Allergy-free Brownie’s

Today I spent a really nice day with my Mom, going to one of our favorite craft stores, and spending all too long there! (To give you an idea just HOW long, we had eaten a nice lunch at home just before going and by the time we got back we were absolutely famished for our next meal!)
Now for any man, this sounds like an absolutely miserable day, and one they would trade for just about ANY other task on the planet, but for us, it was a really fun way to spend the afternoon. 🙂
Well, being as my mother was staying for dinner, and knowing that as far as she’s concerned, no meal is complete without some chocolate to end it with, and being as I had no dessert in the house, there was definitely some baking in my future!
I decided to make us brownies (minus all the allergy foods and the refined sugar of course!) and these are what followed. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! 🙂

Allergy-free Brownies

1 1/4 C GF flour
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBLP ground flax

1 C pure maple syrup
1/3 C unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1/4 C safflower oil
1/2 C applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Grease an 8 by 8 glass baking dish.
* In a med/large mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients together with a whisk.
* add all wet ingredients to your dry mixture and combine well.
* using a rubber spatula, pour batter into prepared baking dish.
* Bake for 25-30 min (or until a toothpick comes out clean or MOSTLY clean, I prefer a gooey brownie that hasn’t been completely cooked through).
* Cool at least 10-15 min before cutting.

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Allergy-free Meatloaf

Well, the bipolar weather here in the state of Washington has me vacillating between light and fresh grilled meals and hearty, savory comfort food. I suppose I should look at this imbalance of hot weather back to cool overnight, as a blessing in disguise, since it allows me to enjoy all the kinds of foods that I like in the same week! On the hot days I grill outside, as to not heat up my house, and on the cool days I heat up the oven and bake something delicious and comforting (to ward off feelings of blue after the sun has gone away 😉).
So today, as it’s cool and the clouds are covering the sky that was filled yesterday with bright sunlight and 85 degree heat, I find myself daydreaming of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and possibly even a warm brownie for dessert!
…So, here it is, my meatloaf recipe.

Allergy-free Meatloaf:

1 and 1/2 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
4 slices GF bread (torn into very small pieces)
1 egg
1/2-2/3 Cup almond milk
1 TBLP Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Sauce Topping:

1/2 Cup ketchup
1 TBLP Worcesteshire sauce
2 TBLP packed brown sugar (or to taste)
(Make more sauce if you’d like extra to heat up and add to your plate for dipping)

*combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. (I use my hands but wear gloves! ;))

*place ingredients into a glass baking dish and smooth top

*spread sauce mixture over the top

*bake @ 350 degrees for approx 1 hour and 15 min. The cook time may vary depending on your oven so check with a meat thermometer if you’re uncertain. You want a 160 read.

*remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices settle.

Notes:

*I like to serve with mashed baby red potatoes and green beans.

*You can omit my sauce recipe and just use your favorite BBQ sauce if you prefer.

Gluten Free Bread Inspiration

This morning as I stood eating my very delicious, yet extremely messy, slice of GF toast (it was smothered with almond butter and honey, mmm) I realized that I hadn’t blogged food in a while, and that the very few of you who actually read my recipe blog, may begin to question your decision to do so…so, today I decided to talk about store bought GF bread. I’ve always had a real weakness for bread, it’s such a great texture and it’s so delicious so many ways! Now that I’ve had to go gluten free (frown), I find it difficult to buy a bread that excites the pallet. It seems that all the companies who make GF breads come together to discuss the best ways to make their breads taste like different variations of cardboard, as a way to tell all gluten intolerance sufferers that they are not worthy of a soft, delicious, tasty slice of bread. I like to think that one day soon one of these companies will take a stand for the little guy and say enough is enough, let’s give those gluten intolerants something to smile about!! …but until that day come I figured it would be good to discuss ideas for the store bought GF bread you already have sitting on the shelf in your fridge, looking pathetic and small, waiting to be eaten.
Since all who suffer with gluten intolerance recognize the need to “help” store bought GF bread, I have compiled a list of my fave ways to give it life and I’ll share it with you here.

Breakfast:

* Dark toasted GF bread with almond butter and a drizzle of honey

* Dark toasted GF bread with apple butter

Lunch:

* Dark toasted GF bread with a light spread of veganaise, topped with avocado slices. Salt and pepper to taste.

* Chicken salad sandwich on toasted GF Bread

Dinner:

* Meatloaf using GF bread

* Dark toasted GF bread with a light layer of olive oil, fresh or dried garlic and a pinch of salt (goes great with GF pasta & red sauce)

Dessert:

* GF Bread pudding

(I’ll be posting my version of some of the above listed recipes soon, along with some more GF bread recipes that you can make at home.)

Sweet Potato Hash

Well, the warm weather will be here soon and I don’t know about you, but I am READY! I find myself daydreaming of laying in my hammock with the warm sun on my face, I nice glass of iced tea in hand and maybe a good book tucked at my side, listening to the sweet sound of my kids laughter as they run around the yard…
But, getting back to the topic of food, all this daydreaming of warmer weather has got me thinking about my favorite summer foods. Today I want to share with you a recipe that has become a favorite of mine when I want something simple, fresh and delicious!
We often eat it as a main dish but it can also be served as a side dish with some yummy BBQ grilled chicken.

