sugar. But I was either out of coconut palm sugar or not feeling it that day. Can't remember which but either way, I decided to use a liquid sweetener instead.
  • To replace 1/2 cup of sugar, I used 6 tablespoons of liquid sweetener (3 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup). I could have used all honey or all maple syrup; this was just a creative choice. In general, when replacing sugar with a liquid sweetener, you want to reduce the amount by about 25 percent. This is why I used 6 tablespoons of sweetener instead of 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of sugar. You also want to reduce the other liquids in the recipe by a couple of tablespoons. Therefore, I reduced the pureed pear and coconut oil by 1 tablespoon each.  
Baking by Feel: 
  • When I mixed all the ingredients, I found that the batter was somewhat thinner than the original recipe. I was able to roll that batter out to make cut-out cookies. This batter seemed too runny for me, so I added a bit more flour. The recipe called for coconut flour, white rice flour, and tapioca starch, so I opted to add more white rice flour. However, I was out, so I added sorghum flour, which is an easy sub for white rice flour. I started with 1/3 cup, liked the texture and stuck with that.
Cream Cheese Cookies or Thumbprint Cookies? 
  • The cream cheese cookies have a slight tang from the flavor of cream cheese. In the cashew cream cheese version, I used apple cider vinegar to mimic this. In this version, I ignored that and just decided to make them thumbprint cookies and fill them with jam. I could have played around with the flavor a bit more to try to make them "cream cheesy" but was happy with them as is.


Thumbprint Cookies Print-Me 
Delicate and chewy, this is an easy recipe to adapt. Read the notes above to see how I adapted this from a dairy version and for ideas on how you might further adapt it to meet your needs.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons pureed pear
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup palm shortening (Spectrum Organic is soy free)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole psyllium husks
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Your favorite jam

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside two cookie sheets.
  2. Cream together the pear, coconut oil, shortening, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and psyllium with an electric mixer or in a food processor.
  3. Whisk together the flours, salt and baking soda. Blend into the wet mixture until completely mixed.
  4. Shape into small balls and place on the cookie sheets. Use your thumb to make an indent in each cookie. Fill with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool completely.

Notes: If you can't find a sugar-free jam, you could make a fruit puree by blending your favorite dried fruit with a little liquid (water or non-dairy milk) and adding liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup) to taste.

Monday, February 18, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Quinoa Granola Bars (Gluten/Oat-Free)




































Gluten-Free. Oat-Free. Granola goodness. Only 5 ingredients.

Go for it.



Want to share a recipe here today? 

Last week, the reader favorite recipe was also my favorite: Easy, Elegant Party Puffs from Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily.

What will your favorite recipe be this week? 




















Here are the rules for 5-Ingredient Mondays:

  1. The dish must contain 5 ingredients or less. But to make it easier, pantry staples are not counted as ingredients. Neither are optional ingredients.
    1. Examples: salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder...basically if you think you would find the ingredient in any kitchen, you don't have to count it as one of your 5 ingredients. On the other hand, if it's a staple in your kitchen but not the average American's (i.e. coconut oil), count it. If you're unsure, go ahead and add the link. I'm not a stickler for rules!
  2. The dish must be gluten-free. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple. 
  3. You must leave a link to your own recipe that goes to that week's 5-Ingredient Monday post, not on this static page. 
Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share. I will sometimes share photos of the recipes with links back to your blog, so by sharing your recipe, you are giving me permission to use your photo and link back to your recipe. 

The linky will be live through noon on Thursday.





















Quinoa Granola Bars Print-Me

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa flakes
1 1/2 cups puffed rice (millet or any other puffed grain cereal you like)
(Optional) 1 1/2 cups additional mix-ins*
1/2 cup coconut oil, solid
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup honey

*Mix-Ins: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, raisins or chopped dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, etc.

Directions:
  1. Prepare a 9 x 9 inch pan by lining with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Toast the quinoa flakes in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often. If you're adding in raw seeds or nuts, you can also toast them with the quinoa. Put the quinoa flakes in a large bowl. Stir in the puffed rice. Stir in any additional mix-ins you want, like raisins or coconut flakes. 
  3. Mix together the coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and honey in a small bowl. Heat a small pot on medium and add the oil, sugar, and honey. Stir constantly until the coconut oil has completely melted. When the mix just begins to bubble slightly, remove from heat immediately and pour into the bowl of quinoa flakes. (If you let the honey mix bubble for too long, the resulting granola bars will be hard like candy - not good for your teeth!)
  4. Stir the whole mixture together, then allow to sit about 5 minutes. Turn into the parchment lined pan and press firmly. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  5. Once cool, slice with a sharp knife into 16 bars (more or less, as you like). I use the knife to remove them from the parchment paper as well, slipping it in between the paper and granola bars (like opening an envelope with a letter opener). Wrap individually in plastic wrap for lunch boxes or set out on a plate and watch them quickly disappear.
Note: Make sure to buy a puffed cereal brand that is certified gluten-free if you are making these for someone who is gluten intolerant or has Celiac Disease. 
Makes 16 granola bars. Store in refrigerator.



