Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mmm, Lemon Blueberry Bread

 This recipe is adapted from this one at Once a Month Mom with alterations of my own design.

I always love when I can make something to share with a friend, and when it turns out delicious, it is that much better! My friend Laura (hmm, what a great name) and I tried hard all summer to get together for some girl time and a trip to her CSA. It was mid-August until our schedules meshed, but what a nice visit it was! She has two of the sweetest children ever and such a cute farm that we visited for some produce. I have recently fallen in love with the mix of lemon and blue/raspberry flavors (mostly due to Christina's gluten free scones, but alas, my favorite bakery just recently went out of business!). So thank you, Pinterest, for allowing me to pin and save this recipe for when I needed it!

2/3 cup white rice flour (although I would like to try it with brown next time)
1/3 cup sorghum flour plus 2 tsp sorghum
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons potato starch

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (you could also use yogurt)
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
4 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries mixed with 1 T arrowroot powder


1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth, I just used the juice from the lemon I zested and one more)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan (I used a glass pan sprayed with olive oil). Then dust with rice flour (not part of the ingredient list) and tap out extra.

Whisk flours and dry ingredients in small bowl. In another, larger, bowl whisk wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet, whisking slowly. Fold in blueberries  and pour into bread pan. Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on wire rack.

While cooling, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make glaze. You want it to be think but pourable. Wait until the bread is cool before pouring on the glaze (OR you can pour on too soon because you are impatient like me).

This bread is phenomenal, I'm getting ready to make another batch soon!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken {Updated}

 This recipe is adapted from this one at Life as a Lofthouse blog.

Mmm, I do love Chinese food, but do not like the way I feel after eating it from most restaurants.  I was very happy to see this recipe on Pinterest and was able to easily adapt it to meet my needs. I will warn you, when you first put it in the oven it will not look or smell appetizing, but it will turn out great! This goes great with regular fried rice or fried cauliflower rice for a low carb option. I have yet to try with quinoa but think that would be great as well!

3-4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts or 6-8 boneless/skinless thighs
salt + pepper
1 cup arrowroot powder
1-2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil or palm oil

Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces (I like to use my kitchen shears for this, goes so much faster and cuts through frozen chicken as well, if you are like me and forget to pull it out of the freezer a day ahead of time.) and place in glass baking dish.

Preheat oven to 325. Heat oil in skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat with arrowroot powder (I like to sprinkle it on and roll the chicken around until coated.). Dip into egg and add to skillet, lightly browning chicken but you do not need to cook through. Wash baking dish.

While the chicken is cooking, mix sauce in baking dish with whisk:

3/4 c organic ketchup (or at least find one without high fructose corn syrup)
1/4 c honey
1 1/2 T soy sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 c frozen broccoli per person (optional- can bake with chicken or steam separately)

When chicken is lightly browned, add to sauce and stir lightly to coat. Bake 10 minutes, stir and add broccoli then bake another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over brown rice, fried rice (recipe below) or quinoa with steamed broccoli.

 Fried Rice

1 c rice (cook according to directions on package, you can make ahead and make into fried rice when the rice is cold) OR 1 head cauliflower, chopped or shredded and steamed
1 T extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or palm shortening
1/4 c diced onion
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 eggs 
1/4 c carrots diced in small pieces

1/2 c frozen peas
soy sauce

Place oil in large fry pan. Sautee garlic, carrots and onion, then add eggs and fry. May need to add more oil, then add rice and sautee, then add peas when almost done. Also add small amount of soy sauce to taste.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perfect Pickles!

I love pickles, but I am picky, preferring homemade (or from Isaac's Deli) to store bought. I finally found a recipe (well, actually over a year ago but forgot to take a picture until this year) that tastes as much like the kind my mom made growing up as any I've found so far. Super simple and inexpensive to make, especially when you have home grown cucumbers! This is the link for the original recipe, but the page is no longer available :(

5 1/2 cups (1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 4-6 medium to large cukes)
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

Slice cucumbers (I prefer to use my Pampered Chef mandolin but you can also do by hand. Be careful not to slice too thinly). Add salt, cover and chill for 1 1/2 hours. Rinse thoroughly in colander under cold water and drain well. Slice onion thinly and place in bowl with cucumbers.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in medium saucepan, simmer over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over cucumbers and onion and let stand for 1 hour. Then place in jars in refrigerator for at least 24 hours until eating (if you can wait that long!). The original says good for 2 weeks, but I have eaten up to a few months after making (per other refrigerator pickle recipes I have used) and the pickles were just fine!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

This summer, my best friend was surprised with the addition of two nephews to her family, changing her total family count from 5 to 7, not including her mom who was also staying to help out for a few weeks! I was so proud of her and her family for taking them on (how many of you can add a newborn and an 18 month old to your household overnight?) and I wanted to help out as much as I could. So, we took over a stromboli, baked oatmeal and some chunky monkey muffins. I happened to have some extra peppers and leftover taco meat and decided some stuffed peppers also needed to be made...which was weird since I had never made them, or eaten them before! I have to take her word that they tasted good :)

Taco meat:
1-2 lbs ground beef
2 T taco seasoning (I make my own using this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers)
2-4 T water
2-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
olive oil

Place small amount of oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft. Add meat, stirring occasionally until brown. Add seasoning and water, turn to low and stir occasionally.

For peppers:

Cook 1 cup brown rice according to package (usually add 2x as much water as rice, bring to boil, cover and simmer until done, about 30 minutes).

Wash peppers, cut off tops and remove seeds. Blanche for about 2 minutes in boiling water, remove and run under cool water. Place in baking dish.

Chop more onion and tomatoes and mix with rice and taco meat. Stuff peppers and top with shredded cheddar cheese (not in picture). Place in baking dish and add small amount of water to dish. Bake, covered, 30-45 minutes.

Boy, is my face ever red! Was a hot summer day in the kitchen, and making all the food during a kitchen renovation with almost no counter space was quite interesting!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Delicious Deal

Have you made the plunge and started cooking/baking/frying with coconut or palm oil yet? If not, now's the time to start! Tropical Traditions is currently having a sale on both their gallons of virgin coconut oil and palm shortening. Both are delicious for making popcorn and can easily be used in baking in place of oil, margarine, butter or shortening. Coconut oil also makes a great moisturizer for the dry winter months, and you'll smell great! At almost half off, this is a deal that can't be beat!
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