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Gluten-free Carrot Muffins

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Gluten-free Carrot Muffins

Okay… I just have to share this recipe with the world, because it’s the best muffins I’ve ever had. Ever! It’s gluten-free of course, carrot muffins, with icing INSIDE the muffins! I didn’t even know it was possible, so credit to The Delicious Life for educating me. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

Icing inside. Genius! And SO easy.

Ingredients for the batter

  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs (3 whites, 2 yolks)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Ingredients for the frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

* Powdered sugar is made with cornstarch. There are a few brands, like 365 Organic, that make it with tapioca starch instead and that’s what I use.

Preheat oven to 350F.

The recipe is pretty straight forward. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (potato starch to sugar, on the list). Add three eggs – well… 3 egg whites, 2 egg yolks; keep the extra egg yolk for the icing. Add a stick of melted butter and mix well, until the batter is a perfect consistency.

Add the carrots and the raisins. Note that for the raisins to be perfect, they need to be rehydrated in warm water for ten minutes before mixing them in the batter.

And this is how you put icing inside a muffin.

Pour the batter evenly in a muffin tray. I like using muffin tins; it’s really easy to clean up.

For the frosting, mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Plop about half a Tablespoon of the frosting into the center of the batter for each muffin. The batter will bake over the frosting because of the difference in density. Genius!

Bake about 25 minutes, or until perfectly golden.

Gluten-free Nacho Chips

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Gluten-free Nacho Chips

I know there are a lot of gluten-free options for nacho chips out there, but I’ve never been satisfied with the quality of the ingredients used: mainly a lot of corn and vegetable oils. So, I started thinking of ways I could make my own super healthy nacho chips. Here’s what I came up with! (it makes about 60 chips)

Fiesta!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Butter for the pan
  • Red palm oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

It’s pretty quick and easy to make, but it’s a three-step process. Batter, cooking, frying. So first things first, the batter. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (potato starch to pinch of salt, on the list). Add an egg and mix some more. Slowly add the water, while mixing at the same time. The batter should feel like pancakes: smooth, no lumps and not too liquid. Add the lime juice and the chopped cilantro. Mix well.

In a pan over medium heat, melt a little butter (half a Tablespoon) so the batter doesn’t stick. Pour about a fifth of the batter in the pan and cook it like a pancake: two minutes, flip, one minute and done. Cut the “pancake” in small triangle and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

They still need to get fried, but it’s starting to look good!

Red palm oil gives the nacho chips a perfect color.

And now, on to the last step! Heat up red palm oil in a fryer to 370F. Fry until nice and crisp, around 5 minutes. I had to make three different batches because my fryer is pretty small, but it was worth it. When they’re ready to be taken out, be careful not to burn yourself. Remove the excess oil with a paper towel.

Sprinkle salt on top to taste. Eat with salsa, guacamole or sour cream – or better, with all three!

I also like to use these chips to bake nachos with refried beans, ground beef, jalapenos and cheddar cheese. Hmmm!

Gluten-free Crab Rangoons

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Gluten-free Crab Rangoons

Whenever I went out for Chinese food, crab rangoons were my favorite treat. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been missing this particular appetizer a lot. But, when I found rice paper in my pantry,  it occurred to me that I might be able to use it to make my own crab rangoons. And guess what, it works. And here’s how! (this recipe makes 20-25)

Rice paper at its best!

Ingredients for the crab rangoons

  • 8 oz soft cream cheese
  • 12 oz cooked crab meat
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar*
  • 1 Tablespoon green onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 20-25 sheets of rice paper
  • Red palm oil for frying

*Use powdered sugar with tapioca starch instead of corn starch like the 365 Organic brand sold at Whole Foods.

Ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce

  • 5 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

The sauce is very easy to prepare. Just mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened (about 4-5 minutes). Keep it refrigerated in an air tight container until ready to serve.

And now for the crab rangoons. First, mix the filling in a large bowl (cream cheese to minced garlic, on the list). The next few steps go quickly, so make sure you have oil ready for frying. I use red palm oil at 370F.

Take a sheet of rice paper and let it soak in a bath of hot (not boiling) water for 30 seconds. Take it out and remove excess water. Put about a Tablespoon of the crab mixture in the middle of the rice paper.

This will not get folded like a normal crab rangoon. Rice paper is very thin and it’s important that it’s not ever single folded, or it won’t hold the mixture. So, roll the rice paper into a cylinder with the crab mixture in the middle, fold one end over and one end under. That way, it’s folded the thickest way possible.

Fry about 5-7 minutes, but only a few rangoons at a time so they don’t stick. Scoop out and serve with sweet and sour sauce. It tastes pretty close to the crab rangoons we all love. Enjoy your treat!