Sweet Potato Hash

2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 in. chunks)
2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1 11oz can black beans (rinsed and drained!)
The corn from 2-3 fresh cobbs ( cut off of cobbs, or if corn isn’t in season, use an 11oz can of corn)
1/2 green bell pepper (diced into small pieces)
1/2 red bell pepper (diced into small pieces)
3/4 Cup sour cream
1/4 cup chipolte salsa (I use El Pinto, medium)
3 medium avocados (peeled, pitted and sliced)
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chili powder (optional)

-place sweet potatoes in microwave safe bowl and cook on high for approx 4-6 min, stirring every 2 min. Remove when potatoes are just a touch under cooked and sprinkle with salt.

-in a large skillet, heat a touch of oil on med. heat. Then, add in your peppers and corn for about 3 min or until they start to soften. Remove them from pan.

-heat remaining oil in pan over med. heat and add potatoes. Cook for approx 3-5 min or until tender.

-add peppers, corn and beans to skillet and cook on low heat for approx 2-3 min or until all veggies are warmed through.

-in a small bowl, stir together sour cream and chipotle salsa.

-to serve, place a serving of hash to plate and top with a large spoon of
Sour cream mix, several slices of avocado, some fresh cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of chili powder.

Note: my family loves some dairy but I’m intolerant, so I forgo the sour cream. It’s still absolutely delicious without it, or you could try a non-dairy substitute if you struggle like I do.

I hope you enjoy!

Banana Muffins (GF, DF, EF, SF)

Since I like to start my day with something really delicious, (seems the only way to get the day started off on the right foot if you ask me!), I usually have a little cup of coffee and a yummy homemade muffin. I know this breakfast may not be the one of champions, but it sure makes me happy and happiness is really the first step in becoming a champion isn’t it?…Anyway, these banana muffins are another allergy-free recipe I’ve created to appease my need for something delicious upon awakening, and they don’t disappoint! 🙂

Tips:
I like to double the recipe and freeze some so I’m not baking them as often.

If you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to gluten you can substitute, equally, regular baking flour in place of the GF kind.

If you don’t have or like Quinoa flakes, replace them equally with flour.

Banana Muffins:

1 1/4 C GF flour
1/4 C coconut flour
1/4 C quinoa flakes
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 TBLP ground flax
-happy pinch salt-
2 large over ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C safflower oil
1/2 C organic pure maple syrup
1/2 C unsweetened almond or coconut milk
*optional- 1/4 C chopped walnuts
*optional- 1/4 C chopped pumpkin seeds

-In a large bowl, mix mixer to soften/mash bananas.

-Add to bananas all wet ingredients and mix on a low speed until well combined.

-In a separate bowl, blend with a wire whisk, all dry ingredients, being sure to break up chunks of coconut flour.

-Add dry ingredients to wet and mix on a low speed until all combined and a nice batter forms.

-Spray or paper line a standard muffin/cupcake tin.

-Spoon in batter until approx. 3/4 full

-Bake @ 375 degrees for 18-20 min or until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

-Cool completely before storing in fridge or freezer.

ENJOY! 🙂

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Crockpot Chili

Before we put the crockpot away for the spring and summer months, I wanted to get one more simple comfort food dinner in! This chili is super easy to make and really delicious, even the kids love it! 🙂

Crockpot Chili

1 LB ground turkey or beef (use 1 1/2 LBS if you like a meatier chili like us)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 TBLP chili powder (if your kids are sensitive to spice, you may want to cut back on this)
I tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

-in a large skillet, cook meat, onion and bell pepper on med-high heat, until meat is no longer pink.

-while meat is cooking, open canned foods and place contents into crockpot. (Be sure to drain & rinse beans in a strainer before adding them)

-drain, then add cooked meat mixture to crockpot.

-add all spices to crockpot and stir thoroughly until combined well.

-cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

* I like to serve this chili with a side of GF cornbread and honey.

* our family has different allergies and preferences so garnishes vary, but could include:
chopped onion, sliced black olives, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and corn chips.

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Snack Time

Well, now the secret’s out, I love me some snacks! It can be challenging to get through the day on three meals alone! I find that by 2 or 3 o’clock I need a pre-dinner “hold me over” so I’ve tried to find some healthy and delicious ways to sneak in a little extra 🙂

Almond butter is one of my favorite things to have at snack time. I know some of you still use the peanut variety butter but if I could get you to try the almond instead it would bring a smile to my face. Although I have a peanut allergy so I HAVE to stay away, even those of you who don’t would benefit from leaving the peanuts behind, so give it a try if you haven’t already!

