Desserts, Food

Delish Baked Apple and Peach Crisp {a gluten-free take on a family favorite recipe}

PicsArt_09-11-05.58.42

Ready for some awesome baked goodness? Of course you are! It’s nearly fall, summer is wrapping up and comfort food season is coming this way😋

There’s something about fall dessert. It’s texture, flavor, warmth. Just gives you a warm and cozy feeling and puts you in your happy place.

Right?

Now growing up, there was one comfort food that my mom made that I always associated with fall. It could be made all year of course (but everyone knows apples are best when autumn arrives😉).

And not just any apples. Mom was always admanant. They must be granny smith. No other apple will do because the flavor will be so different and not quite pitch-perfect and balanced.

Man, I can taste it just describing it.

My mom always and I mean always made the best apple crisp. She would say, “the recipe isn’t actually all that special” or “it’s so easy to make”. Never understanding the way we fawned over that lovely dessert.

 

Mom you made it special. That was why.

It was special in it’s simplicity.

Special just because it was.

 

PicsArt_09-11-06.02.18

PicsArt_09-11-06.06.18

PicsArt_09-11-06.13.42

PicsArt_09-11-06.17.45

PicsArt_09-11-06.19.38

PicsArt_09-11-06.26.20

Special notes about the recipe:

My mom’s recipe is totally the best, but I was craving a peach crisp. Not wanting to do all peaches, I added some apples for an extra flavor and texture boost.

Then of course I used gluten-free flour in the topping. For my recipe I used up the little bit of the all purpose flour blend I had. (I used the living now gluten-free brand.) It was only about 1 1/2 Tablespoons, so I put that in my 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled it the rest of the way with oat flour.

Oat flour is easy to make. Take some quick oats, throw them in the blender and pulse until the texture becomes fine. Then sift it and walla! Flour.

For the sugar, it was the same concept. I used a total of 2/3 cup sugar, but 3 Tablespoons of it was coconut sugar, the rest was brown sugar.

All of these additions made for a magnificent, and I mean magnificent final product. *kisses fingers like an Italian*. Haha. 🍏🍑😍


Delish Baked Apple & Peach Crisp

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced thin, pitted and peeled
  • 1-2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup/70g gluten-free flour*
  • 1/2 cup/70g quick oats
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons, 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup/67g butter, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

*I used 1 1\2 Tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour blend and the remainder oat flour, see above discription of flour under the above section “special notes about the recipe”.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 395°.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together flour(s), oats, sugar(s), and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and work it in by hand (my method) or with a potato masher. The texture will be chunky.
  4. Place fruit in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss gently by hand to avoid breaking up the delicate fruit slices. Place the fruit in a 1.5 quart casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and evenly distribute.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cost:

This recipe cost me $3.37 to make. That’s 84¢/serving when divided into 4 portions and 56¢/serving for 6.

Fairly cheap, but even if it wasn’t I wouldn’t care ’cause it’s so delicious!

Enjoy!

picsart_03-05-12-26-05

Beverages, Food

Simple Fall “Smoothie” {gluten-free, dairy-free & made with butternut squash!}

Screenshot_2018-08-31-15-56-37

I don’t know about you, but I love butternut squash.

Love it. Since I’ve started going gluten-free I’ve had to look for substitutions and replacements for the wheat products I can no longer have.

So some nights I’ll fix myself some butternut squash when everyone else is having noodles or stuffing or whatnot.

I don’t typically eat a whole squash, so I’ll save the remainder, along with the cooking water so that I can make a puree. I usually throw it in the fridge so I can make it up in the morning. 😝

Sometimes I’ll use that to make some gluten-free muffins…made a triple batch of butternut squash and apple muffins last time.

But here I decided to make some smoothies.

Last year, I posted a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie. I used a pie pumpkin to make that recipe. However, later that season I tried making it with butternut squash and I actually preferred it to the pumpkin.

PicsArt_08-31-11.22.34

PicsArt_08-31-11.24.53

Overall, the taste and color I like much better than the pumpkin smoothie. It tastes much more like “pumpkin” than the actual pumpkin! Haha. I think of pumpkin pie Blizzard’s and actual pumpkin pie when I drink this. It would be good with dairy or non-dairy whipped cream too!

Cost:

This recipe cost me $1.57 to make a 16oz smoothie. That’s about 70¢ more than the pumpkin smoothie. Mainly because the price of almond milk at my Aldi store has increased, but also because the pumpkin was a bit cheaper.

You can find the recipe—->> here.

Enjoy!

picsart_03-05-12-26-05

Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quiona, Brown Rice and Garden Fresh Peas

PicsArt_06-27-02.13.43

Garlic butter makes everything better. It’s a known fact.

