Friday, June 29, 2012

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Pancakes Recipe

Even though the kids had pancakes this past weekend at the Lion's Club Pancake Breakfast, they still wanted to have pancakes for dinner one day this week.  When I asked both of my children why they wanted  to have pancakes again, they said because their daddy makes the best pancakes.  I have to agree with that, but there is a caveat.  My husband puts chocolate chips in the batter and he makes the pancakes into fun shapes.  He has made bunny faces, teddy bears, and even a lightsaber.

After I found out that I was pregnant, my husband and I talked about some important traditions that we wanted to continue with our family.  One of them was that my husband wanted to be able to make chocolate pancakes, and he wanted to eventually do it with our children.  He remembered how it was his job to give a "chip alert" when the pancakes seemed low on chocolate chips.  So, he practiced.  My husband's parents even bought us a brand new griddle, so he could perfect his pancake making skills.  Fast forward almost 7 years, and my husband has perfected making a variety of pancakes.  He has made regular pancakes, high fiber pancakes, and even gluten free pancakes.   Now we decided to try almond flour pancakes.  I based my recipe from The Nourishing Home blog.  Since this was our first try, my husband did not make this batter into shapes.  We will have to try again when we are more familiar with this type of batter.  Here is our recipe.  

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice*
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the griddle to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.  Then set it aside.

Next, you will need to separate all 3 eggs.  Place the egg whites in a medium sized mixing bowl and set it aside.  Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter to the egg yolks and mix together using a mixer.  It is really important to make sure that the butter is cool to the touch, because you don't want any of the egg yolk to get cooked.  As you are mixing, add the buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla to the yolk mixture.  Once everything is mixed well, mix in the dry ingredients that have been set aside.  Make sure that there are no lumps in the batter, and then set aside.

Attach the medium bowl with egg whites to the mixer and clean whisk attachment.  Whisk the egg whites rapidly until they are a foamy consistently.  It should take about 1-2 minutes.  Then add the foamy egg whites to the batter and mix together slowly and carefully with the whisk.  You do not want to beat them too much, because they can lose the air that you added to the egg white to help the fluffiness of the pancakes.

Once the batter has been combined well, add some chocolate chips to the batter.  You can decide how chocolaty you want the pancakes.  Plus you can always add more chocolate chips are you are making the pancakes.            

Grease the griddle with canola oil or coconut oil.  Once the griddle is hot, ladle spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle.  The pancakes should be about the size of a silver dollar.  (My husband uses 1/4 cup measure and fills it halfway with pancake batter.)  Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes until the edges dry out a little.  The batter should begin to bubble a little bit when it is ready to flip.  Carefully flip the pancake and cook for a few more minutes.  Both sides should be browned, but not over-cooked.  (Once you have successfully cooked one pancake, it is important for the official tasters of your house to taste the pancakes.  Then you know if you are doing it correctly.)  

Serve the pancakes hot off with griddle with pure maple syrup.  You can make sausage or bacon as a side dish, but it is not necessary.

*Cook's Notes:  I used 1/4 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, because I do not regularly keep buttermilk in the house.

After you make these pancakes, I hope your loved ones will tell you, like our's did, that this is the best meal ever.  Enjoy!

<3 Cassidy  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gluten Free Coconut Chicken Recipe

Gluten Free Coconut Chicken

2 lbs chicken tenders, slightly pounded
1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1 cup shredded coconut
Canola oil
Apricot jam

Since you are handling raw chicken, it is important to set up all of our supplies before you handle any of the food.  You will need 2 shallow dishes and a plate.  Place the almond flour and coconut in one dish and mix it together.  Beat the eggs in another bowl.  Set out a large skillet and canola oil as well.  

Take one chicken tender and coat it in the egg.  Then coat it in the almond flour/coconut mixture.  Place the coated chicken tender on a plate and then repeat until all of the tenders have been coated.  

In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of canola oil on a medium heat.  Fry in batches until deep golden in color, 3-4 minutes on each side.  I serve the coconut chicken with some apricot jam.  It is super tasty, and it is really simple.

This is one of my family's favorite recipes.  It is inspired from a Rachael Ray recipe, but I adapted it so that it is gluten free.  I have also made this recipe with Fiber One cereal crumbs.  No matter how I make it, it is so good!  I hope you and your family like it too.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gluten Free Mock Kisir Recipe

Tonight some of my friend's came over for a belated birthday celebration.  I decided to have a Middle Eastern theme, so we had baba ganoush, hummus, olives, and kebobs (beef, red peppers, pineapple, peppers, mushrooms and grape tomatoes).  We marinated the stew meat in Italian dressing for a couple of hours.  The Italian dressing tenderized the meat, so that it was less chewy and very delicious.

I wanted to make a Turkish dish called kisir.  Kisir is a traditional sidedish made with bulgur wheat, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, parsley, mint lots of lemon juice, and lots of olive oil.  A tomato paste is used to help give it the beautiful reddish color.  Unfortunately, I could not use bulgur, because it is not gluten free.  So, I chose to substitute quinoa.  Even though this is not really kisir, it has some of the same flavors.  It is a good substitution for someone who likes the same flavors that kisir provides, but it is gluten free.  Here is my recipe.

