Monday, February 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip S'more Cookies- gluten free & vegan (top 8 allergen free)

I know it's the dead of's freezing, dark and either raining or snowing for most of the country.  But it's also the time of year we (my family) starts pre-planning for our camping season ahead.  Believe it or not, we need to reserve camp sites this early in the year to be guaranteed a spot come summer!  

Camping is one of our joys in life for our family.  For some amazing reason, my youngest daughter who's Autism wrestles her body every day, comes alive!  I believe it's the combination of being in so much fresh air, being in tight quarters as a family, having no demanded expectations (school, speech, chores etc.), simple foods and lots of outdoor activities.  It's like the bricks are lifted from her shoulders when we camp.  

Making the reservations for sites this early made me think of s'mores over the campfire and what different ways to incorporate those flavors.  Both my daughters are so-so on graham crackers, so I left that "flavor" out.  Instead I used chocolate chip cookies!  

These are great anytime of the year of course, but would be great to have for your camping or backyard camp fires.  Both of my girls would rather put sticks in the fire and burn them, then cook a marshmallow over it.  So this way they can enjoy their cookie s'more and burn up their sticks all at the same time!

gluten free/vegan....allergy free

Chocolate Chip S'more Cookie:
parchment lined cookie sheet(s)
Qty.  23 (large three inch cookies)

1 Cup  White Rice Flour
3/4 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
1/2 Cup  Tapioca Starch
1/4 Cup  Potato Starch
1 tsp.  Xantham Gum
1 tsp.  Baking Soda
1/2 tsp.  Fine Sea Salt
1/2 Cup  Butter Substitute ( I use Earth Balance Spread -soy free)
1/4 Cup  Spectrum Shortening (plain or butter flavor)
1 TB  Egg Substitute mixed w/  1/4 Cup milk substitute ( I used Coconut Milk -carton)
1/2 Cup  Organic Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup  Organic Brown Sugar
2 tsp.  Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
1/8 Cup  Milk Substitute ( I used Coconut Milk - carton)
1 Cup  Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

23 Allergy Free Marshmallows
1/4 Cup  Coconut Oil (melted)
1 1/2 TB  Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup  Organic Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 370 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper, set aside.
In a small bowl combine, white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xantham gum, baking soda and salt.  In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream "butter", shortening, egg substitute mixture, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and coconut milk.  Once combined add in slowly, flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Add in chocolate chips and mix on low until incorporated.  Place cookie dough onto pans with large spoon.  Bake 8 minutes,remove from oven and "squish" marshmallows on top of 1/2 cooked dough and place back into oven and bake for a additional 7 minutes.  Cool.  Mix into small bowl, melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  Drizzle onto cooled cookies.  Chocolate  drizzle will "set" once it cools.  Enjoy!

Place dough on parchment lined cookie sheet

Squish marshmallows on half baked cookies and place back in oven

Fresh out of the oven-once cooled the marshmallows will "sink" and
become chewy in texture

Drizzled with coconut oil chocolate

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Also shared at:  Fat TuesdayAllergy Free WednesdayGluten Free WednesdaysWaste Not Want Not WednesdayFull Plate ThursdayThriving ThursdayGluten Free FridaysWhole Food FridayFoodie FridayShow & Share Wednesday

Monday, February 17, 2014

Baked Chicken Nuggets- gluten free (top 8 allergy free!)

Making allergy free "kid friendly" food as a parent, is very satisfying!
When I can serve my kids something that most kids gets to enjoy normally -and then they actually love the allergy free version, I'm happy.  It's just the little things!

Taking a few extra minutes to make these as compared to heating up a boxed version in the oven/microwave is well worth the time and money saved.  You can feel good about serving your family and friends a homemade "fast-food" healthy version, and there wont be any complaints.  

The key to baking chicken nuggets and getting them crispy is really simple.  You need to make sure your oven is up to temperature and add a little oil to the pan, then your nuggets will have a great crunch!  

