Posts Tagged ‘Recipes


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!


The Edible Ice Pop Stick

Honestly, this was not *completely* my idea. We popped some ice pops into the freezer one afternoon, and one of the boys announces that we should use sticks you can eat. An idea flashes through my mind instantly, but I don’t bother to share it, saving it instead as a surprise for them.

I immediately think that a pretzel rod would make a great edible stick, and start mentally searching for flaws with the plan. I decide that it would get soggy in the blended liquid before things solidify in the freezer, and settle on a thin coat of chocolate.

This was super simple; just melt some chocolate, add a bit of oil, and dip the pretzels leaving just enough room for a handle. Let these set up in the fridge or freezer while you mix up your ice pop of choice. We went with straight up strawberry here, but I keep dreaming of these with pineapple or cinnamon honey coconut. Pour your mix into cup and freeze for a few minutes, adding the pretzel sticks after they’ve set up just enough to hold the stick up straight. Finish freezing and enjoy!

These were met with oooo’s, ahh’s and exclamations of “You can eat the stick!!!!” around here. We all agreed that the very best bites are the ones where you get ice pop, chocolate and pretzel all at the same time.


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!


Fire and Ice: Coconut and chocolate, hot or cold

When you can’t have dairy but love hot chocolate and chocolate ice cream, eventually you find a way to make the good stuff. I had an epiphany of sorts two winters ago that resulted in a hot chocolate recipe that became my go to comfort drink on those especially cold, hard days. In the heat of summer, of course, I can’t even imagine those cold hard days, and last summer it I wondered what would happen if I put the hot chocolate in the ice cream freezer. All I can say is yum. It’s one base recipe with only a handful of ingredients that can be heated or frozen to create at least two yummy finishes.

Base Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream or Hot Cocoa

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

To make ice cream: Warm the coconut milk just enough to melt the fat back into the “water”; we like to stick our can out in the sun for about 15 minutes to do this, then shake it. Mix all of the ingredients together using a whisk or pop it in the blender, blending just until combined (Be careful not to blend to long and get coconut whipped cream bits floating in the mixture. If this happens, just heat the mixture to melt them and then continue.) Chill this mixture in the fridge for at least an hour or two; then freeze according to your ice cream freezers directions. This recipe only makes 2 or 3 servings, so we like to double it.

To make hot cocoa: Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan. It’s easier to get the coconut fat out of the can if you heat it a bit first. You can follow the solar heating method listed for ice cream if you have a warm, sunny winter day on your hands, you can heat it in some warm water, or you can just scrape the fat into the pan with a rubber scraper. Add 1 cup of your preferred milk (we use rice, but almond, cow, goat, sheep, etc. will all work)  and heat, stirring with a whisk or a fork until the mixture comes together and combines. Makes 2 generous or 3 small servings.



Meyer Lemonade

I looked in the bottom of the fridge this afternoon while it was in the upper 80’s (on April 1!!! Not a joke…) and found a bag of Meyer lemons. Maybe it was the heat, but I’m pretty sure I heard all of those lemons saying, “Make us into lemonade. Make us into Lemonade.” I didn’t bother with trying to find a lemonade recipe, and I used at least half as much sugar as I remember being in the one recipe I’ve used in the past. Hubby kept telling me it was the best lemonade he’d ever had. Goodness, I think I’ll have to buy another bag of Meyer lemons next time I’m at the store.

Meyer Lemonade

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice – about 6 lemons (Meyer lemons are sweeter; if you don’t have them or can’t find them, use a regular lemonade recipe.)

Mix water and sugar in a small sauce pan and heat just until the sugar all dissolves. Set this aside to cool a bit and juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice to the simple syrup and stir to combine. To serve, pour warm over a glass FULL of ice. This recipe made enough for 3 adult size servings or 2 adults and 2 boys.