Tag Archives: holiday recipes

Kids In The Kitchen: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I cherish these Kids In The Kitchen times. With three teenagers in the house (well, one is 12, but in some ways she’s going on 16 anyway, so I might as well include her in that “teenager” description), I realize that this special time we spend together learning to cook, experiencing food adventures, and generally having fun, isn’t going to last forever. Eventually, one by one, their focus will shift, priorities will change, and they’ll have grown up and won’t be cooking every other weekend in the kitchen with me anymore. This makes this time we have that much more precious. So much more happens than just a kid, a recipe, some food, and a resulting blog post. We get opportunities to learn together, to be silly together, to bond together, one on one. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world.

Matt is the oldest (he’ll be 16 next week!). I suppose that means he’s not a little boy anymore. He’s learning to really voice his opinions and trying to understand and feel his way around where he stands on important worldly beliefs and issues (ranging from what genre of music is best to religion), but at the same time, he continually tries to make us laugh with a quick joke. He takes after his Dad that way – the jokes aren’t always funny, but the sense of humor behind their delivery will guarantee a chuckle and a smile, and many times can disarm me, even in stern moments. In my opinion, a good sense of humor is definitely an asset.

But in spite of his ever-more-grown-up ways, he is still in some ways a boy. Take his suggestion for what we would make for Kids In The Kitchen – peanut butter cookies. That’s a childhood favorite I think he and I share (and a lot of others). Some things you just never outgrow.

These peanut butter cookies are a breeze to make. In fact, I’ve made an almond butter version before following the same recipe. It’s Shirley’s recipe from Gluten-Free Easily, and it’s by far one of the easiest cookie recipes out there. We made these as written – complete with chocolate chips. I only had a taste, but the kids definitely took care of the rest for me – they enjoyed two a piece when they were made, and gladly took the rest home to enjoy at the end of the weekend. They were indeed a hit. Of course, this won’t be the last time this recipe (or a version of it) will be gracing our kitchen. It’s an easy, go-to recipe for cookies that can please a crowd (and some hungry teenagers).

Check out the recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies here.

Have you entered into the giveaway for a copy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less by Amy Green? If not, there’s still time! Check out the giveaway details here. Hurry, because the giveaway ends April 23!

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy

Review and Giveaway: Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green

This giveaway has ended, and the winners have been announced here. Thank you all for reading!

In case you haven’t heard, my good friend Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free has written her first book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, and it’s just been released! I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived in the mail, and when it did, I plopped myself down on the couch and read the whole thing, cover to cover. I’m so proud of Amy’s accomplishments. This book is gorgeous, with amazing recipes for everything from buckwheat crepes to cauliflower soup to multiple brownie recipes, all free of gluten and refined sugar. As I am trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet, Amy has become a valuable resource. This book couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It was only a matter of deciding which recipes to try first, so I could share with you just how awesome this book is.

Of all of the tantalizing recipes, it might seem odd that the first thing I made was her Slow Cooker Ketchup (also available on her blog). I haven’t actually eaten ketchup in a long time. When you don’t eat french fries, burgers, or hot dogs on a regular basis, there’s just not that many ketchup opportunities left. I’ve also found that store-bought ketchup, which typically is full of high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, is intensely sweet - something I’ve lost a taste for. Amy’s ketchup, however, is more than just sweet – there are layers of spices, some tang, and a lovely full flavor. I used some of it later in the week for some chipotle sloppy joes (on a slice of gluten-free bread) and oven fries, and felt like a kid again. It was so, so good.

But I wouldn’t do a review of a cookbook purely based on ketchup. That just wouldn’t be right. After all, I’ve sampled Amy’s baking before, and I know what she’s capable of. Her baked goods are phenomenal. When I came across her Fig and Date Bars, I paused. She said they tasted like fig newtons. Fig Newtons? Oh yes, these were so about to happen in my kitchen. I couldn’t wait.

Did they deliver? I would definitely say so. I loved the sticky, sweet but not-too-sweet fig and date filling, and the crumbly topping was just perfect. I brought them to the office, and all day, people would venture back into the kitchen to sneak another one. Our company President even enjoyed some and shared them with his granddaughters (who were visiting that day), and remarked how good they were. (He didn’t know they were gluten and sugar-free until afterwards!) If they pass the test of the gluten and sugar eaters of the world with flying colors, I say that’s definitely a win.

