RSS Feed

Cookies!

Posted on
My cooking library! Cookbooks, folders with cutout recipes, magazines... I actually got rid of a lot already so this is probably half of what I had before!

My cooking library! Cookbooks, folders with cutout recipes, magazines… I actually got rid of a lot already so this is probably half of what I had before!

I have so many cookbooks on my bookshelf, and I have a few favorites from them all. Especially Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. You can find her blog at www.elanaspantry.com . Pretty much all of her recipes use almond flour. She recommends blanched almond flour. I personally find almond meal to work well with all of the recipes I’ve tried. Since I have a habit of writing in my cookbooks, something I learned from my mother in law, I know I’ve tried 15 recipes. Almond meal seems to work for them all. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how they’re SUPPOSED to be? But then again, I’m all about flavors. If it tastes great, that’s all that matters. A happy tummy makes for a happy me.

Seriously. Delicious food makes me grin, savory food makes me relaxed, spicy food makes me giggly and desserts makes me dance (along with picadillo).

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking around Whole Foods, picking up a few things. I was trying to figure out what I was craving. I walked by fruits. Nah. Through the baking section. Eh, there’s not many pre-mixed packages I can buy that’s sugar-free along with gluten-free and dairy-free. The frozen section? Coconut ice cream didn’t appeal to me. My favorite kombucha chia drink? Didn’t jump out at me. I frowned at my husband, somewhat whining. Yes, I’m a grown woman and I whine. I confess, I’m actually a 5 years old on the inside.

Then it hit me. I wanted HOT cookies fresh out of the oven! I prayed that we had everything we needed at home. So we walked back home and put away the food.

I grabbed the almond flour cookbook and put it in my clear plastic cookbook holder. I searched through my kitchen for all needed ingredients. YES. I had everything I needed to make chocolate chip cookies. But wait a minute, I can’t have chocolate chips since they’re made with cane sugar. Mmmm… substitution time.

There it was. A cardboard container filled with raisins. Oh yum. Deliciously sweet if you eat one at a time and chew for a few seconds. The juice is actually sweeter than any chocolate. At least I think so, it’s been awhile since I’ve had chocolate.

And walnuts!

Cookie dough, all ready to go, cooling in the fridge

Cookie dough, all ready to go, cooling in the fridge

So I made the dough, which took me approximately 10 minutes to make. Then it was 20 minutes in the fridge. The oven was warming up. My mouth was watering. Come on, come on! Finally it was time. The baking sheets were already lined with parchment paper (a HUGE time saver when cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen). I spooned on the cookie dough on the two prepared sheets.

And placed it in the oven, baking for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The delectable aroma was beginning to waft through the kitchen.

Ding! went the timer. Or so I pretended in my head, since I can’t actually hear the timer. But regardless, I pulled out the first cookie sheet and put in the second. I forced myself to wait, promising myself a cookie in a few minutes.

And it was time.

I grabbed a hot and soft (NOT crumbly! I know, it’s gluten-free, I promise you!) cookie.

My reaction? I’ll sum it up in one word. Or rather sound.

MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMM! (goes back for a second one… a third…)

Walnut-Raisin Almond Cookies (modified from Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Gluten-Free ALmond Flour Cookbook)

Walnut-Raisin Almond Cookies (modified from Elana’s Chocolate Chip Cookies in The Gluten-Free ALmond Flour Cookbook)

Just because you cannot follow a recipe exactly doesn’t mean you can’t use it! No chocolate chips, but got raisins? Go for it! No walnuts, but got pecans? By all means, go right ahead! No grapeseed oil, but you’ve got a bottle of olive oil? That works. What about eggs? No eggs, ah that’s easy. 1 TBSP flaxseed meal mixed with 3 TBSP cold water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Chances are if you google for a substitute, you’ll find it. I know I have. Even for spices! Need allspice but don’t have any? Nutmeg will do. Et cetera, et cetera. The possibilities

are endless!

Beat the heat with a smoothie

Posted on

It’s a hot summery day in New England. When I say hot, I mean HOT! It’s in the 90’s and is very very very humid. We finally put in the air conditioning the other day and its at 82 degrees. Who does that? Most people I know set it to 70’s, typically 70-74? Or am I wrong?

On the top of it all, I haven’t been feeling well these days. We’re figuring it out but meanwhile it means I have a zero level of energy. For anything, especially cooking. So my apologies for not updating my blog in quite some time. It makes me sad to think how I’ve neglected several aspects of my lives these last few weeks because all I wanted was to relax. It was all I had energy for. Still is.

