Product Review: Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix + Recipe Bonus

Harvest Muffins made with Zema's Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix
Harvest Muffins made with Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix

Review: Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix – $7.99+

It seems like ages ago, back on a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, when my parents first took me to Organic Harvest, the latest and newest health food store in their area.  I was gobsmacked by the amount of products inside this store that I had never seen before.  I might have heard of the brand, but the product itself or even the brand, was not available to me in any convenient form.

So, naturally, I went on a shopping spree.

Because…I do that.

Well, I get very overburdened with mixes.  I do this to myself, naturally.  I just get really, really excited when I see something new.  Or course, as of late, I’ve been making a point of eating more unprocessed foods for breakfast than something that comes out of a box (cereal included) or from a mix.  So, yeah, the pantry is well stocked with so many mixes that I honestly just need to work through.  And as this one was (obviously as the packaging has been since updated) nearing expiration…it was time to use it up and move it out.  So, out came the Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix.

Zemas Madhouse Foods is committed to manufacturing gluten-free, ancient grain baking mixes that help support a clean eating lifestyle through the use of minimally processed ingredients that can be safely incorporated into diets that are limited, allergy-free and diabetic.  They are committed to keeping their products free of dairy, soy, rice, yeast, tree nuts, peanuts, sulfites, additives, trans fats, preservatives, and refined sugar.

Now, I had high hopes for this mix.  I was first introduced to Zema’s Madhouse Foods by Cuisine Cube when I tried their mix for Focaccia and/or Pizza Crusts.  I loved it.  So, the fact that I had another Zema’s Product (yes…I had this one before Cuisine Cube sent theirs), I had very good expectations for this.  But…why stick to something as simple as the box exclaims.  After all, this is a pancake and waffle mix, and there are recipes for both on the back.  But I am really pancaked out these days and waffles are great…but a pain to make (time consuming, really).  So…I opted for the other recipe on the box, making a few minor adjustments to fit what I had in my pantry and my own idea of what constites a Harvest Muffin.

Oh, yeah…I made muffins with the Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix.  Yes.  Muffins.  I sort of ripped off Udi’s version of a Harvest Muffin, but utilized most of the recipe from the back of this exact box.  YAY!  The recipe will follow, of course.

Naturally, I can’t bake something and not try it.  How else am I going to report on it?  So, after these came out of the oven and rested for 10 minutes in the pan, I removed them and put them on a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.  After running some gluten-free and dairy free goodies downstairs to my neighbors, I came back upstairs and decided that both my roomie and I had an obligation to see how the muffins turned out.  If they were crap, well, we certainly didn’t have to keep them.  But…if they were good, they were getting bagged up and put in the freezer for those stressful and hectic days where cooking a breakfast is just not feasible.

Let me tell you…Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix is amazing.  Seriously.  Okay…so the muffins are a little dense…but I’ve grown to that being mostly the norm when it comes to gluten-free goodies (especially of a bread-like quality) that I bake.  However, there is a lot of flavor in each and every bite of these muffins.  And I absolutely love the combination of the sweet potato and pumpkin flavors, making this a perfect autumn mix for any sort of morning recipe…even pancakes and waffles.  Just…really good.  And not overly sweet either, which is a nice change.  I love dessert as much as any girl, but I mostly want my muffins to be muffins, not a fruit/veggie based cupcake.  But, maybe that’s just me.  The fact that there is no added sugar in the mix is a big plus with me, as I am working on cutting down on the amount of sugar I eat every day.  I also love that this mix is made with the superseed trio of hemp, chia and flaxmeal.  Flax is one of the best gluten-free plant-based sources, which contains alpha-linolenic acid, which converts in the body to the same heart-protective Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines and mackerel.  It also contains 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon, which promotes intestinal health.  The chia seeds (like chia pets, yes!) are also naturally gluten-free and contain Omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, calcium and protein.  LOVE a breakfast that packs a bit of extra nutrition into each and every bite through healthy and beneficial ingredients.  This might be a mix, but it has great ingredients making it a better choice than all the lack-luster and nutrient-sparse mixes on the shelf.  Oh yeah…have your breakfast treat and treat your body too.  Now we’re talking.

Let’s discuss the ingredients that go into Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix, shall we?  This mix is made from sorghum flour, organic flax seed meal, sweet potato flour, potato starch, organic quinoa flakes, tapioca flour, aluminum free baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, baking soda, corn starch (made from non-GMO corn)), hemp seeds, organic cinnamon, contains less than 2% of each of the following: baking soda, chia seeds, xanthan gum, sea salt, organic ginger, and nutmeg.  This product is manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility free of the top 8 allergens(milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish).  It is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and verified non-GMO.

