Friday, January 30, 2009

granollllaaa [bars]

gluten free granola bar soy flaxI was motivated to attempt granola bars again because
1. my boss gave me a bunch of Bob's soy flour that she will not use (sweet!)
2. I needed a post-workout protein/ carb bar.

Yes, my lazy-ass got on the treadmill today. I even got into it, with my purple 5-lb. hand weights. My brother, who was on the computer next to me, blasted cheesy 90's techno to keep me going. That stuff's got a good, brisk walking beat. (I do not run...)

But, enough about my workout.

These bars fulfill my two requirements: no honey or peanut butter. I think the agave nectar, which provided just enough sweetness, helped hold them together. (Along with the egg)

Plenty of good stuff in these bars.

The thing is, though, they're soft. I think I'm more partial to crunchy bars.
When they were done and cooled for a minute I cut them and placed them on a cookie sheet. I put them back in the oven and turned it off, hoping to make them crunchier. After a while, they weren't necessarily crunchier, but were chewier. I think it was an improvement.

My pickiness aside, these are good and good for you.

Granola Bars

1 beaten egg
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. agave nectar
1 t. vanilla
3 T. flaxseed meal
1 1/2 c. GF oats
1/2 c. soy flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix up the dry ingredients. Mix up the wet ingredients, then- you guessed it- Mix them together. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 square pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. I tested mine with a toothpick to tell when they were done.

For chewier bars, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cut into bars. Place the bars on a cookie sheet, place them back into the oven, turn the heat off, and forget about them for about an hour.

*ps. the more I go back and nibble on these, the more I like them. I'm totally thinking breakfast-on-the-go.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pumpkin Bread & school lunches

gluten free pumpkin breadWith the beginning of the new semester, I am again faced with the necessity of making lunches and snacks. I am big on taking my own food to school for several reasons.

1. I have very limited food options on campus. There are a few GF options, including Chick Fil A, Wendy's, McAlisters, and convenience stores.
2. There are only one or two options at each place.
3. Fast food = not very healthy.
4. It's getting old eating the same things.
5. It gets costly.

I try not to rely on using the microwave. Sometimes I just don't have time to go find one, or I don't have time to sit and eat lunch. When I do have time, I take things like:

soup or chili frozen in individual portions
an occasional Thai Kitchen noodle bowl
pasta salad
tuna salad
random leftovers from dinner

I keep juice boxes in the freezer, in case I need to keep anything cold. They stay frozen for a while.

More often than not, though, I end up eating during class or on the way to class, which begs the need for quick, easy to eat snacks. I have Calculus 2 smack dab in the middle of dinner time, and my grumbling stomach makes it very hard to concentrate on integrals. Not that it's easy to concentrate on integrals anyway.

I've been taking things such as:

dried cranberries
cheese sticks or cubes
pieces of fruit
chex mix
bagel chips (homemade- I need to post my bagel recipe)
granola bars (If I can ever find a recipe I like)
whatever muffins I've made
rice cakes

The thing is, those things get old as well. I'm dying for some variety.

A lady at the post office was mailing pumpkin bread to some lucky person, and gave me the craving. Thanks to the pumpkin in my freezer, I now have pumpkin bread.

It's ideal for in-class hunger-busting, being portable, carb-y and quiet. And, tasty. This bread is moist, but not too wet, with a subtle pumpkin flavor that's just right. The outside forms a great sweet crust.

I can't remember where I found this recipe, so if someone recognizes it, let me know so I can give proper credit. I have modified it slightly.

You will need:

3/4 c. pumpkin
1 egg
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 1/4 c. flour mix *with xanthan gum already added
1/4 t. baking soda
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt

2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
(or 1 T. pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat your oven to 350. I made this the same way as muffins: mix the wet, mix the dry, then combine the two. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then flip it out to cool.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Granola Bar Help!

I am picky about my granola bars.

I would love to bring granola bars to school, for those "gotta eat NOW" moments in the middle of lecture.

Store-bought snack bars leave a lot to be desired, and it's cheaper and easier to add just what I like when they're homemade.

I have tried recipe after recipe, but have not found one that satisfies me. I have mostly experimented with crunchy, and my few attempts at soft granola bars have been less than tasty. Needless to say, I have been through a lot of gluten-free oats.

I do not like ones with lots of honey, because the sickly sweet taste makes me nauseous when I eat it on an empty stomach.

Same goes for the peanut butter ones. When my stomach is empty and I'm starving, straight peanut butter is no bueno.

The problem with nixing peanut butter and honey is... they fall apart. I end up with yet another batch of granola instead of granola BARS.

I tried using applesauce once and they turned out a really funky texture.

I'd rather not use corn syrup, but I'd use a little bit if it would hold the bars together.
I want to make these as healthy as I can, and not so sweet.

Does anyone have a tried-and-true recipe that they like, that doesn't use honey or peanut butter as a binder? Please help!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

gluten free girl scout cookie samoa
This used to be my favorite time of year. Yesterday the girl scouts came by selling cookies, and my mom ordered a box of... everything.

It was a total bummer thinking about how I don't get to eat Samoas, frozen Thin Mints, and Tagalongs. I decided this year I'm not going to watch everyone else enjoy them. Time for copycat recipes.

I found the recipe here, and just substituted GF flour mix for the flour.