Monday, February 11, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Gluten-Free, Oat-Free Scottish Oatcakes




































Welcome to another week of 5-Ingredient Mondays! 

Today I'm sharing with you a new favorite that is not only easy to make but also fun. Oatcakes are a traditional Scottish food that are often served with breakfast or snack. If you've never had an oatcake before, don't be fooled by the name. They taste nothing like cake. My boyfriend informed me of that when I handed him one and asked him to try it. No, they're actually like a thick cracker with just a hint of sweetness. They can be eaten on their own or topped with any sort of spread like brie, smoked salmon or cashew cream cheese.

Why are they so fun? 

Because you can turn these Oat-Free Scottish Oatcakes into an art project and make them any shape you want. Perhaps you'd like to make a batch of hearts for Valentine's Day? Make them with your kids and let them come up with neat shapes?

Get creative. Experiment. Think outside the circle.

Want to share a recipe here today? 

Here are the rules:

  1. The dish must contain 5 ingredients or less. But to make it easier, pantry staples are not counted as ingredients. 
    1. Examples: salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder...basically if you think you would find the ingredient in any kitchen, you don't have to count it as one of your 5 ingredients. On the other hand, if it's a staple in your kitchen but not the average American's (i.e. coconut oil), count it. If you're unsure, go ahead and add the link. I'm not a stickler for rules!
  2. The dish must be gluten-free. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple. 
  3. You must leave a link to your own recipe that goes to that week's 5-Ingredient Monday post, not on this static page. 
Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share. I will sometimes share photos of the recipes with links back to your blog, so by sharing your recipe, you are giving me permission to use your photo and link back to your recipe. 

The linky will be live through noon on Thursday.





































Oat-Free Oatcakes Print-Me

These crunchy oatcakes take me back to my semester abroad in Scotland. I've quickly become as addicted to these as I was to the traditional ones. And since they're so easy to make, I find myself whipping up a batch on a regular basis. Made with quinoa flakes instead of oats, they're gluten, dairy, egg, nut, soy, and oat free! They can be baked in the oven or fried on the griddle.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons flax seed meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil or grapeseed oil
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup quinoa flakes

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (See below for notes on how to cook on the stove top.)
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flax, salt, maple syrup, oil, and water together. Allow to sit for a minute. 
  3. Whisk in the sorghum flour, then the quinoa flakes. 
  4. Shape the batter into thin cakes, about 1/4 inch thick each. Place on the parchment paper and bake for 25-33 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. The cakes should turn golden in color but keep an eye on them so they don't get too dark. Personally, I like mine baked a little longer, like the heart-shaped ones above. That makes them crispier. But if you bake them less, they'll be more chewy, less crispy. 
How to cook on the stove: Heat a skillet (or pancake griddle) on medium-low. Add a drizzle of oil, then cook each cake for about 4 minutes per side. When you use this method instead of baking, they'll be chewier and have less crunch.   



 
    

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Cookies


































Nothing says be my valentine like homemade gluten-free cookies.

This Valentine's Day, treat your loved ones to something tastier than a Hallmark card.

Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Cream Cheese Cookies.

Who could ask for anything more?





Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Cookies Print-Me 
My grandma's cream cheese cookies have never tasted so good. It's been years since I've eaten her gluten-containing cookies, but my mom tells me these are just as good, and perhaps just the teensiest bit better. All I know is I no longer feel like I'm missing out. If you want a dairy-free version, click here

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole psyllium husks
1/3 cup coconut flour (40 grams)
1/3 cup white rice flour (52 grams)
1/3 cup tapioca starch (40 grams)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out 2 cookie sheets. 
  2. Using your food processor or an electric beater, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and psyllium husks. 
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, and baking soda. Once well mixed, beat into the cream cheese mix until a ball forms. 
  4. Roll the dough out (to about 1/4 inch thick) between two pieces of parchment paper, sprinkling some extra rice flour on both sides of the dough if necessary. Cut into whatever shapes your heart desires. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
*The above photos were made with regular cane sugar, but you can also use coconut palm sugar or another granulated sugar. The flavor and color will be different, but they will still be delicious!