Gluten Free Mock Kisir 

2 cups of quinoa

2 cups of water or broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup olive oil
6 green onions- finely chopped
2 small onions- finely chopped
2 cucumbers- finely chopped
2 green peppers- finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp cumin
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 teaspoon dried dill
salt to taste
2 tomatoes, finely chopped

Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cover it with water or broth.  (I used vegetable broth, because we had a vegetarian join us for the dinner party.  You can use chicken broth as well.)  Add the tomato paste and mix together well.  Bring the quinoa mixture to a simmer, and then cook until it is soft.  It should take about about 15-20 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and dill.  Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt.  Mix well and let the veggie mixture sit for a few minutes for the salt to dissolve and the flavors to blend.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Pour the cooked quinoa into the veggie mixture, mix well, and serve.

My friend at See Mommy Do It made a wonderful dessert to end our evening.  She used her amazing almond cake as layers topped with whip cream and strawberries.  It was absolutely delicious.  Thank you Krista for ending our evening so sweetly!

This quinoa was an excellent substitution to this dish.  The mock kisir still had a lemony taste, but all of the fresh vegetables kept it light delicious.  It balanced our kebobs nicely.  You could also eat this as a main dish.    It is great to take with you as a lunch to work or school.  Enjoy!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gluten Free Tapas Night

Last weekend we went to a friend's house for our monthly family get-together.  This month our host decided to have a Spanish theme, meaning that we would have tapas and other traditional Spanish dishes.  Our host made some amazing paella and served a variety of Spanish cheeses with crackers.  My contributions to the festivities were a spinach with chickpeas tapas and sangria.  

The spinach with chickpeas is a vegetable rich tapas that is served with bread or crackers, but it can also be eaten alongside a main dish.  My recipe was inspired from Eating Well.    

Spinach and Chickpeas

2lbs spinach
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1-19 oz can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth*

Rinse the spinach in a colander and let it drain.  Then place half the spinach in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Using tongs, toss the spinach as it begins to wilt.  Continue adding remaining spinach until it is all added and wilted.  It should take about 6-8 minutes.  Pour spinach back into the colander and drain again.  Let it cool slightly, and run a knife roughly through the wilted spinach.

Once the wilted spinach is out of the saucepan, heat about 1 tablespoon, or one turn of the pan, of olive oil at medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is tender and lightly browned.  Keep stirring the onions, so they will not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.  This should take about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garbanzo beans, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, and paprika and stir all together to combine.  Then use a potato masher to roughly mash the chickpeas.  Stir all of this together again and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add the raisins and broth and mix it together.  Return the chopped spinach to the saucepan and gently combine.  Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand about 10 minutes.  

Drizzle the spinach with chickpeas with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, before serving.  Then put it in a serving bowl and serve alongside crackers or toasted bread.  You can also serve this with a main dish such as paella.  It went nicely being served as an appetizer or side dish.  My husband really liked eating it with crackers, and my friends were asking for the recipe.  I am very happy about the results.

* Cook's notes:  I chose to use vegetable broth, because some of the members of our group are vegetarians.  It is really important to remember to remember to use vegetable broth if you are making this for vegetarians.  Unfortunately, it is very easy for us carnivores to automatically use chicken broth in a recipe.  I had to consciously remind myself to buy vegetable broth at the store.  I know that our friends appreciated us remembering to make something that they could enjoy too.  

I also made sangria.  I chose to make an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version of the sangria.  The impetus for the non-alcoholic sangria was my friend who is expecting a new bundle of joy at the end of the year.  She loves sangria, but she is unable to have the alcohol at the moment.  She did not want me to go through the hassle for just her, so I said it was for the children too.  Thankfully, she really liked the recipe.  The kids did not like the fruit floating in the juice, but they did like the taste of it.  I based my recipe after reading a blog from the Sweet Pea Chef.

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

3 cups grape juice
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 apple
3 cups ginger ale

Thinly slice 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange.  Core 1 apple and chop it into 1/2 inch cubes.  You do not need to peel any of the fruit.  The peel adds beautiful, bright colors in the glass.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  (You can leave it in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to combine.)  Prior to serving, add the ginger ale and stir together.  Since we brought the sangria to a friend's house, we added a little ice to keep it cool.  I would recommend filling some ice cube trays with some of the sangria, and putting them in the freezer.  Once they are completely frozen, you can use this to keep it cold so that it does not taste watered down.

Lastly, I made a traditional sangria.  I looked at a variety of recipes from The Food Network website, and this is my recipe.

Traditional Sangria 

2 bottles chilled, dry red wine, like Rioja
1 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
3 limes
2 apples
2 cups ginger ale

In a large bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar.  Stir until the sugar completely dissolved.  Thinly slice 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 3 limes.  Core 2 apples and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes.  You do not need to peel any of the fruit.  The peel adds beautiful, bright colors in the glass.  Add all of the fruit into the large bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours.  Once it is well chilled, take it out of the refrigerator and add the ginger ale.  Serve in glasses over ice.

The traditional sangria was sweet and refreshing.  We drank it as we watched the children play in the backyard.  It was such a relaxing evening.  I hope that you will try these recipes with the ones you love.  Enjoy!