Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chicken Nuggets!

These are chick-fil-a style chicken nuggets, not like processed meat style.. though someday i'd like to make those too .. for fun. 

about 1 lb chicken breast or tenders or whatever kind of raw chicken you want to use
1/4 cup flour mixture (I used sorghum and a bit of corn flour this time, i'm sure about anything would work)
3/4 tsp salt or garlic salt
1 tsp garlic powder 
(whatever other seasonings you'd like to use)
about 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
chicken nuggets!

Cut chicken into small pieces, about 1 in -1.5 in.  Coat with flour, by tossing in a bowl, or a ziplock bag or whatever.  Then pour in coconut oil (try to spread it out) and toss - they will look less pretty after the oil - then put them in the oven on foil.  450 in a regular oven for about 15 mins, or if you want to be super excited about how fast and easy they are I used a convection toaster oven, 425 for 6-8 mins and they were DONE! I made way too many today so i'm excited to see how they are left over - next time i think i'm going to try freezing them prepared, but raw.  

 I also roasted almonds today, in a sauce pan - the top half are dry roasted, nothing but raw almonds in the pan stirring constantly - the bottom half were roasted with just a bit of coconut oil - they are browner and prettier and i can't tell a difference in taste/oiliness.  They are done when they smell nutty and the skins just start to crack or when they taste good ;). 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Drop Biscuits! (Gluten and Dairy free!)

Even if you're not gluten free, I've been looking for a whole grain biscuit recipe that works and this is it!! Though I don't know if it would work with whole wheat flour, because that stuff is kind of .. you know, gluten-y..  

PREHEAT THE OVEN to 425.  (this is important because its ideal to get them in the oven right away)

4 cups gluten free flours*
2 tbs + 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 + 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp your choice of sugar
2 cups milk mixture at room temperature or slightly warmer (1 & 7/8 cups milk substitute- i used rice milk - and 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, we are making a butter milk substitute)
3 T melted coconut oil

Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix, in a separate bowl, combine the "milk" and oil. Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined plus a little - the mixture will get REALLY fluffy quickly, don't mix beyond that point. 'drop' onto pan, they will bake as is, so you don't need much space between them at all.  Bake at 425 for 12-15 min

*this time I used 2 cups sorghum four, 1 cup buckwheat flour,  1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup brown rice flour. - I was trying to use more of the less expensive flours.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green Muffins!

And we aren't talking about earth day, people!  I've always heard this and that about green smoothies - but i just saw this spinach in the fridge and .. ta-da!

In person, this looked kind of a horrible color
Green Muffins!

Here they are next to the regular muffins, they don't even look that different - I added about 1 cup of packed fresh spinach to my muffin recipe.  Added the spinach to the wet ingredients and used an immersion blender to puree it all together - this also seemed to help make the muffins light and fluffy, because of the extra well beaten egg (i guess?)  No other changes in baking time or anything. 

I've been adding spinach to a lot of things lately,  green scrambled eggs are a big hit with the kids! (and of course i forgot to take a picture!! they look awesome!, same technique with the blender! )

Thursday, March 22, 2012


you need 3 things to make s'mores - and why not make them all ?  because the process can easily take all day? yeah, well. i did this over 2 afternoons and most of it with the kids.. and it was FUN.  


Yesterday I made Marshmallows with the kids - it was way simpler than i thought it would be .. you just have to listen to your candy thermometer and then let the stand mixer do the rest


  • 3 T of unflavored gelatin (1 box of 4 package Knox = 3T)
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chilled filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • non-stick spray

1.  Chill whisk attachment and mixer bowl. (just stick it in the fridge, though honestly I'm not sure this was really necessary)
2.  Dissolve 3 T of gelatin into 1/2 cup of chilled water.  (yes, it gets all hard and weird) 
3. In a pan on the stove, combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and salt. 
4. Heat, stirring occasionally, with a candy thermometer in the solution.  
5. watch the thermometer closely and remove from heat when it reaches 'soft ball'(about 235 degrees)
6. remove the mixer bowl & whisk from the fridge & put the weird hard gelatin-water mixture in the bowl.  
7. turn on the mixer and slowly pour the hot sugar solution into the mixing bowl 
8. mix/whisk at a fairly high speed for 10-15 mins - until it looks like a thick marshmallow cream & has about doubled in size
9. while the mixer is going - mix powdered sugar and corn starch in a small bowl, spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray, and then coat with the sugar/cornstarch mixture.  
10. once the marshmallow cream looks done pour it into the pan (spread evenly), sprinkle remaining cornstarch/sugar mixture on top. 
11. let set up for at least a couple hours - then dump out onto a cutting board and cut up the marshmallows (i used kitchen scissors) coat the cut sides with more powdered sugar (i just threw them back in the 9x13 pan and rolled them around a bit and there was enough to coat them)

Now for the Chocolate chips...