Here are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy almond butter:

*2 Tbsp Almond butter w/celery sticks and apple slices

*Organic brown rice cake with 1 Tbsp almond butter and a drizzle of honey
(I add a few slices of banana when the mood strikes)

*add 1 Tbsp of almond butter to your favorite smoothy recipe

*Spread 1 Tbsp of almond butter on a slice of toasted GF bread

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Crockpot Whole chicken

Today I want to share a really basic recipe that’s always a great option on a day when you won’t have the normal prep time for making dinner in the evening…Yes, I’m talking crockpot!
This particular recipe is for a whole chicken. It’s a huge hit in our house and it’s soooo simple to make, plus a bonus, your house will smell terrific!
When it’s done cooking there are lots of juices in the pot and the chicken is falling off the bones, so yummy!

(I’ve been buying the organic whole chickens from Costco, since they’re a great price for organic meat and I like to avoid all the hormones/antibiotics when possible, but any whole chicken will work.)

Here is the recipe:

1 whole chicken (giblets removed)
2 shallots

4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper

*Remove giblets and thoroughly rinse chicken.
* In a small bowl combine all spices.
*Place chicken into crockpot and rub all over chicken.
*slice shallots into several large pieces and place in the bottom of the crockpot.
*cook on low heat for 5-8 hrs, depending on your pot.

-I like to serve this with a side of sautéed zucchini and oven roasted baby red potatoes.

Enjoy!

Zucchini coconut Muffins

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This is a recipe that I created just this morning. I wanted to make a new breakfast muffin that would offer a good serving of fiber and leave me feeling happy like I’d just indulged in something really yummy but without the guilt or tummy upset 😉
I decided on this version of a zucchini muffin and I have to say, I was not disappointed! hope you enjoy them.

Note: I decided to use some quinoa flakes in my recipe because I had them on hand. If you don’t want to use them just replace them equal parts with your flour of choice.

Also, I buy most my baking ingredients like: Organic maple syrup, Premium Gold GF flour, Premium Gold ground flax & Organic Coconut Flour at my local Costco. It’s a great place to buy these ingredients at a much better price then specialty food stores!

Ok, here they are:

Zucchini Coconut Muffins

2 1/4 C GF flour (add 1 tsp zanthum gum if your flour doesn’t already have it)
1/3 C coconut flour
1/3 C quinoa flakes
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground flax
2 tsp cinnamon

5-6 small zucchini (peeled & shredded)
1 C safflower oil
1 2/3 C organic maple syrup
1 1/3 C unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

-preheat oven to 375 degrees.

-in a medium size bowl combine all dry ingredients and sift with a whisk until all flours are combined well.

-in a large mixing bowl combine well all wet ingredients, including zucchini.

-add dry ingredients to wet and mix until completely blended.

-prepare muffin tin with oil spray or line with papers.

-use a large spoon to fill each muffin spot about 3/4 full. (This recipe should yield 24 muffins in a standard muffin/cupcake tin.)

-bake for approx. 20 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

*refrigerate or freeze for longer freshness.

A Happy Tummy

Well, I did it! I created a blog account! I never thought this day would come, but here it is…I suppose my decision to start blogging was based on the feeling that there are others of you our there suffering with tummy issues similar to mine and not nearly enough collective information on what to do, or enough recipes to get through even one week without getting completely bored with food and frustrated trying to figure out what is causing your tummy problems in the first place.

As many of you know, I love to bake but after realizing that gluten, dairy, eggs, soy & sugar are off my menu (sigh) the joy of baking seemed a distant memory. I tried buying a few store bought items to replace my occasional need for a delicious treat and was sorely disappointed to find my options were one version of a cardboard box or another.
It was then that I decided to take my knowledge of baking and apply it using all these great healthy ingredients that are out there for people just like me who have absolutely unfair genetic makeup 😉
My hope is that this blog will be an opportunity to Share some of my own great recipes with many of you who have expressed to me your own frustration with food and tummy issues. I have come to realize just how many of my lovely friends all suffer with one issue or another and it’s about time we had something delicious to put on out plate! I hope that it serves as an inspiration for you to try new things with foods you already love and that you can then start your own blog and share your great ideas with the rest of us!

After years of my own frustrating experiences at the doctors office trying to get answers to so many questions like, “Why am I so tired, I get enough sleep”, “Why does everything I eat seem to upset my stomach”, “I’ve removed the foods I’m allergic to, why am I still not better”, (this list could go on and on, you get the idea), I decided to do my own research and I was determined to figure out what was causing my issues. Though I’m certain that you as an individual will have some struggles that I don’t face, I’m also certain that getting rid of certain inflammatory foods will allow your body the chance to heal, and you will be able to much more easily recognize the foods that may be triggering these negative responses in your body.

I have read many books & articles and I’ve yet to find one that completely encompasses all the answers, but there are some that I have really gained a lot from. I will occasionally post one that I would recommend reading, in the hopes that it can also help some if you reach the answers you’ve been striving to find.
The first book I’d like to recommend is a book that a friend of mine recently bought for me called, “The Virgin Diet”- it speaks to removing the top hidden food intolerance foods. It lays out a plan to completely remove these foods for three weeks and then reintroduce one at a time to determine which are triggers for you. Although you may not be needing to lose weight, this book is still a great resource in understanding how foods can cause negative responses in our bodies.

All right, enough of the drab writing! Let’s get to the good stuff! Some delicious recipes for foods that we CAN eat! 🙂 …stay tuned!