The holidays are just around the corner! Are you ready? I’ve purchased a few gifts but I’m nowhere near ready. I really love taking in the whole holiday season, so I try not to jump too far ahead. I love all the shopping with crowds and Christmas music playing in the background. The crisp air, the food, the light and window displays. What I love most though, is choosing a gift each year to give that’s a little crafty.
Sometimes it’s just a nice Christmas treat tray or box that’s decorated nicely for family and neighbors. Other years I’ve gone all out and made lotions, scrubs, lip balms, facial toners…all kinds of fun self-care items with my own personal touch.
I thought I’d share some of those items in case you’re in need of some easy but fun homemade gifts. If you’re not really crafty, no need to worry. Throughout November and December I’ll be sharing my “Favorite Things” from skincare to supplements, to kitchen tools. Lots of ideas for great items to slip under the tree and into your special someone’s stocking.
These rolls are inspired by My Gluten-Free Kitchen’s Pull Apart Dinner Rolls. I have made her fabulous rolls many, many times using her gluten-free recipe and we absolutely love them! They turn out perfect every time.
I strive to be about 90% grain free and save the gluten-free goodies for maybe a Sunday dinner or special occasions. So when the cold weather hit and I started craving all things comfort food…I worked with the recipe a bit to come up with a grain free option. Still super easy and still delicious!
They’re not just for dinner either! I love to toast leftovers for breakfast or use the buns for sandwiches. My next attempt with the recipe will be to see how the batter holds up for chicken and dumplings, so stay tuned!
Grain Free Dinner Rolls
2 3/4 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum
2 1/2 teaspoons of SAF Instant Yeast
1/4 Cup of Granulated Sugar (You can use white or coconut sugar – coconut sugar will make the rolls look more like a whole wheat roll)
1 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt
1 Cup of Warm Filtered Water
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Earth Balance Soy Free Butter, plus extra for roll tops after baking
1 Large Organic Egg
1 teaspoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Spray a 9″ round pie plate, set aside.
Add the dry ingredients to your stand mixer. Heat the water and add the butter, let it sit until it melts. Turn the mixer on low and add the water and butter, the egg, and the vinegar. Mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides once. Beat on high for 1 minute. Scrape down sides. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 9 mounds of dough into the pie plate. The dough will be soft. You can leave them for a rustic baked look or you can wet your fingers and gently smooth out the tops.
Set the oven to 375 degrees Spray a piece of plastic wrap and gently lay it over the top of the pie plate. Cover loosely with a light kitchen towel, and let rest for 45 minutes. I do mine on top of the stove where it’s warm.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. (I use convection for all of my cooking – if you use conventional, set your oven at 400 degrees and start keeping an eye on the rolls around 25 minutes). Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes before brushing the tops lightly with melted dairy free butter.
Here I’ve used the buns for lunch and for a breakfast sandwich. Delicious!
During the colder months I love to have hot tea or a spicy coconut creme with a little something sweet and crunchy as my afternoon treat. I love all types of biscotti but especially unique flavors and ingredients. If you’re a purist, these may not be for you. But if you’re a biscotti adventurist, you’ll love them!
They have just the right amount of sweet and crisp and make the perfect companion for tea, coffee, or your favorite afternoon latte.
Carrot Cake Biscotti
*This Recipe Is Grain Free & Dairy Free*
1 3/4 Cups of Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
2 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Butter
3/4 Cup of Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup of Plain Pureed Pumpkin
2 Cups of Grated Carrots
1/2 Cup of Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup of Raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line one baking sheet with parchment.
Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar, add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin and mix until thoroughly incorporated and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. With mixer on the stir setting, add the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
Divide the dough in half and scoop two halves onto the baking sheet. Pat lightly into two loaves about 2″ high and 9-10″ long. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool.
Slice, (makes about 23 servings depending on how thick you slice them. If sliced too thinly, they won’t stay together and will crisp too much during baking) and lay each piece on its side. Bake side #1 for 10 minutes, remove from oven and carefully turn each piece over and bake side #2 for 10 minutes. Cool Completely before frosting.
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, melted
Zest of a Whole Small Lemon
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon of Almond Extract
1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Water (If necessary for drizzling consistency)
Whisk together until smooth and drizzle lightly over biscotti.