These are amazing, in their own way. in some ways, they don't even taste like chocolate, in another way, they are so rich and yummy.  I got the recipe here. But her pictures and everything are with butter, though it says you can use coconut oil - and I did, the pictures don't do me much good cause the coconut oil melted almost immediately.  anyway.

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar (i used half coconut sugar, half raw sugar)
1 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  

combine coconut oil, sugar, and cocoa powder - make up some sort of double boiler - the original recipe used a glass jar, i used a stainless steel mixing bowl - then let everything melt together, stirring occasionally for about 10 mins. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and pour the melty chocolatey mixture into the pan.  Place in the fridge until it hardens, then break up your 'chocolate chips' and enjoy! 

Graham Crackers (Gluten and Dairy free!) 

Alright, last but not least .. I started with this recipe - for the most part, i stuck to it - except, of course, i made it dairy free.  And i really don't like having to go back and read through a really long blog post looking for a recipe when i don't follow the instructions anyway, so here is what i did.  (...and it worked fabulously, by the way - and i think the  blogger that developed this recipe has convinced me that i need a good kitchen scale) 

1/2 cup + 2 tbs sorghum flour
1/3 cup + 1 tbs brown rice flour
1/3 - 1tbs cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup + 2 tbs sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold (so, solid) coconut oil (i used 2 tbs unrefined and 5 tbs refined - didn't want them to taste too coconuty)
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons water
cinnamon sugar (for sprinkling) 

Combine dry ingredients - cut in coconut oil, like you would butter.  until the flours are crumbly - if its warm and it looks wet - put it in the fridge then try again.  Once you've got a sandy looking flour mixture with no large clumps - add in 3tbs of water and the honey and mix until you can form a ball - put the ball in the fridge for 15 mins and preheat the oven to 325.  After the dough ball is cool again, split it in half (leave half in the fridge) and roll out on a sheet of parchment paper with another piece of parchment paper or wax paper on top (this gluten free thing can be sticky, but this wasn't too bad).  peel off the top paper, cut the crackers/cookies to the size you want (no need to separate, just make a cut) sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and get them in the oven - if at any point they start to melt or get hard to work with, well before they are in the oven, just put them back in the fridge.  bake 15-20 mins, then repeat with the 2nd half of the dough.   

Somehow, i managed to not take a picture of the final product with the homemade chocolate chips, so i guess this will do .. to make the s'mores - you're pretty much going to have to use a toaster oven.  The microwave doesn't really work as the homemade chocolate chips and marshmallows melt really quickly.  These marshmallows are also not suitable for roasting on a stick over an open flame.. at least i don't think they are - i think they would melt off the stick before they really toasted.  The chocolate chips melt quickly in the toaster oven too and the marshmallows go from normal to melted and burnt in, literally, a few seconds, so watch it carefully. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Black bean chicken soup

  • some black beans (if using canned, about 2 cans, drained - honestly i didn't measure mine - they were frozen cooked dry beans) 
  • 4-6 chicken tenders, or 1-2 chicken breasts (raw)
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cans (or equivalent)  of diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz of chicken or veggie broth 
  • 1 can (or equivalent) of corn
  • 1tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more if you used no canned veggies, less if you used all canned veggies)

Heat a bit of oil in a large stock pot, add garlic, onion, celery and cut up chicken.  Saute until chicken is done. 

Add broth, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and spices.  Simmer for 30-45 mins or more. 

serve with tortilla chips - and if you're not dairy free, this would be fabulous with sour cream and cheddar on top. 


oh and i made this bread today. isn't it lovely?



Who doesn't love brownies?  yeah, thought so.   These are wonderful, an 'in between brownie' - not cakey or chewy.  and spectacular even if you don't need a gluten and dairy free brownie..  I like to think of them as a brownie, but also a food (and therefore a suitable breakfast if you're having one of those days... )

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cashew butter (or almond butter)
2 eggs
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (or apple sauce)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup millet flour
1 TBS tapioca starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips 

Bake in greased 8x8 pan for about 4o mins at 350.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hershey Kiss Cookies..

Gluten free and ALMOST Dairy free Hershey Kiss Cookies - these cookies are SERIOUSLY good.

The only part of this recipe that is not dairy free is the hershey kisses .. sooo you might replace them with something else if you want it to be dairy free.. 

1 Sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp Xanthan Gum1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. oil blend (i mixed 1 part refined coconut oil, 1 part unrefined coconut oil) 
1/3 c. peanut butter (or other nut butter, in this recipe i used natural creamy pnut butter)
1/2 c. sugar (I used raw)
1/2 c. brown sugar
(coconut or something like that) 
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

combine baking soda, flour, xanthan gum and salt in one bowl. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars in another bowl. Add beaten egg and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients.