Raspberry Popsicles

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Raspberry Popsicles

I found some fresh raspberries on sale at the grocery store and I decided to turn them into refreshing popsicles to deal with the hot summer days ahead! Note that you need popsicle molds, but they’re $10 at the grocery store. It’s worth it. This recipe yields 2 cups and makes 8 regular-size popsicles.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

This recipe is extremely simple. Pulse the raspberries in a food processor. You need 1 1/4 cup of raspberry juice.

Depending on their size, you might need a little bit more than 1 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries to yield this amount.

Add water and sugar and pulse some more.

When I made mine, I decided to keep the seeds, because I thought it would add flavor and texture. It turns out, all it really does is get stuck in your teeth. So I suggest straining the juice mixture before pouring it in the popsicle molds. I hope this little trick helps!

Freeze overnight and enjoy the next day.

Miso Salad

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Miso Salad

I went out to eat at California Pizza Kitchen last week and I had their miso salad. It’s true that I’m extremely opposed to eating soy, but miso is fermented, therefemore not harmful. Plus, I’d never had miso before and I was curious. It turns out, it’s one of the most delicious flavors I’ve ever tasted. When I came home, I looked online for CPK’s miso salad recipe, I tweaked it to suit me, and here it is!

This is my new favorite meal.

Ingredients for the salad

  • 1/2 large Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 large red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 daikon, shredded
  • 2 cups sweet snap peas, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 avocadoes, diced
  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 pound cooked crab meat

Ingredients for the dressing

  • 3 Tablespoon yellow miso paste
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste

Putting this salad together is extremely easy and requires no cooking, so it’s perfect for one of those hot summer nights. Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl.

For the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Adjust seasonings to your liking. I kept the dressing in an air tight container in the fridge and used it when I needed it. Nobody likes a soggy salad.

Add shrimp, crab and dressing to the miso salad. Enjoy a delicious meal!

Creamy Cantaloupe Popsicles

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Creamy Cantaloupe Popsicles

Summer is finally here. I love sunshine, but not always the intolerable heat. There are many ways to cope, like air conditionning, but my favorite solutions are edible. I found popsicle molds while shopping last week (10$ wisely spent), and it inspired me. Here is my first of many creations. It yields two cups and makes 8 regular-size popsicles.

I love summer!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup cantaloupe
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A tiny drop of mint extract

First, gently mix the sugar and heavy cream. Mix too hard, and it will turn into whipped cream. Add the vanilla and mint extracts.

It’s very important to only use a tiny drop of mint extract because the flavor is very powerful. But… just a hint of mint brings out delicious flavors in the cantaloupe. Refrigerate the cream mixture 2 hours.

In a food processor, pulse the cantaloupe. To get 1 1/4 cup, I used about 2/3 of my small cantaloupe. I ate the rest as a snack. Pulse until you are satisfied with the consistency. I left very small chunks in mine.

Gently mix the cantaloupe and cream mixtures. Pour into the popsicle molds. Freeze overnight. Enjoy your frozen treats the next day!

Gluten-free Tagalong Cookies

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Gluten-free Tagalong Cookies

A friend told me about tagalong cookies a few weeks ago. I had never heard of them but; chocolate: good, peanut butter: good, shortbread cookies: good. Needless to say, I was very interested. I used this recipe as a guide, but I changed many things, like adding caramel and getting rid of the gluten. Here’s what I used:

These homemade girl scout cookies are the best I’ve ever made!

Shortbread cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Homemade caramel is easy to make and healthier because you control the amount of sugar.

Peanut butter filling

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter*
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar*

Caramel filling

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 Tablespoon chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Chocolate coating

  • 2 cups chocolate chips*

*Make sure you select these ingredients carefully. I used powdered sugar with tapioca starch instead of corn starch (Organic 365). I used peanut butter with no hydrogenated oils (Peter Pan’s new 100% natural) and chocolate chips with no soy (Nestlé’s Dark Chocolate Morsels).

The first step is to make the shortbread cookies. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add an egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add all the dry ingredients (potato starch to baking soda on the list) and mix well. I used a fork and silicone spatula up to this point. When the mixture is doughy enough, mix with your hands. Prepare a sheet of wax paper with white flour sprinkles. Roll the dough into a cylinder, about 2 inches in diameter and freeze for 30 minutes.

It doesn’t need to be a perfect cylinder. Each cookie is unique!

When the dough hardens, it’s easy to cut it into thin cookies, around 1/8 inch. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet, and let cool a good 20 minutes.

These cookies are simple to make and great on their own.

Now, it’s time to get a workstation going with everything you need to make tagalongs. First, make caramel. Melt one stick of butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add chickpea flour to thicken and mix in the sugar (brown and regular) and the water. Stir constantly and continue to heat until thick. Cool in the fridge.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and powdered sugar.

The last thing you need is tempered chocolate. This is the same process I used for my thin mint cookies. If you’ve never tempered chocolate before, I strongly recommend watching this instructional video. My first few times tempering chocolate were a disaster. Practice and knowledge makes perfect!

Peanut butter on top seals the caramel.