Yield: This batch made 17 cookies of varying shapes and sizes.  

Don't forget to tune in Monday for another week of 5-Ingredient Mondays. Come to share your gluten-free recipe with 5 ingredients or less (read the directions...there's some leniency to that rule) or come to find an easy recipe. I'll be sharing my recipe for gluten-free, oat-free granola wafers. 

This post is linked to Inspire Me Mondays.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Romantical Fridays: Game On

Read the last installment here.


The ball was in my court.

Blue Eyes had told me he loved me. It was awkward and kind of amazing. I still get a thrill when I think of that moment. Not because he said it, but because of the way he said it. No one has ever told me they loved me with such fervor, such passion in their voice. It scared me and made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

It turns out, that is exactly how Blue Eyes lives his life: With an intensity and passion that makes a lot of people...well...slightly uncomfortable. This was my first taste of what it would be like to be with him.




















Thrilling.

Amazing.

Awkward.

Scary.

And yes, slightly uncomfortable.

Sounds like the makings of a great love story, and it is. But believe me, those slightly uncomfortable, scary, awkward qualities? They can be really annoying sometimes. 

























Oh, but wait. Have you met me?

Someone told me once that Blue Eyes was like the male version of me. They were right. He's the head-in-the-clouds, crazy romantic gestures version of me. And I'm the realistic, everything must be organized and planned version of him.

Together, you get something like this.

Brian Andreas Art
But I left you hanging last week, didn't I? Blue Eyes had just told me he loved me. I freaked on the inside, but pretended to be cool on the outside. Then I went on a weekend retreat and came back sure that I was ready to be with him, to love him back and commit.

It wasn't any special epiphany I had while I was there, nothing big at all. Just a quiet moment of clarity.

But you've learned that everything with us is always tinged with a hint of the ridiculous, right?

So here's how I told him I loved him back.

It was morning and I had to get to class. Blue Eyes had to get back on the bus to go to his apartment in downtown Seattle. But things felt stiff between us, as if something had shifted and we hadn't quite learned how to navigate it yet.

I knew I needed to tell him how I felt, but being vulnerable in person is not easy for me. I can pour my heart out in writing, but I can't say I love you without feeling like the biggest idiot on the planet.

So I drove him to the bus stop that morning. We stopped and got coffee to sit and wait together. And somehow in those five minutes of waiting, I managed to say I love you and make it sound like I hate you.

We laugh about it now. How the first time I said those words, I threw them at him like I was laying down a bet. "Okay, yeah, I love you too. What are you gonna do about it?"

Actually, I think my exact words were a very huffily said, "Well, you know I love you too!" Arms folded, lips pouting, eyes shooting daggers.

It's funny now. At the time? Not so funny.

His bus came right then, and after a flustered, "Yeah I know" response, he hugged me and ran to the bus. And I just stood there thinking, "What the hell just happened?"

See that expression on his face below? I'm sure that's what he was thinking too. 

  
















Read the next installment here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gluten-Free Valentine's Day Desserts for Everyone






















Let's face it. Valentine's Day can be super romantic and sigh-inducing. It can also be obnoxious and make you want to vomit. You know it's true. I've been single on way too many Valentine's Days to pretend otherwise.

That being said, the tradition in my family growing up was to make each other homemade Valentine's cards, and we always got a little trinket from my mom. A ring, a pretty jewelry box, just something small but special.

Once I got older, I began to feel the sting of singlehood on February 14th, but I always had that idea that Valentine's Day was not just about romantic love. It was simply about the love you have for your friends and family. So whether you're celebrating this Valentine's Day alone, with a romantic partner, with your kids or with your best friends, I have a recipe here that's for you.

And that includes you, men. I know you think I forget about you, but I don't.




