So what am I doing, talking about a smoothie? While kicking back, my husband and I watched a part of a Bobby Flay’s show. Addicted to BBQ I think? It’s a fun show- I love watching him work his magic. Only if I could sample everything he makes as we watch him! Bet you that’s the future of television- well be able to reach through and grab a plate of smoked salmon with a shallot and basil relish he made. Yum! He also made a smoothie, the bottom half was peach mango and something else? The top was strawberry banana… How delicious and cooling does that sound?

So my husband looked at me and asked if I wanted a smoothie. Naturally I said yes but told him not to worry. Alex then reminded me that he haven’t gone grocery shopping yet (I’ve got a husband who will go shopping for me!!!). Out came the Vita-Mix cookbook! He pointed at the very first smoothie recipe and I agreed. Banana blueberry orange smoothie. Just seeing the picture brought down the temperature in the living room by 5 degrees. It was already working its magic!

Out Alex went while I curled up on the couch, watching TV. I’m a wonderful housewife, I know. He came back with food for the week and goodies to whip up a smoothie with!

Alex froze the bananas as directed and we waited. He cooked up a storm while we waited- he made flaxseed bread so I will have a snack at work. Made himself brownies so he would have sweets (not gluten-free which is FINE by me). Then it was time!

Wanting to be a better wife, I dragged myself off the couch and offered to peel the oranges. What a difficult task (right!), but hey I wanted to feel useful. In went oranges, frozen blueberries, frozen bananas and water. No sweeteners. A CLEAN smoothie! Vegan smoothies are the way to go when its hot like this. Then we both watched as he turned on the Vita-Mix. I still get excited every time it pulverize whatever’s in it! And it works FAST!!! How exciting, this must be how a guy feels when they destroy something. Mmm essentially we’re “destroying” fruit, changing its form.

Then Alex poured the purple goodness in two tall glasses. We sat down in our air-conditioned living room and slurped it down. I remarked how it tasted of summer. Fresh. Specifically, summer at the lake where you wait on the dock, heating up underneath the rays and when you cannot handle it anymore you run and jump into the freezing water of the lake. How refreshing that is! Ah!!!

Now this is my kind of summer. I even forgot that I wasn’t feeling well! Many thanks to my handsome Alex for taking care of me and treating me to a delicious smoothie. I have to say, it might be easy to forget that we can make a smoothie but it really is fast! Vita-Mix has so many recipes, it’s amazing. You can find them online! Go to Vita-Mix smoothie recipes

Try one and let me know how you like it! I haven’t tried them all but I will definitely try a few more before the summer is out. Be sure to buy fresh fruit- hopefully get it the day you make the smoothies. Freshness counts in my opinion!

Stay cool everybody! And I will do my best to blog more regularly. Thanks!

20130707-160336.jpg

Too difficult finding food while traveling?

Posted on

My husband wanted to go to Kona brewery company during our last few hours on the island for lunch. But the menu online was NOT promising for me. So we went to a natural food store and picked up a jicama citrus salad and a raw vegan peppermint chocolate cheesecake (wow!). We went to Kona, hoping for the best.

What happened was the hostess seemed so surprised that we even asked if we could bring in my food while he ate their food- after giving her an apologetic look while emphasizing how many food allergies I have, they told us not to worry. I was able to munch happily while Alex had his pizza and beer!

So don’t hesitate to bring your own food if needed! They did give me a plate so it looked like I ordered from their menu for other restauranteurs. Fine by me- meant I didn’t have to eat out of plastic containers.

Hawaii has truly been a place where we tested a lot of things when it came to food. Overall, it’s been a wild success with a few minor setbacks.

Pineapple, mango and guava, oh my! While I’ll continue to eat them, I’ll miss the fact that I once ate them locally. Along with fresh coffee- my favorite by far is Coffees of Hawaii from Molokai! Much more so than Kona- don’t stone me! It’s not kapu to prefer other islands over big island. King Kamehameha I no longer exists! What was once taboo no longer is. Although the place of refuge is close by…(in case you’re wondering, look them up online for a bit of Hawaiian history!)

20130526-160448.jpg

20130526-160456.jpg

Loving it in Hawaii!

Posted on

Traveling is normally difficult when it comes to finding food that I can eat. So imagine my delight at locating Whole Foods a few miles away from my hostel! That took care of my backpacking trip. We came back from Haleakala yesterday (which was an incredible experience and you HAVE to see if you’re ever in Maui!) and wanted to relax. So we went to Lahaina beach and walked around.

We came across a small cafe called “The Bamboo Fresh Express”. Looking at their menu, I was somewhat doubtful since a lot of combinations included cheese. Then we saw a gluten-free option- TWO of them! Either a rice wrap or a rice box (box with rice not a box made of rice!). So I asked the sweet woman who worked there- showing her my food allergy card.

