Saturday, June 8, 2013

No Sugar Added Dairy Free Fruit & Grain Muffins

I've been on this cleanse for the past little while.  It's divided into two phases, with the first ten days being the most brutal.  No fruit.  No raw veggies.  No dairy.  No a million other things I happen to enjoy.  But on day 11, the angels sing and the sky parts, and I can once again have a salad and limited fruit.  This is my second "day 11", thanks to having to start all over on the first day 8 because of someone accidentally serving me sugar and msg.  So the whole heavens were singing this morning.

In anticipation of today, I made some muffins out of two of the allowable grains and some fruit.  The males in my life tried them yesterday and passed their approval.  Neither of them had any clue there wasn't a drop of raw sugar, maple syrup, or honey to be found in there.  Nada.  Nothing.  And they loved it.  I tried it this morning.  And I loved it.  I may never go back to putting added
sweeteners in muffins again.

(NOTE: I am not a photographer.  At all.  I take pictures to record a memory.  That's about it.  But this picture gives you an idea of the texture and size to expect when using this rather unusual recipe.)

The following recipe makes 23-24 muffins.  They won't be huge coffee-shop muffins, but they will be tender bits of delectable sweetness.


1 cup steel cut oats (you can pulse these a minute in a food processor if you like)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cups sprouted spelt flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/16th tsp. (a tiny, tiny pinch) of Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf Extract (totally optional*)
4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
4 T. coconut milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
scant 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 c. berries (I used a mix of frozen blackberries and blueberries from last summer's harvest)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In large mixing bowl, stir dry ingredients together until well combined.

2. Add in the berries and toss well to coat.

3. Mash the bananas, and mix the eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla in with a fork until well combined.  Add in the melted coconut oil and mix in until fully combined.  (If your bananas were frozen previously, you might want to consider letting them warm up to room temperature.  Otherwise, they will probably cause the coconut oil to immediately seize back up in a solid state, and that will be a pain to combine thoroughly. Fresh, ripe bananas are your friend in this step.)

4. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry berry mixture, and gently fold together until all the grains are incorporated.

5. Scoop into two greased muffin tins.  Bake at 400 for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then carefully run a knife along the edges of each muffin and gently lift out onto a cooling rack.  These will be very tender muffins, so go slowly and gently.

6. Enjoy and revel in the fact that you get to enjoy the sweetness of fruit.

* About the Stevia.....Most of the stevia out there isn't actually stevia.  It's primarily got sugar alcohols and a tiny bit of stevia, and then they put "stevia" on the label so you think you are doing a good thing. You are not doing a good thing.  These muffins don't actually need the extra sweetness, but if you were going to add it in, you would want to only use a brand that contained ONLY stevia rebaudiana (leaf) extract.  New Roots has a white powder concentrate that is amazing and has none of the aftertaste I kept hearing about when researching it.  I just don't know if New Roots is widely available outside of Canada.  Our little natural foods store in town carries it in a 15g container for about $9.  It's a tiny tub, but when you realize it takes only a few grains to sweeten an entire bowl of oatmeal, suddenly it seems like a worthy investment of $9.  All the big box grocery stores carried over-priced crappy substitutes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vegetarian Quesadillas

So yesterday a friend posted a link about burgers made from beans and rice.  The picture was tempting enough to click on it, and I discovered a blog with some yummy recipes.  One that caught my eye was this one: Vegan Quesadillas from the Everyday Vegetarian.

I had most of the ingredients, and what I didn't have could easily be remedied with subsitutes, so I got busy making dinner.  As we are no longer buying tortillas due to the plethora of preservatives and unhealthy, modified oils in them (not to mention the high cost in our area), I had time to mix up enough dough to make six tortillas while the beans were cooking.  In the end, I made enough modifications to the original recipe that it seemed best to write it out here to share with you guys, and my version was no longer vegan.

 It's yummy, healthy, and filling.  The amount I made provided enough for my husband and I each to have our own quesadilla, for our son to have a cheese quesadilla, and to have half of a quesadilla for lunch today.  If I'd had the ingredients for a salad, it probably would have stretched even farther.

