Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - Gluten Free! Lower Carb too!

No, I am not gluten free, but I do look for cookies and things that are much lower in starchy carbs. Well, it's still difficult to find yummy things, but I found this recipe, made it and love it! The cookie is quite soft though, almost like a cake, but the flavor is perfect. It will not be suitable for anyone allergic to nuts or coconut, sorry!

I am also very sure you can add other things to the cookie such as chocolate chips or raisins, but I didn't have either of those, so I made a coconut oatmeal cookie instead!

If you aren't used to cooking without flour, you sometimes have to be prepared to either buy a few extra ingredients or always have them on hand. Also, I will tell you that I didn't have almond flour, but I did have slivered almonds in the freezer and ground those up into a "flour" along with some walnuts so you can just imagine how delicious these are!  I also replaced one of the sticks of butter with apple sauce and the cookies are still moist and flavorful.

This recipe made about 30 cookies.

Ingredients

Mix these together in one bowl and set aside:
2 cups oats
1.5 cups Almond flour
3 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Cream these next ingredients together:
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup apple sauce 
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400F
 2. Cream the above ingredients together til nice and fluffy, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients
3. To get 30, I used a spoon and scooped a bit more than a table spoon onto parchment paper and then lightly pressed them out into cookie shape.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool. Eat. Repeat.

Mom's Chicken Fingers

I had a craving for chicken fingers which doesn't happen normally. However, I didn't want just any old chicken finger. No. I wanted my mom's! You're probably asking what makes them so special. Well, actually there isn't anything so special about them but they are a bit different than the typical chicken finger.

First, the only coating we use is flour. That's it. Nothing crazy. Nothing special. But, you need to season the flour so we use seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder. Unfortunately I don't do measurements, but you should be able to taste all three, or smell all three in the breading mixture.

To keep the flour from flying around, I used a round cake pan and it worked well.

Ingredients
White flour
garlic powder
black pepper
seasoned salt
1 cup of milk with 2 eggs
Chicken breast cut into strips
Canola oil

First thing's first. I use a nonstick pan or a cast iron skillet, not too big because it will use a LOT of oil. So heat up the oil!

Make your life easy and set up an assembly line. I usually start to the right of my stove. So your first station is the milk and egg, then flour and then oil.

1. dip or soak all chicken strips in the milk/egg mixture.
2. Using only ONE hand, pick out a strip and use the other hand to toss it around the flour.
3. Repeat step 2 until you have about 3-4 pieces you can put into the hot oil.
4. Gently place the chicken into the oil and let it fry until golden brown. You may have to turn it over, but don't get into the habit of constantly flipping it.

I love these chicken fingers with macaroni salad, I don't know why, I just do!

It's that easy!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lentil Bread - Mostly Wheat Free


So, I've been looking for a way to enjoy bread while following my very low fast carb Diet Free Life. What this means for me is that I am trying to avoid eating an abundance of fast carbs (foods that quickly turn to sugar inside your body) and unfortunately, this means bread and pasta, two of my favorite things.

Then I had this idea! Lentils.  Lentils are delicious, don't get me wrong, they still are high in carbohydrates, but also high in fiber, have an interesting flavor, and are considered a slow carb. I love lentils in cold salads and hot soups, but in bread?? YES. So I searched and searched for a recipe that I thought might work and I found one, tweaked it to suit myself and I'd like to share with you.

Now, don't go expecting this to be fluffy white bread, there is little to no gluten in here, which gives breads its chewy texture. This bread is more dense, a little drier, but delicious. I am posting this recipe for now until I perfect this, then I will post a new recipe. This bread didn't rise like I had hoped, but I was able to slice it into "slices" that resemble bread by slicing the long way, rather than on the short side like a typical loaf of bread.

In the mean time, I will also work on an almond flour bread that we used to make for my brother when he followed a specific carbohydrate diet for Crohn's disease. I am just looking for something that isn't so high in fat though. Maybe a lentil\almond mix!?

1.5 cups of lentils (white or regular brown)
3 Tbsp flour (or rice or other gluten free four)
3 Tbsp arrow root (or ugh...corn starch)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F
1. Soak the lentils overnight.
2. In a food processor, blend the lentils. Add a little water to loosen it a bit, but not too loose about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and keep processing. This will add a lot of extra needed air for rising.
** The batter will be thick like a cake batter and should be bubbly from the added air.**
 4. Pour batter into an oiled non stick pan or lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes. You might want to cover the top with parchment paper too after the first 15 minutes.

After the bread has cooled, you will probably see that it didn't rise much (or did it!?). It's ok! Just cut the loaf into 3's and then cut the top, two middle slices and the bottom. You should get about 8 slices per loaf.

I am going to keep working on this recipe to see how to get it to rise more so stay tuned!
Lentil Bread Grilled Cheese



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pizza - Cauliflower and Almonds

 
Many people can't eat wheat products. Many choose not to and many must avoid them to lose weight. I've been cooking with almond flour now for almost 20 years since my brother was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease back then. Man, times have changed! I remember having to order 25 lb tubs of almond flour directly from the almond farmers because it was unheard of. Aren't we lucky now that any ordinary grocery story sells it! And its cheaper now too!