Well, you know. Savory dishes. Like pizza, and pasta.

And shrimp.

Of course shrimp.

I made this delicious lunch yesterday and it was so wonderful that I had to share. It was the first time I had ever made this recipe.

Ask any food blogger and they will probably say that the first time isn’t always a charm when it comes to new recipes.

But I’m glad it was the case here. Garlic butter and shrimp are like a married couple. They just go together. And quiona makes rice taste better and kicks up the protein a notch. Then some super fresh garden peas gives it a bright and beautiful punch of color and texture.

All together, these foods just made an awesome combo.

PicsArt_06-27-02.15.55

PicsArt_06-26-02.49.52

Most of you know what quiona looks like when it’s done, but for anyone who isn’t sure, here it is. The edges of the quiona will become white and start to peel off a bit.

PicsArt_06-26-02.54.32

Quiona, rice and peas are re-day! The texture should be more on the dry side so it absorbs the soy sauce and garlic butter better. Butter better. Haha.

PicsArt_06-26-02.44.41

😋😋

PicsArt_06-26-02.46.15

 


 

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quiona, Brown Rice & Garden Fresh Peas

 

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 1-2

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup medium cooked frozen shrimp
  • 3-4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup quiona
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • handful of fresh peas (frozen works too!)
  • low sodium soy sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add garlic just before butter has completely melted. Cook 1 minute.
  2. Add shrimp. Saute for a few minutes.
  3. Next, cook the quiona according to the package directions. (About 1 cup water with the 1/4 cup of quiona, simmered for 15 minutes.)
  4. When the quiona is completely cooked, add the rice and peas, along with a 1/2 cup of water. Cook for about 5 minutes, or till heated through and peas turn bright green. The texture should be dry, not wet.
  5. Plate up! Spoon rice mixture onto plate and toss lightly with your desired amount of soy sauce. Spoon shrimp and garlic butter over rice.
  6. Serve & eat!

 

Cost:

It cost me $2.69 to make this entree for lunch yesterday. And it made a lot! I had 2 helpings, with some leftover. Definitely getting your money’s worth here, and lots of protein to boot!

Enjoy!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

Food, Snacks

Super Easy Peanut Butter, Oat & Cinnamon Cookies {no-bake, gluten-free, dairy-free and no refined sugar}

PicsArt_06-22-03.31.26

These cookies have taken me for a stroll down memory lane. You can relax though…no long stories (today that is haha).

I remember eating these cookies when I was pregnant with my daughter (she’s now 2). I needed a quick snack with some protein to get me through some of those rough days. (Pregnancy isn’t all rainbows…sometimes you hate eating protein and can’t stand around a hot kitchen for long…oh the fun.)

Nowadays I have different nutritional needs. I’ve recently been trying to go gluten-free because I’ve been noticing some food sensitivity after eating wheat products.

This morning I wanted toast so much. I haven’t jumped into the gluten-free bread melee just yet. So gluten-free bread there was none.

But I thought hmm…maybe I can whip up some breakfast cookies.

So I hopped on Pinterest and looked up the No Bake Healthy Breakfast Cookies, from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

I changed things up a bit and the result is the recipe that you will see below.

PicsArt_06-22-03.42.17

PicsArt_06-22-03.34.22

PicsArt_06-22-03.38.55

 


 

Super Easy Peanut Butter, Oat & Cinnamon Cookies

Prep/hands on time: 15 minutes or less

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 4-6 (maybe 😉)

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a few sprinkles pink Himalayan salt
  • *1/2 cup plain cheerios, crushed
  • **1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats

*I put some cheerios in a ziplock bag and crunched them up with a heavy glass cup.

**I like to make a bunch of oat flour in the blender so I don’t have to make it every time. Then I sift it through a mesh strainer to get a fine texture.

Directions

  1. Place cheerios, oat flour, quick oats and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. Measure the peanut butter, honey, vanilla and salt into a medium saucepan.
  3. Set heat to medium high and stir till melted and thoroughly mixed. (Or you can use a microwave to melt the ingredients.)
  4. Pour and scrape the melted peanut butter mixture into the bowl you set aside and stir it into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Shape into 16 or so small balls.
  6. Place on a plate and dust with cinnamon.
  7. Flatten and criss-cross with a fork.
  8. Eat!

 

Price Breakdown:

It cost me $1.54 to make 16 of these cookies. That’s only a little under 10¢ per cookie!

Enjoy!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

Beverages, Food

Easy Strawberry-Coconut-Chia Milkshake {dairy-free, gluten-free & paleo friendly}

PicsArt_06-01-03.16.14

Last night my family and I binged out on homemade popcorn. It was delicious, as always.