As for nutrition information, here you go…a serving of Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix is 1/3 cup of the dry mix (44 grams), and the box contains around 6 servings.  In each serving, you will be taking in 150 calories, 4 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 510 mg sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 2 grams sugars, and 4 grams of proteins.  This one might actually be the best nutrient-packed mix out on the market to be honest.  WOW!

And now…the promised recipe!

Recipe: Gluten Free Harvest Muffins

Servings: 18
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 28-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Zema’s Madhouse Foods Gluten Free & Sugar Free Peruvian Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacer)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used agave)
  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (I used coconut)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/2 cup craisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mix and xanthan gum.  Set aside.

n a large bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients together.  Add the dry mix to the wet mixture and combine,  Add in the pepitas and craisins, mixing well.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 28-30 minutes.  Check the doneness with a toothpick.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then take muffins out and cool on a rack.

This recipe freezes well.

~*~*~
I have the remaining 17 muffins in my freezer now for hectic crazy days…but I already am looking forward into diving into them.  I’m sure it won’t be long.

If you are interested in a pancake mix with more benefits than sugar and fillers, I can’t praise Zema’s Madhouse Foods enough.  Their Gluten Free and Sugar Free Peruvian Sweet Potato Pancake & Waffle Mix surpassed all expectations.  And I didn’t even make pancakes or waffles with them.  Go figure.  Although, I am more than certain this mix would make some of the best pancakes or waffles out there.  Next time I pick up another box of this mix…I think I’ll go for traditional pancakes and waffles.  That being said…give this muffin recipe a shot!  And seek out Zema’s Madhouse Foods in your natural food stores…or order online!  It’s worth the hunt.

Recipe: One Bowl Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Quick Bread

I am in love with my Gluten Free on a Shoestring books.  I always have been.  I always will be.  Because the recipes utilize items you would normally have in your kitchen.  Not only that, all of the recipes are super easy to prepare and have been DELICIOUS!

I mean…DELICIOUS!

I own three of the four Gluten Free on a Shoestring books by Nicole Hunn.  However, this particular recipe I stumbled across through a post on Facebook…and it is not in any of her current books.  That being said, I pinned it to my Pinterest account and then made arrangements to make it that weekend.

And I did.  And it was awesome.

I loved how light and full of peanut butter flavor this bread was. While the chocolate chips are optional, I highly recommend it.  Great topped off with jam or…as I enjoyed preparing it…as French toast…with blueberry maple syrup topping it off.  Whether you like it plain, jammed up, buttered up, or French toast style…this quick bread is super easy to make and even easier to devour.

Recipe: One Bowl Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Quick Bread

One Bowl Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Quick Bread
One Bowl Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Quick Bread

Servings: 10-12
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 60 minutes

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup smooth natural peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Unsalted Natural Peanut Butter, but I bet any other nut butter, or non-nut-butter would work beautifully)
  • 1-1/4 cups milk, at room temperature (I used Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or try arrowroot or potato starch) (I actually used arrowroot)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but recommended!) (I used Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.

In a large, heat-safe bowl, place the peanut butter and microwave for 30-seconds on high power just to loosen up the peanut butter and make it easier to stir. Remove it from the microwave and whisk the peanut butter until smooth.

Add the milk, eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda, whisking to combine well after each addition. The batter will be thin.

Switch to a large spoon or spatula, and add the flour and cornstarch, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be relatively thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Using a very sharp knife, score the center of the loaf along the length from one end to the other in one swift motion. Scatter the (optional) chocolate chips over the top of the batter, and press the chips gently into the batter to adhere.

Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (about 1 hour), rotating once during baking.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice thickly and serve, topped off however you want. Wrap any leftover slices tightly in freezer-safe wrap and freeze until ready to use. Defrost at room temperature.

ENJOY!

~*~*~

Serious…serious yum!  I mean…yum!!  And if you want a protein-packed breakfast or snack, this is the bread to make.  It has great flavor, great taste, great texture.  It was light (not dense and heavy) and the chocolate chips gave it this nice touch of sweetness without overpowering the entire recipe.  And, as I said, it is great as French toast.  For real!!  I was sad when my roommate and I polished this off on Friday for breakfast, but I will definitely be making this again.

I hope you do too!