Then shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Take from oven; place a Hershey Kiss in center of cookie. Return to oven for 2-5 minutes.

yum yum YUM!  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mollie is 6 years old today.

Mollie, my oldest, turned 6 today.  What a BIG DEAL! I remember turning 6 ..  I remember what it was like being 6 ... i can't believe i have a 6 year old .. today we celebrated, by doing what Mollie wanted to do - We went to Jump Mania (bouncy-house-place), out to lunch at Bandana's BBQ (Mollie's choice for grilled cheese), then on to Orange leaf (self serve frozen yogurt place) and finally, big-girl bicycle shopping.  Mollie now has a 20" bike .. didn't even come with training wheels! (and she doesn't need them anyway!) Mother nature decided to celebrate with us with near record breaking temperatures, 25 degrees above average for this time of year!  (high around 80) .. it was a great day.  Jamie had a bit of  hard time with all the attention Mollie got today, but i'm hoping that will make his birthday in 2 months that much more fun for him.  Annie also enjoyed the festivities, she had her first temporary tattoo, she loved the balloons, and she learned the joy of eating just the frosting off a cupcake. 

Everyone stayed up a little late, but they're all in bed (just past 8) and its time for me to sit down and recover from birthday mania.. 

Also, I should mention that i got a ton done yesterday because I knew it wouldn't happen today.. I baked bread, chocolate chip muffins, granola bars and corn muffins.  I did 3 loads of laundry (2 of which i put away tonight).  So now, even though we played all day today I don't have 2 million things to do to catch up tomorrow.  I still have a lot to do, but at least its not catching up, just the usual stuff. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Strawberry birthday cake!

All the baking i've been doing eventually had to lead to birthday cake! Mollie requested strawberry cupcakes this year for her 6th birthday ..  Last year i made Mollie and Jamie's birthday cakes - but they came from boxes...   I'm really excited to make mini-[gluten free dairy free]-brownies for Jamie for his birthday! (I hope he doesn't change his mind about what he wants!)  

I started with this recipe and made just a few changes to make it fit our needs.

1/2 cup millet flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons strawberry Jello mix
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pureed strawberries
3/4 cup rice milk  

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the Jello® . In your stand mixer, mix coconut oil, vanilla and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the strawberry mixture. Slowly pour in milk a little at a time until the cake reaches cake batter consistency- about 1/2 - 3/4 cup. Pour batter into paper lined muffin tins. Bake 20-25 mins.  Makes 24 cupcakes. Cool before frosting.  (I put them back in the pan for easy travel)

I made 2 different types of frosting, Mollie can have dairy so she is having cream cheese frosting and the rest of us are having dairy free frosting, basically its traditional frosting made with rice milk.   I must say, the cream cheese is the way to go if you can- and you can sub the coconut oil and rice milk for butter and milk if you don't need a dairy free cake!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

My favorite whole wheat bread recipe..

Like i said in my last post, I'm using up gluten-y flours .. so here is my favorite whole wheat bread recipe.. adapted from this recipe. 

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk (optional, can be replaced with water, or non-dairy milk)
2 tablespoons oil (olive, or coconut)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar, or can be replaced by adding 1 more tablespoon honey)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole wheat flour & 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten as part of the 3 cups..  (so in one of your cups put 3 table spoons vital wheat gluten, and then fill the rest with flour)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (proof yeast in the warm water while you gather other ingredients)
1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, Combine first 6 ingredients & mix/stir until combined 
2. Add flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 mins, if it is still sticky after a few mins add flour 1 tablespoon at a time - sometimes whole wheat flour takes a while to absorb water so don't add flour too quickly or it will be too dry.  scrape dough ball off the bowl to make sure it isn't too stuck and that it can hold its own - then cover the bowl with the dough ball inside, place in a warm place (oven with the light on, top of the fridge etc) and let rise until doubled (about 45-60 mins)
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down on a floured surface - make a rectangle and then roll it into a loaf and place it in a greased loaf pan. (mine is 9x5x2.5) Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 30-45 mins.
4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins, if it starts to brown too much cover with foil and continue baking.
5. Slice and enjoy! Bread can be sliced warm, use a serrated or electric knife for best results.

This bread also freezes well, slice before freezing  :) 

Not the best Chocolate Muffins..