Melt two cups of chocolate chips in the microwave, 20 seconds at a time and stir in between to disperse heat equally.

Now, take a shortbread cookie, spread a layer of caramel, then a layer of peanut butter. Rinse and repeat with all cookies. And now the “fun” part begins…

Coat the cookies in chocolate and carefully remove the excess.

This process is very time consuming but will reward your taste buds, I promise.

Be patient!

Place the chocolate coated cookies on a baking sheet and let set at room temperature. You can use the fridge to accelerate the process, but I think it lets in too much moisture and prefer room temperature.

And… you’re done! I stored my cookies in an airtight container in the fridge. I had some leftover caramel and peanut butter, which I used as dipping sauce with apples for snacks throughout the week. Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

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Spicy Black Bean Soup

My friend Eric, the king of soups, came up with an amazing recipe recently, which I tried last weekend and I have to share it… it’s too delicious to keep for myself. It’s a black bean soup, with delicious flavors such as lime, cilantro, jalapenos and spicy sausage. All the ingredients are gluten free and inexpensive, it’s easy to make and only takes about one hour.

Ingredients

  • 1lb hot Italian sausage, diced *
  • 1lb bacon, diced
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15oz can chicken broth
  • 2 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 4 15oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • Cheddar cheese, to taste (garnish)
  • Sour cream, to taste (garnish)
  • Green onions, to taste (garnish)

*Note: Choose the hot Italian sausage carefully. Make sure to read the ingredients to avoid gluten, soy and corn syrup.

Make sure to stir often so the flavors mix!

The first step is to dice the bacon and sausage. A nice little tip is to freeze the bacon about an hour before you dice it, so it’s easier to work with.

Brown the sausage in a large pan. After a few minutes, add the bacon. Once it starts turning clear, add black pepper, to taste. When the bacon starts to brown on the edges, add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the jalapenos and cook about 4 minutes for flavor. Then add the garlic and cook another minute.

In a large pot (mine is 8 quartz), mix together all the canned ingredients (broth, beans, tomatoes). Add the spicy sausage mixture, sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, crushed red pepper and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Stir often.

Wash the bunch of cilantro and coarsely chop it. Add it to the soup, mix well and let simmer another 15 minutes.

Add lime juice and let simmer another 5 minutes.

It’s ready! Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions. Enjoy this spicy, tangy, crunchy and delicious soup.

Gluten-free Apple Pie

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Gluten-free Apple Pie

Don’t let a lattice crust intimidate you, even if it’s gluten-free!

I like to think of myself as a pie enthusiast. I’ve made so many different kinds of pies in the past few months and yet, I have never tried the good old traditional apple pie. What is wrong with me! Please don’t answer that. Really though, I think it’s because I’m not a big fan of cinnamon. But, just the other day, I found a recipe without cinnamon and I was pretty excited to gluten-free it and try it out.

Ingredients

  • 10 red apples
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 Tablespoon white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Gluten free double pie crust

The recipe is very easy. First, peel, slice and core the apples. Set them aside in a large mixing bowl. That’s the only time-consuming part. Now, preheat the oven to 425F.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the white rice flour, to thicken. Add the water and both types of sugar, stir in well and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and let simmer. After two minutes, when the mixture is nice and smooth like caramel, pour it over the apples and mix well.

Place your bottom pie crust in a 9″ pie pan, pour the caramel apples in. With the remaining of the dough, try to make a lattice crust! This was my very first lattice crust and I was pretty unsure of myself. Thankfully, I found this amazing step by step guide on how to make a lattice crust, and it came out pretty good! The only advice I have to add is: remember, you’re working with gluten-free dough, so be very gentle. Also, I actually rolled my dough twice, to make it the perfect temperature and texture and it was very easy to work with.

Before baking, don’t forget the egg wash, so your pie comes out nice and golden.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then, turn the temperature down to 350F and bake an extra 40 minutes.

Make sure to let it cool at least 10 minutes before serving! Maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Enjoy!

Gluten-free Sandwich Wraps

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Gluten-free Sandwich Wraps

I miss sandwiches. I can still have them of course; I do make gluten-free bread from time to time. But what if I don’t have time to make bread and I crave a delicious turkey melt? Well, there is a very easy and tasty alternative: sandwich wraps. It is a very versatile recipe; you can use wraps for sandwiches, quesadillas, fajitas etc. Here’s what you need (it yields 4 large wraps, so adjust quantities to your needs):

Easy lunch!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Stir in the melted butter and egg. Slowly add water and mix well. Make sure there is no lump and that the mixture is smooth.

10 minute sandwich alternative!

Next, just cook them like you would pancakes. Put about a teaspoon of butter in a large pan on medium heat, add a quarter of the mixture and cook until it doesn’t stick. Flip it and cook the other side.

And that’s it. For my sandwich wraps, I used: cheddar cheese, bacon, ham, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. I rolled them up and cut them in cute little bite size. How will you eat them?

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