*already craving more*

Product Review: Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais

Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais
Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais

Product: Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais – $5.00+

Here’s the story…of a lovely lady…who used to always cook with couscous.  Then she was diagnosed…as a Celiac…and couscous had to vamoose.

Here’s the story…of this thing called Cuisine Cube…who was packaging up gluten-free products.  And in May, the box included couscous…and there was much rejoicing in the land.

*cough*

Sorry…I couldn’t resist.  My last name is Brady…so the Brady Bunch theme has pretty much been a big portion of my life.  And, for just over a year, I can honestly say that Cuisine Cube was a big portion of my life.  I hated to have to give up my monthly subscription, but I had medical bills from this torn hip labrum eating into my budget big-time.  But that’s not to say that I don’t miss it.  I am in the process of using up the final few things that I have from past cubes…and part of me hopes to jump back into the subscription again soon.

So, first let me recap for you what Cuisine Cube is all about, shall I?  Cuisine Cube is a subscription service that delivers 5-6 gluten-free, full-size products to your door for as little as $34.99/month. Inside the cube, you will discover full-size products (not sample sizes) that are made by local and smaller, artisan companies, rather than those that you can find at the average grocery store.  It has introduced me to so many new and delightful products.  Each box contains a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert product…and then, sometimes, an extra bonus item.  Who doesn’t love a little something extra, right?   Keep in mind, however, that Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!  It’s like…Christmas…or your birthday…every month!  Who doesn’t love that?!

So, as my sing-songy typed up intro to this blog explained…one of the May (Is For Mom) 2015 Cuisine Cube included an 18 ounce box of Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous.  I was thrilled…because I used to use couscous all the time in recipes.  And now, it wasn’t off limits.  Here, right in my clutches, was an amazing box of gluten-free couscous.  And I totally get that it took me until the end of August to actually get around to using it, but…wow…was it ever worth the wait.

First of all, the Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous is simple and easy to prepare.  Pour one cup of boiling water over one cup of the uncooked couscous.  Add a pinch of sea salt and cover, allowing it to sit for about 5 minutes.  After the water is absorbed, gently separate the grains with a fork and spoon, add olive oil, and top with your favorite condiments.  Which…is normally what I would do.  But I went a little CRAZY this last week.

A couple of weeks ago, my roomie picked up some lamb chops at the local farmer’s market for me to cook up.  Hey…I have dreams of appearing on Master Chef…so she said I needs to learn to cook all the proteins, even if I don’t eat them.  She volunteers for that.  So, with the recipe on hand for Honey Balsamic Lamb Chops ready to go, I pulled up a recipe online from Giada De Laurentiis’ couscous cakes…which involved cooking up the Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous Cakes.  I just took 2 cups of the cooked couscous (which was made from 1 cup dry), mixing it with fresh basil, 2 eggs, ground coriander, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, and gluten-free all-purpose flour.  Place 1/4 cup of olive oil into a pan and pat the mix into little 1/4 cup cakes (it will make 8) and fry them up, draining them on a paper towel.

Of course, with the leftover couscous, I had to try it out.  Untouched.  And…OH MY GOD…this is really the first gluten-free couscous (I tried 2 others) that really has that real couscous texture.  I would have questioned the authenticity of the gluten-free status of this product, but it’s right there in print.  Amazing.  And, let me tell you, when I combined it with the listed ingredients from Giada’s recipe and made the couscous cakes…the flavor was only elevated.  The taste and texture of the Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous was phenomenal.  I mean, I was beyond surprised.  In fact, I had to double-check the box just to make sure it truly was gluten-free.  To say I am blown away is an understatement.  This wowed me in every way possible.  It paired great with her honey balsamic lamb chops and my honey balsamic portobello mushroom cap.  Seriously.  So yum!

Let’s discuss the ingredients of Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous.  This amazing couscous is made from organic corn flour and water.  That’s it.  Yep.  It’s that easy.  Clean eating at its best.

As for the nutritional information, one serving is 1/4 cup of the couscous (about 40 grams). This serving will provide you with 140 calories less than 1 gram of fat, less than 1 gram of saturated fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sodium, about 0.5 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.  Isn’t that fantastic?

So, without a little help from Cuisine Cube I never would have known about Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous.  Made from 100% corn, the taste and texture are amazing and honestly…spot on.  You would never guess that this was a gluten-free version of one of my favorite grains to cook with.  And now, it is back in my life again. You can order Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous from online shops such as The Shop Agora.  Trust me, this one is not to be missed!

