Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are so easy a monkey could make them. Seriously. They come together in minutes and only take about 12 minutes or so to bake. Perfect if you have unexpected company or want to satisfy a peanut butter and chocolate craving but don’t have the energy to make a recipe with a thousand steps. They also freeze well, which is what I’m doing tonight…freezing them for camping. I think I found the original recipe on the internet several years ago. I’ve tweaked it to my own liking, of course. I’ve never tried it with other nut butters, but I bet you could easily do something like that depending on the oil content of the nut.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 Jar of Organic Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar, packed

2 Large Organic Eggs

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

About 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I used 5 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate..yes, it’s dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place all ingredients except the chocolate in a mixer. Mix just until thoroughly combined, do not over mix. This will only take maybe 10-15 seconds.

Rough chop your chocolate.

Add chocolate chunks to mixer and mix just until combined. Maybe 5-6 seconds. Do not over mix, if you do, the chocolate will separate itself from the dough and you will end up with a pile of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl with the dough on top and once this happens, it’s not fixable.

Next, scoop out little mounds, about 1 1/2 Tablespoons each, onto the parchment lined baking sheet. I usually do about 12 per sheet. They don’t spread much but I like to give mine plenty of room to “breathe” during cooking.

Bake for about 12 minutes.

Homemade Mixed Berry Sorbet

I have to admit, I’m astonished at how good this is. I can’t believe I haven’t been making my own sorbet for years. It is leaps and bounds above store-bought sorbet. There really is no comparison. The flavors are pure and powerful and literally taste like a handful of just picked berries. Amazingly refreshing on a hot summer day. Fat free. Beautiful. It even smells like I took a handful of berries and crushed them in my hands.

Now that I know how simple this is to make, I of course, have a ton of sorbet recipes and ideas swimming through my head. It’s just about peach picking season at Greenbluff and I’m already looking forward to a batch of fresh peach sorbet. Mint sorbet, chocolate sorbet, mandarin orange sorbet, banana sorbet…I think you can pretty much count on seeing more sorbet recipes from me in the future.

Homemade Mixed Berry Sorbet

2 Quarts of Mixed Berries, frozen (I used fresh picked and then frozen – blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Try not to settle with the freezer section store bought berries. It makes all the difference in the world in flavor when you buy them at a farmer’s market or pick them yourself and then freeze them. Simply pour them out on a cookie sheet and place them in your freezer until they are completely frozen. This keeps them from sticking to each other and becoming mushy.)

2/3 Cup Sugar

2 Cups All Natural No Sugar Added Mango Peach Juice

1 Cup Water

Juice of 2 Limes

Place all ingredients in a large blender. You may have to do it in two batches depending on the strength and size of your blender. You could probably also do it in a food processor in two batches.

Blend until completely incorporated and somewhat smooth. I like mine to have a little body, but you can blend it as smoothly as you like. Then, spread it out into an 8 1/2 x 11 glass or ceramic dish.

If you’re making it in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and freeze all day. If not, cover it and freeze it over night. Next, remove from dish and scoop out into a large bowl. I stirred mine a few times. Cover and freeze until ready to use. Scoop into pretty dishes and garnish with mint or fresh berries.

Black Bean Dip

I have a deep love for summer. The sun, the heat that seeps deep into your bones…so relaxing. The long days, the gardening, barbecuing, yummy drinks with lime and mint, camping. I could go on and on. I also love all of the foods that go along with those months, especially dips. So simple and convenient. I like to keep at least one on hand in the fridge for a quick snack or a nice side dish to go with a lunch salad. When I first went dairy-free I feared that my love affair with dip would be over. But, the more I research and think things through, there are tons of dips that I can make and enjoy dairy free. This bean dip is one of them and it’s incredibly simple. Great for summer and I think it would also be delicious baked with dairy-free cheese on top for the winter months.

1 Can of Black Bean, rinsed and drained

1 Whole Clove of Garlic, peeled

1 Whole Jalapeno, stem removed

About 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro Leaves

Zest of 1 Lime

Juice of 1 Lime

1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin

About 2 Tablespoons Olive oil

Rice Crackers.

