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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lemon Raspberry Muffins – From Beth

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One year ago, Katie’s and my friend, Shea, delivered her third beautiful baby girl.  While I visited with her at the hospital, she mentioned that she was hungry and her husband offered to get her something from the hospital cafe.  He suggested several possibilities to her, among them different kinds of muffins.  I know, MUFFINS!  One of the kinds of muffins he mentioned was lemon-raspberry.  That was it!  My mind was fixated on the thought of lemon-raspberry muffins.  I had never had one before, in fact, I’d never even heard of that combination but the idea immediately captivated me.  So, after I got home, I set about creating a recipe for them.  I started with a lemon-poppyseed recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics, and tweaked and adjusted it to my tastes.  It is now my favorite muffin and, I have to add, my daughter who is not gluten-free is jealous of those muffins.  The gluten-free products in our home are reserved for Matthew and I, due to the cost and labor involved in keeping us supplied with food.  So, every now and then, I have to make up a batch of non-gluten-free muffins for her.

When I make these, I use frozen raspberries, because I found that fresh ones were to delicate to stir into the batter without breaking them to pieces.  Even with frozen ones, you have to be careful to stir gently so you don’t just end up with pink batter.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  And happy birthday, Baby “A-B”!

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

2 Cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel (I use what I can get from one good-sized lemon)
1 Cup sugar
½ Cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. lemon extract
¾ Cup milk
2 Cups frozen raspberries

Glaze:
1 Cup powdered sugar
Juice of one lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and lemon rind in bowl.
  3. In mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, lemon extract then add milk.  Beat for 1 minute.  Add flour mixture to bowl and mix until blended.  Fold in raspberries by hand, just until mixed through batter.
  4. Divide batter between muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are slightly browned. With frozen berries, it could take a little longer.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tins.
  6. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over muffins.  I allow the glaze to set, then wrap muffins individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag in the freezer.

Lemon Coconut and Banana Nut Muffins

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I owe you some recipes!

Remember this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
I just enjoyed a delicious banana muffin for breakfast. Ok, it was two, but they are small. I didn’t do the 1 1/2 recipe like Beth talked about.

This past Saturday, I had some bananas that were screaming to be made into muffins. I’d been wanting to stock up my freezer with some baked goods, so I flipped open Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts ((Hi Annalise!) <—I’ll explain that later! :)), to make banana nut muffins – sans the nuts. The recipe happens to be on the page next to the lemon coconut muffins. Have you ever had a lemon coconut muffin? I had never, nor had I ever heard of the combination. I looked over the recipe and discovered I had all the ingredients. The basic recipe is identical for the two flavors so I decided to mix up both. It was rainy, my freezer was void of yummy baked goods and I was in the mood to bake, so why not?

It was easy to mix up both recipes at the same time and I had both in the oven with only a few minutes added onto the time it would have taken me just to do the banana. Score!

I’ve made the banana muffins quite a few times, so I know they are a family favorite. I love how light and cakey they are. They get that perfectly delicious “gooey” top like my Mom’s banana bread recipe does. That’s my favorite part! My oldest ate one as soon as they cooled enough and while her mouth was still full from her last bite, looked at me and said, “Can I have another one?”

The lemon coconut muffins smelled wonderful and I was tapping my toes as they cooled enough to dig in. They are really good! I love the texture the coconut gives and I like that the lemon flavor is there, but to me, allows the coconut to be the star. Hubby and I did decide that if you wanted to give these a more dessert like twist, a lemon glaze topped with some toasted coconut would be awesome!

Lemon Coconut Muffins

2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 packed tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Position rack in center of oven. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt in large mixing bowl. Add coconut and lemon rind and stir to combine.
  3. Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir until just blended.
  4. Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. Sprinkle top with granulated sugar. Bake 18-25 minutes until light and golden. Remove from pan and serve immediately.

Makes 12 muffins. Muffins can be store in an air-tight container in refrigerator or covered with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to 3 weeks. Best when eaten within 3 days of baking. Rewarm briefly in microwave.

Banana Nut Muffins

2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packed cup very ripe chopped bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
**I add a teaspoon of vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Position rack in center of oven. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray (or three 5X3 inch loaf pans).
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat evenly.
  3. Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to banana mixture and stir until just blended.
  4. Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 18-25 minutes until golden brown (35-44 minutes for loaf pan). Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack. (**I like to sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture)

Makes 12 muffins or 3 5X3-inch loaves. Muffins and bread can be store in an air-tight container in refrigerator or covered with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to 3 weeks. Best when eaten within 3 days of baking. Rewarm briefly in microwave.