I'm in a mood, i guess. because this recipe is not gluten free! *GASP* 

Really, i was just cleaning out the pantry and I found all these flours that I can't use in gluten free baking (whole wheat, Kamut, Spelt) - After reading the recipe, be sure to read my comments below as you might want to make adjustments! To make this recipe gluten free, replace the flours with 2 cups rice flour, 1 cup millet flour and 1 cup tapioca starch + 2 teaspoons xanthan gum

3 cups Spelt flour
1 cup Kamut flour
1 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar & sucanant) 
2 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup almond milk
2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup chocolate chips 
hand full of slivered almond

Mix dry ingredients (except chocolate chips/nuts) and wet ingredients separately then combine & stir (but do not over stir) - fold in chocolate chips & nuts, then fill paper-lined (this is important, without oil they stick!!) muffin cups three-fourths full and bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.  I added some chocolate chips and almond slivers to the top to make them pretty.. 

So..  these look great, but they aren't very sweet or very chocolaty ..  I drizzled a bit of chocolate syrup on top and they taste fabulous!  they did stick to the muffin papers BAD, probably because of the lack of oil, if you sub back in oil instead of apple sauce they probably wouldn't stick, and they might need a 1/4 cup or so more milk..  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

torture, i mean.. gardening.

top left corner, planted lettuce seeds...
My *organic* garden was overtaken by bermuda grass last year..  well, over the past 2 years.. and probably before the raised bed was even there. .. but this year, i decided it HAS to go.. it takes over everything..  right now it is dormant, and since we live at the northern edge of where it grows, its probably 80% dead.  I HAVE to get it out before it starts growing or we might as well give up.  So.. the past 2 days i've spent a couple of hours with a good old fashioned hoe, digging it up, and pulling all the roots and 'runners' out .. I have to go down to the bottom of our raised bed to get under it and then make sure i get all of the live-looking roots and runners OUT of there or they will regrow.  Yesterday the wind was blowing 30-40mph ... which made it easier to throw to clumps of roots far far away but made everything else a little bit more torturous.  I have to go back today and see what I can accomplish before a cold front comes through tomorrow and it [supposedly] starts raining.  For probably 4 hours work, you can see how far i got..   and how the rest of our garden looks like a lawn.. and how the other gardens don't look like that! Nearly all of them were abandoned last year during a particularly extreme mid summer heat wave..  Plus, last year we were the only organic garden.. no weed spray + super hot summer + water  = extra strong bermuda grass .. I'm also killing a bunch of grubs and overwintering pests as i dig up this mess.   The garden behind ours in the picture is also ours.. It doesn't look like a mess, but it is..  and I can't just dig it up, because it is full of strawberry plants and while they took a serious hit from the drought i think they will come back if i can get the weeds under control..  As soon as i'm done with the bermuda i'm going to move over there and do some good old fashioned hands & knees weed pulling.  The beginning of the season has never been this much work for me before.. it is sounding like a full time job and it better pay off with a bunch of organic produce this summer (and less work next year). Oh and in case you're wondering.. this mess of roots and runners and missouri rocks would be quite the challenge with a tiller too..  nothing i could handle so i'm stuck doing it by hand. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

before and after... sort of


I've been putting this off because I feel like the after pictures are a lie... We aren't done yet!!  

So now that i've adjusted my idea of "before and after"  here we go .

It may be a while, but here is the current choice for the counter and wood floors..   I can't wait to get it all done!  We are going to trim back the counter, where is sticks out on the bottom and right bottom of the "after" picture so when someone is sitting at the dining room table, we'll be able to walk behind them to get to the kitchen!!  Our "dining room" (really an eat in kitchen) is made for a tiny little 2-3 person table... not the table for 6 we've got ..  We're also planning to add some counter space where the garbage can is now (bottom right corner of before picture) so we won't be losing much work space by gaining a wider walkway.

so, it may not be done.. but.. YAY anyway :)


I have high hopes for these cookies,  i'm writing about them while they are in the oven.. so i hope i don't jinx anything..  The kids helped make these, so it was nice that they are also egg free (no issues with tasting a bit of the dough :) )

here is the recipe i started with...    below is the recipe from with the changes i made ..

  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • Rounded 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon sorghum molasses  
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup mini Chocolate Chips (which appears to be WAY TOO MUCH ..  i think they'll be good but less chocolate would work.. i know, i feel weird even saying that.. .)
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the millet flour, the 1 cup oats, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla. Stir in the reserved flour mixture until it is all incorporated and you have a thick dough, i used my hand to accomplish this. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by the generous tablespoon-ful onto your prepared baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they just begin to brown. be very careful removing them from the pan, I had to reuse my pan for the next batch so I pulled them off a bit early and i could tell it was risky (and i just pulled the mat off the pan, onto a cooling wrack, pulling the cookies off the mat would have been tragic) They firm up once they cool, this made about 2 dozen cookies!

obviously they are out of the oven now..  Yum.