Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Pear Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Nut Topping

Happy  Christmas!  It is cold and rainy in our neck of the woods.  We've had thunderstorms since midnight.  It's a perfect moring for coffee cake and hot chocolate for breakfast.  This coffee cake has the DH stamp of approval - he exlaimed "oh man, this is good coffee cake!" at the first bite, and now there is none left.  I'll have to make more for Boxing Day!

Pear Coffee  Cake

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (such as Coffeecake and Muffin Blend)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil or canola oil
1/2 cup dairy free, soy free milk (we use flax)
2 small or 1 large bartlett pear, peeled, cored and diced

Cinnamon Nut Topping

2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecan or walnut)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of one 8x8 inch baking dish with palm shortening or margarine, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the salt.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

 In a medium bowl, stir together the applesauce through the milk.  Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Fold in the pears.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts.  Sprinkle evenly over the coffee cake.  Place in the oven and bake 30 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 45 - 60 minutes before cutting into squares.  Serve warm.

Coffee Cake and Muffin Blend

Millet flour tastes lovely in coffee cakes and quick breads.  Alone, it tends to be crumbly.   Add buckwheat flour, and this blend  makes a moist coffee cake with a perfect crumb.

1 1/2 cups millet flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch

Sift all ingredients until well-blended.  Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cinnamon Skillet Apples

This recipe for skillet apples is one of my favorite recipes to make.  These apples are fast, easy and fun to make with kids.  Serve them for dessert by topping them with ice cream (we like So Delicious Vanilla Bean) or Soyatoo Rice Whip.  OR serve them for breakfast by topping them with granola (we like Homemade Buckwheat Granola) and/or yogurt (So Delicious Vanilla Yogurt or homemade coconut milk yogurt).

4 large Granny Smith apples, or other apple suitable for cooking
3 tbsp. coconut oil or Earth Balance dairy-free, soy-free margarine
1/2 cup apple juice
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Peel, core and slice apples into wedges (12 wedges per apple).  Toss apples with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning, then set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, arrowroot and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Melt coconut oil or margarine in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the apples and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 5 - 10 minutes.  Add the apple juice and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook apples until tender - another 5 - 10 minutes.  Add the brown sugar mixture and cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 1 - 3 minutes.

Place apples into individual serving dishes, spooning sauce over top.  Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream for dessert, or with granola for breakfast!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pinto Bean Chili

Today is damp and cloudy.  Tomorrow will be cold and windy.  Weather like this is perfect for chili.  This pinto bean chili is my new favorite - it's very thick since Anna won't eat anything brothy.  You can thin it with more broth or even salsa if desired, or serve it with cornbread or on top of a baked potato.  I like mine dressed simply with plenty of chopped fresh tomato and avocado.

1 pound dried pinto beans, cooked
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth (Imagine or homemade)
1 6oz can Rotel Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp. lime juice 
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. ground chipotle
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
toppings of your choice as desired - chopped onion, tomato, avocado, cilantro, etc.

Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 mintues.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Add the vegetable broth, Rotel and lime juice.  Mash 3 cups of the beans, add to the pot and stir to combine.  Add the remaining beans.

In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder through the cayenne pepper.  Stir the spice mixture into the bean mixture.  Heat to a simmer, then simmer until thick.  Adjust seasonings as desired.  This is a thick, hearty chili.  You can add more vegetable broth to thin it if you like.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Romeo's Bruschetta Topping

It got cold here!  Last weekend it was 80 degrees, and this morning we woke up to snow.  My blood must be thinning because I'm starting to complain about 40 degree weather.  DH flaunts his "I grew up in northern Vermont" style by running around in this weather in shorts...out of spite, I think.  But I bundle up, and the girls more than me (hats and scarves and the's not that cold).  All our old wool sweaters and socks still lie in storage, unused year after year.  I just can't bring myself to get rid of them.  We bought our house here, in West Nile Virus central, but I'll be darned if I let go of my last grips on home...all our fine wool sweaters.  I still run out of the house every morning with a wet head, too.  My mom used to get so upset when I did that.  Sorry, Mom, I have not outgrown that one.  It's still interesting to have your wet hair freeze, and then shake your head to listen to the hair icicles tinkle like Christmas.