Honey Balsamic Glazed Portobello Mushroom Cap with Couscous Cakes made from Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais
Honey Balsamic Glazed Portobello Mushroom Cap with Couscous Cakes made from Biatalia Gluten Free Couscous di Mais

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

It was one of those moments where you receive an e-mail with a recipe…and you’re out of town visiting a friend, who happens to keep gluten-free goodies at her house just for you!  And every ingredient needed for said recipe that caught your attention is already in her pantry, fridge, or freezer.

To me, that sounds like a sign to make something for sure.  And as it is traditional for the two of us to cook at least once together when visiting…this recipe seemed to fit the bill.

And why did it catch my eye?  First…the word “breakfast” was involved.  We all know that my favorite meal of the day is breakfast.  Secondly…the word “cake.”  Yes…CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!

I have actually made this recipe twice now…and found the flour I used for it the second time (Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour) worked a lot better than the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Purpose that we used at Jenn’s.  I served this up to my parents, my sister, and my nephews…and all loved it as much as my roommate, Jenn, and I did.  So…this is forever being made.

The original recipe was from Gluten Free on a Shoestring…posted by Udi’s Gluten-Free.  The recipe below…is how I make it!

Cake for breakfast…it sounds so sinful, but, even more importantly…it’s delicious.

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake
Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Servings: 16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vanilla Greek yogurt, (If dairy-free, use soy/almond/coconut yogurt) (you make need to add more to mix)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh roughly chopped strawberries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, then line it with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, overhanging both sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Make the batter.

In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, yogurt and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick.

Add 1 cup of the chopped strawberries and mix gently until the strawberries are evenly distributed throughout the dough, taking care not to crush the strawberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup chopped strawberries over the top of the batter, pressing them gently into the batter.

Bake the cake.

Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is very lightly golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out by the overhung parchment paper and placing on a wire rack to cool (peeling off the parchment from the bottom of the cake if possible). Allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares and serving.

**NOTE: I store this in the fridge and give it a 20-30 second heat up in the microwave before eating.  It is DIVINE!**

~*~*~

This cake is not just for breakfast, but it is a rather healthy, low-calorie, and amazingly moist and delicious way to have breakfast.  Nothing better than having your cake (for brekkies) and eating it too!  I was so impressed by this recipe, and totally made only a few slight adjustments to the recipe, but it came out perfect.  And I intend to make it again very soon.  It’s easy, it’s delicious…it’s what breakfast should be.

Cake.

ENJOY!

Recipe: Tomato-Miso Soup

If there is one thing that I love almost as much as breakfast…it’s soup.  I am a soup junkie.  I will eat soup at any time of the year…even in the summer.  I think it can be the most perfect meal.  And, when made right, it can be quite good for you too.

I bought some white miso paste a few weeks ago to use in an eggplant recipe and had quite a bit still left over in the fridge.  I was interested in what I might be able to make with it…and that’s when Food & Wine Magazine sent through one of their recipe e-mails, and this one was timely, indeed.

This Tomato-Miso Soup both light and hearty…and definitely healthy.  It became one of my favorite lunches I have brought to work thus far.  And it’s made from real ingredients…which makes it even better.  The flavor is earthy and sweet…bringing this fantastic balance.  And the star…the shiitake mushrooms.

Recipe: Tomato-Miso Soup

Tomato-Miso Soup
Tomato-Miso Soup

Servings: 6
Time: 10 minutes; Cook 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup light miso paste (shiro)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used reduced sodium tamari)
  • 3/4 pound soft tofu, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 3 large scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 small to medium radishes, thinly sliced

 

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Pour in the water, stir well and bring to a boil.

Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Whisk in the miso and soy sauce and return to a simmer.

Add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with the scallions and radishes and serve.

~*~*~

I loved everything there was about this soup.  There were so many textures, and this bold flavor, thanks to the miso.  The radishes and scallions added before eating brought a bit of crunch, while the mushrooms gave this soup a meatiness to it, without any actual meat.  I can’t wait to make this one again.  If you have a great love of soup and rich flavors without simmering it all day…this is the soup for you.

Product Review: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing + Recipe Bonus

Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Product: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing – $5.99+

Who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving?  Where is that written?  Growing up, I was one of the only people in my family who wanted to have stuffing.  My dad wasn’t a fan, so my mom never made it.  Everything I needed to know about stuffing, I tasted at my friend’s homes.  It was a rare occasion that my mom would make it…and as we never had turkey on Thanksgiving, but enjoyed a delicious shrimp creole instead…well…this was more of a Christmas thing.

