Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Annnnnd they're finally edible!

One of the most challenging things I have found about gluten free baking not using a mix, is getting the flour ratios right. I made a series of banana breads over the past month using different ratios and they were only edible by me (meaning, there's no way I would have someone else eat them because too much explanation on the texture would be necessary. Blah.)

Awhile back, my friend Lauren shared her Paleo Berry Muffin recipe with me (thanks Lauren!). While I do not eat a Paleo diet, my no-gluten, no-dairy, low sugar diet that works best for me happens to be very close to Paleo and I find myself using several Paleo-friendly recipes. I tweaked her recipe some to add some additional fiber and Omega-3 and used what I had on hand (agave instead of honey), but these can very easily be made Paleo (leave out the flaxseed and chia seeds - apparently these aren't approved Paleo based on what google revealed :) ).

And the best part is, I had all of this stuff in my pantry already (with the exception of the tapioca flour) so if you already eat a whole food diet and bake gluten free, I bet you will have most, if not all, of it as well. This is a great ratio of flours, the texture is spot on - but be warned, if your berries are extra juicy, the muffins may have some uber moist spots. I've heard the use of flaxseed can trap moisture so one tweak could be to leave that out.

These are amazingly tasty! I may have eaten 3 4 of them while typing this blog post. So good! I put a source list at the bottom in case you are new to gluten free baking and aren't sure where to get these things (most are available at your local grocery store now!).

Berry Muffins (Lauren's recipe with some Melissa tweaks)

Wet Ingredients

1/4c melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/4c blue agave (I use the light gold color, but you can use whichever you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4c berries (I used some frozen ones I picked last month)

Dry ingredients

1 1/4c almond meal/almond
6 T tapioca flour
1/4c coconut flour
1 T ground flaxseed
1T chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

Melt coconut oil in big measuring cup. Add agave, vanilla, and eggs. Mix

In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. If it's too dry (mine wasn't) you can add almond milk by the tablespoon until the mixture is moist.

Stir in your berries.

I used a mini muffin tin sprayed with coconut oil. I rolled ~1" balls and plopped then in the muffin spots.

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.


Source list (these are the places I know of, I am sure there are more)

I use Bob's Red Meal Almond Meal, Coconut Flour, and Tapioca flour. These can be bought at Walmart, HEB, or Kroger. Central Market and Whole Foods carry them too. I haven't done a price comparison. My blue agave is the organic Kroger brand. The ground flaxseed can be found at HEB, Kroger, and Whole Foods. The chia seeds I buy in bulk at Whole Foods (best deal). The spray coconut oil I've bought at HEB, Kroger, and Whole Foods (I use Spectrum brand). The coconut oil I have is from Whole Foods, EfaGold brand. I don't cook often with it so it's lasted me a long time. Walmart and Kroger carry a LouAna brand non- organic coconut oil - works just as good as the other, but just isn't as high quality - personally I think that's just fine for baking (I got the higher end stuff to take as a supplement).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

I have yet to find a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that tastes like a gluten-filled chocolate chip cookie (and believe me, I've tried!). However, I did stumble upon this recipe and these are pretty tasty cookies! They aren't super sweet, so if that's what you are in the mood for, increase the sugar (better yet, maybe do half-white and half brown sugar, that might get you a more gluten-filled cc cookie taste.)

To make these dairy-free, just use coconut oil instead of butter and dairy-free chocolate chips. Also, if you don't like coconut, don't try these - there is definitely a subtle coconut-y flavor to them.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2c butter
2 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
~1 cup chocolate chips (I used all-nautral mini ones)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl, set aside
3. Melt butter. Mix with sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add to flour mixture.
4. Mix well
5. Stir in chocolate chips
6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
7. Roll medium size balls of dough (~1 inch in diameter) and place on the cookie sheet
8. Bake 13-15 minutes (tops should be just starting to brown. This made about 28 cookies.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drawing from my Eastern European roots...

I made a soup earlier this week that called for cabbage...but only a little bit. I was staring at this head of cabbage sitting in my fridge and wondering what I could make from it before it went bad. I have purple cabbage that I also need to use this week, and I make that with balsamic vinegar, so I wanted something that would have a different flavor. I remembered the amazing cabbage my friend Jana and I had when we took our Eastern European trip ::gulp:: almost 7 years ago. I did some googling and landed on a recipe for haluska (in Hungarian) or haluski (in Czech). It's a cabbage and dumpling dish. Since I've got Hungarian blood in my veins and this is a staple recipe, I figured I should probably try my hand at it :)

It was super easy and quick. And really really tasty. I don't know if mine is traditional haluska, because I didn't have any potatoes, so my dumplings were just flour dumplings, not potato and flour, but ah well, I guess I Melissaized it a bit then ;-).