Single Lady Desserts
All For One Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
No Bake Single Serve Chocolate Cream Berry Pie (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
One Minute Chocolate Cake (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut-Free, Low Sugar) 
Raw Carrot Cake Cupcake (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
Single Serving Brownie (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Soy/Sugar-Free)

























Desserts for Two
Crème Brûlée for Two (Gluten/Grain/Soy/Nut-Free)
Lemon Custard (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Sugar-Free)
Mini Chocolate Cakes (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut-Free)
Raw Seduction Chocolate Pudding (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)




















Ladies' Night Desserts
Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar-Free) 
Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake (Soy-Free, Dairy-Free Option)
Crème Brûlée (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy-Free)
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Port Sauce (Gluten/Grain/Soy/Nut-Free)
Fruit and Nut Truffles (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Sugar-Free)
Irish Coffee Brownies (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar-Free)
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake (Gluten/Soy-Free)
Tiramisu Roulade (Gluten/Grain/Nut/Soy-Free)


























Man Cave Desserts
Apricot Whiskey Ice Cream (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Sugar-Free)
Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar-Free)
Chocolate Chile Coconut Milk Truffles (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut-Free, Low Sugar)
Mexican Chocolate Brownies (Gluten/Dairy/Soy-Free) 
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (Gluten/Grain/Egg/Soy/Sugar-Free)





















Healthy Treats for Kids
Chocolate Heart Shaped Cookies (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
Cream Cheese Cookies (Gluten/Soy/Nut-Free; link to dairy-free version) 
Heart-Shaped Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with a Chocolate Surprise (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Sugar-Free)
Paleo Samoa Brownies (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Soy/Refined Sugar-Free)
Pumpkin Spice Waffle Cookies (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar-Free)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gluten Free Baking 101: Comparing Gluten Free Flours

This was originally under my tabs as a separate page, but I'll be taking many of those tabs down soon to make room for new ones, so I'm adding this as a post so the information will still be here. 

When I was working on my baking guides with Brittany Angell, I needed a way to conceptualize what each individual flour did in a recipe. I finally found a solution when I was working on my Pancake and Waffle How-To Guide. Because my goal was to find a recipe that would work for any flour, I tested it with thirteen different flours as well as Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Mix.

I kept very detailed and scientific notes during this process - they were color coded and included descriptions like "blah blah." That, by the way, was used to describe a flour that gave the pancakes a "blah blah" flavor and texture. Also known as bland, which was another fancy word I often used.

For my experiment, I followed this recipe exactly, varying only the type of flour. What follows is my Gluten-Free Baking 101 Cheat Sheet. It's simple and it helps me tremendously. Now, whenever I'm thinking about what flours to use in a recipe, I go to my cheat sheet and look at the flavors and textures I want.

This also helps me when something goes wrong. Case in point? When I was making my recipe for Strawberry Shortcakes, I originally started out with a combination of white rice flour and potato starch. As soon as I put the cakes in the oven, I realized my mistake. If I looked at my cheat sheet, I would see that white rice flour makes baked goods very chewy, much like the Japanese confection, mochi. Potato starch also makes things very chewy. White rice flour plus potato starch? It was a chewy, gobby mess waiting to happen. The resulting cupcakes were gooey and chewy and completely lacked structure. But luckily I had already known that would happen and had a new batch ready to be popped into the oven. This time I skipped the starch altogether and just used the white rice flour. Perfection!

As usual, my cheat sheet came to my rescue!

Here's how to use this guide. The descriptions below are how these flours worked in my basic pancake recipe. This recipe is egg-free and you may find some flours work differently when eggs are included. However, you can assume that these flours will impart similar flavors and textures in most recipes, and can use this as a starting point when you're trying to decide what to use. I've included my exact wording from when I was making these, but will add notes in parentheses when it seems necessary. 

For more information on the individual flours and substitutions, read The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guides, Part 1 and 2

