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Happy New Year!! Your Favourite 2011 Recipes (preceded by a red wine coloured rant)

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2012, sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?!

So people have been asking me over and over, “when are you going to start blogging more”? No matter that these people are all of my real life friends who are asking me because they’ve referred recently diagnosed friends. But they have a point. Having a stale blog makes me feel icky, I mean, I work in marketing! How often do I huff at blogs that I really want to read but have gone months without a new post. And that’s what I’ve become?

Note to readers here: this is just my personal “forgive me, I have blinned” (blog sinned, made that one up) rant. Skip down for the hottest in recipes from 2011 ladies and lads.

I have to say though, that nagging feeling I get when I’m blazy (blog lazy, ha!) is when I talk to people who feel like getting diagnosed Celiac is going to ruin their life and cooking is going to be impossible. And I tell them, “No sister, it ain’t gonna ruin you, you just gotta learn the secrets.. I can tell you.. And you can find them on my web log!!” Okay, I totally don’t talk like this.

But I do tell people to not let a diagnosis get you down, that things are going to get easier. Because you quickly learn what you can and cannot eat. And you learn that you don’t have to follow complicated gluten free recipes to be able to eat. (Just learn how to substitute ingredients like a seasoned Celiac!) And let’s not forget that not only is gluten free knowledge on the uptake in society because people think it’s a weight loss tool (idiots), but because more and more people are being diagnosed with it. Restaurants and grocery stores are finally starting to get it. Some more slowly than others. (And yes, some will possibly be forever oblivious.)

But these secrets, and developments, are what I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed with Celiac. I thought my life was ruined! And it was not. I’ve learned to live with it, and make tasty food in a jiffy, and you can too.

So expect to see more of my rants and raves throughout 2012!

Now, for the top recipes of 2011? Here they are!

  1. Oven Baked Risotto. Apparently this was popular with the new-to-risotto crowd. So if you’re reticent of making your first batch of risotto, start with this one. And then try some of my other risotto recipes and see what you’ve been missing all these years! Risotto – gluten free food of the gods. And perfect for a creamy, savoury treat if you have to refrain from dairy as well!
  2. Cranberry Banana Walnut Loaf. Shave off 10 minutes to make muffins, or add in chocolate chips for a real anytime treat. Yummzers!
  3. Celery Leek Soup. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! Because simply, it’s to die for. Put it on your list for a winter-warm-up fast!!

Enough from me for today. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to continuing our gluten free journey together!

Gluten Free Summer – A Feast for the Eyes

4 Aug

Strawberry Daiquiri

My first tomato. Newbie gardener!

Chicken Tacos. Earls Patio, Kelowna.

Sparkling water with lemon balm & mint-from my garden!

Truffled parmesan fries. Need I say more?

Gluten free mini-brownies with caramel swirl fro-yo & dark chocolate M&M's!

Alli's Amazing Mango Salsa-I love my friends!

Tuna Carpaccio at the Manor Casual Bistro in Edmonton. (Pepper crusted west coast tuna with mango fennel salad, smoked sea salt & sherry shallot vinaigrette)

Gluten free raspberry chocolate fudge brownie. What?!? Yum.

Gluten free pizza, three ways. (Recipes to come!)

Gluten Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Loaf

27 Jan Gluten Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Loaf

Although I love my Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bread (one of my all time favourite recipes!), I had to try this banana bread recipe with cranberries – yum! I had to hold my hands behind me to resist throwing in some cocoa, cacao nibs, chocolate chips or the like, but it was worth it. The tartness of the cranberries gives it the zing factor so chocolate isn’t needed in this case. (Yes, I’m a bit of a chocolate snob.)

Even my boyfriend Mike – who resists almost everything on the non-savoury side of things – ate it up!

This recipe is from Allergic Living – I made a few adjustments to maximize deliciousness, so you can check of the original recipe here.

I hope you like it as much as we did! This goes great with tea for breakfast or for an anytime snack. Enjoy.

Gluten Free Cranberry Banana Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs or 4 tbsp egg replacer
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • A handful of chopped walnuts (not in the original recipe, but they add a nice crunch)

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and xatham gum.
  • In a separate bowl, use a whisk to cream together oil and sugar. Stir in eggs, bananas, cranberries and walnuts.
  • Add wet ingredients to flour mix and combine. Pour into loaf pan and bake about 45 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Turn loaf out onto cooling rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Fun Gluten Free Party Foods

16 Jun

Easy entertaining idea – gather an army of fun treats (fruits, nuts, chocolate, olives, whatever your fancy), put them in adorable cups, and then assemble on your biggest wooden cutting board or cute little coffee table.

