Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Gluten-Free Cranberry Clementine Christmas Bread

This recipe is free of gluten and dairy.

Well everyone, it's that time of year again! Time for presents, family, friends and food. The Christmas season brings on a world of fragrances of its own, my childhood olfactory Christmas memories are just spilling with everything from pine to turkey dinner. Living away from family is hard this time of year, though every Christmas I go to be with them, having a limited amount of time there I find myself yearning for these familiar smells to get myself in the spirit! 

One delicious aroma that always gets me in the Christmas mood is the smell of baked fruit dishes. Fruit cake, dessert breads, any kind of carb-filled fruit dessert really kick starts my Christmas spirit. So, last night me and Navada got together and baked a Cranberry Clementine Christmas loaf. 

It came out more than ideal! This is my new favourite dessert bread and I'll definitely be baking it for my family once I get home. Served warm with a bit of butter it was just fantastic. Definitely a Christmas bread I'll be making over and over again.

Yield: 1 loaf

1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon guar gum
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries (I used frozen)
3 clementines
Zest from 1 inch clementine peel
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans

Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Zest one inch of a single clementine. 

Peel all the clementines. Place cranberries, clementines, zest, oil, vanilla, egg and pecans in a food processor. Pulse but do not liquefy.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry, making sure only to mix until a dough is formed.

Transfer the dough into the pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the loaf from the pan, but leave it about 15 minutes before portioning. Serve warm (re-heating is totally okay) with butter for dessert!

Enjoy! Happy holidays!

Post by McKayla

Friday, 2 August 2013

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Brownies

This recipe is free of gluten and nuts.

What you want to do is you want to make these... now!
Here's the recipe:

3 ounces unsweetened or semi-sweetened baking chocolate
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temp°)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup chocolate chips
coconut oil for greasing

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease an 8 x 9 inch baking pan. 

2. Cream together butter and sugar.

3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and blend.

4. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients until well combined. Add to wet mixture and blend until fully incorporated. 

5. Pour into baking pan and with a wet spatula, spread evenly across the top. Add garnishes of your personal taste or leave bare to enjoy the classic brownie.

6. Pop into oven and bake for 20 minutes. After you take the brownies out of the oven, leave to cool completely in pan, then cut to divide.

Post by Navada

Gluten-Free Honey Oat Sandwich Bread

This recipe is free of gluten and dairy. 

We all love a great sandwich and there are a wealth of condiments, fillings, and textures available, but what about the bread?

A while back my significant other came home with a loaf of the regular honey oat, made a sandwich and declared it to be his "all time new FAVORITE bread!".

Saddened, and slightly jealous because I couldn't have any, I decided to develop my own. Here is the result of combining and interchanging about 20 different gluten free bread recipes over the last 5 years; this honey oat is one of the sweetest and best textured GF breads I have come across.

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup boiling water
2 1/4 tsp active dry traditional yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2 large eggs (room temp°)
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 3/4 cup potato starch
3/4 sorghum flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
Coconut oil for greasing

1. In one bowl, mix oats and boiling water and leave to sit. In second bowl, mix sugar, yeast and water and leave to sit for about 5 minutes. 

2. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. I prefer coconut oil as it forms a nice crust, a nice colour and makes everything slide out of the pan ridiculously easy. 

3. In a large bowl mix together all your dry ingredients and whisk to combine them really well. In another large bowl (I use KitchenAid Professional 550 Stand Mixer) beat eggs until they are pale and frothy using whisk attachment. Blend in your wet ingredients and switch over to dough hook attachment, then add in your dry ingredient mixture all at once and blend again until thoroughly combined. 

This recipe will produce a batter-consistency type dough, so don't be alarmed if it doesn't look "kneadable".

4. Scrape the dough into your loaf pan and smooth over the top as best you can, a wet palm or spatula works quite well. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place. It should rise until about a half inch above the pan.

5. Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5. With a sharp knife make 3 diagonal slices into the top of the loaf, for the steam to escape. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 205°F/96°C. If you don't have a baking thermometer, you can get one here or just check with a wooden skewer so that it comes out dry. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for up to 10 minutes, but no longer, as it will cause your bread to be soggy, and nobody wants soggy bread. Take it out of the pan and cool it on a wire rack. 

Note: If your bread looks like it is browning a little too much for your taste, cover it with foil to prevent too much further browning.

Post by Navada

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Baked Eggplant Bites - Arab Style

This recipe is free of gluten, has a low lactose content and is vegetarian friendly.

A few nights ago I was looking for a light snack to eat while I've been re-watching every episode of The Sopranos. I probably should've made something Italian themed to set the atmosphere, but I already did the Light Shrimp Alfredo Pasta last week, and ate it literally everyday (it's pretty delicious), so no more pasta for at least a few weeks!

I've been throwing around the idea of eggplant for a while, as an Arab friend of mine mentioned it's a fairly common vegetable used there but not so much here in Canada. I researched a bit and found eggplant is actually amazing! It's low in calories, about as healthy as a tomato, and is a great substitute for meat. I was sold and went out and bought 6 small eggplants that I used to throw together this lovely appetizer. 

It was my first time eating eggplant on its own, and this is something I'm going to be making over and over! On top of the health benefits, it was also a flavourful, salty snack worthy of replacing chips or fries - things people commonly crunch on when watching T.V. like I was doing. I highly recommend it if you are counting calories, or even if you aren't it's generally a healthier alternative - especially when it's baked!

Normally, eggplant done this way is garnished with something called labneh which is a very very thick strained yogurt common in the Middle East. I wanted to make it a bit healthier, so I used plain non-fat yogurt instead. 

The process for preparing the eggplant is really important so make sure you pay attention to the directions!

