Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Muffins - Banana Oat Muffins (or bread)

Monday Muffins

I decided my blog needed something fun, something catchy, something that was just mine.  So, since I bake a lot of muffins, I came up with Monday Muffins.  Clever, right?  Every Monday I will post a new muffin recipe that is of course free of the top 8 allergens, and tasty as all get out!

Today's muffins are a deviation from a banana bread recipe that I love.  Who doesn't love banana bread, right? Upon going gluten-free, banana bread was, and still is, one of the goodies I miss the most.  My mom makes amazing banana bread.  I wish I could have a piece right now.  Instead I have these tasty treasures.  They are a close second, though I will admit nothing will ever beat my mom's!

Start with the basic dry ingredients.  Take a nice picture, be sure to get a snippet of chocolate chips in there, those will come in handy later.

Next up mix together the wet stuff.  I liked this picture.  I liked it so much I saved as my wallpaper on my phone.  Is that weird?

Blend it all together.  Looks boring.  Looks like mush.  But smells so good.  And is going to taste even better. 

Especially now that you added these.  See, I told you they would come in handy! 

And now you have a nice batter.  Isn't that lovely?

Banana Oat Muffins (or bread)

1 cup Basic Gluten-free flour blend
1 cup oat flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons rice milk
¼ cup canola oil
¾ cup rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium-sized bananas)
1-2 cups chocolate chips, if desired (they are always desired in my house!)

11.    Preheat oven to  325 for muffins, 350 for bread.  Spray muffin tin or loaf pan. 
22.   Mix together the flours, xanthan gum, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
33.  Blend the egg replacer mixture with the oil, rice milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix on medium about 1 minute.
44.  Add the mashed bananas.  Blend on low about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be lumpy. 
  5.  Gradually add the flour mixture.  Blend completely on medium speed.  Pour the batter into the pan.
66.   For muffins or mini-muffins bake 20-25 minutes for muffins, 45-55 minutes for bread. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dairy-free Mac n Cheese

When my family quit eating dairy, I longed for mac n cheese.  Every now and then I get a hankering, but for the most part, I've gotten over it.  That is, until I discovered Daiya "cheese."  Then, all of a sudden the creamy, cheesy possibilities seemed endless.  I was told by a friendly employee at my favorite health food store that this stuff would melt just like regular cheese.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that.  But, it did pretty well.  Doesn't it look larping?  (Don't know that word?  Refer back to my biscuit post.)

Now for the controversial part, goat cheese.  I love the stuff, and used a little in this dish.  But, I'm not sure if it's truly allergen-free.  Every now and then after eating goat cheese, I get a little tummy ache.  I suffer no other ill effects like I do when consuming cow's milk or cheese, but I suspect some goat cheeses must have a small quantity of something suspicious in them.  Anyone know?  I have found the Trader Joe's Goat Cheese Cheddar to be tasty and easily digestible.  Oh, and don't you love my fancy dancy cheese shredder?  Seeing as how I rarely shed cheese, I simply haven't put it at the top of my priority list.  Oh, and next time I will stick strictly to Daiya, this time I was in a pinch and didn't have enough in the fridge.  

Dairy-free Creamy Mac n Cheese
1 (16 oz) package penne pasta
2 cups rice milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (want to know a secret?  I only had regular yellow mustard and it tasted just fine)
3 cups "Cheese" of your choice - I used a combo of Daiya's mozzarella and cheddar and then shredded up some goat cheese I had 
A few dashes of onion powder

1.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain, set aside.

2.  Scald the rice milk and set aside.

3.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the brown rice flour, stirring for a couple minutes.  It will clump a bit, this is your roux.

4.  Add the rice milk a little at a time, whisking continuously until smooth.  Add the salt and mustard and bring to a simmer.  

5.  Add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and keep stirring for several minutes.  It will take a few minutes for the cheese to melt completely, and it will look a little clumpy as pictured above.  Don't worry! Preheat the oven to broil.  

