Christmas cookies (gluten & grain free)

 

Christmas Cookies 
(Gluten, Grain, Cane Sugar Free)

We all really loved this year’s version of Christmas Cut-out Cookies! You just have to try them out for yourself. They bake out wonderfully!

It just wouldn’t be the holidays without cut-out cookies, who are we kidding? And I refuse to give them up, even with our dietary restrictions. Cut out cookies are much more than cookies, they are tradition, memories, and togetherness that symbolize the entire reason of the season. That’s a pretty important cookie, so there’s  nothing worse than dough that’s too sticky to release from the cutters or cookies that crumble when you are trying to decorate them.  I absolutely  love the way this recipe turned out; the dough rolls out beautifully and holds up to the cutouts, bakes in 5 to 6 minutes, and provides the perfect canvas for edible decorations! Perfection.

The Cookie Recipe:
2 cups garfava flour (if you can’t find Garfava flour, you can sub. brown rice flour)
1 cup arrowroot powder (or potato STARCH flour)
1 cup organic shortening (Nutiva or Spectrum brand)
2 eggs (or egg replacer or 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bake on parchment lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes.
*Refrigerate dough until ready to roll & cut shapes.

For the icing this year, we mixed together equal parts Nutiva Shortening & honey with some vanilla, and for a festive green, we used liquid chlorophyll. It was the perfect minty flavor, too, for the holiday season. We will be making these again before the holiday is over, that’s a definite, and this recipe will be staying in our repertoire! Hope you enjoy! And please, let me know if you experiment with other natural colorings and decorating ingredients!

~Happiest of holidays from my family to yours.

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Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings {grain-free}

Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplings. 
Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. Goodness.  This grain-free version was so close to the way I remember my grandmother’s that I want to make it every day this week, I am THAT excited!   Please tell me that you will let me know when you try this recipe! I want to share in the taste party with you.

 

chicken & dumplings

 

Chicken & Dumplings
1 whole chicken
12-14 cups water
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
Leek tips (you can use any portion of the leek, an onion, or green onion, I just keep leek tops for broths*)
2 teaspoons salt
Cracked pepper
1/2 cup arrowroot powder

Dumplings:
1 cup Garfava Flour** (you can substitute with brown rice flour, but they would no longer be grain free)
1/2 cup arrowroot (you can also use potato starch flour, but I prefer arrowroot)
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon organic all-purpose seasoning
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 egg (This recipe would work fine with an egg substitute)
1/4 cup water

**+ more garfava flour for rolling and dusting hands to handle dough.

In a large stockpot, place your whole chicken, 12-14 cups of water, your carrots, celery, and leeks or onions. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until your chicken is cooked through (1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes).  At this point, remove the chicken onto a carving board. Strain out your broth and set aside the veggies from the strainer. Broth will go back on the stove in the stock pot over a simmering heat (low/simmer). In a mug or glass Pyrex measuring cup, scoop out a cup or two of the broth and set it aside.  (You may also use a longer cook bone-broth is that is your preference, this is just how I did this from scratch).

I separated my carrots and celery out and gave them a rough chop and dropped them back into the broth. Once your chicken has cooled a little and you are able to handle it, remove the meat from the bones. Save those bones for more broth later. Roughly pull or chop your chicken meat and add it back into the broth pot.

Into your mug of broth that you set aside, whisk in 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder until there are no lumps. Pour this slurry into the broth pot and give it a stir for a minute.

Now, mix together your dumpling ingredients to make your dough. It is kind of sticky, so you can use a bit more flour if needed. The easiest way to roll these out is to place the dough between two pieces of parchment. I cut mine into rough square pieces and then pressed them together a bit with my thumbs. As you press each dumpling, drop it into the simmering pot of thickened broth. Continue until all of your dumplings are in. Cover your stock pot loosely with a lid, increase heat to medium, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve and enjoy!  I served mine in one of my very favorite soup dishes of ALL time, my beautiful Le Creuset Stoneware, one of my favorite gifts from my sister-in-law. Garnish with fresh parsley or sage. I hope this recipe hits that nostalgic part of your heart like it does mine.