Place all ingredients in food processor (minus the olive oil and rice crackers…of course). Pulse until mixture is somewhat incorporated. Turn food processor on and drizzle olive oil in until fully incorporated. You can make yours as smooth or as chunky as you like. If you want it really smooth you will have to add more olive oil. I like mine to have a little bit of body. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

Asian Shrimp Skewers with Hot and Spicy Slaw

This turned out so good that I think I might have to make it again in a few days. It’s a nice, light meal that is surprisingly packed with flavor. Perfect for a hot summer evening. I think it would also pair nicely with a slightly sweet, fruity wine. It was really easy to put together, you can make it even easier if you want, by making the salad dressing and marinade the night before and sticking it in the fridge. One disclaimer though…the “hot” in the Hot and Spicy slaw is hot. We are big fans of spicy and hot in this family, but as with any recipe, you can feel free to tweak it to your liking.

1 Bag 50-60 Shrimp, peeled, rinsed & patted dry

Wood Skewers

For the Shrimp Marinade:

1 Lime, zested

Juice of 1 Lime

3 Tbsp. Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Apricot Simply Fruit Jelly

1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha Sauce

1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley Flakes

1 Tbsp. Chopped Garlic

Place all ingredients in a medium glass or ceramic bowl and stir.

Add shrimp and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no more than 1 1/2 hours.

For the Salad Dressing:

1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar

1 Lime, zested

Juice of 1 Lime

1 Jalapeno, diced with seeds and membrane intact (if you like it hot)

1 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce

1 Tbsp. Sweet Chili Sauce

1/8 tsp. Dark Sesame Oil

Sesame Seeds for sprinkling after salad is tossed with dressing

Place all ingredients (except the seeds) in a small glass or ceramic bowl, stir. Cover and refrigerate while you make the salad.

For the Salad:

2 1/2 Cups Napa Cabbage, sliced thinly

2 Tbsp. Chives, finely chopped

1 Large Carrot, shredded

2 Large Broccoli Florets, pulled apart

1/2 Seedless Cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise then quartered

Place all ingredients in a medium glass or ceramic bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to dress the salad (right before the shrimp come off of the grill).

Next, skewer the shrimp and pre-heat the grill on medium-high.

I also grilled a summer squash alongside the shrimp. Cut  in half lengthwise, top with chopped garlic, thyme, olive oil and a squirt of lime juice on each one.

Grill the shrimp until done. They only take a few minutes per side. While the shrimp and the squash are grilling, toss the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds. I also made a dip for the shrimp with a little rice vinegar, sweet chile sauce, and sriracha sauce.

Super Simple Enchilada Casserole

I love Mexican food.

I love authentic Mexican food, kinda sorta Mexican food, trashy street Mexican food, you name it, I’ll probably eat it. However, it’s not always friendly to those of us who have to eat gluten and dairy-free. Especially the traditional gooey, cheesy, yummy saucy things that I like to order. This gluten-free and dairy-free enchilada casserole is delicious and gets rave reviews every time I make it.

Super Simple Enchilada Casserole

Pre-heat oven to 375°

1 Package Corn Tortillas

1 1/2 Cans Rosarita Enchilada Sauce (It’s gluten-free) or  I now like to make my own by using Against All Grain’s Enchilada Sauce Recipe (It freezes well too!)

1 1/2 Cans Rosarita Low Fat Refried Black Beans or You can make your own by mashing 2 cans of rinsed organic black beans with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil

1 Package Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 Yellow Onion, diced

1 Red Jalapeno Pepper, diced with seeds and membrane

Open re-fried beans or make your own and set aside. Place the enchilada sauce in a small sauce pan and heat until warm. Place the hamburger, onion, and jalapeno in a large skillet and cook until meat is done, drain oil if necessary.

Spray a 9×11 baking dish lightly with non-stick spray and layer four tortillas on the bottom.

Pour a ladle of sauce over the tortillas.

Add about 1/2 of the beans and spread them out a little bit.

Add about 1/3 of the meat mixture.