The "crushed" ingredient is up to you.  Whatever your allergy restrictions allow will define your choice.  I usually use a combination of a allergy free cereal and type of chip together.  I like the flavor better with a combination.  Normally, I just fill up my food processor to the top with half cereal and half chips and crush them down.  Then I measure out and add my seasonings.  My left over dry mix goes into the freezer and then I have extra ready for the next time.  

I use chicken tenders generally for this recipe because they are thinner than most chicken breasts and quicker to thaw.  I just place them in water (to thaw, if frozen) and it doesn't take long for me to throw these together for a quick dinner.  Just top off the meal with some sweet potato fries and cut up veggies and you'll be set to go!

gluten free/allergy free

Baked Chicken Nuggets:
parchment lined cookie sheet

5  Chicken Tender Pieces (uncooked) - cut into 4's
1 Cup  Finely crushed Rice Cereal, Tortilla Chips, Frito's - etc.   ( I use a combination)
1/4 tsp.  Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp.  Ground Pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp.  Sea Salt (amount depending on your taste)
1/4 tsp.  Hungarian Paprika
1/2 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
1/2 Cup  Coconut Milk, plain (carton) or milk substitute
1/8 tsp.  Lemon (crystallized) or 1/2 TB  Lemon Juice
2 TB  Oil of choice

Preheat oven to 425.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and cover with the oil.
On plate/bowl place the brown rice flour on it, set aside.
In small bowl combine coconut milk and lemon, stir and set aside.
Combine crushed mixture of choice, garlic powder, pepper, salt and paprika and pour onto another plate/bowl.  In a "assembly line" dip/pat chicken pieces first into brown rice flour, then dip into "milk" mixture and finally dip/pat into crushed cereal/chip mixture.  Place onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10 minutes then turn pieces over and bake an additional 4 minutes.  Enjoy!

First, pat the brown rice flour onto the chicken pieces.

Second, dip the pieces into the "milk" mixture.

Last, pat the crushed mixture onto the dipped chicken pieces, coating well.

Place onto oiled cookie sheet and put into preheated oven.

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Also shared at:  Fat TuesdayGluten Free WednesdaysAllergy Free WednesdayGluten Free FridaysWhole Food FridayHealing With Food Friday

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thumbprint Cookies with Strawberry and Chocolate Ganche - gluten free & vegan (top 8 allergen free)

Here is a traditional recipe for Thumbprint cookies.  
I decided to make these with a combination of strawberry filling and chocolate ganache since we are so close to Valentines Day!

One of the bonuses with Thumbprint cookies are that you can fill them with whatever you are craving at the moment and they aren't just for Christmas.  All you have to do is switch up the filling for whatever occasion you bake them for.  You could do mint ganache for St. Patty's day, a pumpkin filling for Thanksgiving/Fall or even a whipped fruit filling for Easter.  

The great thing about this cookie recipe is that the ingredient list is small and they come together quite quickly.  The ganache recipe for this cookie is really delicious and simple!  I can't wait to try it for some other baking ideas.  It firms up nicely, but is still quite creamy.  We made some with just the ganache and some with the jam and drizzled ganache.  

gluten free/vegan...allergy free

Thumbprint Cookies:
parchment lined cookie sheet

1 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
3/4 Cup  White Rice Flour ( I used Sweet White Rice Flour)
1/2 Cup  Potato Starch
1/4 Cup  Tapioca Starch
1 tsp.  Xantham Gum
1/4 tsp.  Fine Sea Salt
1 Cup  Butter Substitute ( I use Earth Balance Spread-soy free)
1 Cup  Organic Powdered Sugar
2 tsp.  Organic Pure Vanilla Extract

Strawberry Jelly
Chocolate Ganache

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In small bowl mix together, brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xantham gum and sea salt.  Set aside.  In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream together, butter substitute, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Once light and fluffy slowly add flour mixture, scraping down when needed.  Place 2 tsp. sized cookie dough balls on cookie sheets.  Bake 8 minutes, remove from oven and press a thumbprint into the 1/2 baked cookies.  Place back into the oven and bake for additional 5 minutes.  Cool completely before adding the toppings.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache:

3 oz.  Allergy Free Chocolate Chips ( I use Enjoy Life Brand)
3 TB  Butter Substitute ( I use Earth Balance Spread- soy free)
1 tsp.  Corn Syrup

Over medium heat in a double boiler, add chocolate, butter and corn syrup.   Whisk until melted together.  Remove from heat and top cooled Thumbprint Cookies.

