Amaretto Muffins- Gluten Free or Not!

These Amaretto Muffins are one of my new favorites!  Everybody that had a chance to taste them raved about the flavor.  I used Amaretto liquor in the muffin itself and also a little bit mixed with the sliced almonds in the topping.  If you didn’t want to use Amaretto liquor, I’m sure you could use a little bit of almond oil and then more rice milk to make up the difference in liquid from the 1/4 cup of Amaretto

I saw a recipe on Chow.com for Amaretto Pound Cake.  It sounded incredible but it had 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of sugar, plus another 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in the glaze.  That quantity of butter and sugar is very normal for a pound cake but I wanted to make something a little healthier.

Garnet Yam Crisp with Dried Cherries and Coconut- Gluten Free

I developed this recipe because I wanted a fun way to eat Garnet Yams as a healthy breakfast (or dessert!).  This crisp is gluten free and very low in sugar.  If you don’t have a problem with gluten you can just make it with “regular” flour. The topping includes a combination of sliced almonds, cornflakes and coconut.  The total amount of sugar in this recipe is 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup in the topping and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in the 4 pounds of mashed yams.

We love the flavor and texture of dried tart cherries in with the yams.  You can eat this crisp cold, but it tastes much better when you gently heat up the amount that you are going to eat in a covered frying pan.

 

Mushrooms Stuffed With Asparagus And Bacon

These stuffed mushrooms have a great combination of flavors!

This recipe is gluten free because I never add breadcrumbs to any of my stuffed mushrooms.  It seems like it would take away from the flavors.

I trimmed the fat off of the bacon before I cooked it, then mixed the cooked bacon with little pieces of asparagus, onion, fresh thyme and goat cheese.If your mushrooms are pretty good sized, you should precook them for a few minutes with the top side up before you fill them.I had always bought Chavre brand goat cheese to use in my recipes but this time I saw Safeway’s own brand in the case right next to it at a much cheaper price.  It is called Primo Taglio, the same as the deli meats that they have made especially for them.  I was really happy with the flavor of the goat cheese and happier yet to not pay the high price of Chavre which has gone up a lot in recent years.

This recipe makes 12 stuffed mushrooms but you might want to make more so you have some leftovers.  They are great the next day if you cut them up and add them to scrambled eggs.  They also will reheat nicely in a small covered pan if you want to serve them as an appetizer again.  They won’t be quite as pretty as the first night but they will taste great!

Mashed Garnet Yams With Bacon And Chipotle and a ManPans Review

This Garnet yam recipe is so versatile!  It’s great as a side dish alongside any kind of meat and it can also be shaped into a patty and heated in a frying pan  for breakfast.  I have even eaten it cold- it’s that good!

I would serve these mashed yams for any holiday gathering- they would be great for Thanksgiving or Christmas (but don’t wait until then to try them!)

I prefer Garnet yams because they are less starchy and have a more intense flavor than other kinds of sweet potatoes or yams.  The inside of a Garnet yam is also much more colorful and full of vitamins.

The other ingredients in this mashed yam recipe are: bacon that has had all of the fat trimmed off, a couple of tablespoons of Chipotle chile in adobo sauce that has been finely chopped, onion, garlic and toasted pecansI added 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the mashed yam mixture to make it taste a little richer but you wouldn’t need to.  The first time that I made this recipe I didn’t steam the yams quite as much so it seemed to need more butter.  This time the yams were very soft and the moisture from the onions and the bacon made it just right.

I got to use my new  ManPans 10″ saute pan to cook the bacon for this Garnet yam recipe then I just wiped the pan out and added water so I could set the steamer on top with the yams in it.  What a treat to not have to use and wash 2 different pans!

Meyer Lemon Mousse

It’s Meyer Lemon season so I feel obliged to share another one of my yummy lemon recipes with you!

This mousse really does taste like a combination of the filling and the meringue of a great lemon meringue pie!It is very creamy and not as heavy as the filling of a lemon meringue pie because of the addition of beaten egg whites folded into the mousse right before you chill it.

If you love lemon, you will love this mousse recipe!  You can make it with “regular” lemons, but you will need to reduce the amount of lemon juice and zest .  You might need to add more sugar too.

This recipe makes 5-6 individual ramekins of mousse, depending on how full you fill themThe egg whites are not cooked, so if you have any concerns about their safety, use pasturized dried egg whites instead.

Banana Walnut Cookies

If you love bananas this will be your new favorite cookie!

I already had 2 different kinds of cookies that I was going to make last weekend then I realized I had some bananas that needed using up.

I looked through my recipes for inspiration and in the end decided to slightly modify a persimmon cookie recipe that I had and substitute banana for the persimmon.  Another blog called White On Rice Couple had posted a persimmon cookie recipe that was identical to mine.  It was a recipe from their Grandma- my recipe was about 40 years old too!