A gluten free party spread!

Next, offer a variety of different wines, and then have people sample the different foods when sipping their wines.

You can then either a) discuss the different traits of each wine when paired with different foods – I live in wine country – we do actually engage in wine banter! Or b) continue catching up with your friends, all the while knowing that they’re thinking – “why have I never thought of that?! What a perfect party idea!”

This particular platter was at my friend Lisa’s house when we were co-hosting a jewelry party. I brought some gluten free appys, while my friend made sure some of her foods were gluten free as well – what a sweet heart!

Brilliant!

Basil, Mozza and Tomato Skewers aka Italian Salad Sticks

28 May

After going to a wine party at a friend’s house a few months ago, I fell in love with this easy appetizer which I like to call “Italian Salad Sticks” in reference to my dear Italian friend who introduced me to this wonderful, no-cooking-required creation!

And you must know this – I don’t even like tomatoes! Meaning my new devotion to this great party snack is quite the miracle.

My whole life – all 27 years of it – I have never liked, or even tolerated – raw tomatoes. Give me tomatoes in a soup, stew or chili. Give me ketchup, marinara sauce, tomato paste or salsa. Give me tomato-anything, just not raw tomatoes. I can’t bear to eat them!

(I do have to say, since getting diagnosed with Celiac just over a year ago, I have been trying to broaden my horizons. I have been know to be a picky eater. Very picky, if you can believe it!)

So I’m very pleased that I have learned to enjoy baby tomatoes paired with a few select ingredients – it has made all the difference! Maybe this snack is a good “baby step” towards my tolerance of tomatoes. We shall people, only time will tell.

Tomato, basil & fresh mozzerella - yum!

Basil, Mozza and Tomato Skewers

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • Mozzarella balls (we’re talking real mozza, not the hard kind!)
  • Baby tomatoes – the freshest, juiciest ones you can find!
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Optional: balsamic vinaigrette, sea salt

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Happy St Patrick’s Day! Introducing the Shamrock Slam

17 Mar

In honor of St Patrick’s Day and my Irish heritage – apparently I’m what they call the “black” Irish – I created a neon green gluten free drink for those of us that won’t be drinking green beer tonight! And as an added bonus, this melon cocktail has way less calories than your average beer and especially your average Irish cream ale! Enjoy my friends – The Shamrock Slam!

Shamrock Slam

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce melon liqueur
  • 1 once vodka
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • Splash of fizzy bubbly (i.e. anything that’s clear & carbonated)
  • Sugar
  • Two cute cocktail glasses or champagne flutes for extra fun!

Directions

Pour the melon liqueur, vodka and pineapple juice into a martini shaker and top up with about 4-5 ice cubes. Shake it vigorously for about 30 seconds and put your whole body into it – drink mixing can be exercise, yeh! This also makes it ice cold for optimal sipping pleasure.

Now open the lid to the martini shaker and dip the tips of glasses into it, then without turning the glasses right-side-up, dip them into your sugar bowl.

Now strain the the contents of the shaker into your two glasses, making sure not to disrupt your pretty sugar rim. Top each glass up with a splash of bubbly, and you’ve got yourself a Shamrock Slam!

Serves 2. Please drink responsibly!

PS If you’re wondering exactly how this is an Irish drink, it is Irish for two reasons. One – it’s green. Green and Ireland just go together. Two – I created it especially to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Three – I’m Irish. That makes this drink Irish too. Even if they don’t serve melon liqueur in Irish pubs – ha!

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

16 Mar

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins - gluten free!

I LOVE dark chocolate and raspberry together and I am a regular at a little chocolate shop in town that has dark chocolate raspberry “hearts”. I decided that I wanted to try making chocolates at home, but I thought I’d try combining this sacred flavour combination in baby steps. So first I tried muffins. They turned out well and make a truly delectable mid-morning snack with my tea! I added bananas for a potassium boost but the flavour is mild – I didn’t want to take away from the intent of the muffins.

Next I think I’ll try a cupcake version. But I’m going to keep this recipe around – I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know how you like it!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 overripe bananas, mushed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 milk (any kind, soy and almond work well)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and sugar. In another bowl, mix your mashed banana, butter, milk and eggs together. Whisk with dry ingredients until fully combined and then fold in the raspberries, followed by the chocolate.

Spoon into a greased or lined muffin tin and then bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to your storage device of choice. These muffins stay well for about 5 days and keep really moist due to the frozen raspberries that release a good deal of ruby coloured sweetness during the baking process.

Let me know what you think!

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