Tag Archives: gluten free

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Hey folks! It’s another Dinner and a Movie night! I don’t know about you, but this new year has been keeping me so busy! I’m definitely trying to make time for more blogging and especially for more ‘Dinner and a Movie’ nights! They are our favorites!

This week we watched Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of our all-time favorites) and made “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” (aka Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili). READ ALL ABOUT OUR FUN MOVIE NIGHT HERE!!

If I have learned anything from having two kiddos, it’s that ANYTIME (esp. Dinner and a Movie night) is a good time to dress up!! So… “don’t be afraid”  to pull out the costumes & the Jack-o-lanterns for this spooky movie night! 😉

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Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

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Wow! These muffins are amazing! I love making muffins because they are a great breakfast, snack and healthy addition to my daughters sack lunches.  I made this recipe gluten-free* and soy-free. I really love using coconut oil instead of canola when I can. In my experience, it makes for a moister bread. Also, the benefits of coconut are awesome!  Next time I think Im going to try to make them into jumbo muffins 🙂

* Spelt flour is a good substitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt, as it is not 100% wheat-free. If necessary, you can replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

I have a bit of an addiction of downloading free cookbooks onto my kindle… And it doesn’t have to be a vegan cookbook either – veganizing recipes is fun and usually pretty easy! Yes, you could say I’m  bit of a sucker for a bargain – a trait I definitely acquired from my Dad! It’s a blessing and a curse… I truly love scouring through thrift stores to seek out unique treasures to bring home! (My home is filled with such things!) And yet I am simultaneously trying to declutter! It doesn’t help matters much that I’m also a major recycler… I try to recycle everything. Like sometimes instead of throwing something out, I will try to repurpose it… this may explain the boxes and piles I have stashed away that I often pretend are invisible! Overall, I see my recycling efforts as positive. A lot of good things have come from my repurposing! 🙂

The base of this recipe came from one of the free kindle books I got called ‘Smart School Time Recipes’. The original recipe was from ‘Andrea at Bakerymanis.wordpress’, to give credit where it is due, though I did end up altering it quite a bit.

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I found these adorable Snoopy cupcake liners at Michaels Craft Store!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut and browned it in a skillet – watch carefully, it browns quickly!)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (this was about 1  1/2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk +  1 tsp cider vinegar (I used almond milk)
  • Topping: 1/3 coconut flakes + 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I subbed brown sugar  because I just happened to be out of turbinado! It turned out awesome!)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & toasted coconut) and set aside.

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Toasting the coconut is easy!

3) Peel the bananas and mash gently into measuring cup to make 1 cup. Blend in a food processor along with the oil, sugar, non-dairy milk + vinegar. Blend until smooth.

4) Add wet to dry and mix. (The great thing about baking with spelt is you don’t have to worry about over-mixing as you do with gluten-filled flours!) Fill muffin tins equally with batter and distribute topping evenly among the 12 muffins.

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Before baking…

5) Bake 23-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes… then DEVOUR!!!

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Yum! Yum!

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I love me some muffins!

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African Sweet Potato Soup

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Mmmm… I really love soup, especially when its cold outside! This is the first time I made this African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black Eyed Peas and Beans and it turned out so delicious! This soup is also gluten free, and makes a great hearty bowl if you are having company.  This could easily be a New Years dish since it contains black eyed peas… Perhaps next time I make this, I may try adding in some greens!

(I slightly altered the recipe below from the original one here @ the gluten-free goddess. The original recipe also includes jalapeno and cilantro. The jalapeno I decided to leave out because my kids don’t usually care for spicy foods, and the cilantro I left out because I didn’t have any! I also used a white onion instead of a red one. What can I say?…. It still tasted absolutely great!)

I was pleased that my kids tried and (more or less) liked this soup.  My son scooped his bowl clean… I think he could sense that it contained peanut butter (hahaha) which is one of his favorite foods! My daughter wasn’t as big of a fan, but she did finish her bowl for me.  I am a sucker for peanuty soups… especially ones like this. It makes about 4 adult servings. We served ours with a side of coconut jasmine rice, which the kids always love! It would also be great with some cornbread. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

African Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste – hot or mild, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 14-0z can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot water (to equal 1 cup) I recommend using chunky peanut butter to give it a little  extra texture and crunch in the soup.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red hot pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 big lime
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or agave nectar), to taste
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to mix the pol with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2) Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

3) Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat. Keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

4) Stir in the lime juice and sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if you please!

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This delicious soup is packed with flavor AND protein!

P.S. This soup could easily make a ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.  That was kinda my original plan. My kids love hearing about different places in the world (in this case, Africa) and how different people live  and how our lifestyles are alike or different.  It makes for a great educational conversation!  However, somehow on this night we got sidetracked &  we never got around to putting in the movie!