6.  Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.  

7.  Transfer the pasta to a baking dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Put under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and is browning.  Remove from oven and let rest several minutes before serving.  


Monday, February 18, 2013

Brian's Famous Chicken Pot Pie

Historical Fact:  Wendy's fast food restaurants is named after a family member.  Current Fact: This dinner of mine is named after a family member.  My brother, Brian, in fact has never even eaten my chicken pot pie, but as part of a negotiation in regards to the content of this post, he got naming rights for my meal.  I suppose it's fair.  I am, after all, about to reveal some highly personal information about Brian.  

Not a single person in my family can hear or speak the words "chicken pot pie" without busting up laughing.  When Brian was potty training, he used the phrase as an indicator that he was "ready."  So, one of my parents, 99.9% of the time my mom, would trudge off for wiping duties.  I'm not really sure why my brother chose to belt out "CHICKEN POT PIE" at the top of his lungs from the pot, but it worked.  And chicken pot pie was never looked at the same in our house.  

I honestly don't recall eating chicken pot pie much as a kid, if at all. So, it's strange to me that this was his chosen phrase.  Teriyaki chicken, spaghetti, fajitas, even meatloaf, but not chicken pot pie.  And I've never made it as an adult, either.  Until now.  And I'm so glad I did!

Is there a right or wrong way to eat a chicken pot pie?  This is more of a Chicken pot soup with biscuits, but the taste is all the same.  I first baked up some biscuits, then cooked up the "filling" as they baked.  I chose to eat this meal in a bowl with a fork.  My girls ate it like a sandwich.  

Multi-Grain Biscuits
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dairy-free, soy free shortening, chilled
2 (6-ounce containers) plain or vanilla vegan yogurt (I use So Delicious)
5 tablespoons rice milk

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.

3.  Cut in the chilled shortening with a pastry blender until you have a pea-sized crumb.  Add the yogurt and 3 tablespoons of the rice milk.  Stir until combined.  

4.  Flour a work surface, and turn out the dough.  Lightly flour your hands and sprinkle the dough with a little flour, as well.

5.  Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick disk.  

6.  Use a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or round drinking glass to cut out the biscuits.  Transfer them to the baking sheet.

7.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice milk.  

8.  Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

9.  Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack.  

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery
4 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning spice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup rice milk
1 (12oz) package frozen vegetables - I used country style with corn, carrots, green beans (the hubs doesn't eat peas, but I think they would be tasty in this meal)
2 cups cooked chicken - leftover rotisserie chicken was fabulous
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium.  Add the celery and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times.  

2.  Add the brown rice flour and sprinkle in the Italian seasoning, stirring for another 2 minutes.  Combine the broth and rice milk in a microwave-safe cup or bowl.  Heat for about a minute in the microwave.

3.  Add the warmed broth-milk mixture to the celery mixture, stirring vigorously.  Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  

4.  Add the veggies and chicken.  Heat through at a simmer.  Add more salt and pepper as desired.  

5.  Decide how you like to eat it, then dig in.  Pour filling on top of biscuits, between biscuits like a sandwich, under biscuit topping, the possibilities are endless.  Well, maybe not endless, but I'm sure there's plenty more!

Yummy, according to the kids.  I concur!

Granola Bars

I struggle with snacks.  Seems like my kids eat deli turkey meat or fruit.  And there's nothing wrong with that, but every few weeks they refuse both, probably because they're so sick of it over and over again.  I've seen some granola bar posts by fellow bloggers, and have been hesitant to try.  Why, you ask?  Well, my kid are super picky about texture.  Oats are one of those things that really need to be mushy before they'll eat.  In cookies, they will pass if the oats aren't cooked enough and still have that hard and grainy texture.  I took a gamble with these, and it seems I won.  This is probably due to the amount of chocolate chips I added.  I figure if I can get them to like these for a bit, I can cut back on the chocolate on the next batch.  I can't remember the last time I ate a granola bar, but I don't remember them being as tasty as these. 


