Fluffy Pancakes {gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free}

Fluffy Grain free Pancakes

Next weekend, on his very special Halloween birthday, our littlest monster will be turning two. Scary!!!  Today, we decorate, so we have a big day of fun in store. That means we need a big, protein-packed breakfast to kick off the fun.

These little, golden, rounds of yumminess are very close to the “real-deal” pancakes, with the added benefit of a high protein count and a grain-free status. They check all the allergy-friendly boxes at our house and were the perfect treat for my three little breakfast goblins this morning.  Honestly – the best texture on a gluten free pancake that I have been able to accomplish, ever! I will definitely pull this treat out of my trick bag again!

Fluffy Grain Free Pancakes

1 cup garfava flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Pinch of salt

Whisk together your dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and stir until your batter is smooth.

When cooking your cakes, look for bubbles in the CENTER of your cake to indicate readiness to flip. If you undertook these, they will be gummy in the center.

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Enjoy with your favorite pancake topping!

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Gluten Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate-Glazed Donuts (Baked, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Option, Sugar-Free)

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Yes!! A donut made gluten-free and with NO cane sugar, even down to the delicious chocolaty goodness that is dripping from each heavenly little round of joy.

I can’t begin to post this recipe before, first, apologizing for the delay in posting. Life seems to happen, at least for me, in waves. Sometimes I feel ultimately inspired and the time seems to be so friendly, like we are working together, me and the hours of the day, so beautifully. Then there was November of 2013!  Haha! It really seems like amay have accidentally sneezed off the entire page of November from the calendar or something. But here I am, back in the saddle again and glad to be posting this delicious gluten-free treat!

When I need an idea for a recipe, I always hit the ol’ search engine for some inspiration. My five year old’s pre-school today was serving up a store-bought chocolate donut with pretzel antlers and a gum-drop nose. Well, yes, that sounds very cute and very creative, but I was just sure I could come up with an alternative for him that would be gluten free, sugar free, soy free, (high-fructose-corn-syrup-free). We do mostly a dairy-free diet, but for these, I did use one tub of yogurt that was from a quality source, grass-fed and organic. Because we are far less sensitive than we once were, this shouldn’t pose any real threat as a one-time treat.

I started with a recipe from The Gluten Free Goddess for baked donuts. Her pictures looked very promising and yummy! I made a few tweaks here and there; used an all-purpose flour blend instead of individual flours for simplicity {and because I found a large bag of Namaste Perfect Flour Blend for a thrifty price at our Costco}, I opted for piping my batter out into donut shapes, since I don’t have donut pans and my batter was a bit stickier (probably due to more liquid ingredients, since I used coconut oil instead of palm shortening, and maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I also used real eggs, since we rotate those into our diets now, too. I chose to dip ours in a cane-sugar-free chocolate syrup.  Um, yum. Yes, that’s it, just three letters to sum that up. Yum.

Hope you enjoy :o)

The DONUT.
Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend GF Flour
3 tablespoons blanched almond flour (I keep this on hand in my freezer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon real salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid measure
1/3 cup organic grade b maple syrup
2  eggs (or 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer powder mixed with 1/4 cup water for egg-free option)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used organic unsweetened rice milk)
1 small container of grass-fed, organic, plain yogurt (I used Maple Hill Creamery)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, I whisked together all of my dry ingredients (I just really hate sifting because I always make such a mess, so this is my compromise – using a wire whisk for my dry ingredients.)

In another container, I combined all of my wet ingredients, poured the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and carefully stirred everything together.

I used a large zip-top bag and cut about a half an inch corner off to pipe out my rings. I eye-balled the piped out rings into about the size of a mini-donut you would find in a hostess package. They do rise a bit in the baking process, so if you want  a hole in the center, which I DID for my cherry “Rudolph nose”, be sure to make your ring large enough for the expansion during baking.

I used my fingertip dipped in a little coconut oil to smooth down the seems and help give a little better crisp during the baking process.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before dipping.  {You could also sprinkle with some cinnamon & coconut sugar at this point and not dip in the chocolate at all}

The CHOCOLATE DIP:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grade b organic maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Heat the first three ingredients in a small sauce pan just until melted and dippable {oh, sure, that’s a word!))
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Now, simply dip those donuts, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture and return to the wire rack to dry.