When I went gluten-free…stuffing was off the menu regardless…unless I made it myself.  In fact, one of the first gluten-free recipes I posted was a Gluten Free Hazelnut Sage Stuffing, which I made with Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread.  That was back in 2011…and I’ve made that recipe quite a few times since then.  It’s delicious and easy and amazing.

But sometimes, you just don’t want to do all the work yourself.  These days, my free time is less and less.  I’m recovering from a torn hip labrum, getting back to running, doing all my stretches for physical therapy and trying to maintain only a slight bit of pain when I move, and everything else like work, preparing meals/snacks for work, and maintaining my training/workout schedule.  It just isn’t always feasible to pull out a recipe and whip something up.

Well, two weeks ago, I was in Columbus, Ohio, visiting my friend Jenn.  And as I was packing up to head home, she handed me a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  As it was due to expire within the month, I decided I would make this for lunches this week for both the roomie and myself.  And, that Sunday evening, I did just that…

I had everything else needed to make the recipe that was supplied on the box in my fridge, ironically enough.  I guess I just know what’s good to have on hand, HAHA!  Actually, it was just luck that I didn’t have to pick up anything else to make this.  All I needed was butter (I used Earth Balance), eggs, vegetable broth, celery, and onion.  That was it.  I followed the instructions on the box, pulling open the silver package that contained the corn bread stuffing portion of the product, loving the little, crispy, yellow corn bread croutons that spilled out and into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Giving it a good stir, it was prepared and ready to cook.

This stuffing smells amazing as it cooks.  I think I was drooling a little every time I walked by the oven.  I mean, SO good.  And when it was finally done, I pulled the dish from the oven, loving how golden the top had become during the cooking process.  I dished it out into 6 Pyrex dishes, tasting a little at the end…and…oh yeah…this was going to be good.

I was wrong, though.  This stuffing wasn’t good.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  Seriously, it was love at first taste.  And I was really, really anticipating lunch for the three days that my roomie and I had this in our refrigerator.  Seriously…I was sad when we devoured the last servings of it.  The cornbread croutons soak in all that amazing flavor from the eggs, sauteed veggies, and the vegetable broth.  It doesn’t get mushy though.  Not at all.  As it bakes, all that flavor bakes inside, making this rich, savory, and addictive stuffing that it’s hard to stop eating.  And that top layer gets this nice golden brown, which brings that bit of crunchy texture when you dig into it.  My mouth waters just thinking about it again.  In fact, I want to see if any of my natural food stores have this on hand.  I’m sort of concerned it’s a seasonal product…but I have every intention of stocking up!

So, let’s take a look at what all goes into a box of the Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing, shall we?  This product is made up of corn starch, tapioca starch, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil), seasoning (salt, yeast extract, sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, spices, onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated parsley, expeller pressed canola oil, spice extractive, silicon dioxide), sugar, egg whites, salt, guar gum, glucono-delta-lactone, yeast, pectin, sodium bicarbonate, sodium alginate, modified cellulose, iron, niacin, tricalcium phosphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin.

The Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing mix isn’t a nutritional bomb either.  So, it’s not clean eating for sure…but the nutritional facts aren’t so bad.  A serving size of this product is 1/2 cup prepared and there are 8 servings per box.  This serving will provide you with 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 470 mg cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugars, and less than 1 gram protein.  The lack of fiber and protein would make you believe that it wouldn’t fill you up if eating it as a meal instead of a side, but that wasn’t the case at all for me.  I found it filling and amazing.

So…if you want to make this too, here is the recipe I used, which is straight off the back of the box itself:

Recipe: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 35 minutes

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • l box Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly grease one 8×8 baking pan.

In a heated skillet add the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and sautée onions and celery until translucent. Let the vegetables cool.

In a mixing bowl empty package of stuffing mix.  Add cooled sautéed onions and celery, eggs, and vegetable broth. Let stand one minute.

Stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Place in greased baking pan and pack down.

Cover with foil, bake for approximately 25 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for an additional 8 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

~*~*~

This was one of the first corn bread stuffings I have had.  And it brought back all those happy memories of the Stove Top Stuffing days of my childhood.  I was beyond impressed.  So, if you’re a glutton for stuffing, I highly recommend picking up a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  Even your gluten-eating friends would never guess this was gluten-free.  It is that delicious!!  ENJOY!


