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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in knife-free (34)

Wednesday
May082013

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

Seedy Granola

Seedy Granola

So many packaged or bulk granolas have glutenous ingredients, are packed full of nuts (I'm allergic to almost all of them), are waaaay too sweet for my tastes, or have more dried fruit than I like. And thus, I prefer making my own granola. Not only is it cheaper, but I can make it fit my tastes and dietary restrictions perfectly! Here's a recipe I'm making a lot lately. It boasts a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax) as well as coconut, honey, spices, vanilla, and raisins. As for the fat, I love using coconut oil in granola; it lends a wonderfully sweet flavor and fragrance. With a splash of coconut milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt, it makes a great energy-packed breakfast or snack. 

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

yield: 7-8 cups

This granola is very lightly sweetened with honey. I love the subtle sweetness in combination with the roasty toasty oats and seeds. If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to up the quantity of sweetener to 1/2 or 2/3 cup, to fit your tastes. It will still work a-okay, but based on my experiences, it will need to bake just a little longer due to the extra moisture. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut chips
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • optional: 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325º F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut chips, seeds, salt, and spices. Set aside. 

In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt together honey and coconut oil over low heat, stirring often, until liquid. Stir in vanilla extract, if using. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.

Divide granola between baking sheets and spread evently in a thin layer over surface. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven, stir granola, and place pans back in oven on opposite shelves. Bake another 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove pans from oven and let cool completely. Granola will crisp as it cools.

Once cool, store in sealed jars or containers. Will keep for 2 weeks.  

 

Substitution options:

  • Substitute raisins with any other dried fruit.
  • Substitute honey with other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup). Keep in mind each one has a different intensity of sweetness, so it may be less - or more - sweet depending on your substitution. 
  • Substitute coconut oil with another oil, such as sunflower oil
  • Substitute sunflower and pumpkin seeds with any type of nut
  • Substitute sesame seeds with hemp seeds
  • Play with other spices, such as nutmeg or ground ginger 
Monday
Apr022012

A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Untitled

[Trigger warning: depression, thoughts of self-harm, and intimacy are brought up briefly in this post. You wouldn't expect it in a post about cookies, but there it is. Wanted to bring it up for individuals for whom these topics may be triggering.] 

During my time away from the blog, I made a lot of cookies. And by that I mean two batches or so every week for about two months. In retrospect, I believe I was possessed by a cookie demon, an apron-clad creature that breathes flour from its nose, has beaters instead of hands, and whose eyes are glazed sticky sweet with honey. My kitchen became host to mixing bowls in the sink, flour on the floor, and a tin of cookies on the counter at all times. I fed my housemates cookies. I bestowed cookies upon friends. I wooed with cookies. Yes, wooed. And of course, I consumed many of them myself. 

My baking bonanza was part of a larger pattern of self-indulgence that started last fall. I had been weaning off my drugs since last October after two years of heavy antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease and related tickborne co-infections. My doctor had told me that I was in remission, and we should try running an experiment to see how my body behaved without treatment. I took my last pill in late November. In a somewhat reckless (yet well-deserved) move, I celebrated. Caution, moderation, and self-control are not my natural and preferred methods of approaching the world. I've had to develop them in the last few years out of health-related necessity, and I managed to drum up gumption that I didn't know I had. I was so tired of regulating myself. So I threw care to the wind. I let go. I cheered myself with wine and coffee and all number of things that I had forbade myself from partaking in the last 4 years, returning to a slightly amended version of my habits of old. Concurrently, I indulged my heart and body, spending obsessive amounts of time in a blissed out haze of crushy giddiness with a pleasure rebel of equal measure to me. I laughed more than I'd laughed in years, shaking up the dust and cobwebs from prior years of sick sorrow. I fed parts of my soul that had lay hungry for far too long. 

It was all so needed, a medicine all of its own. I knew all of that was a recipe for inevitable intense consequence, but I didn't care. I wanted to experience every moment the present so badly, so I did. 

