Archive | Easy RSS feed for this section

Roasted Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

31 Jan

FullSizeRender

This soup is slightly sweet, savoury and very filling. The texture is very thick and creamy with a nice smooth buttery finish. Need I say more? Oh, well I could say that this soup gives you a substantial dose of your daily vegetables while making you feel like you’re having a treat.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium or one large squash like Kabocha or Butternut (not Spaghetti squash)
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large onions
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5-2 Ltrs of broth (Chicken/Turkey/Pork/Vegetable)
  • 1-2 Tbs salt
  • 1-2 Tsp dried ginger
  • Coconut Aminos to taste (optional, can use soy sauce but be careful with the amount of salt you use)
  • Dash Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter (use coconut oil if vegan/dairy free)
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and roughly chop all of the vegetables and place in baking pans. Keep the carrots separate as they may take slightly longer to cook. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender and slightly browned.*

Put all vegetables in a soup pot (at lest 13 ltr capacity), add 1.5 ltrs of broth, bring up to a boil over medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.*

Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. *

If the soup is too thick add the remaining broth.

Add spices and seasoning to taste, then add butter and enjoy!

Notes:

* If you are using Kabocha squash it may be difficult to peel. I usually wash thoroughly, cut in half, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil and roast. Done this way, the flesh easily separates from the peel afterwards.

*This soup is very thick and may spit while you’re cooking it. You will need to stir frequently and be cautious of molten lava like soup splattering you! Keep your heat to medium and do not cook on high heat to prevent scalding yourself and burning the soup.

*You can also use a blender to blend this in batches but do not overfill and be cautious as the soup will be very hot. It is a good idea to have the vent open in the lid a crack to vent steam. Place a towel over the blender to prevent hot soup from spraying when blending and opening the lid.

 

Advertisements

Grain-Free Breakfast “Porridge” (AIP)

12 Jan

Recently I have been trying to adapt my diet to the Autoimmune Protocol Diet / Paleo Approach diet. My hope is that like so many proponents of this approach, I will be able to reduce the impact of my disease. I have had a fairly easy time adapting to this approach so far (if you ignore the coffee I am still drinking) but breakfasts remain a challenge.

This morning when I woke up, I was dreaming of making a cauliflower based breakfast porridge. It’s not often I have dreams that manifest into such yumminess in real life. This was sweet, creamy and crunchy. I also liked that it was quick and easy to whip up.

01ffb6a0efd367ae15b4c149b9d0efe54a78e8b2a0

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower finely chopped, grated or pulsed in the food processor
  • 1 medium carrot grated
  • 1 small golden beet grated
  • 3 TBS raisins
  • 1 TBS dried cranberry
  • 1-2 TBS ccoconut oil
  • 4 TBS toasted coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (depending on your taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

Instructions:

Melt coconut oil over medium-high heat in a medium size sauce pan. Add the vegetables and cook until al dente. Make sure not to overcook the veggies, you want them to be crunchy. I chose to cook this on a slightly higher heat to maintain the crunchiness and to ensure they didn’t steam. Add spices and raisins and cranberries and cook for another 2-3 minutes. In the mean time, place coconut in a pan over medium-low heat until toasted nicely (between 2-4 minutes).

Pour vegetable mixture into a bowl, top with coconut yoghurt and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

Prep time: 5 minutes, cook time 10 minutes.
Serves: 2

Notes:

For those who are not raisin lovers, I think you could add a grated apple to this for the sweet factor.

Anyone wanting extra sweetness could add a little honey. For me the flavour of the raisins added enough sweetness and adding honey would have been too much.

Make sure the cauliflower is cut up very small. Larger pieces of cauliflower will taste too vegetabley and detract from the belief that you’re eating a grain based hot muesli. In the photo above some of my cauliflower pieces were too big.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Gluten Free

7 Jun


image
You know those  chocolate chip cookies that have a bit if a crisp outside and an oooey gooey center? Well these gluten free chocolate chip cookies mimic those oh so well. I used to cheat on my wheat free diet every once in a whole when this friend of mine would bring his chocolate chip cookies to a potluck. Of course the cheating ended when I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance but luckily I now have this recipe to satisfy the craving. Though, I do not make these often as they disappear at an alarming rate and there is only two of us in this household.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 Tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 C butter softened
  • 1/2 C palm sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp gluten-free vanilla
  • 1/2 C gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer the small ones)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whip butter until it is creamy. If the butter is not soft soften it in the microwave in intervals of 10 seconds but make sure not to melt it.