Cabbage and Dumplings (Melissa's version of haluska)

~1 head cabbage (I used Napa cabbage)
1 small-med onion
3 T butter
1c flour (I used Hodgson Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour and 1/8 tsp xantham gum)
~1/2c water
~2 cups water or chicken broth* (the broth gives the dumplings a better flavor)

Slice the head of cabbage finely (some even put it in a food processor). Dice the onion. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions. Sauté for a minute or so and then add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Boil the water/chicken broth. In a small bowl, mix the flour and 1/2c water. You may need to add water until it becomes a consistency that you can roll into small balls. I also added some garlic salt to add a bit more flavor. Once the water/broth is boiling, drop the rolled balls of dough (I kept mine to about the diameter of a nickel) into the water/broth and let them boil for about 5 minutes. Stir the cabbage. After 5 minutes, drain the dumplings and add them to the cabbage. Stir to combine and then serve. A simple, yummy dish that takes me back to my travels through the Czech Republic and Hungary.

*I didn't have chicken broth handy, so I used a spice I bought in Turkey that's used for flavoring rice - ends up having just about the same taste as chicken broth. It has herbs in it, so that's why the dumplings have specks in the picture


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Potato and Sausage Soup (gluten and dairy free version included!)

Here's a potato soup recipe I tweaked to remove processed food items and include a gluten and dairy free version. It is super yummy, perfect for a cold winter day!

Potato and Sausage Soup

6 cups potatoes (cubed - can be peeled or unpeeled)
1/2c celery (or more if you like a lot of celery) (diced)
1/2 an onion - diced
~1lb italian sausage (can substitute ham or bacon as well)
32 oz chicken broth (I use free range organic)
salt and pepper to taste

White Sauce (regular)
5T butter
5T all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

White sauce (gluten and dairy free)
1 1/2 T olive oil
5T gluten free baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

In a large pot brown the sausage. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add the potatoes, celery, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate sauce pan, melt butter (heat oil). Add flour and stir to combine until there are no lumps (for the gf version, the oil will not adsorb all the oil, so you will have lumps and dry flour remaining, no worries). Add the milk, continuously stirring, keep those lumps away! Mixture will thicken (takes about 4ish minutes- keep stirring!).

Add white sauce to the potato mixture and stir to combine.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

If you refrigerate the soup and reheat, I found that the soup was VERY thick so I added water while reheating until I got a soupy consistency.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gluten-free, almost dairy-free, Pumpkin Muffins

So, I've updated my Pumpkin Bread/Muffin recipe to make gluten-free and almost dairy-free (still has butter in it, you could use shortening instead and make it completely dairy-free) muffins

Pumpkin Muffins - gluten-free and almost dairy-free
Sift together:
1 3/4 C. gluten-free multi-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour)

1/4 tsp xantham gum for every 1c gf flour used
1/4tsp double acting baking powder (can substitute gf baking powder)
1 tsp baking soda (can substitute gf baking soda)
1 tsp salt
rounded 1/2 tsp cinnamon
rounded 1/4 tsp nutmeg
rounded 1/4tsp ginger

Preheat over to 350F.

In a bowl, beat 2/3 c brown sugar, 2/3c white sugar, 1/3c butter, and 2 eggs.
Add and beat in 1 c canned pumpkin

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with 1/3 c almond milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat only enough to make sure flour mixture/milk is mixed in- don't over beat.

Place batter in aluminum muffin cups (muffins will stick if you use just paper cups) and bake ~28 minutes - time varies depending on how full the cups are so keep an eye on them. Cool on wire rack. Eat fresh or freeze (see update below on freezing).

**Update** These also froze and thawed really well. I had them in the freezer for about 3 weeks and they still tasted great! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cupcake fail

They may look like yummy chocolate cupcakes....

But they weren't. Oh disappointed tastebuds. The texture was really off and they were super dry. They definitely tasted gluten free. Not sure if I am up for tweaking the recipe with some applesauce to try and  add more moisture because they were just that OFF (seriously, I made myself eat a few and then threw the rest away) that I am not sure if it's redeemable. Oh well...good thing there are other recipes out there...or I'll just use the ever handy and tasty Pamela's Products Chocolate cake mix :).

Ingredients...just in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ode to Chard

To be honest, before I tried this recipe, the only swiss chard I have eaten was in the Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Enchiladas at Taco Milagro (they are delicious, in case you were wondering).

This is another Pinterest recipe and I really like the mix of flavors - the chard has a very "green" earthy taste, the sherry wine/apple cider vinegar combo I used brought out the sweetness of both the onions and the raisins. Top that off with walnut-nutiness and I will definitely be rotating this in as a good green dish.

Melissa's tweaks: couldn't find sherry vinegar (a quick google whilst in the grocery store revealed that it is hard to find and expensive - folks recommended a mix of cooking wine and apple cider vinegar) so I used 1T of sherry cooking wine and 1T of apple cider vinegar. And I only used one bunch of red swiss chard and it was good for just one serving (the recipe says it is 8 servings...they must of used REALLY big bunches of chard...or didn't eat the heaping plate full that I did ;-) ). Well, my plate wasn't really heaping, see in the picture? So whatever, just keep that in mind when planning for a group of people. Also, note in the "Method" section, you heat a large pot. Yes, just the pot. Not the pot with water in it. Just the pot. Thankfully, I caught this before I complete boiled the pot of water.

