If you like granola and you like muffins then you will LOVE these Gluten-Free Blueberry Almond Granola Muffins! They’re full of super healthy ingredients like almond meal, avocado oil, and fresh blueberries. Unlike some muffins, which can be dry and crumbly, these muffins are tender and moist with a subtle earthy quality due to the addition of granola. There is something magical about the combination of blueberries and almonds (or in this case almond meal) – these ingredients complement each other so perfectly. Maple syrup is the primary sweetener in these muffins and the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons, so at first bite you might think they are not sweet enough. In fact each muffin has just 8 grams of sugar. That’s a very low sugar content when you consider that some blueberry muffins contain as much as 44 grams of sugar. However, this lower sugar content allows the most intense blueberry flavor to shine through. Trust me – you will see what I mean once you try these! You can use any kind of gluten-free granola for this recipe but choose one without added oil if possible. (more…)
Over the past several years the food blogosphere has been completely overrun with quinoa recipes, so I was reluctant to publish this post but these little Quinoa Cannellini Cakes are so delicious I just had to share! The first time I had ever heard of quinoa was probably about 10 years ago. Back then it was being touted as a revived ancient grain and a nutrient dense alternative to rice and beans. Since then quinoa’s popularity has exploded and now it seems every food blog, cookbook, lifestyle magazine, and restaurant is espousing the virtues of quinoa and using it in new and different ways. People are making desserts, muffins, and pizza crusts with quinoa, and even drinking it. Quinoa’s versatility and nutritional value has made it a darling of the health food world. It’s a gluten-free superfood and is considered a “complete protein” because it has all 9 essential amino acids, making it appealing to vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are simple trying to eat less meat. So if you haven’t yet incorporated quinoa into your diet start now! (more…)
Apple Flax Breakfast Squares are a healthy alternative to a morning muffin. They’re gluten-free, grain free, and contain no refined sugar, which also makes them paleo friendly. Each square has 9g of protein, 9g of fiber, and a whopping 5,600mg of omega-3 fatty acids! Serve alongside some freshly brewed coffee and you will have a delicious and nutritious start to your day. (more…)
This chicken salad tastes so clean and fresh. It doesn’t have the heavy, mayonnaise-laden texture that is characteristic of most chicken salads, especially the store bought varieties. Clean Chicken Salad is “clean” because it’s made with homemade avocado mayonnaise instead of store bought mayonnaise, which usually contains factory refined oils such as soybean oil or canola oil. If you’re a fan of clean eating then you know that it’s all about eating whole foods, or “real” foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. This means steering clear of highly processed and refined foods. Most people don’t think of mayonnaise as a “processed food”, but, in fact, the oil in almost all commercial mayonnaise is the result of a highly intensive refining process whereby chemicals are used to extract the oil from various seeds. Factory refined oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil are thought to cause widespread inflammation in the body and have been linked to diabetes, cancer and heart disease in multiple studies. So make you own mayonnaise! It’s SO much healthier and it tastes better too. Just be sure to use unrefined oil such as avocado oil or olive oil. (more…)
Looking for an Asian inspired dish with a twist? Look no further. These roasted shrimp have the classic Asian flavors of soy and ginger with the unique addition of agave nectar. This is a fast and versatile seafood entrée – the shrimp can be roasted in the oven or grilled, with equally delicious results, and they are cooked to perfection in less than 10 minutes. Roasted Shrimp with Agave-Ginger-Soy Marinade has been in my cooking repertoire since I first saw the recipe in a 1998 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. The original recipe calls for honey instead of agave but several years back, when agave nectar was all the rage, I started substituting agave for honey and I have been making this dish that way ever since.
Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to make gluten free heart-shaped crackers. Before making these crackers I had never used red lentils but I’d heard about them and thought they might produce a cracker in honor of Valentine’s Day that was some shade of red. Well, it turns out red lentils are not red at all, but more orange in color. I thought I could fix this by adding some beets and was encouraged when the dough mixed up to a beautiful deep, ruby-red color – perfect for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the crackers lose that beautiful deep red color when baked. I was going to rework the recipe to omit the beets but they give the crackers an earthy quality that would be lacking without them and, more importantly, everyone that tried the crackers said they were delicious as is and that I shouldn’t change a thing.
Calling all chocoholics! Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating. mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives. They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make. Below are a few tips for making this chocolate. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut are sweet, tart, creamy, and delicious – sounds more like a dessert, doesn’t it? Sweet potatoes are a great year round vegetable but I’ve always thought of them more as a fall/winter vegetable, that is, until I started making this recipe. Lime and coconut are classic tropical flavors and these two simple ingredients transform ordinary mashed sweet potatoes into a fantastic side dish that is not only healthy but simple to prepare. This is a great recipe to add to your summer cooking repertoire. Below are a few photos and tips that may help you prepare this dish. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post.
You’ll need 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes as well as a few limes for this recipe. Four medium sweet potatoes is roughly the equivalent of 2 lbs. There are 4T of lime juice needed so 2 limes should yield enough juice but if you want a garnish you’ll need 3 limes.