Product Review: gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour + Recipe Bonus

gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour

Product: gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour – $8.42+

I have had this fun and passing relationship with the famous (in the gluten-free community, anyway) Jules Shepard, formerly known as Jules Gluten Free, now know as gfJules.  When I had to go gluten-free three years ago, one of the first people I encountered through social media was none other than Jules Gluten Free.  She was funny and knowledgeable, and she had these elusive product mixes (from all-purpose flour to bread mixes to cookie mixes to cake mixes to pizza crust mixes) that nowhere in my area carried.  At one point, she was presenting in Lexington, Kentucky, and I had intended to drive down and see her presentation…until the Sherman-Minton bridge here in Louisville was closed indefinitely due to a large crack in the weight bearing portion…making going anywhere from the Indiana side of the river a real nightmare.

finally met gfJules last year, at a Gluten Free Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I bought her cookbook.  We talked.  We laughed.  We took a picture together.  It was awesome.  And it was like meeting a celebrity, to be honest.  I have followed her Facebook page, saw her through the very public break from her partners in the company that she founded, Nearly Normal Cooking, and had grandiose plans to find and purchase her flour at some point.  Or a mix.  I didn’t care.

Until December 2014, that had yet to happen.

But then, my Holiday 2014 (December) Cuisine Cube arrived in the mail with loads of holiday goodness just ready to be explored and used.  For those of you who may be new to some of my blogging, let me quickly tell you a little about Cuisine Cube!

Cuisine Cube is a subscription service that delivers 5-6 gluten-free, full-size products to your door for as little as $34.99/month. Inside the cube, you will discover full-size products (not sample sizes) that are made by local and smaller, artisan companies, rather than those that you can find at the average grocery store.  It has introduced me to so many new and delightful products.  Each box contains a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert product…and then, sometimes, an extra bonus item.  Who doesn’t love a little something extra, right?   Keep in mind, however, that Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!

So…here I was…in December and inside my cube was a 1.5 ounce box of gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour.  With this item, Cuisine Cube also provided a recipe card for Baguettes.  I don’t have a baguette pan, so I tucked this box into my pantry to use…and then got distracted by the open bags of Better Batter and Cup4Cup in my pantry.  It happens.  But it shouldn’t.  This product never should have gone untouched for that long.  But, before I tell you why, let me first tell you a little bit about Jules Shepard.

Jules Shepard was diagnosed in 1999 as a Celiac.  She didn’t see this diagnosis as the end of the world though.  In fact, the former attorney was unwilling to accept the dry, gritty, vacuous foods that were the norm for the gluten-free diet back then. After two years of hard work in her kitchen, Shepard perfected an all-purpose gluten free flour blend that allowed her to continue to do something she loved – bake!  Even she never would have guessed that this one thing would eventually set her apart in the gluten-free community as a leader, inspiration, and advocate.  She perfected her ‘acts-just-like-wheat-flour’ blend, and word spread in her circles.  People began to beg her to make her 5-flour blend for them.  She introduced this flour to the gluten-free community at large in 2008, with her former company, Jules Gluten Free, but it is now developed and available exclusively through her new company, gfJules, which began in March 2014.  From there, her journey has only become more amazing…and her products remain top of the line!

I can vouch for that, mind you, as I was preparing a dessert for a birthday party at the office (and 4th of July celebration) this week.  I have delicious local blueberries that my friend, Harry, picked for me.  I love blueberries, and always am happy to receive a bunch of his harvest.  With all these amazingly fresh berries on hand, it occurred to me that I could make a festive and (hopefully) delicious blueberry cobbler.  Because my kitchen is strictly gluten-free, everything I provide to office pitch-ins is gluten-free.  Some people at the office won’t even give my food a try, but some do…and most are surprised by the flavor and texture…and how normal it is.

Well, my love affair with gluten-free flours just reached a whole new level.  I actually found a recipe for the gluten-free (and vegan) blueberry cobbler on gfJules sight.  And being that I had a box of gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour in the pantry.  New recipe…why not go for broke and try a new flour too.  As this was one of her recipes, I figured it was best to stick with the flour originally used to make it.  Logic!

Let me tell you something…from the get-go, I realized how amazing this flour truly was.  When I mixed it with the vegan butter and the egg substitute, it all just came together perfectly.  It had this great biscuit texture to it.  And this was before topping off my blueberries with it!  How’s that for being impressed really early in the game.  It worked as a thickener with the heated sugar and water that the blueberries were stirred into, and it produced the most amazing batter for the biscuit-y top that gets baked right on top of the fruit.  I was nervous when I popped it into the oven to bake…but I should have never doubted it.

