Best Banana Muffins – Vegan style

These banana muffins never disappoint! I adapted this lower sugar version of the Muffin Mania Banana Muffins in the 80’s and have been making them probably every month since in one version or another. When I had to switch to gluten-free flour they made the transition almost seamlessly. With my flour mix and a teaspoon of xanthan gum I am not afraid to take them to the shop for coffee break (especially if I make the chocolate chunk version). So when my niece was coming for a visit and I had some nice ripe bananas (the secret ingredient) I thought I would try them with a flax egg substitute to suit her vegan diet. I was not disappointed – they were great with fresh and dried cranberries for added flavour. I would make these if I were out of eggs anytime!

Vegan Banana Cranberry Muffins – for pdf version click here Vegan Banana Muffins

1 Tbsp ground flax seed*
2 1/2 Tbsp water *
1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, about 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
3/4 cup fresh, frozen or dried cranberries or combination

* the flax and water replaces one egg – if you are not vegan you may use an egg instead

  • Whisk water into flax seed in a small bowl and let sit while preparing rest of ingredients (at least 5 minutes) until thickened.
  • Sift flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  • Stir flax mixture and margarine into bananas until blended then pour over sifted dry ingredients.
  • Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin pans using a 1/4 cup measure or a 2 1/4 ounce scoop for 9 large muffins or a 7/8 oz scoop for 30 mini-muffins.
  • Bake at 365°F for 25 minutes (less for mini-muffins)until muffin springs back when lightly touched.

Almost Famous Cheddar Biscuits – Gluten-free!

Kathy Knechtel brought these delicious cheddar biscuits, reminiscent of the Red Lobster specialty, to a dinner party and the young people were lining up for seconds and thirds without having to eat gluten-free! They are easy to make using the new Betty Crocker Bisquick Gluten-free mix!

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gluten-free-cheese-garlic-biscuits/781e1a42-c051-4ab9-bd5e-ac38c7588bc0

  • I don’t keep garlic powder because it goes hard before I use it up so I just used one clove of fresh garlic, crushed, in the butter for flavour and brushed a bit of the flavoured, melted butter on the pan where I was dropping a biscuit. It gave it lots of garlic flavour.
  • I used a little more grated cheese, maybe 3/4 cup and sprinkled some on top.
  • Kathy used buttermilk and I made them with regular milk and buttermilk and liked the buttermilk better but if you don’t have it on hand I would not hesitate to make them with plain milk.
  • Kathy add a few Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley to the dough and in the butter topper and it made them perfect.

I will try them with a scratch biscuit mix and add some pictures to this blog later but I wanted to get the word out on this special treat for people on a gluten-free diet. It sure fits the bill for something to go with a hearty soup meal as the cool weather descends.

Watermelon Gazpacho

Here is a wonderful way to enjoy the sweet, local watermelon at the markets now. Cut a a piece to save for slicing and use the rest in this delicious soup that will keep for several days in the refrigerator. A lovely change from sandwiches for lunch and packed with fresh vitamins and goodness.

Watermelon Gazpacho click here for pdf version

Nick brought this delicious summer soup to Sherborne Lake and it was an instant hit with our family. So refreshing on a hot summer day served as an appetizer as suggested in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine (summer 2013) where it originated or as the main dish at lunch.

8 cups seedless watermelon, cubed (about 5 lb)
1 Tbsp wine or sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce or 1 tsp Sriracha to taste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup sweet pepper, diced, any colour
Garnish (optional):
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp lime rind, finely grated
AND/OR fresh basil or mint or chives, chopped

• Reserve 2 cups of watermelon and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
• Puree 6 cups of the watermelon in a food processor or blender
• Add vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, hot pepper sauce and salt and pulse several times to mix.
• Transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved watermelon, cucumber, onion and sweet pepper.
• Taste and adjust seasoning then chill.
• You may serve the soup just as it is or with some fresh chopped basil or mint and but it is especially good if you make the garnish and top it with a spoonful before serving.
• Prepare garnish by mixing yogurt, lime jiuce and rind and spoon on top as desired! Finish with a sprinkling of fresh mint, basil or chives or a combination of any.
• Makes 8 servings

Pork Schnitzel

Pork tenderloin is on sale and corn on the cob is fresh at the market or farm gate – a perfect pairing for summer! Just add a baked sweet potato or a slice of vine ripened tomato, some applesauce on the side and dinner is complete. Satisfyingly simple and suitable for a single person or a family. Freeze any remaining schnitzel for another quick meal after a hard day.

Pork Schnitzel

Ellen La Marre taught me this quick and easy way to prepare my own schnitzel so I am able to use gluten-free crumbs and enjoy this simple meal again.

Cut a pork tenderloin into pieces about 2-3 inches long and flatten to ¼ inch. I use a wooden rolling pin with good results.

Dip pieces into a beaten egg then coat with fine gluten-free cracker or bread crumbs. Lay flat on waxed paper.

Fry in a little olive oil and butter until slightly browned and meat is cooked through. This only takes about 5 minutes on each side. If you have any extra schnitzel freeze them separately on waxed paper.