But it left me feeling super-thirsty. So after I cleaned up the kitchen I made up a nice little milkshake. Everybody knows mundane chores go by way faster when you have a reward dangling at the end 😉

So I mixed up this and that, keeping in mind my Pumpkin smoothie recipe. Except this time it was strawberries.

I love strawberries 🍓🍓🍓Don’t you? (Strawberry allergy sufferers, you have my sympathy.)

No fresh strawberries this time, but maybe there will be more on that in the future. This time I used frozen, which I bought on sale, too. Yay!

Strawberry season in the midwest will be here soon & I can hardly wait.

This is a good strawberry recipe to whet your appetite. The concept of “rubbing x food through a seive” is one I learned from reading old school cookbooks. I’m thinking it was what people used before blenders.

But anyways. Here’s some photos, with the recipe to follow. My daughter and I fully enjoyed it both times (yes today and last night, it was that good 😋).

PicsArt_06-01-02.11.58

PicsArt_06-01-02.25.55

PicsArt_06-01-02.14.59

PicsArt_06-01-02.50.37

PicsArt_06-01-02.19.24


 

Easy Strawberry-Coconut-Chia Milkshake

Prep/hands on time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Makes one 16oz serving.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 frozen strawberries, diced
  • *a drizzle of raw honey
  • **10oz/300ml vanilla almond milk
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds

*using an alternative liquid sweeter, such as maple syrup would make this recipe vegan.

**any kind of non-dairy milk will work here. If you can have cow’s milk, that works too.

 

Directions:

  1. Pour the diced strawberries into a pint mason jar, or any desired container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add the honey and stir well.
  3. Add the almond milk, attach the lid and shake it up.
  4. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the strawbwrry mixture into the bowl. Rub the strawberries through the strainer with a metal spoon (until you have extracted as much strawberries as you can).
  5. Set the strained strawberries aside.
  6. Pour the strawberry mixture into a glass and add the chia seeds. Stir.
  7. Top with a dollop or two of the coconut “cream” and the leftover strained strawberries.

 

Cost:

This recipe was fairly cheap, although I used a bit too much coconut cream in my recipe. Using much less of it would bring the price down from $3.06 to about $2.06. Still, at 19¢ an oz it’s not a bad price.

Got any favorite drinks to keep you cool this summer?

Enjoy!

Note: I realize that pictures of the topping when contrasted with the directions may be a bit misleading. In the photos, I did not “scoop on a dollop”. Instead, I whipped the cream. However, it was very liquid-y and I thought I could firm it up by freezing it, which didn’t exactly work out according to plan. But it did make the cream nice and smooth. So my recommendation is to save yourself some effort and just add a scoop on top. I sandwiched the leftover strawberries between layers of the coconut cream, in case you are wondering where it went 😉 Hope that makes sense!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

Beverages, Food

Chickweed and Cantaloupe Smoothie {with banana, strawberry and oats}

PicsArt_04-13-09.52.01

So. *glances at clock* It is rather late on this Friday night but a promise is a promise. I said that I’d share my chickweed smoothie recipe today.

And so never fear, my loyal readers. I shall share it! *cue superhero music* To the blender!

(This recipe was alluded to in my last post: Two Ways to Eat Chickweed {spring foraging fun}.)

If you didn’t read the post, here is a quick summary⤵⤵⤵

PicsArt_04-12-03.47.04

This⬆⬆⬆  and this ⤵⤵⤵ is chickweed.

PicsArt_04-12-03.53.56

  • It grows in your yard.
  • It is an edible weed.
  • Birds/chicks like to eat it, hence the name.
  • It is full of vitamin C.
  • It tastes a little like spinach, but on the bland side.

Perfect for smoothies. And so I came up with the………..

PicsArt_04-11-05.38.27


 

Chickweed and Cantaloupe Smoothie

Servings: 1-2

Cook/prep time: 10 minutes or less

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole frozen banana, diced
  • 4 frozen strawberries, diced
  • 3 smallish cubes cantaloupe
  • a handful of well rinsed chickweed, torn into a few pieces
  • a handful of *quick oats
  • about 1/2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 1-2 cups (240-480mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk

*gluten-free oats will make this recipe gluten and dairy-free.

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender from first to last. (Fruit first, almond milk last.) I poured in almond milk until it reached the 2 cup line.
  2. Give it a quick stir.
  3. Blend on high until you reach your desired texture.

Cost:

I calculated that this smoothie cost me no more than $1.40. And that is probably overestimating. That’s about 70¢ per 8oz/240mL serving. Pretty good deal, eh?