Grain Free Lemon Muffins / Cake {and a cake-ball fail}

So, I happened upon this really cute cake-ball photo on pinterest or instagram, I can’t remember which now. The little cake balls were made into golf balls for Father’s Day. I happen to have a cute little silver tin that my mind was picturing filled to the brim and over flowing with these tasty golf-ball-cakes! Since the plan was to serve these to dad for Father’s Day, the obvious flavor selection here at our house was a lemon-cake. I have made a variation of this lemon cake before and we all really enjoyed it, I changed a few things up and baked these in my large muffin tins {the idea was to have more of the browned edges in my cake balls for added flavor}.

Lemon Cake

Step one turned out deliciously! One taste test, honestly, was not quite enough.

Then, I crumbled the muffins in my mixing bowl and added a mixture of 1/4 cup of honey and the juice of 1/2 of a large organic lemon (careful to not include any seeds). I rolled this delicious crumble of goodness into golf-ball-sized balls and stuck them into the freezer for a bit while I concocted my icing.

Crumble

Enter: The icing, a.k.a the beginning of the end, a.k.a the reason for this epic cake ball FAIL! 😀

I think it is just as important, on occasion, to post about the flops as it is to post about the successes. Even those of us who have been gluten free home-chefs for as long as we can remember will have a recipe that just doesn’t quite come together. Don’t ever be discouraged about the misses, because you will learn a little something from each one! Maybe that’s why I have learned SO much over the years! 😀

Today’s Grain Free Lemon Muffins / Cakes:

1 1/2 cup cashew meal
1 cup almond meal*
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3 large pasture-raised eggs
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Zest of 1 large ORGANIC lemon
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut)
2 teaspoons organic lemon extract
Juice of 1 lemon

* you could also use almond flour here, I just only had meal on hand and we are okay with the thicker crumbles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix first your dry ingredients until well combined. Then, add in your wet ingredients. Stir well. Transfer to oiled muffin tins. I used large tins and this made 6 large muffin sized cakes.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges and top begin to brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool for 15 minutes in your tins.

NEXT STEP IF MAKING CAKE BALLS:

Next, I crumbled the muffins into a mixing bowl. I added a mixture of lemon juice from 1/2 a large lemon (about a tablespoon) and 1/4 cup honey. I stirred this mixture up and then rolled cake ball shaped in my hands.

THE ICING FAIL:

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So, I tried using a mixture of honey and cacao butter for an attempt at a white-chocolate dipped icing. I really wanted it to be white for the golf balls. My idea was to use the end of a stir stick to make the dimples once the chocolate started to set up. HAH!! This never really occurred. I couldn’t quite get the consistency of the white chocolate right. The recipe I was going from was from the amazing blog site The Spunky Coconut. Kelly has a recipe for strawberry white chocolates that use these ingredients along with coconut mana / coconut butter and powdered freeze-dried strawberries to sweeten instead of the honey that I used. It was a good thought, but just didn’t quite work for this application, so I may just have to go back to the drawing board on this one ~ but our Daddo still enjoyed the cake-balls, even though they never quite made it to the golf-ball stage.
Cake Ball Fail
I will say, though, the concoction worked as chocolate candies, so we used the last little bit in our mustache molds for these little cuties. All-in-all the project at hand was not exactly a success, but we all enjoyed our time in the kitchen and got some delicious eats from the venture ~ Happy Failures, canaries! ;o)
White Chocolate Mustaches

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Every like = an entry
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Prize winners to be announced within the first week of July. Come to our Facebook Summer FOOD party!
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To DO List: Eat Mo’ Vegetarian Brekkies ~ Our Pick 4 Omelet Station

Batman eats veggies!
I am mom. This may not be the case in every household, but I am also cook. To me, the fact that I am responsible for filling their plates every day means that I am also responsible for the nutrition that my children receive. Its a job I take seriously – yes, in a fun and silly way, but still, seriously.

