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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Gluten Free Carrot Cake

GF carrot cake

My fabulous husband just celebrated a birthday. But not just any birthday, he turned 40! I certainly couldn’t let my new gluten free status ruin his birthday tradition of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I began searching for the perfect recipe for gluten free carrot cake. But I was pretty picky about ingredients so it was harder than I thought. I can’t use a standard GF flour blend, as they all seem to have potato starch in them and I am unable to eat that. I also didn’t want almond flour since I have noticed when I eat almond flour baked goods I get horrible stomach pains and gas (this makes sense if you think of the number of equivalent almonds you would have eaten). I also didn’t want one of those recipes that used seven different starches and flours that I have to order online because my tiny hometown won’t possibly carry them.

I’m not asking too much here, right? I know…I am. Essentially I was looking for a recipe that used just coconut flour. I have some GF friends who seemed a bit unsure that this would happen. The truth is, it didn’t. Any recipe I found had the wrong ingredients, or many bad reviews, or something just seemed off with the recipe.

I decided I was determined to at least attempt to creat a GF carrot cake but I would not subject my husband to it on his 40th birthday. That would be cruel! So I made my traditional carrot cake for my husband and 4 kids.

After that was finished I found a recipe for a GF yellow cake that uses just coconut flour and seems like a good recipe. Although yellow cake is actually my favorite, I now had my heart set on carrot cake and I was NOT going to let that go. So I proceeded to look at three recipes to figure this out: the GF yellow cake recipe, the traditional yellow cake recipe, and the traditional carrot cake recipe.

And so my Gluten Free Carrot Cake was born!

Before we begin though, a few thoughts on coconut flour: It can be kind of temperamental. People have told me it doesn’t really work out for them. Coconut flour is VERY absorbent. A little bit goes a long way at sucking up liquids. I have had a lot of success with it but I have noticed that when it’s particularly humid out my cakes seem more crumbly and stick to the pan more. Definitely grease AND flour your baking dish and you may want to even line with parchment paper.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
3/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour (and possibly line) an 8×8 or 9×9 square or round baking dish.*

In a large bowl mix butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and milk. Mix in carrots. In a separate small bowl mix the remaining ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix thoroughly.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I’ve found that when I bake with coconut flour it seems to take my oven much longer than the recipes state. I cooked my cake for about 45 minutes. You want the center to be set and a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean.

For me, there is only one way to top a carrot cake – cream cheese frosting! I used the left overs from my husband’s cake, which was a traditional recipe of butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

*I made my cake in an 8×8 square pan but you could even do 2 layers and frost in between. They will be thinner than a traditional layer cake but will probably cook faster and it would be fun. These would also do well as cupcakes, just shorten the baking time to about 25 minutes and I would spray the cupcake liners.

When I was searching for a recipe I even Googled “best gluten free carrot cake”. I have finally found it!

Enjoy!

Single bite carrot cake


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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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Step Away from the Oatmeal Packet

We have come to believe that those little pre-flavored packets of oatmeal are easier than making regular oats and adding what we want. But honestly, it can be just as quick to make a delicious and healthy bowl of oatmeal with rolled oats.
I put a bit of rolled oats in a bowl and added some milk (raw milk, yum!) and popped it in the microwave for 45-60 seconds (there I am using that microwave again). I added real maple syrup (you really don’t want “maple flavored” corn syrup) and homemade peanut butter.
I also have a jar in my pantry of chopped up nuts that I can add to yogurt and oatmeal, or anything I want, to boost flavor and protein. My jar contains almonds and walnuts. I didn’t spend a bunch of time chopping nuts, just tossed them in the Vitamix.

chopped nuts
So back to the oatmeal.
I topped with some of the chopped nuts, raisins and shredded, unsweetened coconut, and one last drizzle of raw milk.
There it is. A delicious, hearty, filling, healthy breakfast (was that enough adjectives for you?) that is just a quick as a little packet of oatmeal but much better tasting and better for you.

Enjoying my oatmeal and some sunshine while the kids sleep.

Enjoying my oatmeal and some sunshine while the kids sleep.


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Almond Flour Carrot Muffins

I love to create new recipes. I had to force myself to finish my household to-do list before I created my Healthy Fudge the other day.
But the world of grain-free cooking is a little scary to me still. I recently gave up wheat. I think I’m on my 4th week. I’m not allergic or anything. I don’t think grains or wheat are evil (though they are effecting us differently than they used to due to changes in how it is grown and processed). I decided to try giving it up to see if it changed anything for me (namely my protruding, forever pregnant-looking belly).

The thing I didn’t expect was that it stopped my blood sugar crashes. I used to have to eat about every two hours. If I didn’t, my blood sugar would quickly crash and I would be hot, shaky and irrational. I now can go 4 hours between eating (unless my meal is too low in protein or too high in sugar, then it’s about 3 hours).
Like I said, I love to create recipes but gluten-free (or wheat free for me because I’m not checking other products for gluten) is still quite new to me.
So I am currently experimenting with recipes from other bloggers and experts out there. I have discovered some delicious recipes out there (and some not so). Today I decided to make these Gluten-Free Carrot Muffins. They are SO yummy and quick to whip up.

GF Carrot Muffins

I ate mine with a fabulous slather of grass-fed butter.

So yummy with butter!

So yummy with butter!

I happenĀ to be addicted to bread products so giving up wheat has been hard.
These muffins make it a bit easier.