Spelt Scones

I’ve been doing a good bit of baking lately.  My sister (who is GF) recently had her first baby, so I have made her these scones a multitude of different ways… with raspberries, strawberry-walnut, and banana-walnut.    These scones are very versatile and I have found that practically any fruit works wonderfully!  I really enjoyed them when I used 1 cup of bananas and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips 🙂  I can truly say I dont think anyone would know that these are gluten free*.  And the best part about using non-gluten flour is that you dont really have to worry about overmixing!  These scones are lightly sweetened with agave nectar & are so light it is almost as if they fell right out of the sky. I love them!

* Spelt flour is a good subsitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though some people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt. In that case, you should try replacing the flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

Spelt Scones

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (i use the amber kind)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 heaping measuring cup of fresh or frozen fruit of choice
  • > 1/2 chopped nuts (optional)

1- Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the spelt flour, baking powder and salt.

2- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, measure the oil, agave nectar and vanilla and whisk together until fully combined.  Add to the dry mixture.  Stir in the hot water, then gently fold in the fruit and nuts, if using. (If I recall , the first time I made these I questioned the appearance of the batter… too mushy? not enough?… but I’m telling you, they will turn out beautiful.)

3- Sccop the batter (I like to use my 1/3 cup) onto the baking sheet.  If you make them smaller you can actually make 12.  However, I found I prefer the size of the scones when I make 7-8 (making each one < 1/3 cup). You may lightly brush the tops with oil, if desired.

Bake for 17-20 minutes until golden.   Once they begin to turn golden, I usually peek under a scone to check how dark the bottom is to decide when to pull them out! Let cool slightly and then devour!

Ahh.. a satisfyingly simple strawberry gluten free scone!

 

Muppet Party Over Here, HAAAAY!

We decided to join our kids birthday parties this year so we could have one giant muppetational celebrational party!  My family and the Muppets go WAY back, so I have been super excited about this 🙂 My daughter just turned 4 on Jan 22 and my son is turning 2 on Feb 14. Their birthdays are pretty close, they basically have the same friends, & they are still so young, I figured I could get away with combining parties… just this once!

Happy Birthday!

MY MUPPETATIONAL CRAFTS

I found all kinds of cool crafts to print out on card stock on this Disney website.  It is FULL of cute ideas for having a muppet party!  I was even contemplating making my own Beaker pinata, but time just caught up with me and I didn’t get around to it!

"These are so cool, Mom!"

Here are the muppet stick-puppets I made… By “made”,  I mean I downloaded them, printed them, cut them out and laminated them and then cut them out again! As you can see, they came in two different sizes – small (which went into the goody bags) and large.  It was really easy, but tedious. They are great though – you can do so many things with them… play like a puppet show, tape them to the windows, stick them in a plant… I keep thinking of more ways to use them!

Here are the little ones, going through my laminater!

And here are the big ones, which are taped to jumbo pop sticks. Check out the pic above with my girl for a better size reference.

Click on this great link to check out how to make these stick-puppets and more muppet party crafts.  These muppet “pookaloos” are too cute, in my opinion.

Once these were laminated, they were very versatile!

I even printed some out on special magnetic paper for my kids for some playtime at the refrigerator!

I also printed out and laminated these animal door hangers for everyone too! I downloaded these off the Disney site shown above.  (Yes, I own a laminater, and I would recommend having one!  You’d be surprised at all the stuff you find lying around that is good to have laminated!)

And of coarse, I had to make cards for the food… Just look up images of muppet characters online and you will find plenty of choices!  Just cut and paste carefully on some card stock and… ta-da!

MY MUPPETATIONAL FOOD

It sure was fun trying to think of funny muppety food for the party 🙂  I copied some of the food-labeling ideas off of other muppet party sites and then veganized things to my liking.  I actually made up 2 new recipes that are my new favorites! I really wanted to make muppet cake pops but I have never worked with fondant and most of the cake-pop dips have some milk product in them.  Luckily I found these cute little muppet rings to use as cupcake toppers on Ebay and got a whole set of 24 for only $7! (I also bought the muppet mugs you see, the muppet plates, balloons, and probably everything else you ask “where did she get THAT?!” Answer = Ebay!)

I found these awesome sigma collectible cups on Ebay for a STEAL! I even got Rowlf (not pictured)!

Kermit & Piggy’s Chocolate Death Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting – need I say more! (Read more about these cupcakes in my last post ‘Mama’s Sugar Cookies and more for the vegan sweet tooth’.)

These toppers were little rings!

Kermits Rainbow Connection Fruit Skewers – since its February and some fruit is out of season, it took a little looking around to get the organic fruit we wanted for these, but we managed just fine! 🙂 Recipe: Buy, wash, skew and serve!