6 Tortillas (I'll share how I make mine at the end of this recipe.)
1 can Organic Pinto Beans, drained (I used Trader Joe's, and it provides about 1 and 3/4 cups of beans.)
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
1 c. Water
1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes that have been mostly drained (leave a few tablespoons of liquid)
1/2 tsp. Ancho Chili Pepper (Chipotle or Adobo would be good too)
1 Sweet Bell Pepper, sliced (they used red; I had yellow on hand)
4 Mushrooms, sliced
1 T. Oil
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 Avocados
3 T. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 c. Shredded Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS: (I followed the ones in the original recipe fairly closely.)
1. Place beans in a sauce pan with garlic and onion and 1 cup of water.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until water is evaporated.  Add tomato with its remaining liquid and the Ancho Chili Pepper.  Cook a few more minutes until liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally.  Set aside to cool.

2. Saute mushrooms in oil of your choice for about 5 minutes.  Add in sweet bell pepper slices and saute another 5 minutes or so.  Add the balsamic vinegar at the end and stir to coat.

3. Mash bean mixture with a fork.  It doesn't have to be fully mashed, just a bit to provide some creamy texture as if they were refried beans.

4. Mash avocado and add lime juice and kosher salt to make a simple guacamole.

5. Take one tortilla and spread 1/3 bean mixture, 1/3 mushroom and peppers, 1/3 of the avocado, 1/3 of the cheese, and top with another tortilla.  Cook in a skillet over medium heat 1-2 minutes each side, flipping carefully one time.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Serve with your favorite salsa and plain yogurt or sour cream.

Inkling's Tortillas That Would Never Pass Mexican Inspection But Are Tasty Recipe  =)
(Real Mexican tortillas would never be a mixture of corn and flour.  They would be either one or the other.  And they'd never have baking powder in them either.  Most of the time they would be made with lard instead of butter.  One day when I learn how to render ethically farmed, pastured lard, I may try it instead of butter.)

INGREDIENTS: (This is enough to make about 8 - 8-10"tortillas.)
1 c. Maseca (Corn treated with lime - different from cornmeal.)
1/2 c. Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
scant 1/4 c. cold Butter, cut into pieces
Room Temperature Water (maybe 2/3 - 1 cup)
Organic Cornmeal for rolling

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix maseca, flours, salt, and baking powder together with a mixing fork.

2. Add in butter pieces.  With clean hands, mix butter into the corn/flour mixture until completely combined and distributed evenly.

3. Adding in only a few tablespoonfuls at a time, pour water into flour mixture and mix with fork until dough begins to form.  You don't want it too dry, but you don't want it sticky.

4. When dough is moist enough to shape into a ball, bring it together with your hands and knead for at least five minutes up to ten minutes.  (It's important to do this by hand.  And quite frankly, it's kind of therapeutic.)

5. Divide dough into 8 even pieces and shape into balls.  Cover with a tea towel.

6. (At this point, I have a big dinner plate and several tea towels out.) Sprinkle work surface with cornmeal and flatten one ball onto cornmeal with hands.  Roll into a circle at least 8 inches in diameter. You want the tortilla to be less than 1/16th of an inch thick, but not so thin that it's tearing.  Put the first tortilla on the plate; cover with a tea towel, and continue layering them in between tea towels.

7. (When I make beans and rice, I cook these as needed so that they don't harden up.  And I cook them a bit longer so that they have a few tiny brown spots.  They can be stored uncooked and tightly covered in the refrigerator for a day or two if you have leftovers.)  For quesadillas, cook tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side.  Because you are going to cook them a second time once they are filled, you don't want to get them browned.  As each one is done cooking, put it on a plate and carefully cover it with a tea towel until they are all cooked and ready to assemble into quesadillas.  Now you are ready to pick up with step 5 on the quesadilla instructions.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Clam Chowder After trying three times, I think I came up with the perfect pot of clam chowder. My kids love this stuff, and Bethany has requested that I make a huge pot of it to get her through this first weekend after her first treatment of the new chemo cycle. She knows she'll feel awful and the only thing she'll usually eat then is clam chowder. 3 C or so of chopped taters (1/2 inch chop, I left peels on because I used Yukon Golds) 1 really big onion, chopped 1 stick of butter (don't be cheap and use margarine, it tastes nasty and your body is better of with the real thing, look it up) 1/3 C flour 1 can of evaporated milk 2 C milk 2 cans of chopped clams (I dump 'em on a cutting board and chop them even smaller after I've drained the juice into the pot) 1/2 the bottle of clam juice (I will run downstairs in a bit to see how big the bottle is, and get back to you) Dried or fresh parsley Salt Put chopped taters and onions in a "big pot", add just enough water to barely cover, add salt to taste, and cook until just underdone. You are gonna cook them again in a little bit, and if you cook them all the way in the beginning, you'll be sorry because they'll get all mushy and gross. I HATE mushy potatoes in soup. Now drain them and leave in the drainer while you do the rest. Melt the stick of butter in your pot on medium or so. Add flour and stir constanly for 2 minutes or so. Whisk constantly while you add the evaporated milk and the regular milk. Keep whisking until the milk is thickened. Add the potatoes and onions back to the pot, dump in the clams and juice, and stir it all up. Put in the parsley and salt to your taste. Turn to low and let cook for another 10 or so minutes. If it gets thicker than you like, you can add some milk to thin it back. We like our chowders to hold their own spoon up in this house. Stir alot and don't let it boil or it will scorch and stick and be gross and a big pain in the buttowski to clean-up....ask me how I know! ;) This made enough for one good size bowl for the four of us, so I will have to double it once we are back with Jeff. Although he probably won't eat this, so ax that thought. I'll make him a pb&j that night. ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Smoky Black Bean Soup & Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Has it really been last summer since any of us wrote on this recipe blog?!  Have I got something yummy and perfect for these winter days to share with you!