One of the constant goals of mine as the NUTRITION-PROVIDER of my household is to not only get it in ’em, but teach them along the way to LOVE the nutritious choices, so that when I am no longer the one in charge of filling their plates, hopefully the lessons they are learning now will carry over. It is constantly in my mind as I plan out meal times, even planning the treats! I explain to them every step of the way the reasons “WHY” I am selecting certain ingredients and constructing a balanced plate of food, or sometimes a balanced day of food, since every single meal isn’t perfect nutritionally speaking. I truly aim to make the healthy decisions be appealing and fun! This is all a part of my master plan to grow healthy, happy eaters who WANT to be healthy, happy eaters! {don’t tell them , but I think it’s working}

My favorite meals are ones that encourage the whole family to try new textures, new tastes, and new colors of food. This may seem very elementary, like the classic phrase,” EAT THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW”, but even as adults, sometimes, we get sedentary on what we know and forget to broaden our taste buds on occasion. Every color of food makes up the phytonutrients and vitamins that our bodies need to function at their best.  Meals like this are great for EVERBODY to explore something new, and for some reason, it makes it more fun to get to have control over those choices! I am talking about our super fun breakfast this morning BUILDING YOUR OWN omelet.

To begin our Omelet bar, I used a dozen farm-fresh, soy-free, gmo-free, pastured chicken eggs and cracked them into a bowl for a good whisking. The carton was now empty, so I thought: What a great vessel for dividing our omelet selections. Because there are 3 kiddos here, I simply cut the carton into 3 equal sections of 4 “holes”. The rule: PICK FOUR!  Want to know what the coolest part was?  They all picked more than 4! :D. I love this.

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So, I chopped from the fridge some piles of tomato, orange bell pepper, broccoli, and spinach {we only buy organic produce as to reduce our exposure to pesticides and herbicides}. From our home garden {organically grown}, I collected, chopped, and piled some parsley, some rainbow chard, and some chives.  The kids took turns filling their sections and we labeled their containers and lined them up for cooking.
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It was so much fun watching them get excited about their selections and watching their faces as they cheered on each other’s omelets over the flat-top and excitedly waited for their own to cook.  We made omelets, we made a fun memory, and we all had something green for breakfast. A win, win, win in my book!!! 🙂

~Happy Omelet Making, Canaries ~

Red, White & Blue Gluten-Free Grilled “PB-J’s”

Red White & Blue holiday pails

These little pails of yumminess put HUGE smiles on my kids’ faces this Memorial Day weekend. This festive treat may have to make a second appearance for the 4th of July!!

easy-peasy: Some gluten – free bread, organic almond butter (or nutbutter of choice), coconut oil, fresh blueberries, and glutino gluten-free pretzels for the I food ingredients.

$1 bin red, white

& blue pails, picnic pattern basket liners or napkins, and 2/$1 mini flags for the presentation.
I simply grilled up some “PB-Js”, like you would any other grilled sandwich, except I used coconut on the grilling-side of the slices instead of butter, and inside, they got filled with Organic Almond Butter & a delicious organic blueberry fruit-only jelly. Once the sammies were browned to perfection, I transferred them to a cutting board and sliced them into 4 long rectangles.

Grilled "PB-J's"
The flags serve as the prefect skewers for a pattern of blueberries and gluten-free pretzels.

Blueberry & Pretzel Flags

 

Once everything was ready to be served, I simply lined each pail with the picnic-patterned basket liners, arranged the  sandwich sections sticking up out of the pail, and inserted the blueberry & pretzel-lined flag. There ya go! Easy gluten-free food fun perfect for any red, white & blue occasion!! Enjoy!

“Sugar” Cones {Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Cane-Sugar-Free, Paleo}

Bring on the CONES!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I really wanted to make something light and fun for the family. At first, I was thinking of some sort of ice-cream sandwich. Maybe blueberry and chocolate. Next, I was mulling over a cherry tart, but for some reason, that was still falling a bit flat. Finally, my imagination stopped on an old classic: a crispy, sweet, melt-on-your-tongue, SUGAR CONE. My mind was set, now I needed a gluten free, sugar free version of THAT to surprise the kids with. So, this is what I came up with.

I wanted to use a grain-free flour and I had some cashew meal in the pantry. I knew I wanted a flat, baked round that would be elastic enough to be rolled after baking without cracking, so tapioca flour seemed like the best choice for that. For a short ingredient list and a quick bake time, these will definitely be made again! I can’t wait to come up with all sorts of delicious ways to fill these!

Gluten-Free “Sugar” Cones
Makes 4 cones.