Almond Flour
  • Texture: Chewy, soft
  • Flavor: Sweet, buttery, reminded me of Bisquick pancakes, *my favorite*
  • Liquid ratio: required half the amount of liquid
  • Best flours to substitute with: only other nut or seed flours. Do not sub with coconut flour.
Coconut Flour
  • Texture: Awful (Coconut flour is extremely difficult to  use in egg-free baked goods unless you're also using one or more other flours. However, it can impart a lovely sweet flavor to baked goods, so don't swear off of it. One of my favorite mixes uses coconut flour, white rice flour, and potato starch in a 1:1:1 ratio. I haven't tried that mix in this recipe, but I have used it successfully in other vegan baked goods.)
  • Flavor: Coconut! Sweet.
  • Liquid ratio: Required 3x as much liquid. 
  • Best flours to substitute with: None. Coconut flour is very unique. 
Teff Flour
  • Texture: Fluffy, crunchy. (This crunch is mild and is a texture I love in my baked goods. I use teff flour more often than almost any other flour because it is so light and rises well in egg-free recipes.)
  • Flavor: Sweet, reminds me of an English muffin.  
  • Best flours to substitute with: Buckwheat flour, although your final product will be more dense with buckwheat.
Millet Flour
  • Texture: Crispy outside, flaky layers inside, like a biscuit.
  • Flavor: Mild flavor of a biscuit but slightly bitter aftertaste. (I'm pretty sure my millet flour was rancid and that was the aftertaste. Millet goes rancid relatively quickly, so be sure to store it in the fridge or freezer.) 
  • Best flours to substitute with: White rice, brown rice, sorghum, quinoa, or garbanzo bean flour.
Buckwheat Flour:
  • Texture: Soft, dense. 
  • Flavor: Hint of molasses. Slightly bitter. (I have begun making my own buckwheat flour with raw buckwheat groats, and I find the flavor does not have the same bitterness as commercial buckwheat flour.) 
  • Best flours to substitute with: Teff flour, although teff is not as dense.
Quinoa Flour:
  • Texture: Soft, fluffy
  • Flavor: Like quinoa. (If you like quinoa, you'll probably like quinoa flour. If you don't, there are plenty of other great options for you. If you want the nutritional benefits of this flour without the strong flavor, we have a technique in our baking guides to mellow out the flavor.)
  • Best flours to substitute with: Garbanzo bean or sorghum flour.
Sorghum Flour:
  • Texture: Soft, fluffy. 
  • Flavor: Mild, but slightly sour. Like sourdough. (Sorghum is one of my go-to flours if a recipe calls for rice flour and I don't want to use that. The flavor and texture are neutral enough that it can be used in many recipe, although I find a mix of sorghum and another flour will give you a much better texture than sorghum alone.) 
  • Best flours to substitute with: White rice, brown rice, garbanzo bean, quinoa, or millet flour.
Amaranth Flour:
  • Texture: Lacking structure. Didn't cook fully inside. (I made batch after batch of oddly rubbery brownies for my baking guide before realizing it was the amaranth causing the strange texture. In small amounts, it can help give baked goods a silky smooth texture, but you definitely want to mix it with other flours for more structure.)
  • Flavor: Nutty. (My amaranth pancakes were nutty, but in other recipes I haven't like the taste of amaranth at all. I never use it anymore or only use it in very small amounts.)
  • Best flours to substitute with: Garbanzo bean, sorghum, millet, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and white rice flour. 
Garbanzo Bean Flour:
  • Texture: Soft. Very fluffy. (Garbanzo bean flour is great for making breads because it rises well.)
  • Flavor: Mild to me. (I'm pretty sure I wrote this because some of my fellow gluten-free friends don't like the flavor of garbanzo bean flour. It seemed pretty innocuous to me though.) 
  • Best flours to substitute with: Garfava, soy, sorghum, or quinoa flour.
Sweet White Rice Flour a.k.a. glutinous (not glutenous) rice flour or mochiko:
  • Texture: Chewy, like mochi.
  • Flavor: Bland.  
  • Best flours to substitute with: This is a hard one to substitute but the best choice is a combination of white rice flour and tapioca starch.
White Rice Flour:
  • Chewy, like mochi. (My sweet white rice flour pancakes and white rice flour pancakes tasted almost exactly the same. However, I have noticed a tendency for sweet white rice flour to have chewier results than regular white rice flour in most situations.)
  • Flavor: Bland.  
  • Best flours to substitute with: Brown rice flour or sorghum flour. If the recipe is made with only white rice flour, like my vegan french bread, substitute it with an all-purpose flour.
Brown Rice Flour:
  • Nothing special. (Pretty sure what I meant by that was that it wasn't as fluffy as some of the other pancakes - didn't have as much rise and structure - but wasn't as chewy as the white rice and sweet rice pancakes. It was just a pancake, nothing more, nothing less.)
  • Bland.  
  • Best flours to substitute with: White rice flour or sorghum flour.
Cassava (no starch):
  • Cassava flour can often be used without starch because it is made from the same root that tapioca starch is from. Tapioca starch isolates the starch, whereas cassava flour uses the whole flour. Therefore, I tried this recipe without starch. 
  • Chewy, like mochi. (Not really any different from sweet rice or white rice flour.)
  • Bland. 
  • Best flours to substitute with: None.
Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Mix (no starch):
  • All-purpose mixes already contain starch, so I did not use the starch in my recipe. I simply replaced the flour and starch with an equal amount of Bob's AP Mix.
  • Texture: Blah.
  • Flavor: Blah. (I could just as easily have written bland as I did with the preceding flours. I just got bored of that word. The mix was most similar in texture and flavor to brown rice flour.) 
  • Best flours to substitute with: Any all-purpose flour or to make your own, simply use this formula: 1 part flour (any flour) + 1 part flour (any flour) + 1 part starch (tapioca, potato, cornstarch, arrowroot).