For our Reindeer, we used Tillen Farms Dye-Free Bing Cherries for the Rudolph nose, and two halves of a gluten free pretzel on each for the antlers. Picture of those to come, they are lost for now on my cell phone, which took a plunge in the bath tub just this morning. I will make a new batch of donuts tonight and hopefully recapture the delight, for now, at least I have one!

~Happy donut-making, Canaries.

GhostMallows {Sugar-less Marshmallows}

GhostMallows
GhostMallows
Honey marshmallows with coconut cinnamon pie spice sugar
Honey marshmallows with coconut cinnamon pie spice sugar

Hooray! It’s Halloween ~ one of my very favorite days of the year. It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. But now, it has even more meaning to me. Last year on this spooky & fanciful holiday, our third little ‘punkin’ decided that he wanted Halloween as his birthday. I will remember that day forever. It was a peaceful morning, and by no means unexpected, since we were one day shy of 42 weeks and had been expecting an arrival “any day now” for many, many, many days. I awoke at about 6 in the morning feeling unmistakeable contractions that came about every 5 minutes. I rang my mom to start heading over to be here for our older two. By the time she arrived just a little over an hour later, I could barely talk or walk through each crashing wave of contraction.

This was a very special birth for me because we had chosen a more intimate setting at a birth center with a midwife. After two hospital births, I was anticipating an unforgettable and triumphant experience, and I got just that. Things went quickly and, even though the midwife never made it to our birth, I feel like the experience happened just as it was meant to. Even with a very quick turn of events that led to 4 very large calendar-style paramedics rushing into my little quaint birth center room, an ambulance ride downtown to the children’s hospital, an almost immediate intubation, and a week-long stay at NICU. Just in case you were wondering: no, going straight to NICU 3 hours after having a baby and having to experience your postpartum “rest” on a hard sofa in the corner of the room  for a week is NOT ideal.  All things considered, I still look back on that day with a very warm glow in my heart. It was the best morning of my life. Honestly & hands down. My little Halloween pumpkin is one year old today. {typed with a pouty face}

Our family and a few friends will be here on Saturday for a birthday celebration, so I am starting early in preparation, making lots of FUN Halloween treats for my sugar-free kids. Last Easter, I made marshmallows from beet-sugar and brown-rice-syrup, and the kids absolutely LOVED them. On this eve of Halloween, I whipped up a batch of spooky Halloween mallows, partially to try again with a sugarless marshmallow recipe (with an unrefined sweetener), and also because my son’s preschool is handing out orange (food-dyed orange) pumpkin marshmallows as a fun Halloween snack today. Now, my little punkin’ will have a clean and allergy-friendly version of food-love to enjoy.

These sticky sweets are going to be perfect for my treat-table for Saturday’s festivities, especially piped out into these fun ghost shapes, I got nothing but giggles from my peanut gallery when they saw them. My daughter especially appreciates the silliness of these GhostMallows, and has been talking to them since she got home from school.  Hope you enjoy these as Ghost Mallows or as plain ol’ squares. It is definitely a recipe for the “keeper” bin.

I tried these with maple syrup last week and they didn’t turn out as well as they did today, so this is definitely the recipe I will stick with for future batches.

1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin (prefereably from humainly-raised, grass-fed cows. I like this brand)**
1/2 cup honey (or 1 full cup if using all honey and no maple)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon real salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

** FOR FULL SQUARES INSTEAD OF PIPING GHOSTS, DOUBLE THE GELATIN AND WATER – SO 3 Tablespoons GELATIN & 2/3 CUPS WATER**

In a large mixing bowl, I stirred together the gelatin, water, and vanilla and let stand while I heated my sweeteners. {I used a hand mixer, but you can use a stand mixer, too, if you prefer that. I like the hands on of making things like these. Its kind of like baker’s therapy for me, so simply use the mixing bowl here that goes with your stand mixer}

In a saucepan, I brought to a boil over medium-high heat my honey, maple syrup, and salt. I let the sugars heat to 240 {soft-ball stage}. I use a candy-thermomter, but you can always use the old-school method of dripping into ice cold water.