Everything hit an unfortunately timed wall in the desolate grey of mid-February, a tsunami wave of intrinsically cyclical circumstances. Cookies, wine, and losing time in starry-eyed explorations were replaced by new antibiotic regimens, detox baths, and days lost in battling Herxes from Hell. I was in physical and emotional crisis. My behaviors had fed my soul, but had also fed all the sleeping bugs in my system and brought them back to life. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in months and years. I felt nauseous from the drugs in my system and the lonely pit in my stomach.  My head throbbed and shooting pains transversed my flesh. Worse yet, my swinging manic depressive cycles joined forces with a wicked Bartonella brain freakout and an aching heart, forming an unholy trinity of psychological destruction. Thoughts of self-harm wracked my brain, unlike any I'd had in years. It was terrifying. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, nights were silent and solitary. I struggled to unravel the pain, grappling to discern what to attribute to the flare in my illnesses, or to side effects from the pharmaceuticals, or to the deep depression, or to the unraveling of intimacy. I was plagued by frustration for taking everything "too far", indulging "too much", feeling "too deeply". I thrived at very little other than taking my pills, crying, watching Netflix, and writing depressing poetry.

What a clutsterf***.  

hellobeautiful

And yet, the old adage remains: time is the great healer of all things. Within a few weeks, a switch had flipped. My body began to acclimate, my depression started to lift, my lonliness slowly subsided. Some light poked through the clouds and I flocked to it. And now, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered. Matters of the body, mind, and heart have all achieved a certain level of balance and redefinition and appreciation. Times like this are for learning, growing, and self-reflection. It takes patience and faith and hard work. Sometimes it sucks. But in my experience things usually end up better after a bout like this. And thankfully, they have. 

I'm not baking many cookies right now. My tendancy to overindulge doesn't bode well with the way antibiotics effect my body, so I'm putting on the brakes the best I can. But have a storehouse of recipes from my winter baking binge to revisit. I made these little love nuggets last weekend for a potluck, to great delight of all who ate. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff, a celebration of all the ways I like to overdo. But the gluttony is tempered by whole grains and healthy fat and sensible sweeteners. It's the sort of balance I am trying to achieve. 

 Untitled

 

Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free)

yields 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

In addition to boasting whole grains, raisins, cashews, and coconut, these cookies are totally loaded with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Sweet.

A few tips on the fat. Make sure to use softened - not melted - coconut oil. If you are a butter eater, an equal weight of butter can be substituted. Also, chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours before baking. Why? Chilling the dough hardens the coconut oil and shortening, so it doesn't melt as quickly while the cookies are baking. Instead of spreading out like weird pancakes and ending up lacy and thin, cookies baked from chilled dough spread gradually and end up slightly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Totally worth the wait, trust me. And besides, it gives you lots of time to sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfulls of dough. Because duh, why else bake cookies?!

  • 90 grams / 0.75 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour*
  • 60 grams / scant 0.5 cup arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (equal weight of tapioca flour or tapioca starch can be substituted)
  • 40 grams / 0.25 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 grams / 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 9 grams / 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams / 0.5 cup + 3.5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil 
  • 75 grams / 0.25 cup + 2 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 170 grams / 1 cup palm sugar (or equal weight of another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar)
  • 80 grams / 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 grams / 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 290 grams / 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 225 grams / 1.5 cup lightly packed raisins
  • 85 grams / 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 100 grams / 0.75 cup toasted chopped cashews

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and shortening until smooth and fluffy. Then add sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth (some sugar granules may remain, that's okay). Add eggs and mix just until they are evenly combined. Gradually add flour and mix until evenly incorporated.

Then fold in oats, raisins, coconut, and cashews with a large sturdy spoon or spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop chilled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches or so between each cookie. Bake for approximately 16 minutes per batch, rotating pans half way through if baking two sheets at a time. Cookies should still be soft in the middle but browned around the edges, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in a well-sealed jar, container, or bag at room temperature for up to 4 days (although they won't last that long).

 

*Flour Power! If you can't find quinoa or amaranth flour for purchase, or if you want to save some ching, grind your own. Simply place whole quinoa or amaranth grains in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, and grind until you create very fine flour with an even texture. So easy and so fresh!

Saturday
Nov192011

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie (gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, grain-free, nut-free)

 No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie

The original recipe for this pie was published in my 2011 recipe calendar A Year to Eat Freely. It was a really fun recipe project that I had for sale through Etsy. While I won't be publishing another calendar for 2012, I really enjoyed the learning process and experience of creating the first calendar. 

