Modifying Original Recipes to Fit Your Needs!

A blog about healthy eating, healthy living and happiness. Join me and I'll show you how easy it is to substitute, modify and enhance your favorite recipes to accommodate your special diet, all without missing a thing!

November 26, 2011

The Best Pumpkin Pie You'll Ever Love

Yea... It's that good... the picture is coming first. ;-)

I have to admit I am still giving myself major credit for how delicious this gluten free, dairy free, vegan pie came out! Everyone at the dinner table loved it and were dying to know how I made it. The real credit, however, must go to the artist herself, the Gluten Free Goddess, Karina Allrich. I also have to admit that this is one recipe I did not modify - I followed her recipe exactly and my pie came out perfect.

Although Thanksgiving has past yet again, the holidays are still in full swing! And that is exactly why I highly recommend that you make this pie for your next family get-together. They will probably say, "Didn't we already celebrate Thanksgiving?", and you will say, "Why yes, yes we did. That is why I made this delicious Pumpkin Christmas pie." Which you will say with a cute little smile, of course ;-)

One more thing.... I know making a gluten free pie, especially the crust, can seem like a daunting task. But I promise you that this is one of the simplest pies I have ever made, and it is well worth the effort!

Enjoy this beautiful pie as much as I did, or maybe as much as I do seeing as how I still have some yummy leftovers in the fridge ;-)

Here are a few more pictures for good measure...

November 7, 2011

Cookies for Breakfast

What a wonderful title huh? I mean really... who doesn't want to eat cookies for breakfast?!

These amazing pumpkin spiced cookies are from the Whole Living Blog and the best thing is, you don't have to feel bad about eating them! These cookies are definitely not your typical sweet treat - they sort of resemble oatmeal pancakes. If you like your jumbo cookies really sweet I would suggest adding some brown sugar, or use maple syrup in place for the agave, as the original recipe calls for. I, however, think they are perfect as is, especially when paired with sweet little raisins.

Here is the recipe with my minor substitutions:

2 c gluten free oats
1 cup mashed pumpkin (the can version works perfectly fine)
1 ripe banana
1/3 c pecans, chopped
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
handful of raisins (optional)

Combine the pumpkin, banana, agave nectar, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt in a medium bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Fold in the oats, pecans, flaxseed and raisins (if using). Shape into 7 large cookies (about the size of your palm - yes, really!). Place onto a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with canola oil. Bake at 350 for 13 - 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack (or until cool enough to eat ;-))
Store the leftovers in the fridge, or freeze in aluminum foil and microwave 30 seconds for a quick breakfast on the go.

I made these after the CU football game this weekend and had one for a bedtime snack and one for breakfast the next morning. To accompany the jumbo cookie I had a banana, a handful of raisins and a delightful cup of coffee mixed with vanilla oat milk. Ahh it makes me happy just thinking of how perfect this breakfast was, enjoy!

Blackberry Syrup Cornbread Muffin

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day... and it just so happens to be my favorite meal of the day. Which is why I've decided to start posting more of my breakfast concoctions for your enjoyment :-)

This breakfast's inspiration came from my amazing boyfriend :) I made these cornbread muffins to accompany our Beef & Butternut Tagine dinner last night but the muffins came out a little... crumbly and not super special...hmmm :-/
Now I'm not blaming the original recipe, I know it is because I only made half the recipe and cooked them as muffins which only took half the suggested cooking time (true cornbread should take some time to cook so the cornmeal completely breaks down and softens). However.... my boyfriend used his family's tradition of mashing up the cornbread with butter and syrup and poof, just like that, the not so special cornbread muffin was like a dessert!

That gave me the idea for this breakfast - blackberries... real maple syrup... cornbread muffin... butter... banana chips...

So simple yet so delicious! Feel free to add additional fruit and perhaps a real banana, but the combination of the sweet-tart blackberries, the sweet cornbread and the crunchy banana chips is an absolutely delightful way to start any day - especially a Sunday morning before 2 hours of yoga ;-)

November 6, 2011

"Cinnamon Toast Crunch" (no gluten!)

Think back to when you were a kid... remember those deliciously sweet, sugar-coated cereals that you oh-so loved?

Fast forward a few years...

You see those cereals in the aisles at the super market and are brought back to the "good old days" when you could eat whatever you wanted without any sort of stomach or body ache... Well, I'm here to tell you that it is possible to make your very own version of those yummy cereals, but with a bit of a makeover. I found the recipe for Cinnamon Toast Cereal on the Peas and Thank You website. The first day I saw it was of course a day, more like a week, that I didn't have any free time to make it. So there it went into the "breakfast" bookmark folder until the time was right.

The "right time" came soon enough...