Just look at them. How could you resist?

Do these recipes have you interested? I hope so, because I have FOUR opportunities for you to win a copy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free! Want to know how you can enter to win? Scroll down to the bottom of this post and find out! The giveaway will end at midnight CDT on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully so you can be entered as many times as possible!

Fig and Date Bars, reprinted with permission from Amy Green, excerpted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

1/2 c pitted Medjool dates

1/2 c dried black Mission figs, stemmed and cut in half

1/2 c walnuts

1 c sorghum flour

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t xanthan gum (I used guar gum)

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 c cold butter, diced (I used ghee (also called clarified butter), which is lactose and casein-free)

2 T honey or agave nectar

1 t freshly grated orange zest

1 T freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the dates and figs with hot water. Set aside. Or, cover the dates and dried figs with water and microwave for 1 minute.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, chop the walnuts until they are in small pieces but not mealy. Add the sorghum flour, cinnamon, baking soda, xanthan gum, and kosher salt. Process for 30 seconds or until the mixture is combined and the walnuts are a little finer. Sprinkle the butter evenly across the walnut mixture and drizzle in the honey or agave. Pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a large bowl.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dates and figs to the food processor, reserving the soaking liquid; there’s no need to wash the processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the orange zest, and orange juice. Let process for several minutes, until smooth.

While the food processor is running, use wet hands to firmly press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Once the date and fig mixture is smooth, spread it evenly across the dough. Break the remaining dough into marble-size pieces, sprinkle them across the fig and date paste, and lightly press in.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator. These also freeze well.

Makes 16 2X2 inch bars.

Now, for the giveaway!

In order to be entered into the giveaway, simply leave a comment at the end of this post. Your name will be entered once into a drawing for a chance to win one of four cookbooks.

If you want more chances to win, then listen up!

For a second chance to win, follow Ulysses Press on Twitter and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For a third chance to win, friend Ulysses Press on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For a fourth chance to win, like Ulysses Press’s new Health and Fitness fan page and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

(An added bonus for you, when you follow/like Ulysses Press – they often host giveaways and other fun stuff!)

For a fifth chance to win, like Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For additional chances to win, Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, post about it on Facebook or your blog, and leave me comments telling me you did those things.

And remember – the giveaway ends at midnight on Saturday, April 23, 2011.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Lemon Earl Grey Cookies

Just a quick note to give you a little sunshine in your late February day. These little cookies have a lovely lemon flavor that will brighten any dreary, cloudy, or otherwise less-than-sunny day. They’re not overly sweet, they’re not rich, and they’re perfect with a cup of hot tea (yes, Earl Grey would be a great option here). They’re also great to bring to work and push off on your coworkers, which is what I did. After all, a cookie in my kitchen is a cookie begging for me to eat it – and I’ve already had more than my fair share!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lemon Earl Grey Cookies

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1/2 c quinoa flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/2 t guar gum

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

leaves from 3 bags of Earl Grey tea, crushed fine

1/2 c vegan buttery sticks, softened

3/4 c sugar, plus 1/4 c more for rolling

1 egg

1/2 t vanilla extract

zest of 1 large lemon

2 T fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, potato starch, guar gum, baking powder and soda, salt, and tea leaves. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add buttery sticks and sugar. Beat on medium until fluffy and pale (about 2-3 minutes), and then add egg. Beat on medium until egg incorporates, and add vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat until incorporated. Turn speed to low and add in flour mixture, and allow to beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed.

Place the remaining sugar in a small bowl, and using a tablespoon (and another spoon if needed), scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough, and roll them around in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets, 2-3 inches apart.

Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Makes about 2 dozen.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Multi-Grain Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

It’s officially the holiday season, and I’m starting to prepare the holiday sweets – cookies, candies, and fudge (yes, dairy-free fudge! Coming soon!). The other day I shared one of my new favorite treats, and here’s another. These cookies were more of an experiment, resulting from some cranberries that I bought and for whatever reason, didn’t use. I opted to make a fresh cranberry cookie. These were delightful – the whole grains remind me of oatmeal cookies, but the combination of cranberry and chocolate definitely makes them something special. When I baked these cookies, I could hardly wait until they were cool enough to eat. And then, I had to will myself to stop at 2. They definitely were tasty, to say the least. Maybe not the flashiest cookie on the holiday table, but sometimes, those “ugly ducklings” are the true gems!

So if you’re looking for another treat to round out your holiday cookie platter, these might be a great gluten-free, dairy-free option!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Multi-Grain Cookies (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

½ c tapioca starch

¼ c teff flour

¼ c buckwheat flour

¼ t salt

¼ t xanthan gum

½ t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

¼ t allspice

2 T ground flaxseed meal

1/3 c palm shortening

¼ c coconut oil

½ c sucanat or evaporated cane juice

¼ c sugar

¼ c honey

1 large egg

1 t vanilla extract

1 c quinoa flakes

1 c dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)

1 c coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, combine tapioca starch, teff flour, buckwheat flour, salt, xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and flaxseed meal and whisk. Set aside.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream shortening, coconut oil, sucanat, sugar and honey together. Add egg and beat in until combined. Add vanilla extract and beat in. Turn speed to low and slowly add flour mixture. Once combined, add quinoa flakes. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Scoop onto prepared baking sheets into balls about 2 inches in diameter, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes or just until the edges are browned. Remove and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes or until set enough to transfer to a rack. Allow cookies to cool completely on rack.

Makes about 2 dozen.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Holiday: Chocolate Dipped Dates with Spiced Nuts

This is the final week of Gluten-Free Holiday, and we’re ending it as we should end any holiday event – with dessert! Special holiday treats are often the highlight this time of year – many people love to make holiday goodies, cakes, cookies, pies, and candies. This gives those of us on a special diet some wonderful dessert ideas that meet our needs, or the needs of our loved ones. It’s always wonderful to make a special treat that a loved one that usually goes without can eat!

But before I get to my recipe for chocolate-dipped dates with spiced nuts (which you should TOTALLY check out!), let me share with you the fun giveaways for this week! Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free is hosting this week, and has some wonderful giveaways – two books that you could win before anyone else gets them!

Amy is giving away 3 copies of Stephanie O’Dea’s More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. The release date for this book is December 28th. (If you wish, pre-order it now and get the special pre-sale price!)

Amy is also giving away 3 autographed copies of her new book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. The release date for this book is mid-January. Same story with this one – pre-order and save! (I am pre-ordering RIGHT NOW!)

Definitely head on over to Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and share your favorite gluten-free dessert and check out these giveaways! Also check out her cranberry swirl cheesecake – it looks sinful!

Now, to my gluten-free holiday dessert. This is a little treat that is easy to make beforehand and set out at any holiday party or dinner as part of a dessert tray, or even all by itself! I found the recipe in Bon Appetit’s magazine and modified it just barely. The recipe was naturally gluten-free already (a plus!). When you bite into these, they taste so rich and complex – their flavor far exceeds the effort, and compared to a lot of desserts, they’re really not all that unhealthy. Definitely traits I look for when choosing what treats to make!

Chocolate-Dipped Dates with Spiced Nuts, adapted from Bon Appetit

54 roasted, salted almonds, divided

3 t freshly grated orange peel, divided

2 t honey

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

18 medjool dates, pitted

1 c dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Toss 36 almonds, half of the orange peel, honey, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl.

Cut a slit down each of the dates and stuff with 2 spice-coated almonds. Close the date as much as possible.

Line a small baking sheet with foil. Heat a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water to a simmer and place a stainless steel bowl over the water (make sure your bowl is large enough to sit on top of the saucepan, or else use a double boiler). Place the chocolate chips in the bowl and stir occasionally until melted through. Grasp one end of each date, dip into chocolate, shaking off excess, and place on the foil. Repeat with each date. Then with the remaining almonds, press one on top of each of the chocolate-covered dates. Sprinkle with remaining orange peel and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until set.