Enjoy your smoothie! Let me know if you try it with the chickweed. It’s totally worth looking ridiculous for as your neighbors stare at you ripping it out of your yard. Haha! Promise! 😝😉

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

Nourishing Lentil Stew with Daikon and Sweet Potato

PicsArt_04-04-03.31.18

Today for the second time in 3 days, the weather has chosen to deviate from acceptable “spring” conditions to an unacceptable wintry mix of horror.

It has been snowing.

Monday-snow.

Tuesday-rain (and lots of it) ☔ ☔ ☔

Wednesday-snow. Coupled windy-like blustery weather reminiscent of a hurricane.

What??

Quit it winter. Goooo away. Seriously.

 

So I decided that if the weather is going to be wacky and un-spring-like, I was going to make a dish of food that was reflective of that.

I made a lentil stew using a bunch of veggies, some of them spring veggies.

Take that, winter weather.

PicsArt_04-04-03.43.18

I began by thawing and heating some chicken bone broth in my dutch oven. Then I cooked up some lentils.

PicsArt_04-04-03.46.12

Next was more chicken broth and a plethora of vegetables. Onion, carrots, daikon, red radishes, beet and sweet potato. The only seasoning I used was thyme and salt. Keepin’ it simple is my jam 😝😎😋

I just added what I had and went a little bit out of my comfort zone with the flavor. But it turned out well.

For this recipe, I cut the carrots, sweet potato, and beet into smaller pieces so they would cook faster. The onions, daikon and radishes will not need as long to cook, so you could add them in last if you want a chunkier stew.

And don’t feel like you have to use any veggies you don’t like or have. Make it fun, make it you. 😋

PicsArt_04-04-04.04.39


 

Nourishing Lentil Stew with Daikon and Sweet Potato

Serves: 4-6

Cook time: about 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups/46oz/1,680mL homemade chicken bone broth, divided.*
  • 3/4 cup/113g lentils
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small piece daikon, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 2 red radishes, thinly sliced.
  • a few slices of fresh beet, sliced.
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt

*I used a combination of chicken bone broth (4 cups/960mL) and chicken soup base+water (3 cups/720mL, I used Gia Russa brand).

 

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, add lentils to 4 cups/960mL of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the veggies. When the lentils are done, add in the 3 cups/720mL remaining chicken broth, veggies and seasonings.
  3. Cook on medium high heat, uncovered, until carrots, sweet potatoes and beets are done.

 

Cost:

I estimated that it cost me about $2.05 to make this pot of stew. That’s 51¢ per 4 (large) servings. If you divide it into 6 servings, that’s 34¢ per serving.

Cheap, filling, delicious and nutritious.

Enjoy!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

 

 

Food, Global Eats

Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 4, Dessert)

PicsArt_01-12-05.33.36

Welcome to Part 4 of my Global Eats series! This has been a series of posts focused on the food and culture of the Philippines.

Brief Re-cap

Previously in this series I shared:

Post #1-Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 1, Intro)

Post #2-Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 2, Main Dish)

Post #3-Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 3, Sauce & Side Dish)

Feel free to check out the other posts, if you wish. Part 1 is an introduction post to the series, with some background info on the food of the Philippines. Last Saturday I shared Part 3, which proved to be unexpectedly delicious.

Today we have…..

Filipino-Style Flan (Leche Flan)

If you google flan, you will soon see there are many different types of it. So what makes Filipino flan unique?

From what I’ve read, it is the eggs. Filipino flan calls for egg yolks only, not the whole eggs. This makes a richer and denser dessert. To me this makes it more like a custard-style dessert.

(Side note: Flan came to the Philippines from Spain because Spain colonized the country from 1565-1898.)

Making the Flan

Psst….

I have never made flan before. 😝

It was a bit tricky. In this post you will see some imperfect flans. But this isn’t a cooking show..no competition here. Just lots of learning and fun 🙂

Recipe

Most recipes for flan call for evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Since I cannot have dairy milk, I sought out a recipe that gave a substitute.

The recipe I used is from the blog Grain-Free Belle.

(Yep. This flan is gluten-free and dairy-free.)

The recipe called for 3 beaten eggs and 4 egg yolks. It made a ton of filling. It also called for rice or hemp milk, but I decided to try something different.

I took a chance and used coconut milk. I thought it would be neat to use coconut milk in a Filipino recipe because coconut is a popular ingredient there.

20170718_160241-1
Aroy-D is the brand that I used. It is the same brand that I used for my coconut yogurt.