I carefully poured my hot honey mixture in a steady stream into my bowl of gelatin and water mixture, beating on medium speed with my hand mixer.

Once all of the honey mixture is incorporated, commence singing “WHIP IT!” because you will be whipping the ever-loving-yumminess out of this bowl of sweet goo until you have a cloud of fluffy marshmallow {about 10 minutes}.

[When a problem comes along….YOU MUST WHIP IT!]

Now – the SKY is the LIMIT with this marshmallow fluff!

Note: You will need some sort of powder substance to help with handling the complete and utter stickiness of the situation these marshmallows will create. Its a good problem to have, trust me.
What I used was my fall cinnamon-pie-spice-“sugar” mixture {which is just my cinnamon and coconut sugar recipe with pumpkin pie spice added in}.
You can use cinnamon, or if you feel like splurging on a bit of cane sugar here since you used honey in your recipe, powdered sugar can be used.

I sprinkled my powdered cinnamon-pie-spice-“sugar” generously on a sheet pan and rolled out half of the fluff. I spread with a spatula I had greased up with some coconut oil. These are now little squares of marshmallow.

Then, I transferred the remainder of the fluff into a zip-top bag and a cut about a half inch wide corner off. To pipe these little GhostMallows, start piping a pretty wide base and pull up. Hard to describe the technique, but you will get the feel of it after your first one or two; and the beauty of these little spooks is in the uniqueness of each little ghost. I used two ENJOY LIFE CHOCOLATE CHIPS for my eyes, but you can certainly keep with the sugar-free theme and try cutting a raisin in half for two eyes, or using a small slice of date.  Whatever you choose, you most definitely should play with your food!!

The mallow that I had spread out into a sheet, I used a few ways:
First, I chopped half of it into squares. Easy to pop in your moth or stick in a cup of cocoa squares. Yum!

Second, I took the remaining half and spread a layer of cashew butter on top. Then, I rolled the sheet of mallow, carefully and stickily, up into a “log” and sliced about 1/2 inch wide slices. You can see these at the back of a couple of the pictures here. they were delicious too!

Third, I needed an icing for the tops of the little sweet pumpkin muffins I made for Finlay’s birthday, so I melted a couple of squares of these marshmallows onto the top of the muffin and it was the perfect, sticky, sugarless topping.

See, the sky is really the limit. So play away, canaries!!
~Happy Ghostmallow Making~

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Quinoa Sweet Potato & Pecan Tamales (TaMOLLYs)

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Quinoa Sweet Potato & Pecan Tamales

When it comes to the title of a recipe, I have been known to get QUITE CHEESY (especially for a dairy-free cook). What can I say? Being that I am a momma bear, sometimes I have to sell my kids on the healthy foods I want them to love, and what makes selling easier than a catchy name! I’m just marketing :)! My sweet Molly Rose got quite a kick out of dinner being named after her last night.

We live in Texas, and in Texas, everyone knows what a tamale is. Traditionally, they are done with masa harina (corn flour).   I have been thinking about the execution of a corn free TaMolly for a while now, and yesterday, I had some sweet potatoes that were staring at me from the potato basket and some corn husks that were wanting to be used, and so began the makings of a ‘Meatless Monday’ masterpiece ~ a QUINOA TA”MOLLY”! They were so yummy and have oodles of potential for flavor and filling combinations. I can’t wait to post more as I make these again and again.