These were also fairly easy and quick to make - I whipped them up while my kids gave each other a checkup in the playroom.  We have a closet of toys that we like to rotate and today we pulled out the old doctor kit.  You'd have thought it was Christmas.  I need to remember to rotate more frequently!  Not a single tear has been shed, nor a slap or even a yell, from either of my girls.  Of course, it could be due to their contented, chocolate granola-filled bellies, too.

Gluten-free & Vegan Granola Bars
4 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup Spectrum shortening (melted)
Mix-ins such as craisins, sunflower seeds, nuts if you do them, cinnamon, etc.


1.  Preheat oven to 325.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.  

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and xanthan gum.  

3. Add oats, chocolate chips, and brown sugar.  Mix well.

4.  Add vanilla, melted shortening, honey, mix-ins.  Pour into baking pan and pat/press down with a flat spatula.  Bake 18-20 minutes.  

5.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a cookie sheet.  Let cool about half an hour before slicing, then allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes 007

Cupcakes, oh heavenly cupcakes.  I had too many yesterday, but luckily had the energy to get up earlier than usual on a workout day, so fit in an extra mile.  This makes me feel slightly better about myself, however, those sweets are calling to me from the kitchen again....  Tomorrow is my "long run day," so I suppose cupcakes are appropriate...carbo loading...I'm reaching here....

My husband has a knack for hiding gifts in the most random places.  I have found surprises in my car, diaper bag, even in the shower.  But, he is particularly fond of kitchen locations.  I once found an ipod in the fridge's produce drawer, gift card in the knife drawer, and an iphone in the microwave (that was a risky one!).  This morning it was the fridge again, and I am really excited about this one.  You see, a few years ago we went through a tacos and Bond phase.  Every weekend we watched a new James Bond movie while eating tacos (did I really need to explain that to you?).  It quickly became our new "night in." Those of you with kids understand the difficulties with fitting in date nights.  With work schedules, budgets, kids' schedules, etc., it just doesn't always happen for us.  So, we rarely get to the movie theater these days.  We figure when we do fork over the bucks on a sitter and a date, we want that time to be spent in a more enriching way than sitting zombie-like in a dark theater without any conversation.  We prefer an uninterrupted meal and grown-up conversation, or something of the like.  So, we typically wait for movies to come out on dvd, and in the meantime we enjoy our tacos on Sunday nights after the kids are in bed with a nice conversation, followed by SNL recorded from the previous night.  Might sound boring and monotonous, but it works for us.  But, guess what's on for tonight?  007, oh yeah!

But, back to the cupcakes.  These are by far the best allergen-free cupcakes I have had, Cybele Pascal has done it again!  The only modification I made to her original recipe was adding extra vanilla, you really can't go wrong with extra vanilla!  Oh, and I find that Spectrum shortening really needs to be creamed a bit longer, so I added some extra time to that.  I suggest doing this to avoid "grit."


Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup rice milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup Spectrum shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup rice milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract (modified from the original 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 recipe Vanilla Frosting (recipe follows)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line a muffin or mini-muffin pan.

2.  Whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  Combine the rice milk and cider vinegar, set aside.

4.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy on medium, about 4 minutes.  Sift in the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the rice milk.  Beat until smooth.

5.  Fill the liners about three-fourths full with batter.  

6.  Bake for about 15 minutes for mini-cupcakes, 22 for regular, rotating the pan halfway through.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.  


Vanilla Frosting
1 cup Spectrum shortening
Pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup rice milk (adapted from the original 1/4, just wasn't creamy enough for me)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or maybe more, I sort of just dumped it in)

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and salt on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth.

2.  Add the powdered sugar, rice milk, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes (this is when I empty the dishwasher, pay a couple bills, and check on my little princesses).  Frost or pipe onto cupcakes.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Children's Allergy Books

Am I terrible for secretly rejoicing in the fact that my daughter was up most of the night coughing, consequently too tired to make it to preschool today, Valentine's Day?  While I felt sad that she would miss out on her first Valentine party, I was quietly reveling in the fact that she would be home, safe with me, all day.  I wouldn't spend my morning worrying about where and how the class treats were processed or what kind of candy would find its way into her heart-shaped mailbox.