Flan Batch #1

20180111_145110

For my first batch, I made the carmel syrup and my custard far too thick. Of course I didn’t know this until the end…and the recipe didn’t really extrapolate on how full to fill the molds.

It did say to use ramekins, which I did not have, wasn’t going to buy. So I used 8oz mason jars.

20180111_161431
The result: a rather thick, half-formed flan.

20180111_161419

 

Flan Batch #2

20180112_140825
Lesson learned…thinner flan.
20180112_151248-1
One of the better looking ones…looks kinda like a scallop.

20180112_151307-1

20180112_151031
This was my best-formed flan. The top cracked but the shape was good 🙂

20180112_151434

 

Taste

Ok but what did it taste like? Well, T.R. you are right. Flan is a bit bland. To me, this flan tasted fairly similar to custard pie. The caramel sauce added a nice element to the dessert.

Texture

Rich tasting. Smooth. A bit of a velvety texture.

It was a bit like sweetened scrambled eggs. But smoother, if that makes sense. It was good, but not particularly my cup of tea.

Flavor

Sooo sweet. For me it was an almost overpowering sweetness. Creamy, sweet desserts are not really my thing. Unless it’s chocolate! Haha.

A bit of carmel taste, a smidge of vanilla. But mostly a rich creamy flavor. I couldn’t especially taste the coconut.

 

Conclusion

Ginisang Togue. Banana Sauce with Rice and Leche Flan.

Thus ends the Filipino edition of my Global Eats series. Hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through the Philippines!

It’s been far from a complete culinary experience but I’ve had a lot of fun learning about so many unique dishes and flavors. And I’ve enjoyed sharing some of what I’ve learned with you guys. 🙂

The next country will probably not begin until 2 weeks from now. I’m still deciding if I want to do a European or Middle-Eastern country. And you know. Preparation and all that fun stuff.

 

Take care & stay warm!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

Food, Global Eats

Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 3, Sauce & Side Dish)

PicsArt_01-12-05.33.36

Welcome to Part 3 of my Global Eats series! This has been a series of posts focused on the food and culture of the Philippines.

Previously in this series I shared:

Post #1-Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 1, Intro)

Post #2-Global Eats: The Philippines (Part 2, Main Dish)

Check it out if you wish! Post #1 will give you a bit of background if you are not familiar with the food/culture of the Philippines.

Today’s post is all about…..

Banana sauce!

I talked a little bit about banana sauce (also known as banana ketchup) in post #1. I mentioned 3 foods unique to the Philippines: ube (purple yam), calamansi (citrus fruit) and banana sauce.

I’ve read that one of the things that banana sauce goes really well with is rice. 

Ok. No problem.

I made the banana sauce first. (Recipe from Serious Eats) It wasn’t too difficult to make. There were quite a few ingredients and about 20 minutes cook time but nothing too hard.

I did leave out the jalapeno and substituted the rum for water. And after cooking, cooling and blending I got this:

20180112_120700-1
I think it looks like peanut butter.

Then I made up some brown Basmati rice. I think steamed rice is more of a thing in Asian countries but I don’t have the proper equipment for that so the rice was cooked my usual way.

20180112_171243-1

 

20180112_171309-1

 

20180112_171501-1

 

And you know, I won’t lie…I was fully expecting to not like this.

The sweet banana flavor, mixed with savory, salty, tomato paste, vinegar and ginger? Plus seasonings like allspice? I was not too sure about this.

But you guys…guess what?

20180112_171508-1

It was incredibly delicious. I had 2 bowls. Seriously.

I’m not sure what it was. It truly did have a ketchupy taste to it. The sweetness I could taste right away, then a combination of flavors, the vinegar and then I could definitely taste a tiny bit of the cloves in the aftertaste.

It is amazing. On its own it was ok. But with rice somehow it was really delicious.

What a cheap and easy way to spruce up a cheap bowl of rice, right? I usually just have butter and salt on mine, or the usual serve it with stir-fry (the Americanized version) or whatnot.

Yum.

Ever had banana sauce on rice? 100% recommend 😄

Stay warm out there!

PicsArt_03-05-12.26.05

p.s.-Next post (and last from this country) will be a special Filipino style dessert 🍮 I’m planning on having it up on Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend!

Beverages, Food

Mama Chia {Copycat Recipe}

PicsArt_11-14-04.48.44

Finally. I have finally concocted a cheaper version of the Raspberry Passion Mama Chia beverage my daughter and I love so much.

It was much easier than I expected it would be. I’m not sure why I kept putting it off.

I began by looking at the ingredients list.

