Tag Archives: gluten free

Chewy Breakfast Cookies

gluten free oatmeal breakfast cookiesOne day I’ll have time for long, luxurious breakfasts where I can lounge in my matching PJs on my wrap-around porch and actually eat breakfast with a fork. But today is not that day. And tomorrow doesn’t look good either. That’s why I’ve been trying my hand at more portable breakfasts. As much as I love my crustless quiche, sometimes I barely have time to make coffee in the morning. And let’s be real, coffee takes precedence above pretty much everything. But the lure of cookies and coffee?! That’ll get me out of bed.

breakfast cookiesThese are admittedly healthier than your everyday cookies. You gotta start your day right. These cookies are sweet, but not overly so and packed with plenty of natural energy to power through even the Monday-iest of Mondays.

Ingredients
1/4 cup of salted butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of sunbutter (peanut or almond butter would work too)
3 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of chopped cashews
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt for sprinkling

easy gluten free breakfast barsPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, butter and honey in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat again. Add sunbutter and mix. Finally, stir in the oats, walnuts and cashews. To keep these cookies solid, I baked them in muffin tins. I greased the tin, then filled the tins half full and lightly pressed down the dough. These cookies can also be made into bars! To make into bars, press into a greased cake pan. Cookies bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Bars bake for approximately 25 minutes. Oats will brown when cookies and bars are finished.  Let muffins cool on a rack, let the bars cool in the cake pan. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle (or spread!) over cookies (or bars!). Sprinkle with sea salt.

Let’s tackle tough mornings together!

love,
melanie

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet potato bread, gluten freeThis isn’t your fluffy, white, B- student bread. Oh no. This is his cousin… twice removed. If this bread had a name, his name would be Barry and he would give you a beat down on the playground– behind the slide where no one can rescue you. Barry is dense. He’s a little chewy. Some may call him hefty. He’s got meat on his ribs, but underneath his tough exterior, he’s more akin to a fruitcake, not the rack of ribs he pretends to be.

gluten-free sweet potato breadIf you’re looking for a prissy, pretty bread, this isn’t your jam. But if you need a little more heft to your breakfast bread (or lunch, or dinner, I don’t judge), Barry, I mean this sweet potato bread is it.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake sweet potato until tender. Keep oven on!
  2. Remove the skin and puree in a blender or food processor with 1/4 cup of the milk.
  3.  Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat again.
  4. Mix together dry ingredients (minus the pecans and chocolate chips) in a separate bowl.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet about 1/4 of a cup at a time. After each scoop of dry, add a bit of the remaining 1/2 cup of milk.
  6. Fold in the pecans and the chocolate chips.
  7. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. And add dough.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.
  9. Check to see if dough is cooked by pricking with a toothpick or a fork. The toothpick or fork should come out clean. Make sure press the toothpick all the way to the bottom. This bread can look done on top and be completely raw on the bottom.

Make friends with Barry. He’s dense, but filling.

love,
melanie

 

 

Gluten-Free Ginger Snap Cookies

Gluten-Free Ginger SnapsI don’t know why I decided to make ginger snaps to celebrate the Super Bowl. A football is brown and these cookies are brown? These cookies are hearty like our football player friends? Regardless of my reasoning, the ginger snaps were a hit and a snap to make. Get it? A snap?! Onward to the cookies!

Gluten-Free Ginger Snap Ingredients (will make approximately 36 cookies)

Glaze Ingredients

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 2 dashes of pumpkin pie spice
  • An orange for zesting (optional)

gluten-free cookies and milkBeat the sugar and coconut oil together until creamy. Next, mix in the molasses and vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour and the pumpkin pie spice until fully incorporated. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes or until cold.

While the dough is chillin’ (straight chillin’) preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare the glaze. To create the glaze beat together all the glaze ingredients except for the orange zest.

When the dough is cool, roll the cookies into quarter-size balls and smush down on a buttered cookie sheet with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool snaps on a cookie rack and glaze. Get crazy and zest a little orange on top. You deserve it.

love,
melanie

Cranberry Sauce French Toast

french toast with cranberry sauceMy dad said he was sick of turkey the day after Thanksgiving. That man does not like leftovers. But me, I’m down with the cold turkey. I could happily eat a turkey sandwich every day. Plus, leftovers are like finding pre-made meals in your own fridge!

And although I like leftovers, I also like to mix things up a bit. This morning I plopped a little bit of warm cranberry sauce on my french toast. It was delightful.