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Also shared at: Fat Tuesday,Waste Not Want Not WednesdayGluten Free Wednesdays,Allergy Free Wednesday,Gluten Free FridaysWhole Food Friday

Strawberry Cream Pie- gluten free & vegan (top 8 allergen free)

Happy Heart Day!

No pre-made boxes of chocolates here.  (Trust me, if I could I would!)
When you live a very restrictive allergy free lifestyle,  going to the store to pick up some simple Valentines candy is a no-go.  Now there are a couple tasteless options I could pay triple the money for, but I'd much rather take a few minutes and make something homemade we can all enjoy.  

Since my little ASD girl has been open to some different textures lately, I thought I'd push the envelope with a "cream" pie.  And push it even more by adding strawberries (ha!)  I know this must sound odd to a parent with a kid not on the spectrum, pushing cream pies on your kid like it's torture, but you'd be surprised.  

This is my first experience with Coconut Cream in a can.  I have always bought the milk version in  the can.  But since I was able to find the cream at one of my favorite stores I thought I'd give it a shot.  Reading up on the difference between the canned cream version to the canned milk version is basically the portion of coconut meat to water.  Coconut Cream is made up 4 parts "meat" to 1 part water, as Coconut Milk is made up 1 part "meat" to 1 part water.  You can tell by my picture below the Coconut Cream is far less watery looking and much denser.  There was a bit less coconut water that drained off the cream then the milk version.  The taste was equal with brands I had, so no noticed difference there.  In this recipe either will work.  The cream version did whip up denser than just having the milk (canned) type.

Since it's not strawberry season, I had to add a bit more of the strawberry puree than would normally be needed to get a stronger flavor.  If your strawberries have a good flavor than you wont need to add as much puree and you can pull back on the sweetener and extra thickener (guar gum) to the recipe, depending on how you prefer the taste and texture.  Or you could just use your favorite Strawberry Jam from the store.  There are several fruit sweetened ones on the market that are really good.

If you can buy pre made pie crust ( I have seen versions in the allergy free freezer sections) this pie would come together really quickly.  I do like to have mine "set" overnight, but you could eat it after a few hours in the refrigerator, it will just be more whip cream like.  

gluten free/vegan...allergy free

Strawberry Cream Pie

1 - 9 inch Allergy Free Prebaked Pie Crust (my recipe here)

1 - 19 Fl. Oz.   Canned Coconut Cream- drained of coconut water
1 - 13.5 Fl. Oz. Canned Coconut Milk- drained of coconut water
1/2 Cup  Pureed Strawberries ( I took 1 pint of fresh strawberries and pureed in a food processor)
1/2 tsp.  Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup  Organic Powdered Sugar (or less depending on your tastes)
3/4 tsp.  Guar Gum

Thirty minutes to one hour before making place large mixing bowl and whisk attachment into freezer.
In chilled mixing bowl, add drained coconut cream, coconut milk, pureed strawberry, vanilla, sugar and guar gum and mix on high until light and fluffy.  Fill prebaked pie crust with strawberry cream mixture and refrigerate overnight or until set.  Top slice with grated allergy free chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder and extra strawberry puree.  Enjoy!

On the left if the Coconut Milk, on the right is the Coconut Cream.
Both are drained of the extra coconut water.
The Coconut Cream has a much denser quality to it.

This is the whipped cream and milk before adding any extra ingredients
to it.  You can see how thick it can be whipped up.  Every brand of
Coconut Cream/Milk will vary in it's thickness once whipped.

The pie holds up nicely even after serving a slice!

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Also shared at:  Fat Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,Gluten Free Wednesdays,Allergy Free WednesdayGluten Free Fridays,Whole Food Friday