20171114_170542-1

Already I had decided to use pomegranate juice. Odd that that isn’t one of the ingredients listed. Pomegranate juice to me tastes like a combination of juices…like a raspberry/grape/cranberry combo maybe?…so I was confident that this would work.

20171114_094109-1
Raw honey, soaked chia seeds, pomegranate juice and lime juice.

First I prepped the chia seeds. I took about 1 ¼ cups of dry seeds and poured them into a mason jar along with about 30 or so ounces of water.

I actually miscalculated the amount of water I would need initially. I filled my glass bottle (see pictures below) 3/4 full with chia seeds, then added water.

That is not the way to do it.

Chia seeds absorb a lot of water. Like 3 times as much as the actual seeds. 

So after that sat in the fridge for awhile I was ready to throw it all together.

20171114_095606-2

One teaspoon of honey was just right, once I figured out how to stir it up (stir with a metal skewer then shake vigorously).

A bit of lime juice added to the pomegranate juice added another element to the flavor that made it pitch-perfect, and just like the Mama Chia beverage I remembered.

20171114_095626-1


 

Rachel’s Copycat Mama Chia Recipe

Makes about 10oz (1 serving).

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup soaked chia seeds*
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in liquid measuring cup.
  2. Pour into desired container.

*To make about 25oz/3c. of soaked chia seeds, I put about 1 ¼ cups dry chia seeds into a quart (32oz) mason jar. I filled the jar with water, shook up the jar and let it sit in the fridge about 24 hours.

Cost:

For 10oz of this Mama Chia brand drink from Aldi, it was $2.29. My version was only $1.28 for the same amount.

Granted, my recipe doesn’t have the same exact ingredients. But the taste is very similar and still delicious.

Enjoy!

~Rachel

Desserts, Food

Gluten-Free “Toffee” Apple Crisp (no refined sugar)

PicsArt_11-07-11.38.37

This is the recipe that I’ve wanted to make for so long. I’ve said several times on the blog that I wanted to share an apple crisp recipe.

Yesterday I thought that I had totally blew it. I made a few alterations to my mama’s apple crisp recipe and wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

It definitely did not look like my mom’s version. And before I had even tasted it I thought, “Well..I can’t share this. It looks like a disaster. I’m not even sure it tastes good.”

So here I am, eating my words. My husband (who is my greatest cheerleader) was enamored with this apple crisp. He loved it. A lot. So because of his encouragement, I am sharing this with you today.

20171106_165228-1
I began with the usual ingredients. I forgot to include the almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand).

I chose to use coconut palm sugar and honey because of my current goal to avoid as much refined sugar as possible. It’s important to remember that sugar is still sugar. However, coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, which I think makes it a better choice of sweetener. It won’t give you that jolt of energy and subsequent crash if used wisely.

20171106_171523-1
Mixed together the dry ingredients, along with the honey.
20171106_171740-1
The topping turned out to be rather on the wet side and a bit sticky.

The butter for the topping sat out for a bit, which I think is what made it sticky. I usually use cold butter, but you know..blog stuff. It turned out ok though 🙂

20171106_172206-1
Right before I popped it into the oven. Made it in the evening, so apologies for the bad lighting.

The original recipe said to bake the apple crisp for 30 minutes. Mine took a little bit longer, probably about 35 minutes.

20171106_181827
“Oh no it’s a flop!”

The apple crisp did a weird thing where it looked soupy but wasn’t. It ended up having a nice, moist topping with perfectly chewy portions (not hard or overdone but just right) that reminded me of toffee a bit.

20171106_185328-1
Quite the opposite, thankfully.

 

Gluten-Free “Toffee” Apple Crisp

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 apples (granny smith preferred), peeled, cored and roughly chopped.
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats**
  • 1/3 cup+2 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1 teaspoon+1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

**If you are gluten intolerant you probably already know to buy gluten-free oats. If you are cooking for guests this is important. Somehow I had 3 containers of the regular kind, so I used what I had since I can still tolerate gluten.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 395°.
  2. Place apples in a 9×9″ baking pan. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if desired) and toss.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, coconut sugar, honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut butter into small pieces and work it into the dry ingredients by hand. This topping may be a bit sticky.
  4. Add topping to apples in globs and lightly press together.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, or until well browned.

Cost:

This recipe cost me $4.30. Not bad but not really great. Almond flour is expensive!

But if you break it down, it is only $1.08 if divided into 4 servings and 72¢ if divided into 6 servings.

But it’s so good that it probably won’t make it that far. My advice is to 100% double it if you are cooking for 3+ people.

Enjoy!

