Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood


Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies – Finally!

 

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I’ve tried a variety of gluten free items from pizza crust (still looking for THE one) to cakes. One thing I had yet to find was a recipe for a fudgy gluten free brownie. Every recipe I made turned out more like cake rather than a dense, moist, delicious brownie.
As you can tell, I have specific feelings on how brownies should be. I already have a regular brownie recipe that is my go-to dessert. It’s quick, easy – and most importantly – fudgy deliciousness.
Since none of the gluten free brownie recipes were hitting the spot I decided to look at a few of them, and my favorite gluten-containing one and see what I could come up with.
And I will tell you this: it.is.fabulous.

 

Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup, minus 1 tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together and stir until combined.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips (if using).
Pour/scoop batter into greased pan and spread evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with dry crumbs (not wet batter) on it.
Allow to cool completely before cutting (or as long as you can resist!).

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The flecks of white are the consequence of not using a mixer to beat the cream cheese. I need a mixer!

The flecks of white are the consequence of not using a mixer to beat the cream cheese. I need a mixer!

If you’re anything like me, you skip all of the touching and adorable stories that bloggers list before their recipe. I just prefer to get right down to business. Delicious business.
So here you go!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Crust
1 1/3 cup walnut meal/crumbs (pulse walnuts in a food processor or blender)
1 Tbsp almond flour
4 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients for crust thoroughly and pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Smooth and spread evenly. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can pumpkin puree, 15 oz (only ingredient being pumpkin)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
4 eggs
4 Tbsp coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat cream cheese until soft and smooth (this is MUCh easier with some sort of mixer, I made mine without one). Beat in the sugar. Mix in pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and greek yogurt. Mix in eggs one at a time. Lastly, stir in coconut flour.

Remove crust from fridge and pour filling into pan on top of crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. The center may look slightly jiggly but it will set as it cools.
Allow to cool completely before cutting. Best if allowed to set in fridge for at least a few hours.


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Homemade Protein Shake

Don't act like you don't drink out of mason jars!

Don’t act like you don’t drink out of mason jars!

Protein shakes are pretty popular these days. Everyone seems to be going low carb and high protein based on various diets out there. I’ve enjoyed them as a quick breakfast with a big dose of protein to start my day and keep me full. I’m not following any particular diet. Mine is to control certain health issues.
But those protein powders are pretty processed, which is something I try to avoid. And when one of your health issues has you cutting back on sugar, those powders just won’t do.
So now I make my own protein shake and I really love it. I drink this almost every morning.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Coconut, and Banana Protein Shake

1/2 cup Milk (whatever you’ve got, I use whole raw)
1 Tbsp Cottage cheese (one with a highrer fat content, mine is 4%)
1 Tbsp Greek Yogurt, plain (again, full fat, please)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Peanut butter
1 Tbsp Coconut oil (I like the unrefined in this recipe, it adds coconut flavor)
1 Tbsp (heaping) Cocoa powder
1/4 Cup Walnuts (shelled, of course)
1/8 cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 Banana (do I need to say peeled?)
A handful of ice (if using a frozen banana, skip ice)

Toss it all in the blender and blend until smooth.
Enjoy!

If you are just getting used to less sugar you may want to add a bit of honey to this as you wean off of sugary foods.


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Apricot Granola Bars

I love trying new recipes for granola bars. With four kids we are always on the go (did I mention 3 of them play sports?). Granola bars are a great quick snack as we zip from lacrosse to soccer and back again.
I had some dried apricots in my pantry and I started thinking about how much I like the Apricot Almond Kind Bars. So I decided to create an Apricot Granola Bar. Since we go through granola bars pretty quickly I will definitely double the recipe next time.

Apricot Granola Bar

Apricot Granola Bar

1 1/2 cups of dried apricots
2 cups of oats
1 cup of puffed grain cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey

Cover apricots with hot water and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking pan.
Drain apricots and place in a blender or food processor (I use my trusty Vitamix). Blend until chopped into small pieces. Place coconut oil and honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat until oil is melted and the honey begins to bubble (this can be done on the stovetop in a pot as well). Add the oil and honey mixture to the blender and blend again. It will make a sticky paste.
In a large bowl mix the oats, puffed grain, nuts and coconut. Add the apricot mix and blend thoroughly. This takes a few minutes as the apricot mixture is very sticky and you want all of the dry ingredients well coated.
Scrape mixture into the prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon or your hands (you may need to grease your hands a bit to prevent sticking). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting.