Swiss chard with walnuts (recipe from Whole Foods)


1/2 cup raisins 
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 
2 bunches Swiss chard, preferably rainbow, stems removed, leaves sliced 
1 red onion, sliced 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


Put raisins and vinegar in a small bowl with 1/4 cup boiling water. Set aside to let soak 10 minutes. 

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Drain and reserve raisins; add liquid to the pot. Add chard a few handfuls at a time, stirring and letting the chard cook down until all of it fits in the pot. Add onion and salt, lower heat to medium, cover and cook until onion and chard are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in raisins and cook 1 minute longer. Top with walnuts and serve.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eat-the-entire-pan enchiladas

Another win for Pinterest:

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas and I really wanted to eat the entire pan. Really. These are THAT good.

I think the secret is that you roast the veggies before baking the enchiladas. Great flavor with just cumin, salt, and pepper for seasoning

A food photographer I will never be - but you get the point between the plate and the pan - layers of veggie goodness.


Melissa's tweaks:
I only used 1T of grapeseed oil to toss the veggies in before roasting. The recipe calls for 3T, which honestly is overkill - 1T does the job just fine and cuts out 24o extra calories for the dish overall. Instead of baby spinach, I had some spring mix greens that were nearing their wilting date, so I just tossed those in. I only used 1 red bell pepper because I try to stay away from them (they are an "inflammatory vegetable"). I significantly reduced the amount of cheese (sorry, I didn't measure) and I nixed the sour cream. So all in all, this is a good healthy recipe with lots of different colored vegetables. The more color, the better! And, it happens to be gluten free too :)


Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas


1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved and slivered
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 T heat-safe oil like grapeseed or coconut
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
9-10 corn tortillas, halved (try making homemade tortillas!)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend)
sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.

Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Serves 4-5

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Amazing Chocolate Muffins

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Photo courtesy of

I have to blog this recipe, 'cause these muffins are awesome. It's a recipe I pinned from Pinterest. My friend Lisa made them first and I just tried my hand at them and they are incredibly tasty and healthy to boot.

I made mine gluten free by using gluten free oats (gf oat and oats are the same thing, it's just the gf oats aren't processed on equipment that also processes wheat, so using gf doesn't change the taste). I used Stevia (in lieu of Splenda) and accidentally reduced the amount (learn how to read Melissa!), I used Greek yogurt, and I also left out the chocolate chips.

I will say, they are even more amazing with the chocolate chips (like the kind Lisa made) but I was going for "little sugar as possible, something more appropriate for breakfast". I can't wait to experiment with this recipe and maybe add some nuts or flax seed. I had the roomie try them and while she thought they were good, they were too chocolately for her (she doesn't like chocolate cake things - I know, :gasp: right?). These are a very rich chocolate - perfect with a glass of skim milk to keep the whole healthy thing going :)

The website that has this recipe says that the muffins are about 58 calories apiece. I did my own calculations and got about 80, it's close.

Here you go! Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin

(recipe from


  • 1 3/4 c oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.
Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.
Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
Place the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!
Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!!
Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ugly food

This is hands down the ugliest food I have ever made.

The recipe was called "Vegetarian cabbage rolls". But it really left a lot to be desired - they said to boil the veggies that go in the filling - gasp - I sautéed them instead (hello, flavor!). I used red quinoa instead of the bulgur (since bulgur has gluten in it) and decided to use the red cabbage I had on hand.

Before cabbage, when boiled, apparently goes all blue-green-mottled purple...not exactly appetizing. Next time, I stick with green cabbage. The filling is zucchini, orange bell pepper, baby portabella mushrooms, garlic, and red quinoa with thyme, basil, and marjoram. I think next time I may try ground turkey in them...

See? Ugly stuffed cabbage rolls...and I do not get how one is supposed to roll cabbage either, so mine are more like cabbage burritos/tacos that I placed strategically in the pan so they would look like rolls for the picture :)

Topped with a tomato/sriracha sauce I came up with...that wasn't bad.

In general, they are pretty tasty, as long as you don't look at them. Not sure if I am a fan of marjoram though...that was a new spice for me. I would try this recipe again, but with some more tweaking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flourless cupcakes?

I found a recipe for flourless chocolate cupcakes.

I like the simplicity of this recipe - just a handful of ingredients.

Note to self - if I plan to do more of these "flourless" recipes, I really need to invest in a better food processor. My itty bitty black and decker one just about died trying to get the chocolate and almonds to a "consistency of coarse sand"...the mixture ended up more like semi-fine I was a bit worried on how they would bake...

Ready to go in the oven (see the 'gravel' in the center of each cup? - that's why I was worried)

And the result - not bad at all. Even my roomie liked them. They are incredibly rich and definitely didn't need frosting, but thankfully the texture ended up being nice - not too gravelly. I would make these again - maybe in a mini-size, since they are so rich...