Posts Tagged ‘gluten free


Baked Masa Bowls

I set out to make tamales one day last week, but a trip to a local grocery where I’d seen corn husks before left me empty handed. Short on time and with a toddler in tow, I decided not to drive to a farther store just to get husks, but dinner still had to be made. I had a brainstorm that surely I could make masa bowls in a muffin tin, so I looked it up. Sure enough, masa bowls are an actual thing, but they are usually fried. I made a baked version, and I am absolutely certain that there are hundreds of things you can put in these gluten free edible bowls. If you would put it in a taco, it will probably be yummy in one of these. We had homemade carnitas in the fridge, so I whipped up some guacamole, grated some cheese (for those of us who can have it), and added some baby spinach.

Baked Masa Bowls

  • Cooking spray or oil
  • 2 cups masa
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 t sea salt

Mix the masa and salt together, stir in 1 1/4 cups of water until thoroughly combined. Be certain you have a mixture just moist enough to hold together. Divide the mixture into 12 balls, and press each ball into the bottom and up the sides of a sprayed or oiled, full size muffin cup. After all muffin cups are filled and pressed, spray the ready to bake masa cups with more cooking spray or brush lightly and gently with oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until set. You will want these to cool about an hour before you try to serve them, so bake them early, then pull them out of the oven and drape them with a dishtowel to keep them moist while they cool.

Our boys haven’t been too keen on corn tortillas, but they LOVED getting to eat their bowls. We will definitely be having these again. After we have tamales, of course, since I did buy husks today!


Freeing ourselves…

I updated this post to fix a few important errors on August 7, 2012. Please not that the “coconut butter” listed in the cashew butter coconut sorbet was changed to coconut milk, and the corn breading recipe changed from 1 cup to a 1/2 cup of water. I’m really hoping this didn’t cause a problem for anyone before it was fixed.

…of gluten, that is.

We decided to ditch gluten a while back to see if it would help clear up some health issues troubling some of our troops. I’m happy to report that living without gluten is not as hard as it may seem, and that it has helped us some as well. While it’s not always difficult to eat gluten free, it has it’s challenges. In an effort to get a better grasp of getting all the gluten out of all our diets, I decided to join a small group of people I know online in a 5 day challenge. I also turned up the pressure a bit for myself and tried to cut out refined sugar as well; I’ve done this before, so it should have been a pretty easy task. Uh, yeah, not so much. I’m still working on it. In the mean time, here’s a few recipes, adaptations and meal ideas for those of you who are eating gluten free.

Cashew Butter Coconut Sorbet

  • 1 can coconut milk, slightly warmed
  • 1/4 cashew butter (or your favorite nut butter)
  • 1/4 honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until just combined and freeze according to the directions for your ice cream freezer. We ate this topped with a small handful of chocolate chunks. The recipe is small, making only 3 or 4 small servings; double it for larger parties or left overs.

Carrot Muffin Adaptation

You’ll find my carrot muffin recipe here. This adaptation will mix and bake just like the original; there are just a few simple changes in the ingredients. You’ll need to substitute 1 1/4 cups of corn flour for the whole wheat flour, double the crushed pineapple from 8 ounces drained to 16 ounces drained, and add an egg for a total of 3 eggs.

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • crushed nuts, GF pretzels or other crushed or small toppers (optional, of course)

Peel and slice each banana in half; push a popsicle stick into the cut end and place on a sheet tray that will fit in your freezer. Freeze these until frozen through; best done a few hours or more before you’d like to serve them. When you are about ready to serve them, melt chocolate and coconut oil together and pour into a tall glass or my favorite, a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup. Work with one banana at a time; dip it in the melted chocolate, tipping the container to be certain you get chocolate all the way up the side. Then roll it in the topping and let sit until the chocolate is firm before serving. (Obviously, this recipe isn’t refined sugar free. It’s a treat around here, but a great one for the end of a HOT summer day!)

If that’s not enough snacks and treats for you, check out my last post for a chocolate coconut sorbet recipe that you can make into hot cocoa this winter. Or you can try a GF version of our homemade granola bars by using GF oats and substituting your favorite GF flour blend or grinding 2/3 of a cup of GF oats for the whole wheat flour.

Snacks are where we struggle most around here. That may not be true for you and yours, and you may be struggling more with meal ideas. There are simple ways to eat around breads and pastas if you are willing to think “outside the bun” and be a little creative. Some things we have tried and love:

  • corn tortillas – we love to eat tacos and fajitas at our house. I make our corn tortillas using masa we buy at the store, a tortilla press and the directions on the package of masa. If you don’t have a press, I recommend buying one for these; they just don’t hand roll well at all.
  • Salads. If you are grain free, put your taco filling or fajitas on a bed of greens, top with salsa and sliced avocado or guacamole. Or turn your sandwich into a salad by putting what you’d normally put between bread on greens instead.
  • GF pasta is available in many varieties. We like the quinoa pastas the best, but if you are going grain free altogether, try putting your favorite pasta sauce over roasted eggplant. Quarter smaller eggplants and slice larger ones into 1/2 inch discs, toss with a generous amount of olive oil, season with sea salt and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour until the eggplant is soft all the way through.
  • Wrap your sandwich in lettuce instead of bread. You can even order sandwiches this way at some restaurants.
  • Don’t discount just eating things bun-less. We’ve eaten burgers topped with homemade GF onion rings, grated cheese (for those of us who can have it) and BBQ sauce with a side of sweet potato oven fries.
  • Fry things up anyway, just use corn flour. I’ve breaded everything from onions to chicken in corn flour. We’ve made our chicken fried chicken just the same as we always have directly subbing corn flour. Our onion rings go in a batter of 1 cup corn flour, salt to taste, seasoning of choice, and 1 egg mixed into 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, dip onions and fry. I am certain this would work for other veggies; I’ve done zucchini this way as well.
  • Put things on baked potatoes. We love to take left over pulled pork, shredded beef, or other things that might go on a bun and put them on simple baked potatoes.
  • Make soup. I’ve made everything from a southwestern black bean and kale soup with purple rice in it to a roasted tomato bruchetta with cilantro. Honestly, if you have an idea for soup, try doing an online search, you will likely find a recipe. I’ll post soup recipes later.

Hopefully this is enough to keep those of you in need of ideas going a little while longer while you change your habits. Happy eating!