Lo and behold! She was able to create a Dru-friendly Da’Green Pig wrap! A kalua cooked pig with spinach, avocado, jalapeƱo, honey, tomatoes, etc… It was mind blowing delicious! My husband said I looked as if I was in heaven savoring the meal. I also had a fresh fruit smoothie with pineapple, coconut and mango. YuM! What a way to reward ourselves after an intense backpacking trip!

And the woman? Also from Rhode Island! What a small world! She also commented on the food allergy card saying it really helped her figure out alternatives. Yay! It really does help me out. A lot. Takes away any potential misunderstanding and people often respond better when it’s written down as opposed to listening.

Bonus? Everything was organic and GMO-free! Sweet! A delicious wrap that’s also good for me?! I call that a win!

Then we walked over to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach. I’m loving it here in Hawaii. Time to get back to my vacation!

20130519-072024.jpg

20130519-072036.jpg

Aloha!

Spiced Blueberry sauce

Posted on

It was Easter and I wanted a nice breakfast for both my husband and I. For us, that meant pancakes. But I didn’t want the usual. I bought fresh blueberries the previous day thinking I would make blueberry pancakes. Well I did, but that wasn’t it!

I pulled out a sauce pan and put in blueberries, maple syrup, nutmeg and cloves. I heated it up until it was bubbling, using a masher to mush it up. I could have stop cooking it after a few minutes but I wanted the sauce thick. I turned the heat to low and kept stirring it while flipping pancakes (I’ve never been good at that).

Breakfast was served! Instead of regular maple syrup, I poured the blueberry sauce over it. I was very sweet! I can definitely see this as a delicious topping for ice cream. Ooh!

    Spiced Blueberry Sauce

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used grade A)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove

1.) Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat to medium.
2.) When it starts bubbling, carefully mash the berries (don’t let the juice hit you!).
3.) Lower heat to simmer and keep on stirring until you reach desired consistency. I cooked for 10 minutes.
4.) Serve hot and enjoy!

20130403-081219.jpg

I admit I didn’t think to take a picture of the finished product. I was too busy eating!!! Just a recommendation- make this for regular pancakes otherwise it will be a flavor overload. I have a favorite recipe for almond pancakes from Elana’s Pantry- her cookbook is Gluten-Free Almond Cookbook. Yum!

Do you add anything special to your pancakes?

Irish pride

Posted on

Coming from an Irish family, I grew up on boiled cabbage, carrots, onions and corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Some of us loved it. Others, not quite so much… When I started dating my husband, I decided to try something different. Irish soup. I’ve found I enjoy it so much more and it’s actually more authentic since peasants didn’t always have beef available to them. Often it was out of their price range.

So tonight, we made potato soup with a few ingredients: potatoes, onions, vegetable broth, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and fresh chives as a garnish. That’s it. Sometimes the simpler a meal is, the tastier it is! I served it with a side of spring greens drizzled with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. YUM.

20130317-214658.jpg

But the celebration didn’t start today for us! We went out to this whiskey bar: Barrel House American Bar in Beverly, MA. I highly recommend it! A huge whiskey selection. I chose a Scotch, Glenlivet, aged 12 years I believe. It was surprisingly nice to have the bartender serve us complimentary sparkling water and ask us on the rocks or neat? I felt like a grown up, although it was more like I was pretending to be one…..

But what truly made it a time of celebration of being Irish? Being with family. Seeing my brother,sister in law and of course my husband. That’s what made it a special St. Patrick’s Day!

Cheers!

A dessert for a runner to go bananas over!

Posted on

I love sweets. LOVE them. Crave them actually. But I didn’t have any around the house. No candies, cookies or the likes. While musing on my cravings, I checked out Pinterest. I found something there that inspired me!

I used what I had in my kitchen and ended up having a DELICIOUS and nutritious snack for both my husband and I. It’s the ultimate runner’s dessert, I think.

    20130310-203630.jpg

    20130310-203635.jpg
    Banana-Almond sandwich

1 banana
Almond butter
1 TBSP chia seeds
Cinnamon

1.) Slice the banana in pairs.
2.) Spread almond butter on half of the banana slices.
3.) Sprinkle cinnamon over them. Do the same with chia seeds.
4.) Cover with the remaining banana slices.
5.) Freeze on a plate or tray for 2 hours.
6.) Serve cold.

All ingredients have a remarkable nutritional value, even more so for runners. I can’t wait to make more after my barefoot runs in the summertime! It’s dessert without the junk. Yum!

20130310-203642.jpg