Monday, December 28, 2015

Southwest Lime Basil Pesto and Lemony Lemon Basil Pesto

I think you can't be a basil geek without being something of a pesto adventurer.  So, with the recent frosts threatening to destroy my miniature basil crop, it was time for some creative pesto creations. 

The first creation, lemony lemon basil pesto, was pretty simple: Using my favorite pesto recipe (the Williams Sonoma recipe in their muffin cookbook), use all the lemon basil. Supplement with enough Italian basil to make 1 cup. Add a splash of lemon juice. Other than that, follow the recipe.

Using up the lime basil called for something with a little more of a southwest inspiration. Alas, I didn't have any cilantro.  But then, Sis-in-lalala will be visiting soon, and she loathes cilantro. So, for now, we stick with flat leaf parsley. Plus some Mexican oregano, since I have enough to feed a small nation. But, next time, I will use cilantro and oregano. 

Next, the nut. Almonds immediately came to mind. While I was rummaging for almonds, I thought about using pepitas.  Next time maybe.  Or maybe next time, sunflower seeds. But, for now, almonds.

Oil: Either olive or sunflower. I used both.

Other seasonings: chipotle powder, ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, cumin.

Ready, set, Pesto:

1/2 cup raw almonds (or pepitas, or sunflower seeds, or combo)
4 cloves garlic
6 Tbsp unrefined sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh Mexican oregano, loosely packed
1 cup lime basil leaves (can use part Italian)
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder and/or smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
salt to taste
3-4 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese

  1. Pulse almonds and garlic together in a small food processor until finely minced, but not quite ground.
  2. Add parsley, basil, and oil.  Pulse until well-incorporated, stirring periodically.  If it seems a bit dry, add more oil.
  3. Pulse in the rest of the seasonings. Stir, taste, and adjust. 
  4. Stir in the pecorino romano, adding more oil if needed.
Top with a little extra oil to keep the basil from turning brown.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thai Basil Pesto, Take 2

Beautiful Downtown Santee rarely gets frost, but we're getting it this year.  A lot. And, covering the veggie corrals with old sheets only goes so far in protecting this sun-loving plant. So, I've been on a pesto-making frenzy all afternoon:
  • Classic pesto (Italian and Greek basils)
  • Lemony lemon basil pesto
  • Southwest lime basil pesto
  • Thai basil pesto
I looked at my last recipe for Thai basil pesto and figured I could stand to be a little more precise. And, I could stand to play with it a bit more.

So, here's another version of Thai basil pesto, plus a variation.


3 Tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup raw cashews
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 Tbsp regular sesame oil
1.5 cups Thai basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Pulse sesame seeds, cashews, and garlic until cashews are finely minced, but not quite ground. 
  2. Pulse in the oils.
  3. Pulse in basil leaves. Periodically stir. If it isn't mixing well, add a little more sesame oil.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add some garlic powder if needed.
Variation: Spicy gingery Thai Basil Pesto

Stir the following into the pesto, then taste and adjust seasonings:

1.5 to 2 tsp crushed/minced ginger. (Or, use about 1/2 tsp powdered ginger)
Dash of galangal (or more ginger)
Dash or two of cayenne
A little extra black pepper

Thai Basil Pesto and Spicy Gingery Thai Basil Pesto

Friday, December 11, 2015

GF Marie Callendar's Style Cornbread - Take 1

Melanie informed me that Gluten-Free Mike had been lamenting the loss of Marie Callender cornbread in his life.  I understand. It is indeed a lamentable loss.

And, unlike Spouse 1.0, Gluten-Free Mike can't like the dense, corny cornbread made in cast iron skillets.  No, to Gluten-Free Mike, "cornbread" has only one definition: Marie Callender.

So, what could I say, other than, "Challenge accepted!!"

My first thought was to try incorporating corn and honey into my garbanzo bread. I rejected that idea before even getting home to my mixing bowl.  Instead, I reached for my iPad and started googling. Surely someone had done a GF copycat recipe.  They had. I tried it, and it was good in the way that an over-sweetened box of Jiffy cornbread would be good.

As in, not good enough.

I thought back to the first time I had Marie's bread. I splurted, "This isn't cornbread! It's cake!"

It took me many Sunday lunches of steamed vegetables to accept the idea that having a square of dessert with your steamed vegetables wasn't a bad thing.  And, many more Sunday lunches to come to love the stuff.

So, back to Gluten-Free Mike and the quest for cornbread.

