Tag Archive for 'gluten free'

Seedy Chocolate Ginger Slice Bars & Other Musings

As I post this long overdue note, I am reminded how quickly life can change – and it has. Week One of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in my part of the world saw the initial lockdown expanded from local pockets in the Bay Area to all of California. It has us all looking for ways to stay connected. Virtual is the new every day- and respectful in-home space is a necessity for the new work and study from home evolving culture. I’ll be sharing more recipes and thoughts but for now, let’s get back to a day, not oh, so long ago when this Black Swan event wasn’t even a blip in our consciousness.

Written on January 2, 2020.

Heading into a new decade- the roaring ’20s carries with it a lot of Gatsby-esque lore. But things have changed. A lot. Not just on a personal level but as a nation. In the ’20s a nation was separated by their limited transportation or financial options. Now we are isolated by choice. By the option to do things in our own desired timeframe, creating our own moments. I am feeling a definite nostalgia for the monoculture of yore. The last decade was riddled with one word across multiple experiences- overload. Practically a sanity-endangering overload that took hold in 2000 and by 2020 manifests in a liquidity of information in excess – original content, streaming music, algorithms of your preferences served like a dessert buffet, less thinking involved and less time for shared group experiences. It’s no wonder that I now cling to things that foster a shared sense of unity in our small circles like watching The Godfather on TV at Thanksgiving, complete with annoying commercials, or trying to find a movie that we all like to watch together vs all sitting in one room, on our devices doing different things. In the last decade, it has become easier to be alone, and simultaneously feel stretched. Even despite all of the things we lost, in the rubble and ashes of our collectiveness is the interest to work together as a team. And from the ashes rise the phoenix. New things we never thought or dreamt of like mimes, podcasts and binge-watching are now creating their own communities. AI themes are becoming a reality, yet somehow shared temporality continues to exist. The world is full of change and possibility.

This last decade was not to be taken lightly on the personal front either. In it all, thanks to modern technology, I cheated death. Well, technically, I did it twice. I’ve discovered my ability to find humor, treat myself with less seriousness and that when I am stressed, I find myself in the kitchen. Simplification is my talisman. #GetWhatYouWant is my 2020 motto and the more I say it, the more it becomes true. And that is exactly what I’ve set my sights. From cars to getaways to special moments to spending time with those I adore to rediscovering fun again in my art of words and strategy. For the first time, it feels as if the sky is the limit. The culmination of life and love and dedication and persistence.

One of my constants is people. Good people make the special moments memorable, the important professional milestones less difficult / more rewarding and are IMO the true testament to who you are – your sense of humor, ability to handle stress and find your happiness. Lately, I’ve found a lot of incredible moments. This one leads to a recipe. The reader’s digest version is that in January some good things happened, and I found myself in London at a meeting in a drop-dead gorgeous spot, way too early to be having breakfast and then this unassuming ‘bar’ turned my head. I ate one and followed it with another, then sheepishly asked for the recipe. ACCESS DENIED. They did offer to let me take a few of these bars home. Then the real fun began as I attempted to deconstruct and reconstruct this magic.

These bars, filled will nuts and seeds, make a tasty snack. Toasted seeds and oatmeal give this bar extra flavor, and the addition of gingery/chocolatey goodness makes for a great blend of textures and flavors. This super easy granola bar is what says it is. Super easy, seedy and amazing! Other flaked grains like quinoa or rice flakes can be used. Substitute nuts with more seeds to make them nut-free. So many possibilities! Added bonus, these bars are both vegan and gluten-free.

Seedy Chocolate Ginger Slice Bars

Ingredients

1 cup old fashioned oats, certified gluten-free if necessary

1/4 cup toasted/roasted pumpkin seeds pepitas or sunflower seeds

2 TBS sesame seeds or hemp seeds

2 TBS chia seeds

3 TBS raw cashews

1/4 cup walnuts or pecans

3 TBS chopped candied ginger

pinch of salt (optional)

protein powder (optional)

1 TBS sugar (optional)

3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate

2 tsp coconut oil

Directions

Toast the oats on a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and the color changes slightly which is approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the oats and set aside. Add the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds to the skillet and toast until they start to change color; approximately 4- 5 minutes. Then add in the chia seeds and continue to toast for a minute longer; add it to the bowl with the oats.

Chop up cashews, walnuts, and candied ginger into small pieces and combine. Mix in a pinch of salt. If using protein powder, you can add it in now and mix until well combined.