 

Tip:

 I always keep a bag of crumbs from the crusts of bread and broken crackers in the bottom of the package. When you have a cup or more just throw them in the food processor or blender so they are uniform. Sometimes you have to heat the crumbs and dry them a little before they will crumble properly.

 

Gluten-free Breakfast Mix

This nutritious mixture of grains and fruit was inspired by Holy Crap to replace my morning oatmeal or muesli after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The Canadian Celiac Association recommends avoiding oatmeal, even the gluten-free products, the first year or so after diagnosis until normal blood indicators are obtained.

 

I mix a large container of this whole grain cereal blend and stir a quarter cup into a bowl of yogurt with a cup of whatever fruit is in season or some chopped apple, banana or frozen berries. I have mixed applesauce or leftover cranberry sauce with plain Greek yogurt for a nice change in the winter. I think it is a great way to start the day!

 

Gluten-free Breakfast Mix

 

  • 1 3/4  cups hemp hearts (227 g)
  • 2  cups chia seeds, black or white (330 g)
  • 3  cups whole buckwheat or kasha (500 g)
  • 1  cup ground flax seed
  • 2  cups dried cranberries and /or raisins
  • 2  cups chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts (optional)

 

Stir everything together in a large pot or bowl then store in a sealed container. Mix with yogurt and fruit for a nutritious and delicious breakfast!

 

Triple Chocolate Cookies

If you are looking for a gluten-free cookie to make this March break and you like a little chocolate then these Triple Chocolate Cookies should be a hit. They took very little experimentation to come up with a gluten-free version of the original recipe. I just switched my gluten-free all purpose flour mix for both the wheat flours and added 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum and 1 Tablespoon of sour cream.

I made a double batch so I could share but they were so good they disappeared before they could be delivered to the deserving parties!
IMG_9861

Triple Chocolate Cookies Triple Chocolate Cookies GF2014
These are a hit with the chocolate lovers and I have found they disappear quickly from a plate of assorted cookies. You can bring these to a party and not have to apologize for being gluten-free!

1 cup margarine or butter or a mixture
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
2 Tbsp sour cream, yogurt or milk
2 cups GF all purpose flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate pieces
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

• Beat margarine with both sugars until smooth, being careful not to over mix.
• Add egg, vanilla, coffee and sour cream, beating until incorporated.
• Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into sugar mixture and beat until smooth. .
• Add white and dark chocolate and pecans, stirring until evenly distributed.
• Drop by dessert spoon or 7/8 oz scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
• Bake for 10 -12 minutes at 365°F.
• They are done when the tops begin to crack and centres are somewhat set but still a little soft.
• Hide until needed!

Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Anne’s Favourites, Food for the Heart and Soul

Turtle Squares

These are probably the most widespread “favourite” on the treat side of my cookbook. And why not with a combination of chocolate and caramel you appeal to twice as many people! I always make a bakery size pan at Christmas so I have some for home and enough to share at Cliff’s Plumbing & Heating during the last work days. How nice for me and other people with Celiac Disease they are easily changed up to leave out the gluten!

Turtle Square Recipe Page 185 Coming Soon to the blog

Turtle Square Recipe Page 185 Also see Holiday Date Balls posted last year!

Turtle Squares

These are just about the most delicious, crowd-pleasing squares you can make. Doreen concocted this recipe by combining a Nanaimo bar base and Wellington square filling – twice the enjoyment! I have included the recipe for the larger

Base: 
1/2  cup melted margarine
1/4  cup cocoa powder
1/4  cup white sugar
1  egg, beaten tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4  cups GF graham crumbs – I sometimes use part GF crisp rice cereal crushed
1  cup desiccated coconut
Filling: 
1  can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup melted margarine
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Topping:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/4 cup margarine

  • For base mix margarine, cocoa, sugar and egg in microwaveable bowl and cook about
  • 1 minute, stopping to stir half way through, until mixture is bubbling. Do not overcook or crumbs may not stick together.
  • Stir in vanilla, graham crumbs and coconut until evenly distributed. Crumbs should stick
  • together nicely or they will not cut properly later.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan and let cool.
  • For filling cook condensed milk, brown sugar, margarine and corn syrup in a heavy pot over medium low heat until mixture comes to a full boil, stirring frequently. If bits of brown start forming on the bottom, turn down the heat a notch and don’t worry since mostly they will mix in as the rest browns.
  • Reduce heat slightly and boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. It will take a little longer to cook the filling for the larger pan. Caramel is done if spoon is leaving a clean path on the bottom of the pot for a second and mixture is a nice golden brown
  • Let cool slightly then spread on base and sprinkle pecans evenly over the surface, pressing in slightly.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or more until set.
  • For topping microwave chocolate and margarine together on low power, about 1 minute, stopping often to stir and check the chocolate. Chocolate can burn easily. I usually take it out when there are still a few lumps remaining and stir until they melt, returning to microwave only if necessary.
  • Spread over cooled caramel layer with a spatula.
  • Cool and cut into 35 squares.
  • If the caramel is hard when refrigerated you may need to serve the squares at room temperature.