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and wanted to share it with you. It is different than a traditonal sweet potato pie that is baked, but has its own distinctive flavor and texture that is very good. It would be perfect for your holiday table. 

If you are looking for other Thanksgiving pie or bar ideas, check these out:

This recipe is linked to Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct182011

Homemade Vanilla Salt, Two Ways

Vanilla Salt

There are all kinds of fancy salts out there for you to blow your paycheck on. Confession: I own many of them

Thankfully, one of my favorite salts is one that I make at home. Vanilla salt couldn't be easier to prepare, and the end result is lovely. I have two methods for creating vanilla salt, yielding different yet equally delightful results. I am sharing both methods with you; try each one and see which fits you best. I use my vanilla salt in baked goods, with fruit, over roasted sweet potatoes or squash, sprinkled over chocolaty desserts, or with roasted or grilled meats (helloooooo pork and chicken). I think you'll like it too. If you decorate the jar with a cute label and a bit of ribbon, you have a wonderful homemade gift. 

Vanilla beans are über-expensive if you buy them one-by-one or in small quantities. The trick is to buy a big bag and split the cost with a friend. A fellow foodie and I split the cost of this 1/2 pound bag of vanilla beans. We each ended up with about 30 beans for only about $13 per person. Sweet deal, right? 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct132011

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle (gluten-free, vegan, cane sugar-free)

curry coconut pepita brittle

Over the weekend, we had our seventh gathering of the MPLS Food Swappers. The MPLS Swappers is just one of the food swapping groups that has popped up around the world in the last year. I started the group after being inspired by the lovely Kate Payne and her swaps in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX. Since then, swaps have have popped up all over the place, and it's a huge trend in the local foods scene. So far we're the only one in the Twin Cities area (and I think all of Minnesota) and we've gotten a lot of local press. I guess you could say that we really love publicity.  

My inconsistent and transitional housing situation lately has not made it easy to keep up with canning, so I'm feeling a little possessive of my preserved food. I was left scrambling to come up with what I would bring to swap. Instead of bringing something from my larder, I whipped up a tasty batch of this Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle using ingredients I had on hand. I was inspired by a recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living which featured a recipe for Coconut Curry Cashews. While it looked great, I wanted something a little different but with the same flavor profile and made without cane sugar. So, I set forth on a kitchen experiment!

It was a total victory, a delightful combination of sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy that always wins me over. And it was a total hit at the swap. In exchange for bags of my lovingly prepared pepitas, I received frozen crappie filets, delicata squash, homegrown horseradish, red pepper jam, pickled garlic, homebrew beer (a great gift for my dad!), roasted pepita-chickpea mix, lemon-herb butter, and a gorgeous bunch of homegrown kale.  I love my swappers.

To learn more about how our food swap works, check out the MPLS Swapper blog. And in the meantime, enjoy some brittle. Happy Thursday!

bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle awaiting bids at the MPLS Swappers food swapwhat I got in exchange for my bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle - score!!!

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle

yield 6 cups

This makes a very large batch, big enough for a party or perfect for gift giving. Feel free to cut this recipe in half or thirds if you want to make a smaller batch. The spice from the curry powder is tempered by the sweetness of the maple syrup and coconut. And the saltiness combines the holy trinity of flavors to keep you going back for handful after handful. Keeps for two weeks at room temperature, but I promise you, it won't last that long. 

  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (mild or hot, the choice is up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined salt
  • 6 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350º F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn! Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. 

Meaure pepitas into a large bowl, then pour maple mixture over them, stirring to mix. Divide pumpkin seeds evenly between two parchment-lined cookie sheets, spreading coated seeds evenly over the surface in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks. Remove from oven, divide coconut evenly between the trays and stir into mixture, then bake for another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks, until seeds are golden. I know, I know, it's a lot of stirring and rotating, but you don't want burned seeds and coconut. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheets on wire cooling racks and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Areas of the brittle will be very crisp, while other areas will be a little chewy and caramel-like. That's okay! 

Break cool brittle into chunks. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container and consume within 2 weeks. 

 

 

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Check it out for tons of great recipes!