Mmmm! Fresh fruit rules!

Scooters Back-Stage Snacks – basic hummus & veggies, chips & salsa (My hummus recipe is the first one on my blog. The salsa was store-bought.)

Chips, veggies, salsa & hummus... party staples

Rowlf’s Favorite Treats  (a.k.a. muppet sugar cookies) – I scored this set of cookie cutters on Ebay and used my moms awesome sugar cookie recipe, which she veganized for me (Thanks mama! This recipe appears in my last post!)

my muppet cookie cutters

The best sugar cookies ever - even Rowlf agrees!

Waldorf & Statler’s Raw Vegan Waldorf Salad – I took the traditional Waldorf salad and gave it a healthy spin by omitting the vegan mayo base (since it would be sitting out on the table anyway) and using a different kind of “dressing”.  I got the idea for this one after looking on a raw foods website. (I also decided not to serve it on lettuce for the party… too complicated.)  The recipe is at the end of this blog. It was SO good!!  And of coarse, I had to come up with a witty card for this one!

I forgot to take off the lid for this picture - DOH!

Dr. Teeth’s Secret Stash (of candy) – This was a great way to get help rid of our leftover candy!

Electric Mayhem-osas – yep, we made a pitcher of mimosas for the adults to enjoy!

Dr Bunsen Honeydew & Beeker’s Latest Creation – their latest creation, in this case, was a fresh batch of apple-orange-carrot-ginger juice, made by my Brevelle juicer! Mmmmmmm!  Recipe: buy, wash, chop, juice, drink!

Please excuse my plastic wrap!

Animals Drumsticks – These were just simple bread sticks for quick munching!

Fozzie Bear’s “Bear-y Good Snacks” – these were cinnamon and chocolate teddy grahams.  I had to have something I didn’t make myself!  I discovered that these were vegan by looking at this website, which I check frequently for easy store-bought vegan goodies.

Usually I eat Annie's bunny grahams, but these were perfect for a quick find for Fozzie.

Camilla & Gonzo’s GarGONZO Bean Salad – This bean salad is sooo good, healthy and quick to whip up!  Even though it was a kids party, I tried to have as many healthy foods as I could. This was my first time making this and it worked beautifully.  It was delicious!   Think bruchetta without the bread, & add chickpeas.  This was one of the first things gone! The recipe is at the end of this blog 🙂

Sorry for the bad pic! At least you can see the cute card 😉 This was before I stirred it - it was a party favorite!

MY MUPPETATIONAL GIFT BAGS

We made our own recyclable party sacks by carving a Kermit stamp out of a potato and we used finger paint to stamp each bag!

our Kermit potato stamps

Here they are before I added the red mouths

Inside each one we had muppet coloring pages, bubble stuff, mini muppet stick-puppets, an animal door-hanger, a pack of muppet bandz bracelets & muppet stickers in each bag for the kids.

Here are SOME of our Muppet dolls & puppets!!

My sister made this awesome Muppet throw she found at JoAnne Fabrics! She also made the picture board thingy on the left! What are those called?!

Muppet t-shirts were mandatory.

Who isn't happy with a mouthful of frosting and a Miss Piggy ring?!

Muppet puppets RULE!

...And so do Fraggle puppets!

Now THAT'S a smile!

Even MY friends came to the party... with their kids, of coarse!! I still can't believe that me and my high school girlfriends are all mamas! Apologies to those not pictured. (That's me in the Animal T-shirt.)

It was truly a terrific muppetational celebrational party!

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 THE RECIPES:

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Camilla & Gonzo’s  GarGONZO Bean Salad

  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Roma (or any kind of small) tomatoes
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced basil

In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Whisk well, then add the beans.  Toss.  Place tomatoes in a serving bowl (I used a nice glass tupperware with a lid) and add onion & basil.  Sprinkle with a wee bit more salt and pepper if desired.  Top with the bean mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.  Toss before serving.

Waldorf & Statler’s Raw “Waldorf” Salad

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups diced apple
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • > 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • halved grapes (optional – I didn’t add these, but i meant to!)
  • lettuce to serve on (optional – again, I didn’t use lettuce because I thought it was just great as is!)

Mix the orange juice, agave and lemon juice.  Add the rest of ingredients.  Stir together and chill or simply serve straight away! DEVOUR!!!!!!