I don't think she realizes what she's missing out on, so that is a small relief.  Sure, she knew there was to be a party, but having had no experience with Valentine parties, she really didn't know what the morning would look like.  There's always next year for a first.  In the meantime, I think I'll get over my guilt and just enjoy our time together.  

Our Valentine "treats" consisted of a new dress for each girl, as well as a new book for each.  Books are always great gifts for my girls, we read a lot.  Speaking of books, did you know there are many children's books about allergies on the market?  We have several, and I wanted to share my favorites.  

The Princess and the Peanut Allergy is one of Grace's favorites.  She is a fan of anything princess, and this has a cute storyline, too.  Regina and her mom are busy preparing for her birthday party. It's going to be a princess party with the perfect cake that looks like a castle and has ice cream cone towers. Regina is inviting all the girls in her class, including her best friend, Paula. Paula is excited, too, until she finds out about the cake. It will have nutty fudge brownies and peanut butter candies. Paula can't eat that cake--she can't go anywhere near that cake--because she has a peanut allergy. Regina really wants her cake, and she and Paula fight about it.  That afternoon they both go home mad.  But that night, after Regina reads her favorite story, "The Princess and the Pea," she thinks more about her friend and the cake.  The next morning she has a great plan that will please everyone

I think perhaps Jude the Dude was created on a small budget as the writing and graphics are a  But, it's a cute story nonetheless.  Upset with his peanut allergy, Jude the Dude soon realizes he can still have fun and live out all of his dreams with his allergy. He learns to be safe by reading labels, correctly using his Epi-Pen, and taking his own food to parties. Eventually, Jude the Dude becomes a famous football player and teaches others about peanut allergies. Filled with colorful illustrations, this chidlren's peanut allergy book teaches children (and parents) tips for living safely with this life-threatening allergy and emphasizes the fact that a food allergy is something to live with. But, it does not define who you are. Any child with any allergy/illness can conquer the world.

The Peanut Pickle will help children learn how to tell others about a food allergy and explain that they need a safe environment. It will teach them how to deal with difficult and awkward situations that inevitably arise when a child has a life-threatening food allergy. It also includes a guide for parents to help their children with food allergies.

We don't actually own The Bugabees yet, but it's in my Amazon cart.  If I could buy every book I wanted, I'd have one heck of a library! This is a whimsical tale of eight friends with food allergies. Food allergies are never fun, but best friends always are! This light-hearted story explores the daily routines of eight best buggy friends such as Beetle, Cricket and Butterfly, as they face their respective food allergies with positivity and poise.

The Princess and the Peanut is of course another favorite in our house.  Every queen knows that in order to find out if a princess is REAL, one must send the "alleged" princess to bed on a magnificent pile of mattresses, slip in a pea, and see how she sleeps.  But when the royal kitchen is fresh out peas, the queen tries a peanut instead.  The princess turns out to be as real as her food allergies. 

The Peanut-Free Cafe is a really sweet story and probably my personal favorite from our allergy collection.  All the students at Nutley School love peanut butter, especially Simon. For Simon, peanut butter is essential. But then new student, Grant comes to school. Grant is allergic to peanut butter and can't sit near anyone eating it. Should the principal forbid peanut butter in the cafeteria? What will the students of Nutley School do if they can't have peanut butter for lunch? Simon comes up with a clever idea. The school can have a peanut-free café! It will be a fun place to eat and watch movies, where the only admission is a peanut-free lunch. The other students gladly give up their peanut-butter lunches to be in the new café with Grant, but can Simon give up the food he loves the most?

I have found all of these on amazon, and even some at the local library.  I think these are a great resource for parents and kids alike.