Can we talk about how easy it is to make cranberry sauce? I’ve never understood why people buy the canned stuff. It takes two seconds to make and it doesn’t have that creepy can shape.

cranberry french toastHere’s my ultra-easy, tangy cranberry sauce recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cranberries
  • 1/4 heaping cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Zest from 1/2 a small lemon
  • Juice from a small lemon

Directions
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Then, turn down the heat to low and simmer until sauce reaches a more gelatinous consistency (usually about 10 minutes).

Serve warm over french toast (gluten-free, for me) and a drizzle of maple syrup! Ya’ll don’t need directions for french toast, do you? I love the tang of cranberry sauce and the sweetness of the toast.

How are you using your holiday leftovers? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

14 Ways to Eat Gluten-Free on a Budget

Gluten-free on a budget

Learning a foreign language is hard. Doing math is hard (at least for me). Keeping your nice, “work pants” clean while chowing down on a burrito is hard. Eating gluten-free on a budget isn’t hard. At least it isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Read on for my all-knowing wisdom, my friends.

1. Become a member of a CSA
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a network of members who have pledged to support local farms and in turn, get a share of the bounty. I’m a huge supporter of my CSA and more than anything, I think it has helped me to stay on budget. Read more about that here.

2. Farmer’s Markets
Almost everything at farmer’s markets are “safe” foods, like produce. Foods at farmer’s markets are generally cheaper because you don’t pay for transportation. And the food is local! For us U.S. folks, you can find your local farmer’s market here: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

3. Buy local
I know, this kind of sounds like the tip above, but I want to expand a little. Not everyone lives close to a farmer’s market. I know, I’ve been there. But there are roadside stands and entrepreneurial farmers eve-ry-where. I’ve saved myself some serious dough by buying produce out of the back of some guy’s truck. Or by picking at a local farm. And it supports your local economy. Wins all around.

4. Grow your own!
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a green thumb. I’ve killed every plant I’ve ever owned, but if you do have the gift, growing your own food can be a super saver. Learning to grow my own food is definitely on my life to-do list.

4. Eat seasonally
Strawberries are cheaper in the early summer. Eat them then, and freeze the leftovers for when you get a hankerin’ in December. And nothing tastes better than fresh berries during the depths of winter. In other words, eat your favorite fruits and veggies when they are cheap and in-season and freeze the leftovers. So easy.

5. Buy in-bulk for select items
Buying in bulk is hard when you have no space to store everything. I get it. I live in an RV. But sometimes buying in bulk really does pay off. I make a bi-annual trip to Costco with my mom (who has a membership) to buy staple items, such as quinoa, spices and toilet paper. (TMI?) Take a page out of my book, find a friend with a bulk foods membership card and mooch.

6. Buy naturally gluten-free foods
Naturally gluten-free foods are always, always cheaper than imitation glutenous foods. Go check out the price of gluten-free bread and then check out the price of regular bread. Are you in shock? Do I need to call 911? Yeah. Stick with the naturally gluten-free foods to avoid budget explosion.

7. Stay away from prepackaged foods
Prepackaged gluten-free foods are becoming more widely available. They’re awesome and I’m super happy that I can easily find a granola bar now, but I could drain my entire life savings on the price of some of those gluten-free bars. If you must, must, must have gluten-free breads and goodies, to save some cash, I would…

8. Learn to cook!
Before I learned that I had a gluten intolerance my culinary skills mostly consisted of turning on the microwave and heating up a Lean Cuisine. Perfecting the art of cooking has helped my budget tremendously. And now I totally impress people with my skillz.

9. Be flexible
When you are adapting recipes to make them gluten-free or just whipping up a quick dinner, be flexible and don’t be scared to try something new. If you are feeling a little uninspired, sites like Supercook and Recipe Key can help. Just enter the ingredients you have in your pantry, some internet magic happens and out pops recipes for those ingredients.

10. K.I.S.S.
Keep it simple, stupid! I try to apply the K.I.S.S. philosophy to every aspect of my life, but it is especially important to K.I.S.S. when cooking and shopping for gluten-free goods. Recipes with less than five ingredients will always be cheaper, and easier, and often time better than super complicated ones!

11. Check out other blogs
There are some ahhhh-mazing gluten-free blogs out there. Por ejemplo (that’s for example in Español) I adore Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna, the blog’s author, is an amazing story teller. Together, she and her chef-husband create some of the most gorgeous gluten-free dishes I’ve ever seen. There’s so many blogs out there that I admire, but my favorites are a post for another time. Blogs just give recipes away! It’s so crazy.