My Favorite Coconut Creme
1/2 Cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk (I use Arroy-D)
1/2 Cup of Filtered Water
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon of Raw Honey
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
Heat the coconut milk and water to almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the ginger, honey, and vanilla. Pour into a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Pour into your favorite cup and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
There was a little snafu with the photographs on my phone when our son was fixing another snafu with my computer. So this is the one and only photo I have of this delicious soup! It’s actually a photo of a photo because that’s the only way I could figure out how to get it from “out there” to here. ha
My eyesight has changed and I can no longer focus through the view finder on my good cameras so I didn’t have all my photos on a memory card. I’ve been using my iPhone for all my food photos. I’m hoping the optometrist will have a solution because currently I have two very expensive cameras aging in a drawer. Fingers crossed! Until then, we’ll just go with the flow and have a bowl of this soul warming soup to get us through these chilly days.
Instant Pot Beef & Vegetable Soup
12 ounce Top Sirloin Steak, sliced thinly
1 Medium Sweet Onion, sliced
3 Cloves of Garlic, diced
14 oz Bag of Brussels Sprouts, stems cut, outer layer peeled, then halved
8 ounces of Cremini Mushrooms, halved
3 Stalks of Celery, sliced on the diagonal
2 Large Carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 Cup of Kale, ribs removed and chopped
1/2 Cup of Parsley, chopped
1 Medium Sweet Potato with Skin, cubed
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Rosemary, minced
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Thyme, minced
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Oregano, minced
64 ounces of Beef Broth
1 1/2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste
About 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
Heat the Instant Pot to saute the steak. Add 1 Tablespoon of the avocado oil and quickly saute the beef until it begins to brown and remove to a plate. (I removed mine at rare-just barely medium rare.) Add the remaining Tablespoon of avocado oil, the onions, garlic, celery and carrot and saute until the onions are aldente. Add the meat and the remaining ingredients, stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan, and secure the lid.
On “Manual” set the Instant Pot for 5 minutes. (It will take approximately 30 minutes to come to temperature and THEN the 5 minute timer will begin.) When the timer sounds, release the steam and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Often when people hear the words “gluten free” or “grain free” or even “dairy free”, they think those terms equal = weird texture, odd tastes, and punishment. Which is kind of bizarre to me considering the real punishment is eating foods you’re sensitive to that make you sick, stiff, hormonal, anxious, and grumpy.
Once you realize there’s a whole world of other options out there, you can let go of all of those negative attachments to what you “think” eating allergen free tastes and feels like.
My goal when I started this blog (and still remains) was to create recipes that anyone would love to eat – but especially those people who have the mindset that they’re getting robbed by not being able to eat what “normal” people eat.
One of the fun things I like to do every now and then when I run across a traditional recipe that really peaks my interest, is to see if I can tweak it to fit the needs of people who cannot eat certain foods. This recipe was inspired by an orange cake I ran across in Better Homes & Gardens. Once you learn the basic science behind baking with allergen free ingredients, it’s all a matter of swapping and understanding the balance between the liquids and dry ingredients, and what you need to make it hold together and rise, if necessary.
It really is as easy as that.
This cake not only came out of the oven smelling and looking beautiful, the flavors were out of this world after allowing it to rest covered for 24 hours. It’s perfect lightly heated with a scoop of coconut milk vanilla ice cream, or just eaten by itself alongside a hot cup of tea for breakfast or an evening snack.
Clementine Yogurt Cake
1 Cup of Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend Flour
2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 Cup of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company’s Vanilla Yogurt
2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil
2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment. Spray generously with nonstick spray (I use avocado oil spray). *When I “line” a pan with parchment, I only cut a long piece that will go over the middle of the pan and hang off of each side. This makes is much easier to remove the bread and keeps it from sticking on the bottom.
Measure the sugar into a medium bowl and zest 6 clementines into the sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moist and aromatic. Set aside. Peel the tangerines with a sharp knife and cut out the orange sections onto a few folded paper towels. Blot dry.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the yogurt into the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time to form a smooth mixture. Whisk in the vanilla, then lightly whisk in the dry ingredients. Switch to a large spatula, and fold in the avocado oil. You should have a smooth batter with a light sheen.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Scatter the clementine segments over the top.
Bake (I use convection) for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan to a cooling rack that has parchment placed underneath.
To glaze the cake, zest and juice the remaining 2 clementines into a small bowl. Add the honey, and heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake. You can eat this warm and right away, but if you cover it and keep it at room temperature to serve it on day 2, it’s much better – rich and full of flavor.