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Gluten Free Dinner: Pizza and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been off wheat for about a month now. Some days are easier than others. Pizza day…that’s been torture.
I’ve tried a few recipes that were flops. An almond flour crust was just soggy and nasty. A quinoa crust I couldn’t even top and try to turn it into a pizza.
Don’t get me started on the cauliflower crust. gag. And I like cauliflower!
Well my awesome neighbor has also been trying out gluten free pizza crusts and has been at it for a bit longer than myself. She mentioned a recipe she felt was pretty good and I decided to give it a try.
Joy!
This pizza crust was actually…crust-like! I admit I haven’t tried a multitude of crusts partly because I haven’t been at this long and partly because I’ve hesitated buying the many ingredients that gluten free baking often requires.
This recipe had very few ingredients and I had them all except the xanthum gum, which my neighbor happily gave me.
The recipe is from Gluten Free Cooking School.
I was short 1/3 cup of brown rice flour so I subbed in almond flour for it. (This website is how I knew I could do that and it would be ok) I also used different seasoning. That part is personal and you can season it how you want. I used salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
Even my husband tried it and said it was good and the whole family would eat it and never know. Yay! I get pizza again and it can still taste good.
Hubby didn’t enjoy the Brussels sprouts I put on my pizza though.

Yummy!

After we all enjoyed our pizza I let the kids have a chocolate chip cookie. I had made a big batch of them for my 6 year old’s soccer snack on Saturday but then constant rain flooded the fields and soccer was cancelled.
Those cookies were torturing me. I wanted one SO badly. Soft and gooey and baked just right.
Curse you gluten!! (can you see me shaking my fist in the air?)
Anyway, I started thinking about how I had made a mug cake before (thank you, Pinterest) and it was really quite good. I was sure there HAD to be a gluten free chocolate chip cookie in a mug recipe. Certainly not too much to ask, right?
Well I found this gem and it was delish! I doubled it thinking it was far too little and I may have done myself in there. It tasted very cookie-like and was just what I needed to finish my Friday night. The recipe is written vegan. I happen to love butter so I replaced the applesauce with an equal amount of butter (it really helps to have cooking knowledge to know what ingredients are for and how to swap them!) and my yogurt was dairy. I didn’t measure my chocolate chips, I just added until it looked good.
I needed to cook it slightly longer than it says but it was still quite fast. It was really good!

Clearly, I'm no food stylist.

Clearly, I’m no food stylist.

I finished it all off with a glass of Moscato and I was one happy, gluten free, camper!

Aren't my wine glasses gorgeous?!

Aren’t my wine glasses gorgeous?!


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Peanut Butter, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

 

These bars are a great to have on hand for snacks or breakfast on the go. With ingredients like oats, bananas and peanut butter you (and your kids) will feel satisfied and fueled for whatever you have on your agenda.

This recipe does not list any added sweetener. If your kids (or you) prefer a sweeter bar you can add one tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey. Very ripe bananas tend to be super sweet so we find these to be just right for our tastes.

 

 

Peanut Butter, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

 

3 very ripe banana, mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 Tbsp natural peanut butter (I prefer brands with peanuts as the ONLY ingredient)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8×8 baking dish. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spread in prepared dish making as even as possible, smooth the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges just start to brown and middle is set but looks wet/undercooked. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.


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Black Eyed Pea Salad

My 15-year-old daughter was amused to find out that black eyedpeas are an actual food and not just a group who knows how to put out a catchy tune. I will call this a recipe quite loosely as I always feel a bit bad when I don’t have measurements for you. But for a salad it really suits it to just add as much as you see fit.

Summer in a bowl.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

3 cups cooked black eyed peas (2 cans, drained and rinsed well)
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 small tomatoes chopped
1 handful sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Cajun Belle pepper, chopped*
1/2 handful of parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt

As you can see by the oh-so-precise measure of “a handful” this is a loose recipe. ThisĀ is a great way to see what is in your garden and work your salad around this. I tossed all of these ingredients in a bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. We took it to a cookout with friends and it was a hit.

*The Cajun Belle pepper is listed as a sweet but mildly spicy pepper. It only had a HINT of spice on the back end and once it was in the salad tasted more like a red bell pepper. If you want more spice use the pepper that hits the level of mouth-on-fire you enjoy. If you want no chance of spice, just use 1/2 of a red bell pepper.