Pesto

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Do you have tons of basil in your garden? I sure do…more than I know what to do with! (Anyone in the area want some basil? Stop on by!)

Planting basil is a must at our house so that we can make one specific thing – Pesto. My girls L.O.V.E. it. My youngest will actually eat it off a spoon by itself! ha!

We love pesto on pasta, chicken, tossed with diced tomatoes, and on sandwiches as a spread. It’s so fresh and yummy! I actually have never bought pesto from the store, so I can’t say how it compares to your favorite store bought brand, but considering most things made from fresh ingredients beat their pre-made opponents, I think you’ll be happy you made some with your own two hands! I have friends that make large batches of pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays for tablespoon-ish size servings during the long winter months. Pop a few in a pan to melt into summery goodness, toss with some pasta and ta-da! I will be doing this since there is no way we’ll eat through all the basil that is in abundance in our garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Pesto

3 cups packed basil
1 cup walnuts
6 cloves garlic
1 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons melted butter

Add basil, walnuts, garlic cloves, and cheese to food processor and pulse to combine. Once combined, add melted butter and drizzle in olive oil while running on low speed until pesto comes together in a smooth consistency.

It’s so easy to make! This is my friends recipe and I love that it’s made with walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts. It makes it much more economical and I like the flavor of walnuts. Be sure to really pack your basil when you measure for 3 cups. I have been a bit short on basil at times and it really makes a difference. Store your pesto in an air-tight container in the fridge. If the top layer of your pesto turns a darker color – never fear – that just happens!

I’ve gotten pretty good at recreating the Pesto Cavatappi from Noodles & Company. (My girl’s favorite dish there) I think I’ll have to share that recipe here soon!

Did You Know? thinkThin® Bars Again!

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Has anyone tried the thinkThin protein bars since I wrote about them?

I stopped into Natural Health Center yesterday and remembered to check for the other thinkThin products I wanted to try the thinkThin Crunch and the thinkThin Bites. I was excited to see that they carry them! They are not cheap! I paid almost 2 bucks for the bar and over 6 for the box of the 100 calorie Bites.

I really liked the Crunch bar! It’s very similar to a chewy granola bar and tasted great. The first 5 bites, I took each one slowly, expecting to discover a weird texture, flavor or aftertaste. But, there wasn’t any! They really are good. I recommend them for sure.

Now, the Bites. First impression – disappointing. I feel mislead. Take a look at the packaging:

 

 

 

Am I the only one who immediately thinks these are going to be like the 100-calorie packs that Nabisco puts out? Don’t they look like little cookie bites? I assumed, wrongly, they they are little bags of cookie type things. They are actually little bars…and I feared, like the protein bars. I showed the package to Hubby and he said he thought they were little bags of cookies too.

Well, I wouldn’t call them just like the protein bars, but they have enough similarities that I do not like them. I am disappointed, especially because I shelled out 6.49 to give them a try. Grrrr…Funny thing though, my oldest daughter loved the Bites! I had everyone take a little taste and out of all of us, she was the only one who liked it and not only that, she gobbled the entire thing and asked for another one. Ha! We call her our “chocoholic” and I think it’s true – she’ll eat anything that chocolatey.

So, the Crunch bars are great, the Bites, not so much. Oh well – now I know!

Breakfast – From Beth

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I don’t know about most of you, but when I had to make the switch to gluten-free, I found breakfast the most difficult meal to accommodate.  Maybe I should say instead that breakfast seemed to need far more gluten free changes or substitutions to what I used to eat.  Lunch and dinner either already had gluten free items or minor changes could be made to a recipe to make it gluten free.  But unless you’re on the Atkins diet or just love bacon and eggs every morning, breakfast seems to be made up of carbs.  You know, cold cereal, oatmeal, toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins, french toast, etc.  And I LOVE my carbs in the morning.  You know how some people need their morning coffee?  Well, make mine carbs!  As a matter of fact, I have always been a breakfast eater and for years, I started every day with a bowl of cereal.