12. Shop international markets
Shopping at international markets is a blast. George and I have spent hours just giggling at the packaging in our local Indian and Hispanic markets. I’m sure my international friends do the same at American stores. And, not only am I entertained, but international markets often carry food at unbeatable prices. I always stock up on corn tortillas, rice, beans and coconut oil.

13. Order online
It’s no secret that I love Amazon.  I’m an Amazon Prime member just for the free shipping. Yes, I’m on a savings spree, but Amazon carries many gluten-free items for much less than your local big grocery. Take an hour out of your next weekend to visit your local grocery store, write down the prices of the food you normally buy, then compare it to online retailers. You’ll be happy you did.

14. Ask for reduced costs when ordering in restaurants
When you are gluten-free, eating in a standard restaurant can be a land mine. I always recommend cooking at home for your meals, but sometimes you just need to/have to/want to eat out. Most restaurants will tweak their menu items for the gluten-free, but there’s always the possibility of cross-contamination. I hate doing it, but I quiz the waiter on the practices used and while I’m being super annoying, I might even ask for reduced cost. If I want a burger without a bun, I shouldn’t have to pay for the bun. Am I right? Some restaurants will oblige and others won’t. (I also make sure to tip the waiter well!)

What tips or tricks do you have for eating (gluten-free or not) on a budget? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Gluten Free in the RV: A Slimer Smoothie!

SlimerI’ve reached a new level of crazy. I’m blending up smoothies and Photoshopping Slimer into them. If you are not familiar with my green friend, Slimer is a ghost made up of Ectoplasm. He successfully made his debut in the 1984 Ghostbusters film.

But I must give credit where credit is due. George was the one who said my smoothie looked like Slimer. And I must admit, I was totally offended. I don’t want to hear that my food looks like a disgusting, fictional ghost that leaves a trail of boogers behind him wherever he goes. But George was more excited about the smoothie than any grown man should be. And if he is excited to drink veggies, I know a kid would be. 

Green SmoothieAnd, I mean, what a better way to get a kid to eat drink their greens than tell them it is slime?! And it’s pretty much perfect for Halloween, right?! AND IT GETS BETTER… BUT DON’T TELL THE KIDS… it has no refined sugar! WHA-BAM! I’ve lost it.

Slimer Green Smoothie:

Ingredients
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup of pineapple
2 large hand fulls of spinach
1/4 cup of greek yogurt
1/4 cup of almond milk

Put ingredients in your favorite blender and blend that sucker up! Tell your kids husband it is Slimer. He’s going to be super excited. Use it as an excuse to throw a Halloween party.

What do you think? Have I lost my mind or will you be blending along with me?!

love,
melanie

 

The Gluten Free RV: Low Sugar Holiday Nuts

Maple, Holiday Nuts

Hello, my name is Melanie and I’m a snacker. I feel like there should be a support group for people like me. If I don’t have a little nosh, I’m completely ravenous during the next meal and I’ll eat everything in sight. Snacks are essential.

But snacks aren’t as easy as they might be for the glutinous. I can’t just grab a granola bar and call it a day. But that’s where nature comes in, nature’s granola bar is nuts! And I eat a lot of ‘em. But lately I’ve been wanting a way to spice things up. The old, raw nut routine wasn’t cutting it anymore. I’ve also been on a low sugar kick lately, so I didn’t want to just douse them in cinnamon sugar like most holiday nuts and call it a day. Although, that would probably be delicious. And yes, I’m already talking about the holidays. Don’t act like you haven’t been mentally adding everything in Target to your wish list already. WE ALL DO IT.

Holiday Mixed Nuts

Here’s the recipe for Low Sugar, Holiday Nuts 

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
3/4 cup raw, unsalted pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp maple syrup
Sea salt

Melt the coconut oil over low heat. I used a cast iron skillet, but you could probably get away with any kind of skillet. I just think cast iron makes everything taste better. Ok, so once you’ve got the coconut oil melted, toss in the cashews and pecans, cinnamon and cardamon. Stir frequently and toast until tan. I always like toasting cashews because they’re light in color and you can tell when they are done. It’s nature’s timer. When everything looks nice and toasty, add the maple syrup, give it a good stir and just a little more toast to caramelize the syrup. Finish with a healthy dose of sea salt.

Confession: I ate this whole plate. Worth it.

love,
melanie