~Rachel

Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

4 Ingredient Baked Beans with Garlic and Dill

PicsArt_09-28-02.49.05

Lately I’ve been working on a big ole post of all things apples. Oh yes the marvelous season of apples is beginning! I’m so excited. I’m working on canning and tweaking a recipe for a certain apple dessert.

In the meantime, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes for baked beans.

My mom and I invented this recipe together. It was one of those days when we weren’t sure what to have for lunch (I was a teenager at the time and still living at home). My mom had a brilliant idea to take a simple can of baked beans and spruce it up.

And this recipe was born.

Garlic, butter, dill and beans. That’s it! The flavors work so well together. Garlic and butter give it a great flavor and the dill adds another layer to the dish. Plus dill is a herb which is good for digestion and the…problems associated with eating beans. Haha.

I always use the cheapest kind of beans from Aldi (49¢ pork & beans). The type of beans doesn’t matter because the sauce will just be rinsed off the beans 🙂

20170910_130314

20170910_132133-1-1


4 Ingredient Baked Beans with Garlic and Dill

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pork and beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 6 tablespoons butter (more or less to your liking)
  • a teaspoon or two of dill weed (I went heavy on the dill)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 395°.
  2. Slice half of the butter into a small baking pan and put it into the oven to melt.
  3. Add the garlic to the butter and stir.
  4. Add the beans and dill.
  5. Slice the remaining butter and place it on top of the beans. (This keeps the beans from becoming dry.)
  6. Bake in the preheated oven till bubbly, 20 or so minutes.

Cost:

It cost me about $1.50 to make this easy dish of beans. I used some garlic from my garden and dill weed from a bulk food store to save some pennies 🙂

Enjoy!

~Rachel

Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

Yummy Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free BLT

PicsArt_08-22-10.49.09

Check it out. I made a blt the other day. No dairy. No gluten. It was super yummy.

I planted Goldie tomatoes (huge and yellow) this year and they are just starting to ripen. I was trying to decide what to do with them, although in the back if my mind I was wanting a blt. And I remembered that I like to eat my garbanzo bean burgers in between two slices of tomatoes instead of with bread.

Perhaps a tomato bread blt? And instead of mayo…guacamole. Just avocado, lime juice and seasonings. That’s it. Tomato, guacamole, bacon, lettuce.

Definitely not fat-free. But some fat is good for you. And who can argue with bacon? Ok maybe vegans. I couldn’t be a vegan/vegetarian. Sorry. I love meat.

Anyways. Onward.

20170816_115218-1
One tomato,
20170816_115327-1
sliced
20170816_115353-1
and topped with guacamole.
20170816_115521-1
Bacon,
20170816_115601-1
more guacamole, lettuce
20170816_115625-1
and topped with another tomato slice.
20170816_115634
Side view. Photo isn’t the best quality but here you can see the layers.

There’s really no particular recipe here. I cooked up some diced bacon (a little over 1/4 lb). I cut up an avocado, mashed it (I use a ziplock bag) and added a bit more fresh lime juice than usual..since I didn’t add mayo. Then salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. I usually buy romaine lettuce whole but Aldi was out. I got some bagged Caesar salad instead.