Makes 18 dates.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free Holiday: Christmas and Hanukkah Favorites – Tamales

It’s week 4 of Gluten-Free Holiday and this week’s theme is Christmas and Hanukkah Favorites – specifically, entrees and side dishes. Hanukkah is already in full swing, and Christmas is just weeks away. Diane over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting this week, and is sharing this amazing recipe for chipolatas. Seriously, they make my mouth water just looking at them. And of course, in our Gluten-Free Holiday style, there are more amazing gluten-free cookbooks to win.

One copy of Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found The Food That Loves Me Back…And You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern.

And one copy of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, also by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern.

One copy of Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller,

And three e-book trios, each including one copy of Sweet Freedom, one copy of Desserts Without Compromise, and one copy of Anti-Candida Feast Ebook, all by Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

My submission for this week’s theme is something that I look forward to every holiday season – tamales. While I don’t always make my own, I have found that they’re not all that difficult to make. (They are time-consuming, however.) But it’s great fun, and you’ll be rewarded with a lovely, spicy, flavorful treat.

Many times, we will get together with my husband’s side of the family on Christmas Eve. Rather than a fancy, sit-down Christmas dinner, we instead enjoy a casual, but generous spread of various snack foods, ranging from the ever-famous cheese dip to cookies and cake. In the past few years, we’ve brought tamales to our celebration, and they’re always a huge hit. With a bit of salsa, bottled hot sauce, or even unadorned, they are the perfect way to ring in the season. I highly suggest you try to make tamales once – it’s a fun experience, and you’ll be rewarded with delicious treats and smiles from all.

Read my tamales recipe here. And don’t forget to visit The W.H.O.L.E. Gang and link up your favorite recipes for Christmas and Hanukkah entrees or side dishes, and enter for a chance to win some amazing cookbooks!

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Pork

A Gluten-Free Holiday!

A Gluten-Free Holiday!

We’re going to celebrate this holiday season totally gluten-free.

Why?  Well, we know how important it is to serve safe and delicious food at the holidays.  We want to help as many people as we can do just that this holiday season.    

Our amazing hostess, Amy (Simply Sugar & Gluten Free), and five gluten-free blog friends, are participating in this holiday celebration. This will be the second year for such a celebration, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

And, of course you are invited!  If you weren’t there it just wouldn’t be a holiday celebration.

Here’s the scoop….

On Thursdays in November and December, a different gluten-free blogger will host a link-up event where you can share your best gluten-free holiday dishes.  The linky will be open until the following Wednesday at 10:00 pm CST.

Every week we’ll have a give-away, too. You can link up or leave a comment to enter. Give-aways will be revealed soon!

Dates & Themes:

November 4th – Healthier Through The Holidays at Diet, Dessert, & Dogs

Let’s all get off to a healthy start this holiday season.  Bring Ricki your favorite healthier dish that won’t pack on the pounds.  Of, maybe you can share your top tips for staying slim when there’s tempting food everywhere.

November 11th – Thanksgiving Favorites at Gluten-Free Easily

Share your favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving dish from appetizers to desserts at Shirley’s place. We want to see your stuffing, turkey dishes, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly…anything Thanksgiving goes. (To our Canadian friends – please share your Thanksgiving dishes, too!  We know you celebrated earlier than the US!)

November 18th – Gifts of Good Taste at Tasty Eats at Home

Who doesn’t love a gift made with love? Share your favorite foodie gift that’s gluten-free. Have a fabulous way to pack a yummy treat? We want to see that, too.

December 2nd –Holiday Entrees & Sides  Dishes at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang

Bring your families favorite entrees and sides.  Diane will be ready for them all.  We know that Haunnkah starts on December 2nd this year but still hope to see some of your favorite dishes.

December 9th – Holiday Breakfast & Brunch at Ginger Lemon Girl

A warm, cozy breakfast or brunch is a wonderful way to start off the holiday.  This is a great time to help someone else whipping up your fabulous gluten-free cinnamon rolls or a crumb-topped coffee cake by sharing your favorite recipes.

December 16th – Holiday Desserts at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

Just like it sounds – bring your favorite gluten-free Christmas desserts for all to share.  Cookies, pies, truffles, cakes, and candies….we want to try them all.

So, get your recipe box out and start browsing…then get in the kitchen and start cooking for the best ever gluten-free holiday!

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