What you will need:

1 bag of Corn husks (found at most grocers)
1 cup Organic white quinoa
1-2 teaspoon Salt of choice (I like “Real Salt”)
2 Sweet potatoes
1/3-1/2 cup pecans, chopped (if you don’t soak and dry your nuts already, just soak them while you prepare the rest of the meal and drain them when ready to use)
1/2 teaspoon organic chile powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable stock or water (homemade stock is best, if buying, try to avoid yeast extracts in the ingredients)
1/4 cup coconut oil (straight from the jar, no need to liquefy)
A Steamer or way to steam the TaMollys (I use a stacking bamboo steamer basket like this one)

First, submerge your corn husks in water for at least 30 minutes to soften them. I like to do about half the bag so that I can choose the best of the bunch and have enough to cover my ingredients. (You can also do these in double batches or more and freeze for later)

Peel and dice your sweet potatoes. Cover with water in a sauce pot, add a nice pinch of salt to the water, and boil for 10-15 minutes to soften your potatoes. They don’t have to quite be fork tender because they will continue to cook in the tamale. Strain the water out of the pan and fork-mash a bit, stirring in 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a spice grinder, food processor, or blender, grate 1 cup of quinoa until you have a fine to medium-grained meal (similar to a corn meal texture).

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring together the quinoa meal, 1 3/4 cups of vegetable stock or water, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Stir slowly and frequently just until the mixture comes together to a thick consistency similar to a breakfast porridge and stir for about 5 minutes to soften the quinoa. Remove from heat and set aside.
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Bring your 1/3 -1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the assembly party, along with your quinoa mixture, your sweet potatoes, and the soaked corn husks.

To assemble your TaMollys, simply spoon some of the quinoa mixture onto a soaked corn husk. I like to fold the husk over and use a pulling motion to spread the meal across. You will want about 1/4 inch thickness. Top with some sweet potato and a pinch of pecans. {You can see my photo of a layered husk before it is bundled up}. Now, Fold in the sides and place the bundle seems down onto a steamer tray. Try not to stack them directly on top of one another if you can help it. This bamboo steamer basket that I use was perfect!)   Continue with more tamales until your fillings are gone. I was able to get 11 tamales last night.

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Steam for 1 hour. Make sure you check our steaming water frequently and add more when needed.  Pull them out and get ready to open a little gift of food love.

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They may not look like much as you stack the corn-husk-bundles onto a serving tray…
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But when you unravel the contents inside, you find a delicious texture, very similar to that traditional corn-cake layer; and, inside, you have the deliciously mushy sweet potato and the perfect texture and nuttiness of the pecans. SO YUMMY!

For the vegan option, these were delicious served with a tiny drizzle of cashew sour cream*.  If you prefer the real deal dairy, then a regular or raw sour cream would be equally as yummy.

The best part of recipes like these are the endless possibilities for variety! I am already dreaming up some flavor combinations to try again very soon:
Chicken and Green Chile, Chicken Tomatillo, Braised Beef and Sweet Peppers, Chicken & Apple, Pumpkin and Black Bean ….. Okay, now I’m hungry again. I might have to make more of these today!

~Happy Eating, Everyone! Ole’~

* Cashew Sour Cream: Process or Blend 1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup pure water
1/4 cup organic lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional, garlic powder and/or onion powder to taste

Pumpkin Pistachio Banana Bread {Grain-Free, Sugar-Free}


Pumpkin Pistachio Banana Bread
– O, Sweet Fall Delight!
{Grain Free, Paleo, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free}

Are the words AUTUMN and PUMPKIN not synonomous? They are in my kitchen. And we are all happier for it! Those warmly fragrant pumpkin pie spices are out in full-force as the weather here in Texas, just this week, really ( post the Harvest moon’s fantastic showing ), has turned from stagnant heat to crisp, breezy, refreshingly-fall temperatures.

Just this morning, I sat out on the side porch, enjoying the cool breezes against my skin and watching my son draw chalk pictures. I had a little dream of a mash-up of banana bread and pumpkin bread. I used some of my grain-free recipes in combination and whipped up this DELIGHT of a quick bread. This is definitely a TREAT!

3 Ripe Bananas
3 Eggs, Pasture-Raised Preferably
1 cup chashew butter
1/2 cup organic pumpkin pie puree
1/2 cup pistachios (ground/blended to a rough meal)
4 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon lemon juice

I used my Vitamix and blended first the eggs, bananas, nutbutter and pumpkin. Then I added the rest of the ingredients until I had my batter. I love using the vitamix to do batter. It feels so easy to me.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

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Bake for 55-60 minutes. Mine got a dark golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean.

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Let the feeling of fall officially begin!!

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