If Marie's is more cake than bread, then I need to understand the ratio differences between quickbread and cake. Fortunately, Spouse 1.0 got me the Ratio book last year for Christmas.

I decided to try something half way between a quickbread and a cake. And, it worked!

Unlike a lot of my recipes, this one is all about specific ingredients and correct technique.  You'll dirty more things when you make this.  But, it is so very worth it.

I haven't heard yet whether the bread passes the Gluten-Free Mike test. But, since everyone else likes it, here it is: The bread and its back story.
Since this is half way between a bread and a cake, use a cake making method.  First, you cream the butter and sugar in your stand mixer until it is very, very creamy.  Scrape the bowl a time or two while it is mixing.
Cream butter and sugar
Cream butter and sugar
While the fat and sugar are creaming, prepare the dry ingredients.  Grind the cornmeal in a clean coffee grinder or a high power blender until the cornmeal is warm.  If using the coffee grinder, do it in two stages. Add all dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.

Mix dry ingredients
Mix dry ingredients together

Once the fat and sugar is well creamed, add the eggs and mix until they are well incorporated. Don't over mix. You don't want the eggs to get tough. Scrape the bowl.

Add eggs
Add eggs

Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture in 2 or three stages, mixing only well enough to incorporate and scraping the bowl a couple of times.

Add dry ingredients
Add dry ingredients
Add the clabbered milk and mix just until incorporated. Gently scrape the bowl once while mixing. The batter will be fluffy and beautiful. 

Add clabbered milk
Add clabbered milk
Gently pour the fluffy, beautiful batter into a well-greased 8" pan.  Wet your fingers and gently smooth the batter so that it is evenly distributed. 

gently spread batter in 8 inch pan

Bake and enjoy.  Of course, you'll want to mix up some honey butter to go with this. 

Pamela's Marie-Style Cornbread


1-2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
4 ounces goat milk
2 ounces butter, softened but not melted
2 ounces Spectrum organic shortening
4 ounces (1/2 cup) organic sugar
2 large eggs
3 ounces Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Cornmeal*
3 ounces Authentic Foods Classic Gluten Free Blend**
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

  1. Thoroughly grease an 8" square baking pan and preheat oven to 350 (f).
  2. Pour 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar into cup.
  3. Add goat milk to weigh 4 ounces. Set aside to clabber.
  4. Weigh butter, shortening, and sugar into the mixing bowl and set it to creaming. Scrape bowl periodically.***
  5. Grind cornmeal in a clean coffee grinder or a high powered blender.
  6. Add dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate.
  7. Add eggs to butter-sugar mixture. Mix just enough to thoroughly incorporate. Scrape bowl once while mixing.
  8. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in at least two stages.  Mix just enough to incorporate. Scrape 2-3 times while mixing.
  9. Add clabbered milk, mixing just enough to incorporate.  Scrape bowl once while mixing.
  10. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Wet fingers and smooth batter evenly in the pan.
  11. Bake 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until toothpick tests done.

* I love Bob's Red Mill products, and I love the course grind of their cornmeal for other things.  For this bread, you really do need the finer grind of Arrowhead Mills.

** Authentic Foods grinds their brown rice flour more finely than other brands I've used.  This is important for the fluffiness factor. 

*** Be sure to turn your mixer off and unplug it while scraping the bowl. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thai Basil Pesto

What do you do when you want to make pesto, but only your Thai basil is doing well, while your other basils are barely hanging on for dear life?

Well, you could make normal pesto using Thai basil, but that would be just too weird.  Thai basil is its own thing.  It really isn't a substitute for other basils.

So, embrace the Thai-ness of it.  Make Thai basil pesto.  I know that sounds weird, but it's weird in a good way. Whereas normal pesto using Thai basil would be weird in a bad way.

So, what might that look like?  Going ingredient by ingredient....

Garlic: Keep.  Thai food and garlic are friends.

Pine nuts: Nope. No way. Sesame seeds would be good, but using only sesame seeds would be kind of... seedy.   Almonds would be tasty, but they're too hard. Cashews have a good texture. Sesame seeds and cashews. Definitely!

Olive oil: Absolutely not! Toasted sesame oil is lovely, but a bit strong.  Using part untoasted sesame oil would be lovely, but I don't have any. So, maybe walnut oil along with the toasted sesame.

Pecorino romano: Cheese? Yuck! Not for Thai pesto. Just leave it out. Or increase the nuts.

Salt:  Yes. And black pepper.