Sprinkle with a little cheese and then do the process all over again until you run out of ingredients. I think I did three layers with about a cup of sauce left over. You don’t want it too juicy. The picture below is after the third layer before going into the oven. The third layer gets a more generous helping of cheese.

 Spray a piece of tin foil and cover. Bake in a pre-heated oven until bubbly, about 3o-35 minutes or so. Top with green onions and tomatoes before serving.

Chicken & Veggie Flat Bread

This flat bread is gluten-free and dairy-free. Super easy and very versatile. I’ve made it numerous times with different types of ingredients for dinner, lunch, parties, you name it. The flat bread can be made ahead of time which makes assembling the other ingredients and cooking it a breeze if you’re hosting a party.

1 Bag Chebe Focaccia Mix

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Eggs

5 Tablespoons Almond Milk

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Garlic

(Your favorite veggies and meats, dairy-free cheeses, olive oil.)

Place all of the above ingredients in a medium bowl.

Stir with a fork until mixture starts to come together.

Remove the fork and knead with one hand until dough is completely incorporated and formed into a smooth ball.

Measure a piece of parchment to fit a baking sheet and cut.

Remove parchment from pan, sprinkle with a little gluten-free flour (I used almond flour) and pat dough out into a small circle.

Flour rolling pin and roll dough out thinly, to about the size of the parchment.

Prick with a fork and brush with about 1 Tablespoon of chopped garlic and several Tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 16-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

At this point you can cover it and set it aside to build later, or you can go ahead and start adding ingredients. This time I added spinach, peppers, mushrooms, chicken, tomatoes, drizzled it with more olive oil and sprinkled Daiya mozzarella style “cheese” all over it, then put it back in the oven and baked it until the cheese was melted. Or as melted as dairy-free cheese ever gets. In the past I’ve used goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce…there are many different ways you can do it. Just use the basic guidelines and add your favorite ingredients and you really can’t go wrong.

Finally!

Finally, a canned gluten-free and dairy-free soup that is palatable. Not only palatable, but actually quite good. I can’t tell you how many canned GF and DF soups I’ve tried only to be left disappointed and well, gagging. I think I’ve tried maybe 6 different brands (there aren’t many) and every single one of them tasted weird, smelled weird, and even looked weird. Not this one though! Evidently Wolf Gang Puck knows a thing or two about making a superior canned soup.  And I didn’t have to stand in the isle for 20 minutes reading all of his cans either. Right on the front of the can, his gluten-free soups say…Gluten Free clearly. Can you imagine? Seems easy enough but believe me, typically those of us who eat gluten-free have to spend a lot of time reading ingredient labels. All I had to do was skim quickly through his ingredient lists to make sure there wasn’t any dairy and less than 1 minute later, two of his soups were in my cart. They are pricey like most “specialty” foods, but the one I had yesterday for lunch was delicious and worth it.

As you know Wolfgang Puck is a famous chef and owns numerous restaurants and has a nice product line of all kinds of foods. They have kind of dubbed him the King of television chefs because he basically pioneered the whole idea of bringing cooking shows to our living rooms. What amazes me is that someone who isn’t even “in” the gluten-free world could make such a good product after I’ve tried numerous things from companies whose main focus is gluten-free or dairy- free and their products are hideous. I’m going to speak for myself and the whole gluten-free world when I say that Wolfgang’s gluten-free soup gets a very excited two thumbs up.

This is what it looks like when the can is opened…always a somewhat exciting and unsettling adventure for me. Looks like a “normal” can of soup and doesn’t smell funky either. Yay! So far so good.

This is what it looks like when it’s cooked and ready to eat. Just like normal soup and delicious!