I recommend refrigerating the dough overnight, because these spread like crazy. Also, I got a little rolling-pin happy and rolled them too thin. Make sure they have some thickness or it won't hold up to the caramel/ coconut topping. I also forgot to dip the bottoms in chocolate. Oops.

I actually don't remember how the real things taste, but the recipe is really good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins (revised)

gluten free pumpkin muffinsI love baking at night. Especially now that we finally have some cold weather. It will probably be short-lived, but I am loving it while I can. The best way to warm up a chilly room is to heat up the oven.

I thought to myself tonight, "it's been a while since I've made pumpkin muffins."

And, keeping in the healthier kick I've been trying out, I revised my old recipe.

I also omitted the pumpkin pie spice, because I could really taste the cloves in it. I extracted eugenol from cloves a few years ago in organic chemistry lab, and the smell permeated everything, including my pens and notebooks. I randomly smelled cloves for months afterwards. Since then I've been hyper-sensitive to detecting cloves. Anyway, if you like pumpkin pie spice, go ahead and use it in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg.

I also changed a technique with the flaxseed meal, which really improved the texture of the muffin.

Pumpkin Muffins (revised)

1/4 c. millet flour
1/2 c. + 1 T. brown rice flour
2 T. tapioca starch
1 T. flaxseed meal
3/4 t. xanthan gum
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. pumpkin
1 egg
2 T unsweetened applesauce
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. warm water
3 T. agave nectar

Mix the flaxseed meal and the water in a bowl, and let it sit while you mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the flaxseed meal bowl, making sure to beat the egg a bit. Mix the wet into the dry and put into lightly oiled muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, until a toothpick comes out clean.

I was craving something a little sweeter, and had some cream cheese left over from the macaroni and cheese from dinner, so I made a little cream cheese icing. Serious yummage.

Macaroni and Cheese: Take 2

gluten free macaroni and cheeseMac n Cheese: again.

My inspiration for this twist on the previous cheese sauce? Old cream cheese that I wanted to use before it got funky. The result? Super creamy cheese sauce that sticks to the noodles. None of that slightly grainy or liquidy stuff.

I even tried to make it healthier! My family is from Wisconsin, and cheese is not a food that is bad for you. It is a health food. Lots of calcium!

1 T. Smart Balance (or butter, or butter sub)
1 T. corn starch
1 c. 2% milk
3 T. 'less fat' Neufchatel cheese, cubed and at room temperature or slightly warmed
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
mustard powder
garlic powder

Melt the 'butter' in a saucepan on low. Mix in the corn starch and make a paste. Stir in the milk and boost the heat a tad bit (not a lot!). Stir occasionally for a few minutes. I usually stick my finger in there to test the hotness. Add the cream cheese cubes and stir those in until they melt. The mixture should get noticeably thicker. Then add in the cheddar cheese in small amounts, stirring that in until it's melted. At this point you should stir constantly until all of the cheese is added and melted. Shake in some garlic powder and mustard powder. I go light on the garlic, but don't be afraid of the mustard- it really is good!

Mix the sauce with brown rice noodles for mac n cheese, or... anything else you want to make cheesy. Pepper it up and serve it hot. Mmmmm.

Oh, by the way, I found a bottle of Cardamom for $1.99 at Cost Plus World Market. Glad I didn't pay the $10 for it at Kroger!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

healthier waffles and my health kick shopping trip

First off, the thermometer on the back porch reads 81 degrees. There's a breeze, but it's a warm breeze. Gross. I hate Houston's weather. I miss my hoodie.

I went to the store today on a health kick to start the new year. I came home with broccoli, water chestnuts and bean sprouts for stir fries, but found no baby corn. Boo.

I got a tub of smart balance, some chick peas for hummus, and a few cans of beans. I had some hummus at a New Year's party and liked it, but couldn't eat a lot because people were dipping their pita into the bowl and contaminating it. I just scraped a taste off of the edge that looked pretty untouched. Also, brussel sprouts. I've never had them and have always been curious.

I take 2 Prilosec every morning and I picked up a box of the generic just to see if I could save a few bucks. I really hope it works just as well.

I also wanted to get some cardamom to make chai tea, but the only bottle I found was $10. Negative.

This morning, keeping in tune with my health kick, I was craving waffles. Now, I always eat what I crave, but I tried to make them healthier. They tasted great and are also great when frozen and re-toasted. Sweeet.

Healthier Waffles

3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 t. xanthan gum
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. baking powder
1/4 c. nonfat dry milk powder
2 t. egg white powder (this came in a can I found in the baking aisle)
1/2 T. agave syrup
2 T. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c. + 2 T. water

*I used the milk powder because I'd like to be able to have a dry mix on hand and add as little wet ingredients as possible to streamline the process. If you use milk, use 3/4 c. and use only 2 T. water.

Mix that up and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Make waffles as usual. These tend to stick a tad bit more than the other waffles, I guess because of the lack of oil. Make sure to use some cooking spray. Top with fresh fruit.

Here's to attempts at healthier eating!


A few posts back I mentioned my mom bought Kinnickinnick (say that three times fast) chocolate donuts as a treat. They were terrible. The texture was bad, there was a funky taste and aftertaste... they were overall gross. The date on the package was still good, so I don't know why they were so bad. She returned them to the store. Anyone else have the same experience?