In a double boiler or the same skillet over medium-low heat, add chocolate and coconut oil and continue mixing until most of the chocolate is melted. Add 1 TBS sugar if you tend to like sweeter bars. Remove from heat and continue to whisk until smooth. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute. Next add the toasted oats, seeds, nuts, candied ginger to the skillet.

Transfer the mixture to parchment-lined 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Using another piece of parchment on top, press the mixture down evenly.

Chillfor 15 minutes. Slice and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

PB&R Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’ve been in hibernation mode. Taking a planned break to just have fun cooking and spending time with people I miss engaging with regularly. I remember as a child looking at my grandparents in awe of how many friends and acquaintances they had. The list of contacts seemed endless and my daughter made a comment over the weekend that reminded me of that feeling. I understood her perspective and the sheer awe of the network.

The last few years have taught me one thing loud and clear- spend time only with those that are worth your time. Laugh and smile and make everyday fun. There is a lot we have to be grateful for…don’t waste a minute of it wishing your life could be otherwise.

When I was sick a few years ago, one of my good childhood friends was also sick. Separated by great distances I remember he called me from his hospital bed while I was in mine. We laughed and cried and while our conditions were vastly different our mindset was indeed similar. This past week, after years of only being able to connect by phone and text, we met for a coffee, a walk, and a very long talk. While our lives are incredibly different, our views on life were nearly identical.

1) Never taking one conscious moment of any day for granted; we were given a second chance. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a second chance. How we both managed to get so very lucky I’ll never know. For now, it really doesn’t matter how or why, just that it isn’t squandered.

2) Never say no to opportunity, no matter how crazy it may seem.

3) Spending time with those you enjoy.

4) Appreciating the beauty around us.

5) The fight is better than the alternative. Fight for life. You can live every day- you can only die once.

This is a recipe I played around with this past week—low in glycemic sugar, gluten-free, and just the right hint of sweet. It was the perfect sweet cheat for a few people in my life that don’t often get to indulge in sweets! Need to make it vegan? Well, that is easy as swapping in your favorite vegan butter. We joked that these cookies are practically “free”; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free (if you so choose)! Need to make them nut-free? No problem, substitute in your favorite spread.

As a connoisseur of peanut butter and jelly desserts, I’ve long been searching for a recipe that would combine peanut butter and jelly in a cookie. These cookies take their flavor cues from the lunch-box favorite or at least my version of it where chocolate is included! This thick chunky cookie is not overly sweet, and if you are a fan of the PBJ (peanut butter and jelly) sandwich then it will be a recipe you want to keep close at hand. Any jam or jelly can be substituted for raspberry.

PB&R Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/3 cup unsalted butter or vegan butter, softened

1 cup gluten free flour blend

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup coconut sugar

2 TBS almond milk

½ fresh raspberries, well mashed

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add butter, peanut butter, vanilla sugar, and milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is fluffy.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. And combine with peanut butter mixture by hand. Then fold in chocolate chips and raspberries.

Drop walnut-size cookies (2 TBS) onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Store in refrigerator.

Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas

This year I tried to quit Christmas. I know, what a bah-humbug thing to say. I started my campaign to escape the holiday in early December of 2017. And yet, even with a plan to take 2018 off, it was a bust. When I realized my failure about 45 days out, I was in disbelief. How could I have had such a failure of epic proportions?

At the risk of being overly honest, the holidays carry with them a hint of childhood grandeur sprinkled with magic AND Continue reading ‘Candied Crisp Lemon Peels & Quitting Christmas’

Mom’s Peanut Butter Cookies

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Tre(e)mendous Love

The secret lives of trees. I read this really charming article that I can’t seem to get out of my mind, it talked about tress care for each other. I know, how can I say that and not expect you to flashback to Avatar? No harm in that. That’s certainly what I thought about when I read the adapted piece, which was authored by Melissa Bryer of Treehugger.com.

“ They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network know as the ‘wood wide web’; and keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots,” reveals Peter Wohllenben, A German forest ranger and author of “The Hidden Lives of Trees; What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World” which was released in September.