Add sugars and beat again until smooth, add eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) making sure to mix the dough well to ensure you do not get any clumps of flour. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Use a 1″ disher scoop to drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Make sure to leave space between the cookies as they will spread out a bit. If you do not have a disher scoop, you can drop by tablespoons. Disher scoops are handy for making uniform sized cookies.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Let the cookies cool a little before you remove them from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for about 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

I adapted this recipe from this recipe, which I found to be a little bit too chewy and sweet.

Beef Stroganoff Soup

8 Feb

This week has been a strange week for leftovers. For some reason, the other person that shares this house and all its food didn’t take many lunches. This left me with a rather large hunk of roast beef (meant to be used for roast beef sandwiches). Needless to say, there’s only so many roast beef sandwiches or roast beef reheats a girl can do. Today the limit was reached and when my special someone announced that there was another work lunch today, I realized that all that expensive grass fed, non-medicated blah blah blah roast beef was going to go to waste! Nooooooo!

It seemed to me that this was an occasion to call on the resident superhero (also known as a  the crock pot) to whip me up some lunch. I looked in the fridge and realized that I hadn’t roasted my veggies this week and that my portobello mushrooms were teetering on the edge of wasteland too. Then the idea formed, mushrooms, beef, noodles, in soup form is Beef Stroganoff but with less fat. Not that I’m against fat but sometimes it’s just, you know, a bit too much. This soup gives that Stroganoff taste but is a much lighter meal while being quite substantially heavier on the veggie portions side – gotta get your 7-10 a day!

Ingredients:

  • Beef – I used about 2-3 cups of cubed roast beef, but I’m sure you could use just about any lean cut (other than ground beef).
  • 3-4 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 1-2 medium onions
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • bay leaves
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • GF beef bouillon – the amount will depend on your tastes and the type you have. Start low and work your way up, especially if your brand is high in sodium.
  • 1 package of GoGo Quinoa brand Penne pasta (Lower on GI index & higher in protein than most rice pastas)
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Optional: GF onion bouillon, GF herb bouillon, GF veggie bouillon. I used quite a bit because I like a very robust flavored broth.

Directions:

  • Cube the beef, onions, mushrooms and place in a crock pot.
  • Throw in the bouillon and spices.
  • Cover with hot water to almost the top of the pot, leaving room for the pasta.
  • Cook on high for 2.5 hours or until the onions and mushrooms are tender, stirring once or twice to make sure the spices etc. are mixing up nicely.
  • Add pasta and continue to cook until the pasta is just al dante. The pasta will continue to cook as the soup cools so keep your eye on it so it does not overcook.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Notes:

  • You could probably use stew meat for this soup and it would be great. Some people prefer to brown the meat first. I have never had success with that method as my meat comes out tough every time. I find that it is much more tender if I just let the crock pot do the work.
  • You can get a more caramelized flavor by  browning the onions and mushrooms first. This is certainly not necessary but would give more depth of flavor.
  • I use a tea ball for the bay leaves so that I don’t have to go fishing them out or serving them to people.

Spinach Puffs

19 Dec

Melly's Spinach PUffsJust in time for your holiday entertaining! These crazy simple little appetizers are always a hit. Someone asks for the recipe at least once every time I serve these. So I’ll admit, this post is a bit selfish as now I can just refer people here, which will make giving out the recipe easy peasy – just like making these.

Spinach Puffs are golden, crispy, cheesy balls of bread crumbs, egg and spinach. They are the perfect hot appetizer for parties because you can make them up ahead of time, put them on a cookie sheet in your freezer and when the timing looks right pop them in the oven. People will follow their noses right to your kitchen. Another plus is that these are far healthier than store bought hot appetizers and also more affordable.

I like to have some of these in the freezer for spontaneous entertaining that happens from time to time, or for a late night snack after I’ve been out dancing. I almost always have these on the menu for parties and often take them to parties when I am a guest. They are just that popular.

Ingredients

  • 1  10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use Kinnikinnick gluten free Panko-Style bread crumbs)
  • Seasoning to taste (Italian or other spice blend)
  • 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cups of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/3 cups melted butter
  • 3 eggs beaten

Instructions

Thaw and drain the spinach. I find it best to squeeze out excess water by hand.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and set aside.