When DH was in grad school, we lived in a small city where we could walk to everything we needed.  It was fabulous.  He walked to school, I walked to work, we walked for blocks just for fun, looking at all the old houses that surrounded the university.  We could walk to a little Italian market only 6 blocks away that had beautiful produce and the best deli in town.  I was addicted to their spinach bread, or whatever it was in Italian they called it...garlicky, olive oily spinach baked in a bread wrap...I lived for that stuff when I was pregnant with Anna.  I was also a slave to their bruschetta...thick slices of Italian bread untoasted, topped with a juicy tomato garlicky mixture. The juices from the topping would soak into the bread - nothing we had tasted before then was  so divine.  We got a blizzard one year, the snow was coming down too fast to take the car out even 6 blocks and we needed some stuff like bread and milk and something for dinner.  So I strapped on my boots and heavy winter coat, grabbed my backpack, and hiked to the Italian store in 6 inch snow.  By the time I got home, the snow was knee-deep.  The spinach bread and bruschetta were worth it.

I miss Romeo's spinach bread - I'll have to recreate that someday.  I no longer have to miss Romeo's bruschetta...I have recreated that. The original had chunks of mozzerella cheese in it, but chunks of Daiya Jack would work just as well. This is good served over slices of French Bread (gluten free, of course!) over top of pasta, in salad, on crackers, or plain by the spoonful.   I served this to friends this weekend with toasted french bread and it went so fast I never got pictures!

Bruschetta Topping

several fresh, ripe tomatoes
1/4 of one medium onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil or more to taste
1 large clove minced garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds. Dice tomatoes, which should equal about 3 cups, and throw them in a bowl along with the onion, basil and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until juicy. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fresh Berry Pancakes

It has been quiet here for the past month.  More like normal.  Anna wigged out for a good two months after the start of school, and then she calmed down and life is back to the way it used to be.  I took some good advice and to try to get a handle on Anna's meltdown triggers, I started using a point chart.  Anna got one point each for a good morning, a good afternoon and good homework time (meaning no bad attitude, no yelling, no tantrums).  If she got a certain number of points, she got library time.  More points meant library plus computer time.  A perfect week meant library time, computer time, and a sleepover.  Anna was very motivated by earning a sleepover - it's always better to work for a reward than to have priviledges taken away as punishment.  We only had to go through the point chart twice before she calmed down.  Once or twice we broke it out again on a bad day but never got through another full week as she seemed to get a grip on her own without it.  Hallelujah.

Anna's teachers mentioned that her freak-outs seemed to be triggered by anxiety, plus the probable transition that always happens at the beginning of a school year.  They noticed she was extremely anxious about the Big Crunch (the opposite of the Big Bang), talking about it to anyone who would listen.  That's what she gets for reading scientific material way above her age level.  Yes, I have an Aspie for a daughter (yes, I am aware of what the new DSM will say and yes, I will continue to use the term Asperger's to describe Anna).  Her teachers must have told her things to calm her down (because clearly your mom telling you the Big Crunch is millions of years in the future after we've all been dead and gone for eons is not enough).  Her anxiety calmed down and she got through the new school year transition period.  I wonder if the transitions will take longer and be more pronounced in the preteen years.  I'm not really looking forward to our Christmas Break transition.

But for now, life is good.  And when I'm happy, I make pancakes.

Fresh Berry Pancakes

1 1/4 cups Bulk Pancake and Waffle Mix
1 cup apple juice
2 tbsp. canola oil or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 pint washed fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.)*

Place the pancake mix in a large bowl.  Combine the apple juice, oil and applesauce.  Pour the wet mixture all at once into the dry mixture and stir well to combine.  Fold in the berries.  Pour the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot greased griddle.  Cook over medium-low heart until bubbles form on the surface, the tops seem dry, and the edges are golden brown.  Flip and cook another couple of minutes until the other sides are golden brown.  Serve hot with maple syrup and fresh fruit.

*No fresh berries?  Try 1 cup chopped apple or pear instead.