 (If you wanted to make this more “traditional”, you could leave out the orange juice and add 1/3 cup vegan mayo and maybe a splash of water, if necessary? Never done it, but I’m just sayin’…)

Both of these recipes above are also gluten-free 🙂

Baby Shower Love

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days 😦 My sisters baby shower was at my house this past Sunday, of which we had been preparing for for several days beforehand! To those of you who are not familiar with hosting a party, that means lots of extra cleaning and food & decoration planning/preparing/etc. My sister is gluten free (and mostly soy free) so we were getting pretty creative with our food ideas. I snapped all the pictures of the food before the guests came.  Last week, my family was hitting our freezer and fridge pretty hard to make some room and we ordered take out twice to make things easier on ourselves! Phew!  I am feeling very happy and relieved – now if I can just relax for a few days until my kids MUPPET BIRTHDAY BLOWOUT this coming Sunday! 🙂

Yes, Sunday’s baby shower was a smashing success, if I may say so! The shower theme was woodland animals… owls, foxes, etc.  So we had all kinds of cute munchies and eats.  Check out all the awesome stuff we all made!

This is the "tree of advice" where we all clipped cards written with our own motherly words of wisdom. My mother made each and every one of the little leaf clips!

homemade baked corn tortilla "owl" chips

Thanks to my oldest sister, the martha stewart of our family... She made a bunch of these beautiful tissue-paper pompoms (which I am keeping up until after the next party and then recycling them).

My sister also made these incredibly cute “mushrooms” made of tomato and mozzerella (not vegan)…

The tomato and mozzeralla "mushrooms" (not vegan) were so adorable!

AND these super cute chocolate covered cherry mice.   I really need to find a way to get a hersheys kiss mold so I can make these vegan at some point. They were amazing.

These chocolate-covered cherry mice were a hit! If only they made vegan hershey's kisses!

My mom whipped up three kinds of sugar cookies (regular, vegan, and gluten free) shaped as owls, moose, bears, rabbits, etc. They were really cute too… and absolutely delicious!  I am waiting for her to send me her vegan recipe so I can make some muppet sugar cookies for my kids party next week!

Of coarse, we had chips & salsa, hummus & veggies, and a mixed organic fruit bowl… the usual party staples…  I must also brag that we also used all recycled paper products and compostable silverware… This was a seriously green party 🙂

In this next picture, you can see my deviled v’eggs (tofu “egg” salad inside of silken tofu squares)… and in front of them, are the “pinecone” crackers (brown rice crackers with tofutti cream cheese and slivered almonds).

I also made a big pitcher of fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice  with my juicer.  You cant beat freshly juiced juice!  Mmmmmm!!  It was gone so fast I didn’t even get a picture because the pitcher was practically empty!

And of coarse, no party is complete without cupcakes.  These were the “Chocolate Freedom Cupcakes with Vegan (soyfree) Buttercream Frosting”.  I used the gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe from the cookbook “vegan cupcakes rule the world”.  They were awesome!! They were made by using a blend of different gluten-free flours – quinoa, white rice and tapioca.  If you dont have this cupcake cookbook, I consider it a must-have.  Buy it.  Now.

Chocolate vegan (& gluten free) cupcakes with soy-free vanilla vegan buttercream frosting. And of coarse, the cute stick was made by my sister Martha - I mean Jenny 😉

Of coarse, we had to thank our guests for coming with a thank you basket full of goodies!  Our thanks consisted of a Larabar raw food bar (or in some cases, a Luna bar), an organic (vegan) lollipop, a homemade laminated owl bookmark, a pack of flowers (to plant in the container itself come spring), & a packet of green tea and a packet of chamomile tea.  I had actually made birdseed ornaments to hang outside, but they didnt make the cut.  Better luck with those next time!

Several of the recipes seen here are already on my blog (v’egg salad & hummus) and some are simple and just easy to throw together (like the tomato/mozzarella shrooms for the non-vegans or the pinecone crackers) and some are soon to come (like vegan sugar cookies & cupcakes).

One of my friend’s just had a baby, so we are helping them out by making them a vegan lasagna for dinner one night next week, so I will be sharing my vegan lasagna and tofu ricotta recipe in the next few days too.

Make sure not to miss my upcoming blog about my kid’s muppet party! There will be lots of funny muppety snacks and crafts!

Lemon Maple Sweet Potatoes

With Thanksgiving looming tomorrow and the meal planning & Muppet Movie release today, I’m assuming we are all pretty busy the next two days!  😉 This recipe was actually submitted to a magazine by Jennifer Garner (yes, the actress) and it is quick, easy & delicious. I have made this table pleaser several times (I’m sorry I don’t currently have a picture – I will remedy that soon!).  It’s a great side dish!

Lemon Maple Sweet Potatoes (serves 6-8)

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ x 2″ chunks
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper in a large glass baking dish.  Cook until almost tender, 25-30 minutes.

Whisk syrup & lemon juice in a small bowl.  Drizzle half the mixture over the potatoes.  Gently stir and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown and tender.  Drizzle remaining liquid and serve!