And by the way, we aren't completely sweet-deprived.  We still have some leftover sugar cookies I made the other day.  And although I lent my favorite baking book to a friend, another friend was able to drop off a copy of a favorite cupcake recipe which I have currently baking in the oven.  Recipe will be posted soon :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Biscuits and Valentines

I love Valentine's Day!  Today Grace and I had fun buying artsy stuff for her Valentine party at preschool.  She really enjoyed crafting Valentines, and I was impressed with how well she put together little heart monkeys and owls.  Too cute.  

Next up, as we continue on our quest for tasty "breads," we decided to bake up these scrumptious biscuits.   Especially fresh out of the oven, these do not disappoint!  Add Earth Balance buttery spread...larping (Have I told you about this word?  It's a highly technical, very sophisticated word for delicious.  It originates in the kitchen of, I believe, my great grandmother)

Multi-Grain Biscuits
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dairy-free, soy free shortening, chilled
2 (6-ounce containers) plain or vanilla vegan yogurt (I use So Delicious)
5 tablespoons rice milk

1.  Preheat the oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt.

3.  Cut in the chilled shortening with a pastry blender until you have a pea-sized crumb.  Add the yogurt and 3 tablespoons of the rice milk.  Stir until combined.  

4.  Flour a work surface, and turn out the dough.  Lightly flour your hands and sprinkle the dough with a little flour, as well.

5.  Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick disk.  

6.  Use a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or round drinking glass to cut out the biscuits.  Transfer them to the baking sheet.

7.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice milk.  

8.  Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

9.  Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Well I've just tucked Baby Bop into bed, and Angelina Ballerina is snuggled up watching a show before lights's confusing parenting a toddler and a preschooler!  I can't keep up with who is who from day to day.  And who knew Barney's green sidekick would still be cool 20-some years later?! I remember when my youngest brother watched that show and I thought it was so dumb.  Want to know what I *still* think about it now?  So, anyway, I'm sitting here on the couch watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, questioning my moral integrity, and I figured I could make much better use of my time and brain cells by updating my blog.  I never imagined this is what my Friday nights would look to the needs of a mini triceratops and a British dancer while the hubs works up in the office and I indulge in ridiculous on-screen guilty (and brainless) pleasures as I iron out the details of my latest allergen-free cake.

So, let's get this party started.  I was incredibly flattered, and slightly nervous, when a friend asked me last weekend if I would be interested in making a gluten-free cake for her mother's birthday.  After the week I had (a short stint in the hospital with Baby Bop, husband home sick, shuffling the ballerina between family and friends, etc), I was eager to get to some baking. This was officially my first order, and she even paid me!  That was a bit complicated, as you know in allergen-free baking there are so many ingredients that it seemed impossible, at the time, to calculate even the cost of a single cup of flour.  But we settled it, and all was good.  And it WAS good!

This recipe is an adaptation of Cybele Pascal's Chocolate Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting which can be found in her book, The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook.

Chocolate Coconut Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2 cups Basic Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup rice milk
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons vanilla coconut milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

1 (10-ounce) bag Enjoy Life semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegan shortening
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla coconut milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two round cake pans and dust with a little cocoa powder.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the flour,  cocoa powder, xanthan gum, sugar, soda, powder, and salt.

3.  Add the egg replacer, coconut milk, canola oil, coconut extract, and warm water and beat on medium-low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

4.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.

5.  Bake for about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Bake until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

6.  Let cool in pans on a rack for about 30 minutes.  Then flip the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

7.  Frost and enjoy!

1.  Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Melt in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds.  It will take 2-3 minutes to melt completely.  Stir until smooth, let cool to room temperature.

2.  Combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth and the cocoa has dissolved.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, powdered sugar, salt, and coconut milk, beating on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

4.  Add the melted chocolate and beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cocoa mixture and beat for about a minute more until combined.