So, my first and biggest challenge when I changed my diet was to find substitutions for regular breakfast items.  Of course, there are eggs and GF bacon or sausage, yogurt and such, but I needed substitutions for the carbs, and the items I could find at the store were either very expensive, not very good, or both.  Remember, I said we were food snobs.  That was probably the beginning of my baking craze.  I used to bake occasionally but now it’s a regular part of my housework.  And when I mix up a recipe of something for breakfast, I usually double it and freeze it.  My GF son doesn’t like to work too hard for his food, especially first thing in the morning, so having frozen items ready to be warmed up has been a lifesaver.  I should add though, in his defense, he is a really good cook and likes to find and make new recipes, but only when he has the time and is in the mood.

Anyway, in the course of expanding our breakfast options, I have started making my own granola (with GF oats and from my own recipe), several different kinds of muffins, Belgian waffles, and bread for toast or sometimes even breakfast casserole.  We have found Pamela’s to be our favorite store-bought mix for pancakes and Belgian waffles and as I said, when I make the waffles, I double the recipe and freeze the extras, which we pop into a toaster when we’re ready to eat them.  They’re actually even better after toasting them.  When I make pancakes, I usually add blueberries to them but my son likes cinnamon in his.  There are also several pretty good brands of GF bagels on the market but most of them are fairly expensive.  One brand I found that was good and not too expensive was “Forever Bagels”.

But of all the breakfast items I make, the one we eat the most of is muffins.  All kinds of muffins.  Funny story, when Matthew (my GF son) was five and went to school for the first time, I picked him up afterwards at the bus and he came right up to me in his typical enthusiastic fashion and told me that for a snack, they’d had muffins!  It was the highlight of the morning for him and we loved the story so much, that for years we called him “the Muffin Man”.  Little did we know that several years later, he really would be the muffin man!

Anyway, after a couple of years of making standard sized muffins and wrapping them individually, then freezing them in a freezer baggie and having Matthew go through a couple at a time (you know how teenage boys eat!) I decided to buy large muffin tins and so now I make giant muffins.  Usually, doubling the recipe makes the muffins too big for the cups, so I went to 1 ½ recipes per baking.  Now, I have less wrapping after baking and we eat only one larger muffin for breakfast.  I’ve already shared my blueberry muffin recipe and Katie has already shared the pumpkin muffin recipe, in which I always substitute honey for molasses.  In following posts, I’ll share some other recipes.

Warning

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You might get a little hungry next week….recipes are coming!!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(Lemon Coconut and Banana muffins)

Did You Know? thinkThin® Bars

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Hey – it’s Wednesday! How did that happen? Sorry for being MIA…

I made a new friend at the grocery store last night and she pointed out something I had never noticed before. Side note: please tell me that I am not the only one who talks to strangers at the grocery store. I’m sorry, but if I see another person pouring over gluten free products, I can’t keep myself from saying, “You too?” and striking up a conversation.

Have you ever heard of thinkThin®? I had never heard of or seen them until tonight and after doing a little looking online am wondering where I’ve been lately! I picked up two High Protein Bars, one in Chunky Peanut Butter and the other White Chocolate. Woo-hoo for the White Chocolate! They are high protein, low to no sugar, and GLUTEN FREE! High-fives all around! They have 10 flavors in all and I hope to try each of them. Check out the full listing of flavors here. I love my Lara Bars, but I was excited to try a new bar to be able to have some variety.

So, now you’re wondering, how do they taste? Honestly, I didn’t love them. Now, to be fair, I don’t think that’s because they aren’t good. I think it’s because I just don’t really like protein bars. I have tried a handful of them over the years and I just don’t have a taste for them. Or maybe it’s texture. Or aftertaste. Hmmm…I just don’t like them. I did like the flavor of the Crunchy Peanut Butter. Very “real” peanut butter tasting (because it is), but it still has that texture I don’t like. I was really trying to tell myself I was chewing a candybar because I really do want to like them, but it didn’t work. I found the white chocolate to have a subtle parfume-y taste. No idea what that would be from.

Here’s where I land on thinkThin® bars. If you like protein bars, you really need to try them. They have good stuff in them and better yet, they have a lot of bad stuff NOT in them. They have 20 grams of protein per bar and if you’re someone who struggles with blood sugar or who is looking for something else to carry with you when you’re out and about, give these a try.

Take a few minutes to check out the website and blog. The site has recipes and a lot of interesting information and I see they have two other products I would still be interested in trying; thinkThin® Bites and thinkThin® Crunch Bars. I’ll let you know if I pick some up and give them a try!

Have any of you tried thinkThin® products?