Search for a Recipe

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pumpkin Bread (and pumpkin chocolate chip bread)

We LOVE pumpkin bread in my house.  Growing up, our family favorite is cranberry pumpkin bread (which I have no doubt I will make, get some pictures of, and post shortly), but just to get the appropriate taste and texture I was going for took while converting the recipe to gluten-free took some experimenting.  Finally, we have success!  I've made this with and without chocolate chips, so you can make it however you like.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread (and pumpkin chocolate chip bread)
Makes 4 mini loaf pans or 1 loaf pan
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease (butter) and flour (use GF flour mix) loaf pans.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: (it’s important to mix GF flours on their own before adding to wet ingredients)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice + pinch of cloves (OR ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, pinch of cloves)
1 ½ cups white sugar (OR 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup honey (mixed in with liquids))
In a separate bowl, mix together:
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
¾ cup pumpkin puree (canned 100% pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree)
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Optional: add ½ cup mini chocolate chips for 4 mini loaves or ¼ cup mini chocolate chips for 2 mini loaves. I like to make 2  mini loaves without chocolate chip and 2 with chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pans, filling each pan halfway.
Bake 40 min for mini-pans and 70-75 minutes for large pans. 
Let cool in pans on cooling rack 5-10 minutes before unmolding.  Cool & slice.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Easy Pumpkin Puree (and Oven-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)

Pumpkin puree (what you get in a can of 100% canned pumpkin) can be made without peeling, chopping or boiling the pumpkin!  I know! Genius!!!  I cannot remember how I discovered this fabulous method for making pumpkin puree by baking the pumpkin, but it appears (based on everyone I've ever talked to about how I bake my pumpkins), that it is not common knowledge.   Once you've got your pumpkin puree, you can use it immediately, store it in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze to use later!  I'm also putting here how to easily roast up the pumpkin seeds.  I'll include a list of delicious pumpkin recipes (to which I will try to remember to keep adding more) at the bottom. Enjoy!

PUMPKIN RECIPES (That require use of either fresh, homemade pumpkin puree or 100% canned pumpkin)
Fantastic Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes (A breakfast favorite)
Pumpkin Squares (These are like a mix of pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Yum!)
Pumpkin Bread (Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread)
Pumpkin Waffles

Delicious Pumpkin (or Squash) Pasta
Pumpkin Soup
Delicious Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes!
Pumpkin Pie Pancakes - Fabulous!
Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Swirl Bread or Rolls
Gluten-Free Real Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Swirl Brownies
Tasty Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Granola Cookies 
Pumpkin Bagels

HOMEMADE & EASY Pumpkin Puree:
Makes ~2-4 cups pumpkin puree, depending on size of pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350F-375F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

You want to use a sugar pumpkin/pie pumpkin for this recipe.  I recommend using one that fits into one hand, or one that fits into two hands held together (no bigger).  *** (You can also use other similar squash, like acorn squash - slice them in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake face-down on aluminum-foil lined pan until softened, 45 min - 1 hr.  You can even cook your pumpkins this way, if you prefer). ***

To prepare the pumpkin, cut off the top of the pumpkin so it can easily rest back on top without falling into the pumpkin (like you would carving a jack-o-lantern). 

Cut the seeds/gunk off the top of the pumpkin.  Clean out the seeds/guts of the pumpkin.  (you can save the seeds for later, if you like).
One pumpkin cleaned and ready to cook, one with seeds still inside waiting to be cleaned.

Put the top back on the pumpkin.   Place on your foil-lined pan.
These are the biggest size I'd recommend for baking. I prefer tiny pumpkins, but the taste is the same - just a longer cooking time.  My friend Linda gave me 6 of these delicious sugar pumpkins from her garden, so I've been cooking up a storm of pumpkins!

Bake ~45 min - 2 hrs, until the pumpkin feels soft when you poke the side of the pumpkin.  The skin should be much darker, and you make notice the pumpkin seems to be caving it on itself a tiny bit.  *The baking time depends on the size of pumpkin.  Small ones that fit in your hand tend to be ~ 1 hr, bigger sized (like I've done here) tend to be more like 2 hrs.
One of these pumpkins was perfectly soft, but the other had to go back in and cook another 20 minutes.  Just remove the lid and poke the flesh with a spoon to see if it's nice and soft. If not, pop it back in the oven and keep baking! These big ones took a good 2 hrs to cook.