So, more or less using my favorite pesto recipe, I just madke the substitutions above.  Except, I've been making pesto so long, I don't use a recipe and have no idea how much of each ingredient I use. I just do everything to taste. Here are some rough guidelines:

Ingredients (quantities are very approximate):

1-2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2-3 Tbsp walnut oil
2 cloves crushed garlic, or 2 garlic ice cubes, plus a dash of dry roasted garlic
1 fist full of cashews
2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 cups loosely packed Thai basil leaves
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Pulse everything except basil, salt, & pepper until minced. 
  2. Pulse in basil leaves, being careful not to over process. 
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Store in refrigerator.

Serving suggestions:
  • Toss some with poached chicken and cooked rice noodles.
  • Plop some on cooked vegies to give them a little excitement.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Roasted Tomato Dipping Sauce

Two weeks ago, Dawn the Lovely and I were enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon, visiting, drinking coffee, shopping.  The perfect girlie day. And then....

Dawn bought a bistro box containing a delicious tomato dipping sauce. Channeling my mother, I made the rash and spontaneous statement, "We could make this!"  But would it be the same? "Of course not. We'll make it better!"

(Yup, definitely Bettye's child, here.)

And, we did.

I shopped for organic canned roasted tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Decided that either my avocado oil or walnut oil would suffice very nicely in lieu of olive oil.

Dawn came over. We went into the back yard so she could shop for herbs.  Pinching each one and getting high off the fumes, Dawn decided to use a combination of Greek and lemon basil, maybe a few leaves of the lime.  We added Rapunzel (aka my wild and overgrown Mexican oregano) and some Italian parsley.  And rosemary.  Because, for Dawn, life without rosemary would probably not be worth living.

Back to the kitchen to choose oils.  Dawn sniffed each oil, then tasted. She decided on walnut oil.

Maybe everything else should have been fresh, too.  But I'm pretty sure the commercial stuff used a lot of dried ingredients. So, here we go.... As always with this kind of thing, everything is really "to taste".   If you don't like it, it's your own fault.

2-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (we used three in the 2nd batch, which Dawn liked more)
4 pinches of salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. granulated roasted garlic
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. freeze dried shallots
About 2.5 tbsp. fresh basil
About 1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, maybe a little more
About 1 tbsp. fresh Mexican oregano
A few leaves of rosemary
About 4 tbsp. walnut oil (or olive, or....)
About 8 to 10 ounces canned roasted tomatoes

  1. Blend everything except oil and tomatoes with a stick blender until herbs are nicely chopped.
  2. Blend in the juice from the tomatoes, reserving the solids.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, keeping in mind that you will be adding the oil and more tomatoes. 
  4. Slowly drizzle in oil while blending on low to create a gorgeous emulsion.
  5. Make sure tomato solids are finely chopped, then spoon them in.
  6. Taste and adjust.

A note about the herbs:  Measuring full, unchopped herb leaves is an imprecise business at best.  You may stuff your measuring spoon more loosely or more fully than I do. So, the above measurements really are only suggestions. Also, you can use dried herbs.  Start with 1/4 to 1/3 the amounts suggested for fresh, and take it from there.

(Special thanks to Dawn the Lovely for staging the above photo.)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dr. Axe's Pumpkin Bread - By Weight

Several months ago I discovered the Dr. Axe pumpkin bread recipe.  I have no idea who Dr. Axe is, but man, does he do a yummy pumpkin bread!  Half-way between a custard and a bread, it's like pumpkin pie as a finger food.

The original Dr. Axe recipe is here:
Spouse 1.0 likes things a little sweeter, so I added some liquid vanilla stevia. I don't love commercial pumpkin pie spice, so used my choice of spices plus some vanilla. And I prefer an 8" or 9" square pan to a loaf pan for faster baking.  But, other than that, no big changes to his recipe except for converting everything to weights. And adding more details to the directions. And topping with nuts.

So, here it is:

  • 112 grams almond flour
  • 28 grams coconut flour  (30 to 32 grams if Trader Joe brand)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 183 grams pumpkin
  • 56 grams maple syrup
  • 56-58 grams coconut oil, warmed to melting point
  • 4 large eggs
  • 15 drops of liquid vanilla stevia (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. 
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 325 degrees (f). Thoroughly grease 8" or 9" square pan with coconut oil and/or coconut spray.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients except chopped nuts in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet, incorporating well.
  5. Pour batter into pan.  If batter is thick, wet your fingers to gently and evenly press the batter down.  Top with nuts.
  6. Bake 25 -30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gingerbread Lemonade

Lately I've been on a lemonade obsession.  I don't particularly care for the stuff, but Spouse 1.0 drinks it like it's going out of style.