1/2 cup cashew meal (or almond meal would also work)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
2 heaping tablespoons of coconut sugar / coconut crystals
1 tablespoon coconut milk (or milk of choice)
1 large egg (preferably pasture-raised

Simply stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour out 4 equal rounds onto a greased, parchment lined, or to copy my efforts exactly, a Silpat-lined perforated baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon and/or a little tapping of the tray, thin out the batter rounds to be flat and thin (maybe 1/4 inch think).

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. The edges will be browned and the rounds still flimsy. Remove from the oven and very carefully, as they will still be hot to the touch, peel of your rounds and roll them into cones shapes. If you want, you can tie them for good measure like I did, but they do harden pretty quickly, so I would suggest having your system in place before you pull them out of the oven.

If you decide to try them, I would love to know what you decide to fill your with, too! Happy eating this Memorial Day Weekend, Canaries! Love, Kendra

Ours got filled tonight with some dairy-free black Forrest Ice Cream ~ so very delicious!!
Black Forrest Ice Cream Cone

Gluten-Free Eggplant Primavera Pasta Dinner {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

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One of the staples in my gluten-free kitchen, from the very beginning of my gluten-free days until now, is brown rice pasta. In the beginning, I used pastas quite often, not every day, but nearly. They were easy and were a gluten free meal that everyone in the house would eat and not complain about – which meant ONE meal for me to cook. That was always more appealing to me – the less work for me part. And the bonus was the happy faces part, for sure.

Adding to those positives, I began to get very creative in my “sneaky chef” ways with pasta sauces. We were on some supplements fro a while that I could easily hide into sauces for my non-pill-swallowing daughter. I could juice greens or carrots and stir them into the sauce after it cooled down a bit, adding a burst of phytonutrients into the kid’s bodies {this was super appealing to me!}. I could roast garlic and other veggies and blend them in my Vitamix with no complaints from the crowd. 

Now, years later, my kids’ taste buds have become more acclimated to larger textures and more complex flavors, so I have a lot of fun coming up with combinations for topping our Organic Brown Rice pasta on pasta night, and it always feels like a treat since we eat far fewer pasta meals than we used to. Hope you enjoy tonight’s primavera recipe!

Gluten-Free Eggplant Primavera

1 small-medium organic eggplant, medium dice
6 organic Roma tomatoes, small dice
1/4 – 1/2 organic onion, fine dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped?
Sliced green and black olives, I used 6 of each
1/2-1 cup fresh chopped organic basil
3-4 tablespoons organic olive oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti or Angel Hair Pasta {my favorite two brands are Tinkyada and Jovial}

Start boiling your water for the pasta.

As you bring your water to a boil, prepare your sauce by first chopping all of your fresh, organic produce. Heat the oil  over medium high heat in the largest skillet you have. Add the onions, garlic, eggplant and salt and pepper to the pan. Brown the eggplant a bit, stirring everything as you sauté.

Check your pasta water and go ahead and drop your pasta in if you have a rolling boil.

Once the eggplant has cooked down a bit in your skillet, and the onion and garlic have softened, add in your tomatoes and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the basil at the end and toss everything together.

Strain the pasta once it is cooked to your liking. Serve the chunky primavera sauce over your pasta, add another pinch of your fresh basil, and enjoy!  Easy Peasy Gluten Freesy!  {And the perfect meal for any meatless Monday}.

Happy Pasta Night, Canaries!
~Kendra

Lemon Cake & Lemon Cake Truffles {Grain-Free, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Cane-Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free}

Lemon Cake Truffles

Lemon Cake Truffles

Oh my! These little bites of lemony goodness and such a delight! The cake, itself, if very easy to throw together, and can certainly be enjoyed on it’s own. Actually, it would be wonderful for breakfast with a cup or organic tea, or as an afternoon snack. It’s a pretty dreamy treat!

There are so many almond flour recipes out there, I decided to change it up a bit on this one. One of our family’s favorite nuts is the cashew. We love the creamy texture and the mildly sweet flavor. So, for this lemon cake, I decided to use Cashew Meal. It turned out with a beautiful crumble, I think!