When my cobbler emerged from the oven, piping hot, it was warm and sweet on the bottom, and the cobbler part…that top bready portion, was this perfect crisp, golden brown.  I had to wait until the following day to actually taste it…but when I did, I was beyond impressed.  The flour really made this remarkable crusty top…and it didn’t have that weird gluten-free flavor or texture to it.  No one, save for the fact that I brought it in, would have known it was gluten-free.  Seriously…and everyone who was brave enough to try it gave only the highest praise for the treat.  The perfect blueberries…with the perfect flour…made for the perfect summer dish for this little pitch-in.  As I have failed miserably at gluten-free bread, this makes me want to pick up baguette pans so that I can give the recipe that accompanied this product in my Cuisine Cube.  This might happen.  Williams-Sonoma…I’m coming for you.

So, now that I’ve gone over why I fell in love with the gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour, let me tell you a little bit about what is inside.  This flour is made from modified tapioca starch, potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, white rice flour, and xanthan gum.  It is gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, KOSHER – and now NON-GMO!

As far as the nutrition information goes, gfJules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour really falls in with others on the market.  A serving size is 31 grams of flour, which will give you 110 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 0 grams sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

And if you don’t believe me, the truth is in the use!!  And below is the recipe I used this flour in!  You should really try it out.  I think you’ll be impressed too!

Recipe: Gluten Free Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cobbler

Servings: 8
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 40 minutes

Gluten Free Old Fashioned Blueberry Cobbler (made with gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
Gluten Free Old Fashioned Blueberry Cobbler (made with gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup gfJules Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar or unrefined coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, dairy or non-dairy
  • 1 egg or favorite egg substitute
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup butter or non-dairy alternative (Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)

Directions:

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine gfJules™ Flour, sugar and water. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened, approximately 12-15 minutes. The mixture will over-boil and burn if not stirred often, so watch the pot and reduce the heat if the mixture is too bubbly or is browning. Add the vanilla extract.

Wash and remove all blueberry stems. Stir the blueberries into the cooked sugar mixture to coat.

Pour the filling into a 9- or 10- inch, deep pie plate (it’s important not to bake the cobbler in too small or too shallow of a plate, or the hot blueberry filling will bubble all over the sides).

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together gfJules™ Flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut in the butter until the flour looks like small gravel or pebbles.

In a separate bowl, stir the egg and milk to mix. Slowly add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir with a fork until completely combined.

Scoop several large spoonfuls of this batter onto the top of the filling in the pie plate. It will rise and touch the other spoonfuls as it bakes, to cover most of the top of the filling, as pictured.

Line the oven rack with foil and place the filled pie plate on top of the foil to prevent any bubbly mixture from falling onto your oven floor and burning.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until the cobbler is browning and somewhat firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the cobbler, then removed, should be clean.

Serve warm or cold.

~*~*~

This flour is the best yet.  Honestly, it bakes up perfectly.  It is light, fluffy, and amazing.  It would fool the unassuming person into not even guessing that it was gluten-free.  This product is as amazing as the woman who created it.  Thank you gfJules (Jules Shepard) and Cuisine Cube…for finally giving me the opportunity to try this fantastic flour.  Now…to get more!

Recipe: Lemony Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Earl Grey Strawberry Compote

If there is one thing that my roommate loves…it is anything citrus.  Especially lemon.  But, then again, I know very few people who don’t appreciate the zippy flavor of something infused with lemon.  I am a huge fan myself.

Imagine, then, receiving an e-mail from Vegetarian Times with the spotlighted meal for the week.  It was from their June 2015 issue, which I had just finished eating, and had made mention of this recipe to my roommate.  The only thing I lacked in order to make this dish was Earl Gray Tea.  I love Earl Gray Tea, I was just out of it at this point.  So, we went grocery shopping and made a point of picking up some good Earl Gray Tea.

Today was a big day.  This morning, Cathy (that’s the roomie for those of you just joining my blog) was heading out to Atlanta for her Jeopardy audition.  I wanted to make sure her drive got started on the right foot…and that was with a healthy, nutritious and filling breakfast.  Per her request, this recipe was breakfast.

Recipe: Lemony Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Earl Grey Strawberry Compote

Lemony Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Earl Grey Strawberry Compote
Lemony Quinoa Breakfast Bowl with Earl Grey Strawberry Compote

Servings: 4
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 27 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large coins fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk (I used rice milk)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 1 cup halved fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions:

Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and enough water to make 1-2/3 cups liquid in 2-cup measuring cup; pour into medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.