And, given The Curse of David*, lemonade may well be doing just that.

So, to mitigate The Curse of David, save money, and reduce our carbon footprint, I've been making lemonade. Lots & lots & lots of it.

I used to think that making homemade lemonade required juicing zillions of lemons.  Then I discovered bottled lemon juice.  Maybe not quite so exciting as fresh squeezed, but there's still a lot of money and bottles saved when you buy just one quart of lemon juice to make 8 quarts of lemonade.  Plus you get to control the sugar content.

Of course, it's completely impossible for me to make the same thing over & over again. There's just something in how my brain is wired that connects the brain cell that stores the information, "Spouse 1.0 loves lemonade" with the brain cell that stores "Spouse 1.0 loves ginger", which in turn connects to the brain cell that stores "Spouse 1.0 loves gingerbread lattes".

So, we get Gingerbread Lemonade:

- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, or 1 ginger ice cube
- 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
- 5/8 tsp Apple Pie spice
- 35 drops liquid vanilla stevia
- 1/2 ounce agave syrup
- 1 ounce molasses
- 4 ounces fresh or bottled organic lemon juice
Filtered water

  1. Using a sturdy kitchen scale**, place all ingredients into a 1 quart bottle or jar.
  2. Add a small amount of warm or room temperature filtered water.  Tightly cap the jar and shake until all ingredients are well-combined.
  3. Continue filling jar with room-temperature water.  Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetness, then place in the refrigerator to chill.
    Don't over-spice it.  As the lemonade chills, the spices will continue to infuse.

* The Curse of David: A law of the Universe by which anything that Spouse 1.0 likes will be discontinued almost as soon as he discovers that he likes it.  The law further decrees that the more he likes it, the sooner it will be discontinued.  Most blatant example: VW Cabrio. 

** I strongly recommend using a kitchen scale, especially when you are dealing with sticky-ickies such as molasses, honey, or agave. Using a measuring cup wastes water and unnecessarily increases your work load.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Gluten Free and Casein Free

The Moosewood Cookbook's Hungarian Mushroom Soup showed up at one this year's Lenten Soup Suppers. Now, I'm not a fan of cream soups, but one taste of this stuff and I knew: Spouse 1.0 would love this soup -- if I added meat.  I had to get the recipe and adapt it for him.

One thing that makes this soup so wonderful is that it's not as heavy as most cream soups. It's just creamy enough to gently hold the earthy flavor of mushrooms, the subtle flavor of dill, and the mild zip of paprika together.

When adapting, you have to make decisions. Your decisions make the difference between good flavor and better. They are the difference between horrible texture, OK texture, and decent texture. In baking your decisions are the difference between dry, moist, and gummy -- and the difference between rising and falling.

Fortunately, soup isn't baking. The decisions are easier.

First decision: Butter. Our casein restrictions permit organic butter, so yay! That was easy. Second best choice would have been goat butter, followed by Earth Balance. Soup is actually pretty forgiving, so you could use the equivalent amount of any oil, but flavor would be compromised.

Next decision: Milk. This is a savory, slightly tangy soup, so goat milk is perfect. It has protein and fat to help the soup hold together.  A good second choice would have been unsweetened, unflavored soy milk. Any of the other unsweetened and unflavored milk alternatives might work, but I think texture would be compromised. A sweetened or flavored milk would probably be pretty awful.

Third decision: Flour. Don't you love how one simple little 5-letter word for the glutivores opens up a world of complications and questions?  Any common gluten-free all-purpose blend will probably work.  I used the Trader Joe brand, which does not include xanthan gum. It worked perfectly.  I wouldn't use a blend with xanthan gum.  The texture might come out too slimy or thick. You could also use a single flour, such as brown rice, but texture and flavor would be compromised. 

Final decision: Sour cream.  The soup is delicious without it.  I wouldn't bother.  Alternatives: vegan sour cream substitute or your choice of plain yogurt substitute. 