Saturday night! I's the perfect time! Of course I'm not going to be doing homework on a Saturday night.. I should be out partying and living up my 21-year-old life... right?! Well... it just so happens that many Saturday nights I prefer to spend my time in the kitchen, debating over which recipe to try next. Yes, you might say I'm a bit of a nerd... but hey that's the way.. uh huh uh huh... I like it ;-)

My substitutions to the original recipe:

  • amaranth flour in place of the garbanzo/fava bean flour
  • about 1/8 - 1/4 less than the water suggested (I always say it's better to start with less and add more if needed)
A few notes:

  • The batter will be runny and thin - this is how you want it.
  • Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and move it around so that the batter spreads out and is very thin (don't worry, again, this is how you want it).
  • I made just half the recipe this time and cooked it for 12-14 minutes. Whether you make half or the full recipe, just look at the edges, when they begin to brown and look crispy take it out.
  • I used a spatula to carefully separate the parchment paper. I then used a pizza cutter to cut the mass of cereal into square pieces. Place them all back on the cookie sheet for 4-6 minutes. Then take it out, turn them over and cook a minute or two more. Once all pieces seem crispy let them cool on the cookie sheet.
  • I stored the cereal in a plastic tupperware container but found most of the crunch to be gone the next day... I removed the top and let the cereal sit open to the air so the extra moisture would evaporate. My advice, if you aren't going to eat the cereal right away, pour some into a bowl about an hour before you want to eat it, or pop it back under the broiler for a few minutes to get that real crunch to come back. 

I'm definitely going to be making this again, trying out different flours and additions (perhaps cocoa) to the mix. I'll let you know how it goes! In the meantime, have fun with this... it really does make you feel pretty talented to make your own cereal ;-)

November 5, 2011

Tahini Chocolate Chippers

These cookies sparked my interest at Lauren Loves Good Food blog. I had bought some tahini a few weeks earlier and didn't want it to go bad before I had a chance to use it. My friend just introduced me to some awesome new food blogs, which is exactly where I found these quick little tahini cookies.

If you don't know much about tahini it is a paste ground from sesame seeds. The texture is similar to a nut butter, though slightly less thick. By itself, it resembles the taste of a nut butter... well, sort of. It is most commonly used in hummus, but hey, it is a good source of protein with little sugar so.. why wouldn't you make cookies out of it?!

There are a few things that are really great about these cookies:
1. they have only 6 ingredients
2. they take hardly any time to make
3. they taste just like peanut butter cookies (which is a definite plus if you are someone like me who no longer gets to enjoy that wonderful taste)

Here are those 6 simply lovely ingredients:
(I found this recipe to make about 18 cookies, give or take a few)

1 cup tahini
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp chocolate chips or raisins (optional) - I used Enjoy Life's dairy free chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl with a large wooden spoon. The batter will seem runny at first but as you keep mixing it will thicken (it's like a science experiment!) Lightly spray a baking sheet with canola oil. Form the dough into balls, a little smaller than golf balls, place on the cookie sheet and flatten lightly with the back of a spoon. (I didn't decide to flatten them until halfway through baking but I definitely think it is a better idea, as they will cook more evenly.) Bake at 325 for 10-14 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and carefully transfer to a wire rack to fully cool. Be aware that the cookies are extremely delicate when they are still warm but will hold together as they cool. They still have that crumbly texture but - like I said they taste and act like peanut butter cookies! I hope you enjoy these yummy little treats! Go tahini!

Yes, that on in the middle has a bite out of it... I couldn't resist trying them!
And then remembered to take the picture ;-)

November 4, 2011

Strawberry, Orange, Carrot Smoothie

Settle down now... I know seeing "carrot" in the name for a smoothie threw you a little off-guard. Rest assured that this smoothie is sweet, delicious, and ever so good for you!

Here are the simple ingredients that I'm sure you already have on hand!

5-6 fresh strawberries
5-6 baby carrots or 1 regular sized carrot
1 cup orange juice (I used Tropicana, less sugar and only pure ingredients)
1 small ripe frozen banana

First, you'll need to steam (or microwave - I'll admit this is how I did it because I wasn't patient enough for steaming!) the carrots until tender and can be pierced with a fork. Run them under cold water and let sit a few minutes. Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Add more fruit or more OJ to get the smoothie to your preferred thickness. That's it!

I enjoyed this smoothie as a post-workout snack along with Soy Crispettes from Whole Foods. (One serving of these light delicious crisps gives your body 8 grams of protein!) Enjoy!

Not Your Average Kale Chips

Kale... it's somewhat of a "trouble" food... most people know it is good for you but just can't get it down. I've tried it in smoothies but eating kale as chips is definitely my favorite way to go!

I have made kale chips once before and they turned out okay but nothing picture worthy. I found this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Kale Chips on The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen website. If you've never visited their site, do it now! They have so many incredible recipes that already match most allergy needs, but are also super easy to modify if need be.

As far as the kale chips.. they're great! Crunchy and satisfying for an afternoon snack or in my case.. to pair with my sunbutter and jelly flatbread sandwich - it was the perfect lunch to have during my massive study session ;-)

I followed the recipe exactly for the kale chips, but do be warned, the dressing may not taste very spicy at first but as the kale chips sit after being cooked... that spice sure does show up! If you'd prefer less spice, I think 1/4 tsp cumin or chili powder would work really well with the other ingredients in place of the crushed chili flakes.

One last note, I cooked mine at 275 rather than 250 hoping to speed up the process, but they still needed about 40 minutes to get the ultimate crunch. Be patient my friends.. this healthy snack is well worth it!