Remove from oven. Let cool, at least until you can handle it, but you can let it cool all the way. 
Scoop out the flesh (which should be easy to scoop out), mash up a bit, if needed, and use in recipes like you would canned pumpkin!!!  Enjoy!

To store:
If you're not using your pumpkin puree right away, you can:
1. Put in a tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a few days
2. Put in 1 cup measurements (this makes it easy to defrost and use later) into ziplocs in the freezer.  I tend to measure out 1 cup sizes, put into individual ziplocs, and then place multiple 1 cup sizes into a larger ziploc that is clearly labelled.

Pumpkin Seeds
I don't know WHY all pumpkin seed recipes say they're SO quick. I think they're ignoring the whole cleaning and washing the pumpkin seeds, and then thoroughly drying the pumpkin seeds part of the recipe. These always take way longer than I think they will, but if you like oven roasted pumpkin seeds, this is a good way to use up those seeds from your pumpkin.
Make sure you thoroughly wash AND dry your pumpkin seeds.

Preheat oven to 375F. 

Mix and toss in a bowl:
1 heaping cup cleaned AND dried pumpkin seeds (I dry by patting on kitchen towels)
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil - use a flavored oil, if available for extra tasty seeds!
salt and pepper

Spread on a cookie sheet. 
Ready to bake!

Bake 7-10 minutes, until light brown and crispy.
 I'd say this is the lightest you'd want your pumpkin seeds, I prefer mine a little darker. It's easy to pop them back in to roast a bit more, if you decide you want them darker.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Kristin's Biscuits n' Gravy

This is one of those recipes I tend to whip up when we're in the mood for something Southern.  I love that they have delicious gluten-free breakfast sausages available now, because it means we can once again enjoy this breakfast (or dinner) meal we all love!  You can make regular buttermilk biscuits, or my naturally sweeter, coconut flour biscuits (as I've done here).  Either way, it's a delicious and easy meal that hits the spot.  Enjoy!

Make a batch or two of my naturally sweeter coconut flour biscuits OR buttermilk biscuits.  The light, sweeter flavor is wonderful with the sausage and gravy topping.

Cook up 1 package gluten-free breakfast sausages in a medium-large frying pan over medium heat. To cook, chop into small pieces, or remove meat from casings, so you have lots of small bits of sausage cooked up. (natural selections maple syrup flavored sausages are lovely). 

Once sausage is cooked, add
1 cup milk (lactose-free works great)
pinch or two of chicken boullion flavoring (or asian mushroom flavoring, naturally gluten-free!)
salt and pepper

Bring to a rolling boil, mixing occasionally.

In a separate bowl, mix together:
1/3 cup milk
1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch

Mix the cornstarch/milk into the boiling sauce, stirring constantly.  The mixture will thicken quickly.
Salt and pepper to taste. 

Remove from heat and serve over warm gluten-free biscuits.

Anyone not want biscuits n' gravy?  No problem!  Set aside some of the cooked sausage and fry up a couple eggs (topped with cheese, if you like, as I've done here), and serve with biscuits on the side.
I know my eggs look like triangles. I cooked them 4 to a pan, then cut them apart.  I like to fry them with a lid on top as they cook more evenly, and it helps the cheese melt nicely towards the end.

Gluten Free Biscuit Recipe - a naturally sweeter biscuit

I enjoy making biscuits occasionally to liven things up.  I really wanted a biscuit that was a bit lighter and sweeter in flavor than my buttermilk biscuits.  I discovered by using coconut flour in the recipe, I could end up with neatly shaped biscuits without rolling or cutting.  I really like these in my biscuits n' gravy recipe.  With some experimentation, I discovered I could get a bit softer, lighter biscuit by lowering the cooking temperature and modifying the ingredients a bit.  Both high and low temp options are here for you to try.  Enjoy!