Melt the butter and set aside.

Mix the bread crumbs, seasoning, Parmesan cheese and nutritional yeast together in a large bowl.

Add in the spinach and make sure it is well distributed throughout the dry ingredients.

Add the butter and eggs and mix until well blended.

Form the batter into 1.5″ to 2″ balls.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet & freeze.

If you are going to serve these right away, you can leave them on the cookie sheet to go straight into the oven when you’re ready. If you intend to keep them for another occasion, let them freeze through and then store them in an air tight container or freezer bag.

Bake from frozen at 400 degrees F for 15-20 or until golden brown.

Note: Make sure you get spinach that is well chopped. If you forget to thaw your spinach you can thaw it in the microwave in 30 second bursts on a lower power setting. If you overheat the spinach, be sure it cools again before adding the egg.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

12 Nov

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of salted butter at room temperature (if you’ve forgotten to take our your butter you can warm it in the microwave on 4 second intervals – do not melt the butter)
  • 2 cups of sifted icing sugar
  • 1 cup of sifted cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla (or more to taste)
  • 1 – 4 Tbs milk, heavy cream, soy milk, almond milk etc. The amount will depend on how thick you want your icing.

Instructions

Cream the butter

Add the icing sugar and cocoa with your mixer on low. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl to make sure that all of the dry ingredients are blended well.

Add your vanilla and then add your milk/milk substitute 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency of your frosting. If you add too much liquid you can add more icing sugar to thicken it up.

Yield: Enough to decorate a 8″ layer cake or a batch of cupcakes/mini-cupcakes.

Notes

I have not tried this yet but I believe this icing would taste pretty darn good if made with coconut oil rather than butter for those that cannot have dairy.
For more variations on buttercream frosting see my post here.

Cake on Demand

12 Nov

This weekend I was co-hosting a party that happened to fall on a friend’s birthday. I wanted to bake him a cake. His preference is cookies but to me, nothing says “Happy Birthday” like a cake. As  I do nowadays, I asked Mr. Google for some gluten free recipes and found one that I thought would work well. Of course, I did not follow the original recipe exactly because that is just not what I do. So the recipe below is the altered version.

The cake got rave reviews and some people didn’t realize it was gluten free. Success! In fact, the reason that this is the first post and the reason for the post title is because a friend really wants the recipe. In my opinion, this cake was a bit dense. I would have liked it to be lighter and fluffier, like the cupcakes I made for my birthday last week but that’s a whole other topic.

I think this cake turned out very pretty considering I’ve not decorated a cake in a very long time.

Melly’s Version

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white rice four
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (gluten free)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your pans. I used two 8×8 square pans, that I lined with parchment paper, then lightly greased using coconut oil. I find fitting the parchment to the pans difficult so I use a little oil on the pan so the parchment has something to stick to.

Sift together or whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside.

Beat the oil, eggs, water, and vanilla together until well mixed, preferably with a stand mixer but a hand mixer will do the trick.

Gently mix in the dry ingredients adding them to the wet ingredients one cup at at time. Mix for 1 minute between each cup of dry ingredients.

When all the ingredients are combined, scrape down your bowl then mix on medium-high for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. This batter is quite thick so you will want to smooth it out before baking it.

Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool a bit in the pan  before you put them on cooling racks.

Yield: two 8″ or 9″ round layers or 2 8×8 square cakes.

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

  • 1 cup of salted butter at room tempurature (if you’ve forgotten to take our your butter you can warm it in the micorowave on 4 second intervals – do not melt the butter)
  • 2 cups of sifted icing sugar
  • 1 cup of sifted cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla (or more to taste)
  • 1-4 TBS milk, heavy cream, soy milk, almond etc.  The amount will depend on how thick you want your icing.

Cream the butter

Add the icing sugar and cocoa with your mixer on low. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl to make sure that all of the dry ingredients are blended well.

Add your vanilla and then add your milk/milk substitute 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency of your frosting. If you add too much liquid you can add more icing sugar to thicken it up.

Note: I have not tried this yet but I believe this icing would taste pretty darn good if made with coconut oil rather than butter for those that cannot have dairy.

Yield: Enough to decorate the cake as I did in the photo above, with a pretty decent layer between the cakes 🙂