So, here it is: My adaptation of Hungarian Mushroom Soup:

GFCF Hungarian Mushroom Soup

24 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 cups chopped onions
4 Tbsp fresh chopped dill, or 4 tsp dry (Divided use)
4 cups chicken stock, divided use. (Use homemade or a GF brand.)
2 Tbsp GF tamari soy sauce
2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika or smoked paprika (I used smoked.)
4 Tbsp butter or butter substitute
6 Tbsp gluten-free flour blend
2 cups goat milk (or unsweetened, unflavored soy milk or other milk substitute)
2 tsp salt
4 tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/3 that amount, dried)
Optional: 1 cup vegan sour cream substitute and/or extra dill

  1. Saute onions in a small amount of stock, salt lightly
  2. When partly done, add mushrooms, half the dill, about 1 cup more stock, tamari, and paprika. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes while you prepare the cream base.
  3. Melt butter in a 6 quart soup pot.
  4. Whisk in flour blend and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and the flour is a nice golden color.
  5. Reduce heat to low, and slowly whisk in the milk until completely incorporated. Cook about 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick.
  6. Whisk in the mushroom mixture and the remaining stock.  Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
  7. Just before serving, add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  8. Garnish each bowl with a little vegan sour cream substitute and/or extra dill.
Variation: To make this a protein-packed meal, add about 12 ounces of chopped poached chicken in step 6.

Serves 8.

Sorry: For now, no picture. 

The above adaptation is based on this recipe:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mixed Fruit Muffins

I love Elana Amsterdam's recipes.  This one started off as the Apricot Muffin recipe from her book Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry.  And, you might ask, if I love the recipe so much, why did I change it until it's hardly recognizable?  In short:

  • I don't love measuring, so I convert to weight wherever possible.
  • I love apricots, but not all the time.  Sometimes it's fun to just mix things up a bit.
  • Sometimes my dried fruit gets to be a bit too dry and needs pre-moistening.
  • I don't love dragging the food processor out to make a small batch of muffins, so I've found a different way that's easier for me.
  • I like mini muffins.
  • I like nuts on top.
  • 80 to 90 grams total dried prunes, dates, & apples (whatever proportion suits your fancy)
  • Small amount of hot water
  • 28 grams coconut flour (30 grams if Trader Joe)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 112 grams melted coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 7 drops liquid vanilla stevia, optional
  • About 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Chop fruit in small pieces, place in small glass container, and cover with just barely enough hot water to cover. Let sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain excess water from fruit.
  3. Line mini muffin tins with 24 liners.  Spray liners with coconut oil spray.
  4. Place fruit in medium stainless mixing bowl. Add coconut oil. Using a stick blender, pulse until fruit is very finely chopped, almost pureed.
  5. Pulse in eggs and stevia.
  6. Pulse in coconut flour and salt. Let set 3 to 5 minutes so coconut flour can thicken.
  7. Stir in baking soda.
  8. Fill muffin liners about 3/4 full.  If you have extra batter, line a custard cup and pour the batter in the custard cup.
  9. Top with nuts.
  10. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out almost clean.
  11. Cool thoroughly. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pizza Pain Perdu (GF)

It happens way more often than we want to admit. We go to some GF restaurant, pay an extra $4 for our pizza to be on a gluten free crust, and when served, we realize that we have just been served cardboard with a smattering of cheese and meat.

Not wanting to be wasteful, we bring that miserable excuse for pizza home, and try to feed it to our dog.  He snubs it.  We try to compost it, but even the worms won't touch it.

Never fear, you can stop using that leftover pizza for a doorstop and turn it into an easy, yummy breakfast. It's easy.  (Not fast, but definitely easy.)

Pizza Pain Perdu


For each serving, you will need:

2 small slices of leftover GF pizza
1 egg
Scant 1/2 cup goat milk or unsweetened milk alternative
dash of salt or smoked salt
dash of pepper
pinch or two of Italian herb blend (Penzey's Frozen Pizza seasoning is perfect)



  1. Lightly oil or spray a 3-cup rectangular Pyrex dish.
  2. Place pizza slices in dish, alternating directions.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the pizza and let set for about 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes, until all is baked through.
Alternating pizzza slices in a Pyrex dish

Savory custard mixture: Egg, goat milk, seasonings

Pizza soaking in the custard mixture

The finished product

Close-up of the finished product: No more cardboard

Easy Low Sugar Cranberry Lemonade

I don't drink things with calories. Calories are for chewing, not sipping. I mean, seriously. For 150 calories, would you rather have one 12-ounce can of soda OR a small cookie, a small piece of chocolate, a small salad, plus a big glass of water with a lemon or lime slice?

And, don't even get me started on the $5 frou-frou drinks.

Spouse 1.0 does not share this philosophy. And, because I really don't want him to be dead, I'm always on the lookout for low-sugar alternatives.  Preferably ones not loaded with chemical sweeteners.