Almond Milk Yogurt

On the days I have to do “big” grocery shopping I always set aside enough time to kind of meander around the store and see if there’s anything new. New as far as dairy-free or gluten-free products go. It seems like each store carries a different variety of things. Occasionally, I luck out and run across something new, or at least new to me. Last week when I was up at our local organic and health food store, Huckleberry’s, I bought some goat’s milk yogurt. I forgot to take pictures of it and do a review, but that’s OK because I never made it past the first bite. Basically, it tasted exactly like tart goat cheese and fruit…but smooth. Ugh. Way too “goaty”  in the morning for me, so I tossed it and basically threw away $2.00.  That happens a lot in the dairy-free and gluten-free world, unfortunately. I always have high hopes when I find something new that I can eat, but honestly, 80% of the time it’s a disappointment. Kind of like the “Panko Style” gluten- free bread crumbs I ran across last time I went grocery shopping. $5.99 and they were awful, not even crisp right out of the bag. Had to toss those too.

But yesterday must have been one of those 20% days where I buy something new and it’s actually delicious. Quite the breakfast surprise this morning, let me tell you. Yesterday when I was searching for my usual coconut milk yogurt at our local Fred Meyer (they can’t seem to keep anything in one place for long in the health food isles for some reason), I was just about to give up when I realized they had moved the whole yogurt section…once again. Anyway, right below the coconut milk yogurt I found a new product (or new to me) called Amande Cultured Almond Milk. I was so happy! It’s the little things in life you know… So, I took my chances and bought a cherry and a peach almond milk yogurt.

This morning, cringing while I’ll peeled the top off, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it not only looked normal but smelled normal. It’s also nice and thick, not runny like coconut yogurt, and tastes fabulous! It has no artificial ingredients or preservatives, is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, fruit juice sweetened, has 6 live cultures, and zero GMO ingredients.

If you click here, and then on the store finder at the top of their page, you can find a store near you.

Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks

I’ve been staring at some very, very, ripe bananas for the last few days sitting on my kitchen counter. I cannot bring myself to toss overripe bananas because I know that they morph from a firm semi-sweet breakfast item or snack, into something unbelievably sweet and flavorful when they are at their ugliest. For some reason that’s just a miracle to me and it seems like a complete shame to miss out on what they have to offer.

So last night as I was tossing and turning wide awake at 1:00 AM (a traveling husband and a semi-empty nest will do that to you), I was thinking about all of the things I could do with those hideously ugly bananas that kept calling my name. Banana bread of course, is usually the first and certainly the easiest choice. I didn’t feel like doing the same old thing though so I tried to think of all the things that would work well with a banana bread base. There’s a lot actually…it’s amazing the work your mind can do when you don’t have anything else to do and can focus on just one thought. However, I kept coming back to peanut butter and chocolate and I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. Not a huge stretch I know. Oh well, who needs to stretch when bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate are a marriage made in heaven?

Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

2/3 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 Large Organic Eggs

1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 3/4 Cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Organic Cinnamon

1 tsp. Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

3 Very, Very, Ripe Organic Bananas

3 Squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, roughly chopped

About 3/4 Cup Organic Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, warmed for about 1 minute and stirred

Add all ingredients to an electric mixer, except the chocolate and peanut butter. Mix just until ingredients are fully incorporated. Add chocolate and stir to combine. Line a muffin pan with papers, squirt each one with a small amount of non-stick spray, and fill each paper 3/4 full. Put about 1 1/2  teaspoons or so of the warmed peanut butter on top of each batter filled cup and stir it around lightly with a skewer or chopstick.

Next, place the muffins in a pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. Do not over cook them.

You can serve them hot out of the oven or cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Guacamole for Two

This recipe is a tweaked version of Christina Ferrare’s guacamole. When I make it for two, I use two avocados, when I make it for a crowd, I use at least eight. I love the addition of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes. It makes a healthy snack or a great lunch, maybe served with side salad for two.

Guacamole for Two

2 Ripe Avocados

1/2 Jalapeno with seeds and membrane intact, diced

2 Tbs. Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbs. Red Onion, finely chopped

2-3 Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped

1 Lime

Sea Salt & Pepper

Chop the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, and tomatoes. Cut the lime into quarters. Place the avocado flesh in a bowl.

Mash the avocado with a fork until almost smooth. I like mine a little chunky. Add the jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and sun-dried tomatoes, stir. Squeeze all four quarters of lime into mixture and stir. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with corn chips, vegetables, or anything you like.