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Friday, 28 October 2016

Tasty Pumpkin Cookies

These are a nice, light and fluffy pumpkin cookie.  All those "pumpkin pie" flavors are piled into each little cookie, making these a fun fall treat!  I am a firm believer that if something says "pumpkin" on it, it should contain real pumpkin.  These have plenty of delicious pumpkin puree packed inside - you can use homemade pumpkin puree or canned.  Enjoy!
Tasty Pumpkin Cookies with Glaze! Yum! 

Tasty Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 36

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Mix together, then set aside:
3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
3/4 cup sweet white rice flour (or plain white rice flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground cloves

Beat together:
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup sugar

Add and mix until combined:
1 cup homemade pumpkin puree or 100% canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. (don't overmix).

Scoop small scoops (I use a 1 Tbsp mini cookie scoop) onto prepared pans.  Bake 8-10 minutes.
Pumpkin cookies before and after baking.

Cool on cooling rack.  If desired, mix together and use to glaze the tops:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Leftover cookies can be frozen.  These cookies can be stored for a day at room temperature, but they do get more moist/sticky over time, so don't layer them unless you don't mind if they stick together a bit.  Enjoy!
Fresh pumpkin cookies made with homemade pumpkin puree! 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Shepherd's Pie

We love a tasty Shepherd's Pie around here-- or, as my kids call it en francais "Pâté Chinois", which is a terribly confusing name.  The end result is the same regardless of the name - a tasty, rich, meat and veggie-filled bottom covered by mashed potatoes and then baked.  I find there are two methods to go about making Shepherd's Pie - one that allows the meats and veggies to simmer for awhile, which lends a depth to the flavors, or you can just simmer it 5-10 minutes and then bake, which cuts down drastically on the cooking time and the end result is still scrumptious.   Just go with whichever version you have time for.  Enjoy!  
Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie
Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie, baking in the oven

Shepherd's Pie
Serves 6-8
Based on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks (brought back from England) 'Comfort Foods' by Bridget Jones
Makes enough for one 9x13 pan (or pan of equivalent volume).  

In a large frying pan/sauce pan cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes: 
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced

Add and cook until meat is fully cooked:  
1 lb. ground beef

Add the following, then simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. (make mashed potatoes, instructions below, while meat/veggies are simmering) - *NOTE: if you're short on time, just let this simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.  However, I prefer the taste when the flavors have a change to simmer together for the full 40 minutes.*
2 Tbsp tomato paste 
2 cups beef broth 
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce 
1 tsp salt (unless broth has salt, then do NOT add) 
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced

Optional: during last 5 minutes of simmering uncovered, add 1/2 - 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Mix together, then add to bubbling meat/veggies: 
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp cornstarch

Pour into baking dish (I usually use a smaller, deeper dish than a 9x13 pan, but one similar in terms of total volume - I used a deep frying pan that is good for both oven and stovetop in the pictures).    Top as evenly as possible with mashed potatoes (from below, made while veggies/meat are simmering).  

Bake at 375 F for ~30 minutes, until bubbling nicely and top of potatoes are just browning.   Serve & enjoy your rich, delicious comfort food!  If you're not happy with how browned the mashed potatoes look on top, throw it under the broiler for a minute or two after baking, just to crisp the top of the potatoes.  

Mashed potatoes to top shepherd's pie

Boil in salted water ~10-12 minutes: 
3 lbs potatoes, diced (skins on if thin-skinned)

Strain and mash with:
 1/3 cup butter 
1/4 cup milk 
pepper, to taste 
1/2 tsp dried tarragon (optional, but I LOVE it). 

Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie
I like to let it brown a bit extra on top, but it's just personal preference how lightly browned you let the potatoes get. Either way is great!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Fennel & Green Onion Omelet

This is a nice, quick little meal that uses a couple tasty fresh, fall vegetables.   This omelet is almost like a frittata in the sense that you saute the vegetables before adding the eggs.    I didn't snap a picture of it since it was eaten so quickly.  You can easily make this omelet with other fresh seasonal vegetables, sauteed just until crisp-tender before adding the egg.  I prefer cutting or slicing the vegetables very thinly for omelets.  Enjoy!

Fennel & Green Onion Omelet

Melt over medium heat:
1-2 Tbsp butter

Add and saute in butter 3-4 minutes:
1/4 - 1/3 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
salt & pepper

Add to pan:
2-3 eggs, whisked

I like to flip the entire omelet over - very carefully - before adding the cheese.  This helps avoid any brown outer edges.  (Sometimes this requires that I slice it in half and flip one half then the other if I'm using 3 eggs instead of 2).

Add to omelet, and cook until you're happy with how well cooked the egg is looking, usually not more than a minute:
grated sharp cheddar, or another cheese - feta, gouda, etc. 

Fold omelet in half and serve!   Great with gluten-free toast & a side of fruit.   Enjoy! 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Zucchini Fritters with fresh Tomato Salsa

These zucchini fritters are delicious!  They are a wonderful way to take advantage of all the variety of colors and shapes that make up delicious fall zucchini.  These zucchini fritters have extra oomph, in my opinion, thanks to the addition of fresh dill and crumble feta cheese.  (Feel free to add a little extra feta if you like).  I have enjoyed eating the fritters on their own, but they're fun with fresh homemade minty tomato salsa.  Add a little hot pepper for an extra kick.
zucchini fritters with fresh tomato salsa
Homemade gluten free zucchini fritters with fresh tomato salsa

Zucchini Fritters with Fresh Tomato Salsa
based off a recipe on by Milliker & Feniger

In a large bowl, mix and let sit 20-60 minutes (longer is better) to allow water to leach out:
3-4 medium zucchinis
2-3 tsp salt

In a large bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 Tbsp fresh dill, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 onion, finely diced
2 eggs
1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix (or regular flour, if not GF)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground pepper

Heat in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat avocado oil, enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. (If you don't have avocado oil, you can use another oil that is good for high-heat cooking)

While oil is heating, squeeze handfuls of zucchini to remove as much water as possible, then add handfuls of zucchini to the feta mixture.  Mix thoroughly.

Scoop small 1-2 teaspoon sized scoops of mixture onto hot oil.  Flatten each scoop with a spoon.   Cook 2-3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.  Put on paper towel-lined pan after frying.
Frying the zucchini fritters in just a thin layer of oil. 
zucchini fritters
They disappear quickly around here!  I love them nicely browned for an extra bit of crunch.

These are delicious on their own, or paired nicely with something like a fresh tomato salsa, such as the one below (seasoned with mint instead of cilantro).

Tomato Salsa
based off a recipe on by Milliker & Feniger
Mix in a bowl:
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced (this helps so it's not as liquid-filled)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or similar vinegar
5 fresh mint leaves, finely diced
1/4 tsp paprika
salt & pepper, to taste

fresh tomato salsa with mint and jalapeno
Fresh tomato salsa with mint & jalapeno