To that end, liquid vanilla stevia has become my best friend. Powdered stevia is nasty. Liquid stevia is less nasty. Liquid vanilla stevia is almost bearable. Liquid vanilla stevia mixed with a caloric sweetener such as agave, honey, or organic cane sugar is actually quite pleasant.

This lemonade is easy to make, just sweet enough, and has less than 40 calories per cup.  Depending on how you shop, it's probably under $1.00 per bottle -- less than 1/4 the cost of commercial drinks.

Easy Cranberry Lemonade

1.5 ounces bottled pure lemon juice
1.5 ounces bottled pure, unsweetened cranberry juice
1 ounce honey, agave syrup, or ginger syrup (Spouse 1.0 prefers the latter.)
About 35 drops liquid vanilla stevia (Whole Foods brand is best.)
Filtered water

Add all ingredients to a 32 ounce container.  Add a little warm filtered water and mix well.   Add cool filtered water until the container is almost full. Mix, taste, and adjust.  If you want things a little sweeter, add a couple of drops of the stevia and a drizzle of syrup.  If you want things a little more puckersome, add some more lemon and/or cranberry juice.  Chill and enjoy.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Maple Pecan Muffins

I'm learning that it doesn't take much to turn a pancake into a muffin.  And, for me, muffins are infinitely less tedious.  Who has time to stand there babysitting pancakes 3 at a time?

This recipe started out as the pancake recipe from the back of a bag of FunFresh Foods almond flour. 
The first thing I did was convert from measuring by cup to going by weight. (I really can't stand dealing with messy measuring cups!)
Here's a summary of the transformation from pancake to muffin:

180 g almond flour90 g pecan meal
60 g almond flour
30 g cashew meal
82 g agave nectar82 g maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda3/4 tsp baking soda
n/a1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
n/a28 g melted coconut oil
n/a4 to 8 grams Teff grain, chia seed, rice flour, whatever
n/achopped pecans for topping

Here's what stayed the same:

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
116 g. water (4 ounces)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (f).
  2. Line 24 mini muffin cups with liners, then spray with coconut oil or other non-stick spray.
  3. Use wire whisk or fingers to mix pecan meal, almond flour, cashew meal, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt  in a small bowl until well-combined.
  4. whisk maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl together until well-combined.
  5. Whisk in the eggs, then the water.
  6. Whisk in dry ingredients. I do this in stages to ensure more even incorporation.
  7. If the mixture looks too runny, stir in the Teff, chia, or whatever.  Teff has a nice nutty flavor, and adds a little bit of poppyseed-like crunch.  If you don't like that texture, then just add a little of whatever you like.  It will still be a bit runnier than normal muffin batter, but that's OK.
  8. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 to 7/8 full.  If you have a little batter left, just bake it in a lined custard cup (or two).
  9. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Tops will spring back when lightly touched, and a toothpick will come out with a crumb or two.
  10. Remove from muffin tins and cool thoroughly on wire rack.  The texture is best at room temperature.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

German Chocolate Quinoa Cookies

I really call these "Oops Cookies".  I accidentally got the nut butter mixture too hot, and the chocolate chips mostly melted. 


Sometimes a thing that initially seems bad can turn out to be surprisingly good.  So maybe I should call them "Redemption Cookies".

But, rule one of putting your cookie recipes on your blog is, "Make the name make sense to others."  So, with flavors of coconut, pecan, and chocolate, maybe it's best to call them German Chocolate Cookies.


138 grams total of maple syrup, honey, and agave syrup (1/2 cup)
68 grams organic cane sugar (1/2 cup)
1 4-ounce stick of Earth Balance margarine or organic butter
128 grams total of almond butter and cashew butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
140 grams brown rice flour (1 cup)
83 grams quinoa flakes  (3/4 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
Scant 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Scant 1/4 cup shredded coconut, chopped
1/3 cup dairy-free miniature chocolate chips (e.g., Enjoy Life)


1. Add first 4 ingredients into a medium steel mixing bowl, then place over a pan of simmering water to soften.
2. Mix brown rice flour, quinoa flakes, baking soda, salt, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl.
3. When nut butter mixture is very warm, add vanilla and stir until everything is smooth.
4. Remove nut butter mixture from heat and stir in the flour mixture.  Combine well.  The chocolate chips will mostly melt. 
5. Place in refrigerator until firm enough to handle (about 30-40 minutes).
6. Roll into small balls (about 12 grams each) and place on lightly greased cookie sheet about 2" apart. 
7. Bake at 350 until lightly browned but still soft in the middle (about 8 minutes)
8. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, the place on wire racks to cool.

Makes about 60 cookies.