And that’s it. This sandwhich tastes like summer and really hits the spot. Fresh tomatoes from the garden make this so good 🙂

~~~

Cost:

This sandwich cost me $2.78. Not bad! Decreasing the meat and using produce from the garden keeps it cheap. I’ll use a bit less bacon next time haha.

Enjoy!

~Rachel

Food, Snacks

Homemade {Crockpot} Coconut Yogurt

PicsArt_07-25-10.10.19

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I finally did something about my yogurt conundrum. I’ve been wanting some good non-dairy yogurt that isn’t saturated with sugar like the storebought kind.

I’ve been putting it off because I thought it would be hard to make my own. I was wrong. It totally wasn’t hard. Long process, yes. But not hard.

Why coconut yogurt? Some of you may know I can’t have a lot of dairy products. Currently everything is out except butter and cheese and just a few other things…like my beloved frozen custard that I would probably die without.

Anyway. The process began when I saw my local natural food store had this yogurt starter for sale. It was $10 for a pack of 4 probiotic starter packets. Oy. I went back and forth about buying it.

Finally I did because I figured once I made some yogurt I could use part of that as a starter and hopefully never have to buy more starters.

For the recipe, I used this one from Dawn @smallfootprintfamily and got an idea of a time frame for the crockpot from this post by Trisha @funkyfoodallergies.

From start to finish, this took about 16 hours. That seems absurd, but let me break it down. It heated up from 4-7pm. From 7-11pm it cooled down. I added the stuff and then it fermented overnight from 11pm-9amish. Very little hands on time.

20170718_160241-1
Ingredients I used: 1 yogurt starter culture packet, 33.8 oz 100% coconut milk, 2 envalopes knox unflavored gelatin. Not pictured: 1 TBS honey.
20170718_193206-1
By 7pm, the coconut milk had reached 180°.

And yes, that is a meat thermometer.

20170718_225749
By 11pm, it had cooled to about 95°. This was taken after I had mixed in the gelatin and honey.
20170719_091247-1
Bedtime for the yogurt…wrapped up in 3 layers of towels. Let it sit overnight.
20170719_125821
This was the jello-like consistency after it was transferred from the crock pot to the fridge for several hours.
20170719_130149_HDR-1
Emptied it all into a bowl in the sink.

In retrospect, I believe I added a bit too much gelatin. I calculated that I would need 1.75 packages to make a quart of yogurt. But I got distracted while pouring it in because I was talking with my husband. I’m thinking this was the reason it turned out so thick.

20170719_130404-1
Whipped it up to a smooth consistency.
20170719_131053-1
I tried some plain before I put it in the fridge again. Was planning on sharing it with L…thus the baby spoon.
20170725_094339
The whipped texture after the second time in the fridge.
20170725_094807-1
Vanilla and strawberries make it yummy.

20170725_094813

But does it taste good? Is the price worth it?

To me, the answer is yes and yes. The flavor and texture is something to get used to. As directed, I used full fat coconut milk. It was hard to get used to the unsweetened plain flavor, but with the addition of vanilla and frozen strawberries..yes. Very good.

And the price?

I calculated I made about 35 oz. (After it was whisked to a fluffy texture.) The price came out to $7.71. That’s 22¢ per oz and 88¢ for 4 oz. The last time I bought coconut yogurt at Wal-Mart, it was $1.58 for a 4 oz container. And that stuff was sugared to the moon and back. And rather on the thin side to boot. Currently none of the stores in my area carry any cartons larger than 4 oz so I can make no comparison there.

So yes, pretty easy to make. Tastes good with flavorings added and cheaper than storebought. There is a bit of investment initially, but I think its worth it. Per batch the price is right. I’m calling this one a triple win 🙂

~Rachel

Food, Main Meal

Crockpot Calico Beans

PicsArt_07-19-11.23.29

Growing up, there weren’t many family cookouts that felt complete without my Mom’s broccoli cauliflower salad or her calico beans. Just thinking about them brings me back to my Grandma’s house. All of my senses are enveloped and anchored when I enter Grandma’s kitchen.

Memories, comfort and love have always surrounded me there. We all loved seeing Grandma (still do!) but we especially appreciated all the food she and everyone else made for us.

After I was married, I made the transition to cooking a lot more. I had to find my niche. See what recipes work for my family. And even now, its a process.

I’ve recently learned that I can make calico beans in my crock pot. I found an awesome recipe by The Crockin’ Girls that I adapted a bit. It tastes different than my Mom’s recipe. She uses more beans and cooks hers in the oven. It’s thicker that way and richer in flavor. Soooo good!

So yeah it does taste different. But still yummy 🙂 My husband wolfed down his when I first tried the recipe. I said, “I didn’t know you liked calico beans so much!” To which he replied, “It’s the sauce babe. It’s so good!” Suffice to say, he stuffed himself. And L loved it too. She didn’t eat a lot but this is the only way I can get her to eat beans.

20170716_140756
Bacon.

20170716_141533-1

20170716_142010_HDR
Ground beef.

20170716_142739

20170716_143633-1
Vinegar, lima beans, brown sugar, pork and beans, organic ketchup and onions.
20170716_145329
Add all ingredients to crock pot.
20170716_145502-1
Mix.
20170717_180639-2
Yummy leftover calico beans I had cold for supper yesterday.

 


 

Crockpot Calico Beans

Makes 8+ servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 can lima beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cans pork and beans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 pinch s & p

Directions:

  1. Dice bacon & cook till barely done. Add to crock pot.
  2. Drain bacon grease & cook ground beef. (Optional: cook the onions with the beef.)
  3. Drain fat and add beef to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook on low 1 hour, high 3+ hours. **Edit: I realize now it makes more sense to cook for 4+ hours on high, if you are not cooking the onions with the ground beef.

Note: If you cook the beef and onion together, you can cook the calico beans for 4 hours on low. This method would bring the flavor up a notch. I seem to forget every time but either way it works out!

Cost:

I calculated that it cost me $9.26 to make this recipe. But it makes a lot. Like 2 quarts. So (8) 1 cup servings at $1.15 each. 

Enjoy!

~Rachel

Recipe adapted from “Calico Beans”, by The Crockin’ Girls.