Biscuits – a naturally sweeter biscuit
Makes 6 large or 12 small biscuits (can easily be doubled or tripled, or used for bigger biscuits)
There are TWO ways to make this  with slight modifications in amounts of butter/liquid  - 1. higher temp = slightly more crumbly biscuit or 2. lower temp = A bit softer, less crumbly
Both taste great, but I think I might prefer the lower temp recipe. 


Butter a skillet (that can be used in an oven). Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup white rice flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup brown rice flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Chop in using a pastry cutter:
4 Tbsp butter

Mix in with a spoon until combined:
1 egg
8 Tbsp milk
Scoop into prepared skillet using a medium cookie scoop OR just large scoops with your spoon. Flatten gently with hands.
Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven, cool on a cooling rack, if desired.
Best served warm. 

These are great warm with jam. We love them with eggs and sausage or bacon. They’re also delicious with biscuits n’gravy. You can even use them as the foundations for strawberry shortcake!

Butter a skillet (that can be used in an oven).  Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix together:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup white rice flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup brown rice flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Chop in using a pastry cutter:
2 Tbsp butter
Mix in with a spoon until combined:
2 Tbsp oil
8 Tbsp milk
Scoop into prepared skillet using a medium cookie scoop.  Flatten gently with hands. 
Bake at 425F for 12 minutes, until light golden brown.  Remove from oven, cool on a cooling rack, if desired. 
Best served warm. 

These are great warm with jam.  We love them with eggs and sausage or bacon.  They’re also delicious with biscuits n’ gravy.  You can even use them as the foundations for strawberry shortcake!


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Brownie Bars - gluten-free, dairy-free & refined sugar-free

My brother, Ben, gave me a challenge to come up with recipes that were dairy and refined sugar-free.  (There was a whole other list of requirements, as he had a big school project related to food he was working on)  Granted, he didn't specify brownies, but I was curious about using coconut flour and honey within a brownie, since I find coconut flour brings a natural sweetness to a recipe.   These aren't like normal brownies, they're not rich and gooey like a normal brownie (if you want that, go for my marshmallow brownie recipe or my best chocolate cake/brownie EVER recipe).  But we've found they're a surprisingly fun and healthy alternative to normal brownies.  They cut perfectly cleanly and hold together so well, you can pick them up by hand without them crumbling apart.  I found they're a good alternative to those horrid gluten-free bars you can buy at the store, and would work well in a lunch for a snack/treat.  Because of that, I'm calling them brownie bars. Enjoy!

Look at that clean cut - I just used a butter knife, too!

Brownie Bars – dairy-free and refined sugar-free

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.
1/4 cup cocoa powder (the sweeter, the better)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
scraped insides of 1/2 vanilla bean pod (This is easy, just slice longwise and scrap out the insides with a spoon) OR 1 tsp vanilla bean paste OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add and mix in:
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
Add and mix in:
4 eggs
Pour into prepared pan.  
Bake @325F for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with strawberries (I defrosted some and chopped them up) and whipped coconut milk sweetened with honey, if desired. (Use the thick part of the coconut milk and whip like you would heavy cream.  Add honey to taste, or just mix some thick coconut milk with honey for sweetness ).

If you are OK with dairy, you can pop some whipped cream on top.
Brownie with strawberries and cream. They were a hit!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Gluten-Free Banana Bread (or Banana Chocolate Chip Bread)

I absolutely love the coconut banana bread with lemon glaze, but sometimes it's nice to have regular banana bread, too!  You can definitely double the recipe, but I always seem to find myself with 2 or 3 old bananas sitting around, and this is a perfect sized recipe to use with them.
I really like my banana bread moist, but with a nice crust on it, and this hits the spot!

Gluten-Free Banana Bread (or Banana Chocolate Chip Bread)
Makes 4 mini loaves
Butter 4 mini loaf pans (or 2 bread loaf pan)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix the following dry ingredients in a bowl, then set aside:
1 ½ cup Kristin’s gluten free flour mix (*see note below)
1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
Whisk in a large bowl:
3 mashed ripe bananas (** see note below)
4 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp milk (lactose-free works great)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until combined. 
Optional Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: If desired, add ½ cup mini chocolate chips to the batter.  I tend to make 2 regular mini loaves and add ¼ cup chips to the remaining batter for 2 chocolate chip loaves.  Either way, they seem to be gone very quickly in my house.