Yield: Serves 2-3 as an appetizer/snack 

6 small eggplants, sliced horizontally about a ¼ inch thick
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon yogurt for each slice
A few generous shakes of baharat (you can substitute this with either a mixture of garam masala and curry, or paprika and cumin makes a great complimentary flavour too)
Dried mint for topping 

Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8.

Salt both sides of the eggplant slices and sandwich between two pieces of paper towel. Eggplant juices are naturally bitter, and this will allow the bitter juices to drain into the paper towel. The salt will bring the juices to the surface more quickly. Press on the slices to get the draining started, then you can leave it alone for 30 minutes to an hour.

Sprinkle both sides with whatever seasoning you chose - baharat or either of the substitutes provided. I used baharat as usual, as it's the best thing ever. Rub the seasoning in.

Mix garlic and olive oil in a bowl and brush mixture onto both sides of the eggplant.

Place the slices in a pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned and slightly crispy.

Serve with a teaspoon of yogurt on top sprinkled with dried mint.


Post by McKayla

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Light Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

This recipe is free of gluten and has a low lactose content.

I am a huuuge fan of alfredo. It's definitely my favourite sauce, hands down. However, classic alfredo sauce is pretty much just butter with a bit of garlic and seasoning, and most marketed alfredo sauces found in North America are loaded with heavy creams that would definitely twist my lactose-sensitive stomach. 

While I'm definitely not a calorie counter, putting half a cup of butter into my sauce is a bit much for me, same with heavy creams - even if I could tolerate them, just.. no. So, I decided to compromise and use a fraction of the butter called for in classic alfredo recipes, but use yogurt to get that creamy flavour us alfredo fans love so much! 

It was FANTASTIC. This was my first attempt at making alfredo from scratch, so I stuck to the basics and am so pleased with the results! Next time, I'll probably add some mushrooms and broccoli for that extra umph, but even on its own it was great. I also tested it on a few hungry men who seconded my enthusiasm. I highly recommend giving this spin on alfredo a shot!

Yield: Serves 3-4

1 11oz package pasta (I used gluten-free spaghetti, but you can use the more traditional fettuccine or penne)
28 large shrimp
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
1½ cups low-fat yogurt
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (parmesan) 
⅛ cup butter (quarter of a stick) + 1 tablespoon for boiling pasta
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

Boil pasta until tender in salted water with a tablespoon of butter.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large frying pan, then add garlic. Fry garlic until brown, then add the shrimp, cooking for 10 minutes on medium heat.

Once pasta is finished, drain water and transfer it back into the pot. The shrimp should be done by now, so add the shrimp and garlic with whatever oil is left in the pan.

Add the rest of the ingredients - except the pepper - stirring frequently until mixture is hot and cheese is melted.

Serve with a hearty dose of freshly ground black pepper on each plate.


Post by McKayla

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Flax Bread

This recipe is free of gluten and dairy. 

This is my ultimate bread. The white sandwich bread is a variation of this bread, which I created first. I tried to make it as healthy as possible, and most important as delicious as possible! It's soft and fluffy, with the texture and taste of wheat-based breads but without the pain and suffering us gluten-freebies get when consuming "regular" bread. If you're going to try any bread recipe I have up or will put up in the future, try this one! It's super healthy and delicious.

Yield: 1 loaf

2 cups brown rice flour
½  cup tapioca flour
½ cup arrowroot powder
⅔ cup ground flax
2½ teaspoons guar gum
1½ teaspoons dried yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ cups soy milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons melted butter (dairy-free or substitute margarine)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 eggs

Place ingredients in bread machine and be really excited for 4 hours while it does all the work. I bake this on the generic "white" bread option. If you don't have a bread machine and can't wait for Navada to update the recipes with her oven-friendly versions, you can follow this guide here.


Post by McKayla

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Creamy Cashew Chicken

This recipe is gluten free and low in lactose.

This is a delicious quick make if you're in a rush. I didn't have some of the sauces traditional cashew chicken calls for, so I improvised. I made it from scratch and tossed a few things together that I thought would be similar. It was deemed more delicious than the generic cashew chicken with pre-made sauces! If you're a fan of this dish, try my version and see if you agree.

Yield: 2 servings

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or whatever you deem 2 servings to be)
2 handfuls cashews - note that I have ridiculously small hands
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider because it's my fav, but you can use rice vinegar instead)
2 teaspoons gluten-free soya sauce
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce 
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup yogurt
1¼ cups white rice 
3 green onion stalks
Olive oil for frying as well as for rice lube during boiling
A little sprinkle of salt to taste for the sauce, and ¾ teaspoon salt for the rice

Mix chicken, sugar, vinegar, soya sauce, Worcester sauce, salt (to taste), paprika and yogurt in a bowl. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and toss in garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic starts to brown.

Meanwhile (this step is optional) break the cashews into tiny pieces. If you prefer whole, that's okay too! I put them in a bag and smashed them with a hammer. Fry the cashews with the garlic for 5-10 minutes, or until the cashews start to darken.

Add the chicken mixture. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

After you add the chicken, you'll want to start the rice. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the salt and a little bit of oil along with the rice. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to low and cover, stirring sparingly, for about 10 minutes. 

Now, when my chicken finished, I didn't like the amount of sauce. I'm a sauce lover, and this was inadequate sauce territory. So I mixed up another batch of the sauce ingredients above, and added it to the chicken and cooked it a bit longer. However, that's just me being a sauce freak, so what you have might be fine. Either way, add a bit of corn starch (or any kind of edible starch) to the sauce and thicken it to your liking. 

While your rice and chicken is cooling, chop up the green onions. Use it to garnish if you want to make it look pretty, or just mix it in with the chicken and rice if aesthetics isn't on the list of things you care about today. 


Post by McKayla