Stir in quinoa, salt, and ginger, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in milk and lemon zest. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring maple syrup and tea to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil 6 minutes, or until liquid thickens and bubbles turn frothy. Pour over strawberries in bowl, and stir gently to coat. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Spoon 3/4 cup quinoa into each serving bowl, top each with 1/4 cup berry compote, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon almonds.

ENJOY!

~*~*~

I don’t think it was love at first bite.  Cathy said that there was a lot going on and she wasn’t immediately sure what she thought of it.  That being said, she ate it all, so that says something about the recipe.  Me…I enjoyed the new play on quinoa.  It paired really well with the strawberries and, when hit up with that lemon zest, was a bright and flavorful base for this dish.  I had an issue with the syrup and tea sauce going solid the minute it was drizzled in with the strawberries.  I did my best to improvise, but that was the only problem I encountered.

All of that aside, an amazingly light, but filling way to start your day.  Give it a try!

Recipe: Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs

Okay, yes…your eyes do not deceive you.  That does say carrot hot dogs.  As in…carrots…that are made to taste and have the texture of hot dogs.

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too.  You’re telling yourself that there is no way that this is humanly possible.  But…I beg to differ.  Only because I have since made this meal myself.

My roommate loves a good hot dog.  When we go to our professional soccer team matches, that’s her dinner at the ballpark.  A hot dog.  She can’t get enough of them.  And, back when I still ate meat, it was a simple and inexpensive meal (although we shelled out for the Hebrew National brand) to make for the two of us.  I moved on to Tofu Pups when I went vegetarian…but had a serious lack in hot dog-like foods since I went gluten free.

Until now!

This recipe was originally posted by the Clean Eating Veggie Girl, which I then adjusted to fit my dietary restrictions.  I am still in shock that this actually worked.

Recipe: Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs
Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 24 hours; Cook 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, peeled, with the ends cut off (I cut mine to the size of the hot dog bun)
  • 1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (I used San-J Reduced Sodium Tamari)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • dash liquid smoke
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder
  • olive oil cooking spray (I used coconut oil cooking spray)
  • 2 gluten free hot dog buns (I used Udi’s Gluten Free)
  • desired hot dog toppings

Directions:

Boil carrots for approximately 6 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy.  After removing the carrots from the boiling water, run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.

While the carrots are cooking, whisk together the Tamari (or Liquid Aminos if that is what you are using), water, vinegars, sesame oil, liquid smoke, garlic, and seasonings.

Combine the carrots and the marinade in a zipper gallon-size bag, or in an air-tight container.  Shake gently until the carrots are coated with the marinade.  Place the carrots in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

To cook the carrots, spray a medium skillet with olive oil cooking spray.  Turn the heat to medium and place the carrots and about 1/2 cup of the marinade into the skillet.  Heat the carrots for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm.  The carrots get a nice crispy and seasoned coating on them from the marinade.  This also helps give the “hot dogs” a more brown/tan color than their original orange color.

Serve your carrot “hot dogs” in a bun and top them with your favorite hot dog toppings.

~*~*~

Really surprised that this worked.  The taste is fantastic, thanks to that liquid smoke and the time the carrots spend marinading.  The texture is perfect.  It isn’t crunchy it all, but it’s not mushy.  Trust me…it’s perfect.  I served mine up with red onion, ketchup and mustard, but you can top these amazing carrot hot dogs off with any of your favorite things.  Or, make them into chili dogs.

It may sound weird…but it works.  And, they are fantastic!

Recipe: Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

I was watching a British cooking show a few years ago and absolutely began to salivate over the dish that was being prepared.  A simple European breakfast of Mushrooms on Toast.  With my food allergies and dietary restrictions, I, naturally had to adjust the original recipe, but it quickly became a favorite here in my apartment.  I started making this about five years ago, and then forgot all about it…until I got fresh crimini mushrooms in my CSA bin.

And so…I decided to revive a favorite.

Recipe: Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast
Gluten Free Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Servings: 2
Time: 15 minutes prep; Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 slices gluten free bread, toasted (I used Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Flax Bread)

Directions:

Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat until sizzling. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.

Add rice milk and water. Stir until heated through. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve on hot buttered gluten-free toast.

~*~*~

After digging into this amazing dish (if you do gluten-free, I highly recommend the gluten-free Food For Life Sprouted For Life breads for this recipe), I remembered why I loved it so much all those years ago.  The mushrooms were tender and enriched with the garlic and freshy thyme.  I topped mine off with a poached egg, which, when paired with the sauced mushrooms was the perfect addition to the meal, although on its own, this would still be delicious.

If you are a fan of mushrooms, I highly recommend this recipe!