I think this cake is marvelous.  I recommend letting it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours prior to frosting it.  I also would advise keeping it cool once it has been frosted, as the coconut oil will melt.  This will still taste delicious, trust me, but it could turn into a mess.  My PBS stars devoured the extras, and my client (tee hee, sounds funny to say!), gave it a good review.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Legendary Pancakes

I love lazy days.  Today has been what my mom would call a "sock day."  Hanging around the house, doing laundry, watching movies, etc.  I suppose I'm making up for my over-achieving Sunday which consisted of going to church, making a cake for a friend (my first "order" yippee!), running 6 miles, going on a date with my husband, and catching the tail end of the Super Bowl before finally hitting the sack.  So, yeah, I think today's lack of accomplishment is well-deserved.

On easy mornings like today, when I'm not rushing to get out the door to preschool, MOPS, or anywhere else on time, I love to make pancakes.  I've experimented with several recipes.  But this is the one that gives me the most consistent results, and tastes the most like its wheaty, buttery, milky counterpart.  I absolutely love them.  My kids devour them, and my husband who rarely eats breakfast before leaving for work, always stops for one or two of these on his way out the door.

Steph's Legendary Pancakes 
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer + 2 tablespoons rice milk
3/4 cup coconut milk (preferably vanilla-flavored) + 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Basic Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Mix egg replacer with rice milk and set aside.

2.  Mix coconut milk with vinegar and set aside.

3.  Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

4.  Mix wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.

5.  Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

6.  Scoop onto a lightly greased griddle.

I like to make a lot, let them cool, then freeze them in fours or fives.  They do freeze really well!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Easy Pizza Crust

What a week!  After days of a yucky tummy bug, I took my youngest to the ER Monday morning as she was very dehydrated and in need of medical help.  I am so glad we went.  We weren't in the ER very long before they admitted her, thus began our 3-day hospital stay.  In the meantime, my husband was just coming down with the virus, and was in quarantine at home.  I have to say, I am blessed with some amazing people in my life, who took the stress of worrying about my three-year-old off my shoulders.  Between my incredible mom (who came down with the bug herself, days later), and a couple of friends, Grace was well cared for.  And between the stellar nurses, doctors, and staff at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, so was Emma!  And here's a quick caution about the superbug Norovirus - it is a very stable virus.  It lives on surfaces for up to two weeks, and is not easily killed.  Hand sanitizers are not effective in preventing the spread of this illness.  So, please, wash your hands frequently, wipe down surfaces diligently and repeatedly.  And most importantly, stay home if you are ill to prevent spreading it.

Spending a few days in the hospital really had me itching to get outside for a run and into my kitchen to bake.  Our first night home, a dear friend blessed us by bringing us dinner.  The next night I was still playing catch-up around the house and opted for easy spaghetti.  But, by yesterday I was back at the gym by 5:30am and ready to get back in gear in the kitchen.  I decided to give homemade pizza a shot.  This afforded me the opportunity to use up our leftover spaghetti sauce as well as to spend some much needed one-on-one baking time with Grace.  We had a blast, and dinner was delicious.

Homemade Pizza Crust
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons Spectrum shortening
1 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Toppings (Your choice. I used tomato sauce, shredded goat "cheddar," chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes)
1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Coat a pizza tin or cookie sheet (with edge) with olive oil.
2.  Combine flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda in a medium bowll.  Set aside.
3.  Combine the shortening, hemp milk, and vinegar in a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute.

4.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and blend for 2-3 minutes on medium speed.

5.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly to the edges.  

6.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

7.  Remove the partially baked crust from the oven.  Add desired toppings.

8.  Bake for 12-18 minutes more.  

Next time I make this, I will bake the crust in pie dishes for personal-sized pizzas.  I also may double the batter, as this recipe is a relatively thin crust.  No complaints, though.  Everyone ate seconds, some had thirds!

Lucky for us, we had a Bob's brownie mix in the pantry.  So, we whipped that up for dessert.  And when my three-year-old bakes, she bakes with sprinkles.  So, sprinkled brownies we had!  Yum!