Grain-Free Lemon Cake

2 1/2 cups cashew meal
1 teaspoon Real Salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups cup raw organic honey
1/4 cup liquid measure virgin coconut oil + more for oiling pan
Juice and zest of 1 organic lemon
3 pastured chicken eggs
2 teaspoons organic lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees {Fahrenheit}

In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients {the cashew meal, salt,  & baking soda}.  Make a well into the center of the bowl and add to it the remaining liquid ingredients and lemon zest. Give it all a stir to combine.

Oil a loaf pan or a square baking dish with coconut oil. Pour your batter into the oiled pan and give it a spread with the back of your spoon or a spatula to even everything out.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. This is definitely one of those cakes that you can “smell” when it is done. To the look, it will have a nice brown color and should not have any liquid seen on a toothpick inserted into the center {although it may carry out some crumbs with it}. Remove from the oven and cool as long as you can before sneaking a little sliver to taste. {I am guessing I am not the only one who does this ;)}

~For the Cake Truffles ~

You will need: 1 prepared Grain-Free Lemon Cake from above ~plus~ The following lemon glaze:

Lemon Glaze: 1/2 cup tapioca flour 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder 5 tablespoons organic grade B maple syrup 1 teaspoon organic lemon extract 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Simply blend all ingredients together in your blender. Can be stored in the fridge. Makes a great glaze for cookies or bars, and makes the perfect “glue” for these delicious lemon truffles!!

Preheat the 350 degrees if you haven’t already.

Crumble your cake in a large bowl. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of your lemon glaze. Now, Using a tablespoon (#70) scooper, pack the scooper full of the crumb mixture, pulling up against the side of your bowl to really pack it in. Pull the trigger to drop your scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Simply reshape the top of your truffle if the scoop has been too rough on it. It should be a nice, tight little mound of sticky lemon crumb. Keep lining these mounds up on your parchment-lined baking sheet. They can be placed fairly close together, as no rising will occur at this point.

Bake the truffles for 6 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Now, using a piping bag with the smallest piping tip, usually used fro writing {or, honestly, most of the time I just grab a zip-top sandwich bag and snip off the corner}. Drizzle a zip-zag line across the top of each truffle as the finishing touch.

The taste of these lemon cake truffles is perfection for me. The healthy fats from the nuts and coconut oil and the sweet, lemony flavor really remind me of my mom’s lemon bundt cake she made a lot when we were growing up. There’s truly nothing better than turning a nostalgic {unhealthy} treat into a copy-cat recipe that meets all of our dietary restrictions in a delicious way!

Hope you enjoy, they sounds like a lot of steps, but honestly, they are not difficult to make!

Happy Cake Truffling, Canaries! ~Kendra

“Chocolate Covered Strawberry” Paleo-Style Macarons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry MacaronsThese little cutie-pies were in the Paleo Valentine’s Day bake sale boxes. They were very simple. Simple to make. And simple to pop in your mouth and enjoy!  Here’s how I made these little treats:

“Chocolate Covered Strawberry”  Paleo-Style Macarons

The Cookie:
1 cup almond butter
1 pastured chicken egg
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon organic maple syrup
2 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees {Fahrenheit}

In a food processor, I combined all of the cookie ingredients and  processed on low until ingredients are well combined. Then, I transferred the dough to a piping bag. (You can use a zip-top bag and simply cut the tip if you do not have a piping bag). I piped little quarter sized swirls of dough onto unbleached parchment-lined baking sheet. {They won’t “grow” much during baking}

Piped Macrons in the Making

These are tiny little mounds of yumminess, so they don’t take long to bake at all. I set the timer for 5 minutes and that was just about right for a still-chewy center. Some stayed in for a full 6 minutes, and they were a bit over-done, in my opinion.

Macaron Cookies all baked.

At this stage of the game, you can chomp down on these tiny little chocolate cutie-pies just like they are seen above, looking like a cookie version of a little chocolate kiss.

Or, if you are feeling indulgent, you can take it one step further, as I did for the bake sale, and turn them each into a tiny little sandwich. I used this STRAWBERRY FROSTING as a filling and they were just delicious! Look at how yummy these look with a little sandwiching makeover!  I can’t wit to use this recipe over the summer to make all sorts of grain and dairy-free ice-cream sandwiches!  I hope these inspire you do get creative, too.

~Kendra

Chocolate COvered Strawberry Filled