So, because of the diagnosis, my mother and I became experts in baking with almond flour. We've made breads, pies, cakes..you name it! Heck, even my pie crust recipe is STILL getting hits all these years later (I think I posted it back in 2002 or so)!

So here it is, pizza crust AND is actually pretty yummy! Now, there are many variations and I like two of them. One uses only cauliflower and the other which I am going to post uses both cauliflower and almond flour. I decided to add some almond flour to get rid of the extra I have in my freezer.

Half head of cauliflower
half cup of almond flour
half cup shredded cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp cream cheese

Preheat oven to 410F

1. I started by microwaving the cauliflower because it dries it out while it cooks. You DO NOT want to use wet cauliflower. If you steam or boil it then make sure you squeeze out the water.
2. Process cauliflower in a food processor, add the other ingredients and pulse until mixed.
3. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, you can add a little olive oil to the paper
4. Pour the "batter" onto the cookie sheet and spread fairly thin.
5. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes. If it is browning, then that is good. The crust needs to dry out.
IF you can flip it over then do that and cook another 10 minutes. Its ok if the crust is brown.
6 . Spread tomato sauce and cheese over the top and cook for another 10 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then cut. You should be able to pick it up like pizza.

ENJOY


Thursday, February 4, 2016

No Rice Fried Rice (Cauliflower Fried Rice)

 Like many people, I really enjoy Chinese or Asian inspired food, just look at my previous entries! Anyways, tonight I was craving fried rice, but those of you that know me, even if I drink only water, my body turns it to fat so I've been finding out that starchy carbs are not my friend. What was I to do! I remembered a friend telling me how someone they know made fried rice with cauliflower as the "rice" and I kept thinking "how delusional."  

So tonight as I was microwaving the cauliflower I kept wondering why people try to trick themselves with horrible substitutes, and why am I one of those people tonight!  So I found a head of cauliflower, cut it in half and microwaved it til soft. I chopped it in the food processor until the size of rice and put t aside.

Now, the flavoring is up to you, but I will post the recipe I used. Oh and by the way.....It actually DOES taste like yummy fried rice!

half head cauliflower
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
handful of peas
handful of green beans, chopped
handful of chopped mushrooms
1 onion chopped
2 tsp garlic chili sauce
1 egg
1 tbsp oil

1. Cook the cauliflower until soft. Place in food processor and pulse until you get small rice sized bits
2. Heat the oil and add the onion and cook for a minute. Add ginger and chili sauce and cook for another minute.
3. Add cauliflower, green beans and mushrooms. Next, form a bare circle in the middle of the pan where you will scramble the egg. Once scrambled, mix into the rice.
4. Strir fry for a minute then add the soy sauce and fish sauce. Stir fry more.
5. Turn off the heat and add the peas.

DONE

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hoisin Sauce

Cooking Asian food can be a daunting task. We all know this. Then you find a recipe you think might be good, you start to read it and there are strange ingredients that you don't normally have on hand. No worries! I have a solution for hoisin!  You may have many of the ingredients readily on hand, and if you don't then you need to stock your kitchen.

3/4 kidney beans (color doesn't matter), rinsed
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp molasses
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
2 fresh dates (you don't have to add these, but I did for a little extra sweet)

Add everything to a good blender and blend til smooth.

Yup. That's all!

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli ....Again!

Don't you just crave Chinese food sometimes? I do often and while there are numerous buffets to choose from at a cheap price, it is like asking for punishment! I've been following a Diet Free Life on and off for years and when I follow well, I lose lots of weight. One of my favorite things is you can basically eat what you want so here is something that I wanted to eat tonight! I got this recipe from Food Network, but I tweaked it a bit.

I also didn't have hoisin sauce on hand so I made my own. After tasting it, I will never buy hoisin again, it was so good I could drink it.

Lastly, I am not eating fast carbs for meals at the moment, so instead of rice, I used leftover, mashed kidney beans and they were perfect! They soaked up that flavorful sauce.

Chinese Chicken with Broccoli!

2 chicken breasts sliced thin
3 scallions thinly sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 inch peeled fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar ( I use unprocessed)
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon arrow root
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
 
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (see my home made recipe)
5 to 6 cups broccoli or a bag of frozen
 
1. Make the marinade. Mix the garlic, ginger, soy sauce sugar, vinegar, 1 tsp arrow root and sesame oil. Add chicken and marinate at least 15 minutes or more.
 
2. Get a skillet very hot. Add 1 tbsp of the oil. Add the broccoli and cook out any excess moisture. Once the broccoli is cooked and still green remove it from the pan.
 
3. Heat the pan again with the remaining oil. Add the chicken (I had to do this in parts). Let the chicken slightly brown before flipping around. Once fully cooked, add 1 tbsp corn starch 1/3 cup water and the broccoli.
 
4. Pour over the hoisin. Shut the heat and enjoy!