My daughter mixing in the chocolate chips into half the batch. She's clearly excited about it!

Pour into prepared pans, dividing evenly.  Each pan should be filled halfway.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes for mini loaves, 45-50 for single loaf. 
Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. 

Regular banana bread on left and chocolate chip banana bread on the right.

After 10 minutes, remove loaves from pan and place loaves on cooling rack.   Let cool, slice and enjoy!!!

* Flour note: to make 2 cups Kristin’s GF flour mix (this recipe calls for 1 ½ cup), you can mix the following for a close approximation that will work very well:
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour (or extra brown rice, if you don’t have sorghum)
½ cup cornstarch (or scant ¼ cup of arrowroot)
2 Tbsp potato starch
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
¾ tsp xanthan gum
** Banana note: I freeze old bananas peeled, and in a Ziploc bag. Let them defrost on the counter and toss in when you’re ready to make your bread, including any liquid in the bag (it’s all from the banana). 

Mushroom Seasoning - Can be used as Chicken Boullion

I was introduced to this delicious mushroom seasoning by a friend of our family, Nam, who is a wonderful cook from Vietnam.  It's wonderful because while it says mushroom seasoning, it doesn't actually add a mushroom flavor per se, it just adds a depth of flavor.  I love to use it as I would chicken boullion, or in recipes such as cream sauces where I want a bit more flavor without adding other spices.  It's wonderful and gluten-free!  A great addition to my cooking. 
I figured I'd put it as a post so I can refer to it in recipes, so people who may not be familiar with it will know what I'm talking about.    You can purchase it at Asian food markets and it's great! Enjoy!
Picture of the front of the bag, so you know what you're looking for.
I took a picture from the back of the back, so you could see the simple ingredient list.  Nice, right!  I've been so grateful to Nam for introducing me to this wonderful ingredient, which I have been using with regularity ever since!

Gluten-Free Tuna Pasta Casserole

I decided to make a tuna pasta casserole and sort of figured everyone would moan.  As it turned out, my kids ate the tunafish out of the baking dish before I had added all the other ingredients AND had nothing but rave reviews for the final product.  Who knew?!  It was delicious and gone quickly, both as dinner and the next day as leftovers.  Even my mom requested I post the recipe ASAP (which I'm doing, btw), as soon as I told her I made it for dinner and everyone loved it. If you're in the mood for a tasty tuna pasta casserole, this is delicious!
Gluten Free Tuna Pasta Casserole

Tuna Pasta Casserole
Preheat oven to 350F.  Have a large baking dish ready to use, preferably a large, deep casserole, but a 13x9x2 dish will work, too.

Cook the pasta noodles and sauce at the same time.

Cook 1 large package multi-colored spiral brown rice noodles.  Boil on the lower end of the cooking time and drain/rinse when done. 

In a frying pan or saucepan over medium heat bring to boil:
2 Tbsp butter
1 ¾ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
1 tsp chicken boullion or Asian mushroom seasoning
Salt & pepper

In a separate bowl mix:
¼ cup milk (lactose-free works great)
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Once sauce is at a rolling boil, add and whisk in cornstarch mixture, stirring until sauce thickens a bit.

Remove from heat and add:
1 cup grated cheddar cheese blend

You can let that rest to melt the cheese a bit while you put the following into a large baking dish:
2 cans tuna in water, drained and broken into smaller pieces
1 cup frozen peas
Cooked multicolored spiral brown rice noodles

Taste your cheese sauce to see if you want more salt or pepper.  Then pour the cheese sauce onto your pasta and mix altogether.

Mix in a small bowl and then sprinkle over top:
½ cup cornflake crumbs or GF breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp melted butter
Salt & pepper

Bake 20 minutes, until the topping is crispy. 
Serve and enjoy!
Successfully Gluten Free Tuna Pasta Casserole