Monday, February 4, 2013

5-Ingredient Mondays: Sweet Potato Leek Soup






































Welcome to 5-Ingredient Mondays, the place to find easy gluten-free meals with 5 ingredients or less.

Last week, we had wonderful entries from some of my favorite bloggers. The reader favorite was the Instant Chocolate Chip Cookie, a gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free treat for one.

My personal favorite was the Maple Almond Butter Banana Cookies. I'm pretty sure I'll be making these grain-free, vegan and refined sugar-free cookies once I get my hands on some sunbutter to replace the almond butter (darned almond sensitivity!).

Ready to share your recipe this week?

Here are the rules:

  1. The dish must contain 5 ingredients or less. But to make it easier, pantry staples are not counted as ingredients. 
    1. Examples: salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda, baking powder...basically if you think you would find the ingredient in any kitchen, you don't have to count it as one of your 5 ingredients. On the other hand, if it's a staple in your kitchen but not the average American's (i.e. coconut oil), count it. If you're unsure, go ahead and add the link. I'm not a stickler for rules!
  2. The dish must be gluten-free. Your recipe can be paleo, vegan, or anything in between. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Side dish or main dish. The purpose here is to create a place where you can come to find recipes that you know will be gluten-free and super simple. 
  3. You must leave a link to your own recipe that goes to that week's 5-Ingredient Monday post, not on this static page. 
Your recipes don't need to be from this week, so feel free to check your recipe list for your favorite recipes to share. I will sometimes share photos of the recipes with links back to your blog, so by sharing your recipe, you are giving me permission to use your photo and link back to your recipe.

The linky will be live through noon on Thursday.


Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Simple and fast, you can have this healthy gluten-free soup ready in 30 minutes. Serve with a side of gluten-free French bread and a salad with protein for a complete meal your whole family will love. 

Want the recipe? Hop on over to the Wellesse blog where I'm sharing this 5-Ingredient recipe.  



Friday, February 1, 2013

Romantical Fridays: The First...

Read the last installment here.  


















What do you do if you're about to have sex with somebody for the first time and he tells you he loves you?

If you're me, you silently think, "It's okay, it's okay. Just go back to kissing and forget that happened."

And then you have really good sex.

But wait, how did we get here? Sex and declarations of love? The last you heard, we had just gone on our first date. How did we get here already?

Let's track backwards.

The first time Blue Eyes...ahem...slept over...he stopped me in the middle of a rather amorous embrace. At this point I should tell you that I grew up on romance novels and even wrote one once, so writing this story without telling all the juicy, yummy details is absolutely driving me crazy. But for the sake of Blue Eyes and any family members who are reading, I'll just allude to what you know is happening here.

So he stopped me with an idea that left me absolutely stumped. He wanted to wait until Valentine's Day for our first time. I wasn't so sure about this idea and was thoroughly confused by such a request from a guy. Usually I was the one slowing things down. But when he told me his reason, I was charmed and had to say okay.

He told me that in the past he had rushed into things and his relationships had never lasted. With me, he told me, he wanted it to last and so he wanted to take things slow.

I melted. I wasn't even sure if I wanted the relationship to last, but that was pretty much the sweetest thing I had ever heard. 

We never made it to Valentine's Day. (Are you surprised?)

But that was all me. God bless him, he tried to stop me. On the night of the infamous love declaration, I was pushing in every way I could. Pushing him to let go of his control, pushing him to tell me what was on his mind because I could see there was something he was trying not to tell me. I had no idea what it was but I was sure it was bad. That's just the way my mind works. So when I told him for the umpteenth time to just say what was on his mind, he blurted, "I love you."

I swear I think the clock stopped ticking for a second.

That was not at all what I was expecting. And not something I was ready for.

But I rallied. I took a deep breath, plastered a determined look on my face and kissed him for all I was worth.

For all intents and purposes, that night was our Valentine's Day.

I don't remember what happened the next morning. Don't remember if we spoke about what he said or ignored it. But I went away that weekend, on a little retreat with my housemates. And the time away told me what I wanted to know.

When I got back, I knew I needed to talk to him.

Read the next installment here

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