A friend gave me Fine Cooking's One-Pot Meals magazine from 2011.  She said it had recipes that were too fancy for her to want to try.  I've been looking at them for a couple weeks now, looking forward to the day when I have ingredients to try some of the more scrumptious looking ones.  Coq Au Vin  with a spin anyone?

Last night I was looking at it again and realized there was one recipe I could do with ingredients we already had on hand.  Smoky Black Bean Soup.  I didn't have all the ingredients, but knew it was doable with some improvisation.  Totally yum.  While it did not pass my four year old's taste test, due in large part because he refused to even take a taste, it passed our taste tests with flying colors.  I do think that the average child who is willing to try a new food would like it and not find it too spicy.  It's full of flavor, very savory, and reminds us why slow cooking is such a great idea.

Grace gave me a delectable gluten free biscuit recipe very much like what you find at Red Lobster.  Tonight I made the recipe without using the gluten free mix, and it was still just as yummy.  These biscuits heat up well as leftovers in loosely wrapped foil package in the oven.  Store any leftovers in the frig.

Here's my version of Fine Cooking's Smoky Black Bean Soup:

2 cups Dried Black Beans, picked over
1 T. Oil
1 Small Onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 Leeks, white and light green parts, chopped and rinsed well, about 2 cups (I only had a cup.)
2 Medium Ribs Celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
3 Carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 Ham Bone with a bit of meat
6 cups Water
3 Bay Leaves
2 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 tsp. Herbamare Salt (You could just use Kosher Salt.  The Herbamare is infused with herbs.)
1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
5-6 Dashes Hot Sauce (I used Frank's Original.)
1 T. Maple Syrup
Optional Sour Cream/Plain Yogurt for Garnish

1. The night before, soak the beans in 6 cups of cool water after they have been thoroughly rinsed.

2. The next morning, rinse the beans well and set aside. (Or if you need more time, rinse them and put them in a second soaking of water for a few more hours.)

3. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion, leeks, celery, and carrots.  Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are soft and beginning to brown a bit.  This should take about 10 minutes.

4. Add the drained beans, ham bone, 6 cups of water, bay leaves, thyme, and salt to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 2 - 2.5 hours.  If the beans are tender at this point, remove the ham bone and bay leaves.  If they aren't, continue cooking a bit more.  Put the ham bone on a plate to cool so you can strip off some of the meat.

5. Puree about three cups of the soup mixture in a blender and return to Dutch oven with the rest of the soup.

6. Add the crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, and maple syrup.  Stir to combine.

7. The meat on the ham bone should be falling-off tender at this point.  Add whatever amount you prefer to the pot and stir in.  Cook about 15 more minutes to let flavors meld.  Serve with biscuits and the sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish, if you prefer.

8. You'll have enough to serve 4-6 people, or plenty to freeze for a later meal.

Here's a non-gluten free, slightly tweaked version of Grace's Garlic Cheddar Biscuits:

1 c. Trader Joe's Multi-Grain Baking Mix
1/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder


1. Mix all ingredients with a fork.  Using a large cookie or muffin scoop, drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

2. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes about 7 good-sized biscuits.

3. Thank your lucky stars that you know Grace.

***If you need the GF version, Grace uses Pamela's Pancake Mix.  And it's quite yum.***