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To understand the deep connection trees have with each other was mindboggling. In many ways it seems like the perfect message for this post – EVERYTHING cares and often times we just don’t understand how or speak the language of other living things. >Too touchy feely? I get that sometimes when I say things like, “ I don’t want to perpetuate any more negative energy.” But this is really thinking beyond the branches, right?<

To enlighten you further, the research that Wohllenben conducted revealed that artificially spacing out trees to allow for more light and growth was counter productive as trees exist less like individuals and more as communal beings. By working together and sharing resources, via their root network, their resistance is increased against damaging influences. Much like humans throughout time, it was the family structure and sense of community that has often kept mankind afloat. And to bring this concept into the home, it is a sense of family and dining around the table sharing food, that personally gives me the connection to my family on a daily basis. Cooking helps ground me, it helps me find my roots when things get stressful and it also provides me a great amount of entertainment. I can appreciate trees finding their strength as communal beings – for as much as I like to be an individual these past few years have taught me just how important my family and community can be when life becomes scary.

This gluten free recipe is the first one I’ve developed when my mom was diagnosed with diabetes a number of years ago. She really didn’t eat many desserts but she always loved peanut butter cookies. The look on her face when I baked up the first batch of these was sheer happiness. I’d like to believe that it took a little of the edge off of her diagnosis. It was my way of saying that we’d find a way to get around it. That’s just what family does.

The cookie recipe is quite simple. Five ingredients, a bowl, spoon cookie sheet and 12 minutes in the oven will do. The crunchy peanut flavor and consistency is really spot on. It is exactly what a peanut butter cookie should be; crunchy, super soft, and chewy. Added perks- it is gluten fee, lactose free and refined sugar free. You’ll be amazed at how something so ‘free’ of the bad ingredients is so very good! After sinking your teeth into one of the gems you just might have your new favorite dessert.

moms cookies 1.2

Ingredients

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 TBS maple syrup

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsps unsalted peanuts, rough chopped

sea salt, sprinkle (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a spoon mix all ingredients until well blended. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. Use fork to make a crisscross design. If using sea salt, sprinkle on top before baking.

Bake for 12 minutes and let cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Island Guacamole

top down island guac

This island has a way of enveloping all of your senses; it is a slice of magic on the map. From the wafting sweet floral and fruity fragrances to the contrasting aroma of its salty ocean water Kaua’i captured my heart from the first moment I laid eyes on it some eight years ago. I wish I could claim that I lived here – we visit as often as is possible, as soon as we save up enough for our airplane tickets, we return with smiles on our faces.

Continue reading ‘Island Guacamole’

Pumpkin Chestnut Cornbread

pumpkin cornbread w-pumpkin

I really have no excuses. I tried to come up with one, however there is just no point. In the vein of transparency I will stick to the truth. Sometimes, despite how very well I am doing health wise, day-to-day life becomes all too consuming and I can’t pull out from under it. For me writing and recipe development is like an old friend. It is what nourishes my soul and satisfies my creativity; yet in the throws of a busy life filled with activities and obligations things can really become borderline >if not completely< overwhelming. So here I am, hat in hand, asking you to accept that I am doing the best I can to stay connected to you. Continue reading ‘Pumpkin Chestnut Cornbread’

Sassy RED Spicy Granola

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Remember waking up early, sneaking downstairs to make your mom a special Mother’s Day Breakfast in bed? The quality of the breakfast was usually commensurate with the age. My specialty was drop biscuits with jam. Still one of my favorites go to breakfasts even today.

I remember my kids brining me flowers from the yard and burnt cheese on burnt toast. And I loved it! I loved hearing them scamper about the kitchen, trying desperately to be quite in their loudest ‘yell whispers’. Continue reading ‘Sassy RED Spicy Granola’

Beetroot Not-So- Ho-Hummus

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Isn’t it peculiar how sometimes we perceive the direction of our lives to be mandated by a fortune cookie, horoscope, a face-up penny or a ‘sign’ like 1:11pm or or knocking on wood? The list can be seemingly endless. I can’t tell you how many tunnel wishes I’ve made over the years- saving those wishes for the REALLY BIG moments when Continue reading ‘Beetroot Not-So- Ho-Hummus’

THIN Mint Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

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Today is what I grew up calling a ‘rainy day session’ or ‘a cave day’. Actually it’s been raining for over a week- cold and damp and just the kind of day you want to order when you feel the need to stay in your pajamas all day and hide away from the world watching movies on the couch. Continue reading ‘THIN Mint Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches’

Greens and Chive Seed Bread

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This is far from your typical St. Patrick’s Day inspired food post. The only common thread linking this recipe to St. Patrick’s Day is that, like a Leprechaun, Greens and Chive Seed Bread is incredibly naturally green. This delicious Paleo/vegetarian/grain free egg-forward bread is almost soufflé like when served warm; and when served at room temperature it is reminiscent of a dry frittata.

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