Securely wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and place seam side up on a baking sheet. The sweet potatoes may ooze a bit during baking – that’s ok, but if this happens the aluminum foil may get stuck to the baking sheet, making it very hard to clean. When you place the package seam side up this is less likely to happen. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until the sweet potatoes are tender can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. The total cooking time may be a little more or less than 1 hour depending on the size, thickness, and how many potatoes you are using. Start testing them after 45 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are tender let them cool for at least an hour before unwrapping them – they’ll be too hot to handle before that. This is what they will look like when you unwrap the packages.
Cut a slit up the center of each potato to remove the skin.
The skin will separate easily from the insides of the sweet potato and come off almost in one piece. I think this method of preparation is much easier than peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes.
The recipe calls for melted butter but if the potatoes are warm enough you can put them into a mixing bowl right on top of the unmelted butter and the residual heat will melt it. Then simply add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all together. I use a potato masher like the one pictured above but the tines of a fort will work as well. Once everything is well combined transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
You can toast the coconut flakes in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees but watch them closely as they are baking because like other nut meats, they go from perfectly golden brown to completely burned very quickly.
Just prior to serving sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each sweet potato individually in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. (This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes. Start testing them after 45 minutes.)
Once the potatoes are tender take them out of the oven and let them cool for 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil from each potato, remove the skin, and place them into a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, lime, salt and pepper, and mix well using a potato masher or the tines of a fork. Transfer to a casserole dish. Just prior to serving, reheat for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with toasted coconut and garnish with lime if desired.
If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will love these Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers. While I adore chocolate I have always been put off by the intense sweetness of fudge. I know some people are crazy about fudge but I think the amount of sugar in most fudge recipes masks the depth of flavor for which chocolate is known. These pretty little dessert flowers have the consistency of fudge but without loads of added sugar, which, with the help of a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee, allows all of the chocolaty goodness to shine through. Except for 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (which you can leave out if desired), there is no refined sugar in this recipe. All of the sweetness is derived from the natural sugars in the dates, which are combined with the other ingredient to create a healthier alternative to traditional fudge. A 1.5 oz. piece of fudge has about 150 calories and somewhere around 29 grams of sugar. By comparison these Raspberry Fudge Flowers have 130 calories and a mere 7 grams of sugar. That is a huge difference in sugar content! And, they are gluten free and require no cooking to boot! This recipe was inspired by the popular Lara Bar recipes that are all over the food blogosphere. I experimented with peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (and various combinations thereof) but found that cashews produce a texture most similar to fudge – soft and chewy. Serve these with dollops of whipped cream and you will be in (a healthier) fudge heaven! (more…)
I’m making this salad for the 4th of July, but it would be great for Memorial Day or Labor Day too. It’s fun, festive, delicious, AND nutritious.
What makes this salad special is the star croutons and you only need 5 ingredients to make them.
Start by melting coconut oil over medium low heat. While the coconut oil is melting measure out the gluten-free baking mix, parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper and salt into a mixing bowl.
Add the warm water and melted coconut oil to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Use a rubber spatula to gather the dough into a ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator or freezer if you are not immediately rolling out the croutons.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, do so between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Don’t try and roll out the entire ball of dough at once. Instead pinch off pieces of dough that are a tad smaller than the size of a golf ball. This will make the rolling and cutting more managable. The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the dough rolled out thin enough. You want to roll it out really thin – between 1/8 and 1/16th or an inch thick. If the dough is not rolled thin enough the croutons will be tough and chewy instead of crispy and crunchy. Rolling pin rings REALLY help with getting the dough to the right thickness for this recipe. Rolling pin rings are plastic or silicone rings that fit onto the ends of your rolling pin and help you roll out dough evenly and to a specified thickness. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the thickness of dough desired, and are available on-line and in cooking stores.
Once the croutons are baked they’ll be crispy and slightly golden brown. They make the salad taste so good! They’re not greasy and salty like boxed croutons or the ones you typically get on restaurant salads.
The crouton recipe makes many more croutons than are needed for 2 salads so package up the leftovers and store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. You can pull them out whenever you need gluten free salad croutons. It’s fun to make other holiday themed shapes too for Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
A Berry Patriotic Salad with Gluten Free Star Croutons
¾ cup fresh raspberries or sliced fresh strawberries
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ cup gluten-free all- purpose baking flour
¼ cup/1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 ½ Tablespoons hot water
3 ounces balsamic vinegar
1 ounce olive
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the gluten-free croutons preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the gluten free baking flour, salt, parmesan cheese, coconut oil, cayenne pepper, and hot water. Once the dough comes together, gather into a ball and turn it onto a lightly floured (dust with more of the gluten free baking flour) surface. Gently knead it a few times.
Roll out the dough until it is very thin, approximately ⅛th to 1/16th of an inch thick.
Using a star cookie cutter, approximately 1 inch in diameter, cut out the croutons and place them on the baking sheet.
Bake 9-11 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges.
Notes: This crouton recipe makes more than enough croutons for 2 salads so you’ll have extra left over. Alternatively you can make enough croutons for 2 salads (approximately 1 dozen) and then using a larger cookie cutter make crackers with the rest of the dough.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside. Divide the baby spinach or salad greens between two bowls. Top each bowl of greens with goat cheese, berries, almonds, and 5 or 6 star croutons. Dress with balsamic vinegariette and serve.
Crouton recipe dapted from the book Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni