Tag Archive | healthy living

Peanut Brownie Bites- Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, & Delicious!

One of my biggest challenges in my quest for delicious grain free & dairy free food is always dessert! Even when I was only grain free, most of my desserts used dairy; because who needs grain if you can have amazing homemade whipped cream?  But after being diagnosed with an allergy to casein, the protein in dairy, I had no choice but to learn to make grain free, dairy free desserts!

chocolate truffle

Out of desperation came inspiration! I started by checking out recipes that others had created, and I even made a few. Sometimes I find that specialized desserts tend to please a more sophisticated pallet than my own. In my house, a grain free recipe has to taste as delectable as any grain based treat!  It has to be the type of dessert that your average Joe would enjoy.   It must be total comfort food!  Otherwise it’s not something my husband, Frank,  will even dare to try.

The recipe that follows has been tested on numerous grain lovers, skeptics, and “I don’t do  gluten free” snobs! It has been approved by all, and has also been requested to appear at our annual 4th of July party. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and kept fresh in the freezer for when I have that spur of the moment chocolate craving! I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine already has.

Ingredients:

2cups dates

2 cups peanuts

2 heaping T coconut oil

¼ cup organic cocoa powder

1t vanilla extract

12 oz chocolate chips (dairy free & gluten free)

In a food processor, chop dates and peanuts until mealy.

IMG_0604

Add coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder.

IMG_0605

Blend until a dough like consistency forms. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. While chocolate chips melt, line a tray with parchment paper and roll dough into one inch balls. Flash freeze dough balls for 5 minutes. Remove tray from freezer and dip dough balls in melted chocolate. Return to freezer to let chocolate set. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll have enough peanut brownie bites to satisfy even the largest party crowd! The Peanut Brownie Bites can be stored in the freezer for up to a month when kept in a well-sealed container.  Recipe makes 4-5 dozen bites!

Peanuty Brownie Bites!  Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

Peanuty Brownie Bites! Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

The Grain Free Meal Challenge…

IMG_0522[1]

So are you ready?  We’re going grain free for a week.  You can do this!  You’ve already got your grain free staples on hand, it’s time to get started!

 

This week’s meals:

Roast pork with sweet potato casserole and salad

Roast pork stroganoff with roasted carrots

Grain Free Cheeseburger Pie with steamed broccoli

Stuffed Turkey Cutlets Wrapped in Bacon  with salad and sweet potato casserole.

Creamy Spinach Bake with Ground Beef and Mushrooms

Grilled Tuna Melts with steamed veggies and salad

IMG_0498[1]

I’ve chosen six meals, with the idea that you have at least enough leftovers for at least one whole meal.  Depending on your family size, this may vary.  When I cook for the two of us, I usually cook four large grain free meals each week, we have a left over night, with one of our meals being a quick fix like the Grilled Tuna Melts.  We’re realistic in our house!  At least one night each week we can’t really sit down to a full meal, so we make something quick that we can enjoy without guilt!

If you have grain lovers in your home, you might be surprised by how much they like the meals you make this week.  My husband Frank was reluctant to try my recipes at first, but now he’s game for almost anything I cook.  Once in a while, he’ll have a box of mac n’ cheese, but since he doesn’t have a grain allergy where’s the harm in that?

I recommend you start with a grain free cooking power hour or two.  It’s a simple way to get a good start to the week and get a good deal of your prep work done ahead of time.  You spend less time cooking in the long run and it takes much less time to prepare dinner every evening.  The power hour of cooking is especially helpful if you know that Monday or Tuesday will be a busy evening for your family, that way you cook and assemble your meal almost completely and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready.  If you are having a busy evening later in the week, you can always completely prep a meal and freeze it until you’re ready to take it out either the evening before or morning of that day.

I’m going to be cooking along with you all.  I’ve decided that I’ll freeze anything that we won’t eat and that will be added to my stockpile of quick fix meals since there really aren’t many grain free fast food options available.

Grain Free Peaches n’ Cream Trifle

Desperation becomes inspiration!

Since it’s cookout and barbecue season I’ve been a bit down about all of the foods I can’t eat.  Cookouts and barbecues used to be some of my favorite times to connect with family and try foods that I might not often make at home.  Pasta salad, baked beans, mac’n cheese, meatballs, pastry, tarts, trifles, I could go on forever!

food buffet

Given how in love I am with food, attending gatherings where there are few grain free foods is quite difficult.  People mean well, but it’s hard to understand what it’s like to have such delicious food in front of you and not be able to eat much of it.  Sometimes they even ask if I can’t just “cheat once in a while”.  Here’s the deal: when I eat grains, I get sick.  My stomach gets those nasty cramps that most of us associate with the flu.  They hang around for between two and four days.  It’s not pretty and the same way no one ever looks forward to getting the flu, I do whatever I can to avoid grains.

The good news is that while God may not have given me much in the way of patience, but he made up for that when it came to creativity!  Lately my favorite restaurant can be found right under my own roof!  I’ve been trying to come up with grain free alternatives to picnic food and I’ve been doing pretty well.  A few weekends ago, I came up with a trifle made with grain free cake, homemade whipped cream, and fresh fruit.  Why bother to do all this?  Because when I come up with grain free recipes that I can eat and share, it makes me feel normal.  If they don’t taste grain free all the better.  I’m tired of having to explain why I can’t try someone’s “to die-for” or “signature” dish.

Grain Free Fresh Fruit and Whipped Cream Trifle

Cake- adapted from http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2011/02/secret-ingredient-chocolate-peanut-butter-cake

 

 

 

 

 

1 14.5 oz can cannellini beans

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

½ c sugar

½ t baking soda

1 t baking powder (I make my own so it’s grain free!)

Cream filling-

1 pint whipping cream

1 t vanilla extract

¼ c sugar

2 cups fresh fruit chopped into half inch pieces

How to make Grain free cake-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two round (8 inch) cake pans. Rinse and drain beans.  In a blender or food processor puree beans.  In a medium mixing bowl, whip butter until it is light and fluffy ( it will double in size). Although I love my stand mixer, because we’re only using one stick of butter, a hand mixer and

a medium sized bowl seem to work best for whipping the butter.    Add in vanilla, sugar, and eggs one at a time.  Blend until fluffy.  Blend in beans, baking soda, and grain free baking powder.  Pour into greased pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Cream filling:

Using a kitchen stand mixer whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl on high speed, being careful not to whip too much or butter will result.

Assembling the Trifle…

When cake has cooled, remove from pans and slice into one inch cubes.  Place 1/3 of the cubes at the bottom of a deep bowl.  Layer 1/3 of whipped cream filling on top of cake cubes.  Sprinkle 1/3 fruit on top of cream filling.  Repeat layering until bowl is filled with trifle goodness.  (This usually requires layering about 3 times depending on the depth of the bowl.

Enjoy Grain-free Goodness!

Peaches and cream trifle, grain free, and to-die for!

Peaches and cream trifle, grain free, and to-die for!