I converted the regular flour to my gluten free mix and decided that it would not need any xanthan gum so I didn’t use it

I think this recipe would lend itself to other fruit substitutions too- what about pineappla and macadamia nuts?  It just uses 1 cup of a moist type fruit.

After tasting the batter I decided to add chopped walnuts because it was the right thing to do.  Walnuts and I don’t get along very good- the bitterness from the skin on the outside sometimes hurts my mouth.  I rubbed as much of the skin off as I could as I was chopping them up- it worked fine.

I  used some cinnamon chips that I had gotten from King Arthur Flour in the batter also.  I bought them before Christmas last year and had not baked with them yet.  They taste kind of funny just by themselves but they are magical in this Banana Cookie!

I took plates of cookies to my neighbors and even to our nice pharmacist at Walgreens because he has really gone the extra mile for us lately.  Everybody said these Banana Cookies were their favorites of the three kinds on this weeks plate!  The other two that I made were a Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie that is an old recipe and has been around forever.  I reduced the sugar on that one by 1/4 cup so it is much better than the original.  I will post that recipe soon because those cookies are great too.I also made the Oatmeal Cookies that I had already posted but I used Trader Joe’s Dried Wild Blueberries instead of raisins and I added some cinnamon chips to those too.  The cookies turned out good but I didn’t like them as well as the original recipe with the raisins.  You couldn’t really tell what kind of fruit was in there so I think it was a waste of the pricier ingredients.

Apricot Almond Refrigerator Cookies

Here’s another cookie recipe that I’ve been making for 20 years!I just converted it from “regular flour” to gluten free last week.  It was a friendly recipe, thank goodness because it was perfect the first attempt.

The only thing that I changed was the flour and I added 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum and I increased the egg from one to one and a half.

This recipe has somewhat of a shortbread cookie texture.  The apricots and almonds in this cookie make it great tasting and very special.

Other than chopping up the apricots and the almonds, this cookie is very easy and fast to make.  It does need some chilling time in the refrigerator because you form the dough into 2 logs and then just cut them into slices and bake after they are chilled.

I think I will be using this base cookie without the apricots and almonds for other recipes because it works so well.

I have been doing very well with my cookie recipe tests and conversions this year- I have made about a dozen different kinds of cookies and only had one that I wouldn’t make again.  It was a coconut cookie (not my recipe!) and it just was blah and not worth the calories!

I made another pecan cookie that I will be posting and it took a couple of tries because the original recipe called for too high of an oven temperature.

I made a coffee and raisin cookie that is good, but just has too much flour I think.  I will try it again with less flour.

Cappuccino Thins Cookies

When I started writing this post I realized that i had been making the original recipe of this cookie (with gluten) for 20 years- yikes!

These cookies have been one of everyone’s  favorites that has tried them over the years.  I have made them almost every holiday season, either in the original form or gluten free.

Some recipes need tweaking when you convert them from “normal” to gluten free.  I got lucky with this one because I don’t think I changed anything except for the kind of flour.  Some cookies and breads need the addition of more liquid or a little more egg or some xanthan gum to retain the original texture and “chew”.

This is one of the cookies that I included in the holiday gift baskets that I made for my husband’s top clients last year.

I went ahead and made all of the cookies with my gluten free flour since that’s what I had.  It also gave me an excuse to convert a couple more cookie recipes to gluten free!

Grape and Port Wine Crisp- A Gluten Free Dessert

I don’t remember where I got the idea for this recipe but I’m glad I thought of it!

I haven’t seen very many dessert recipes using grapes for the main ingredient.  I use seedless red or black grapes and cut them in half- you still need to watch for seeds though.

This is a very simple recipe to put together- you just heat the grape halves in a stock pot with 1/2 cup of Ruby Port and 1/4 cup of agave nectar.  A mixture of cornstarch and water is added to the grape mixture to thicken it slightly, then you place the grapes in your baking pan and top with the oat and chopped pecan topping.  Then you bake the crisp for 25-30 minutes and that’s it!

Dairy Free Carrot Cake Ice Cream

This is a very fun ice cream that is totally healthy!

If you love the flavors of a good carrot cake, you will love this ice cream!

The base is carrot juice and it has pineapple, shredded carrots, shredded coconut and raisins plus all of the spices that you would find in carrot cake.

Before I created this recipe I researched to see what other people had created with the same carrot cake ice cream concept.  Some started with a base of vanilla ice cream and added pieces of actual carrot cake.  Other people flavored the ice cream like carrot cake and even added cream cheese frosting!

I wanted a more healthy version that included most of the flavors of carrot cake so I created this recipe!

It took a few tries to get the quantity right- I kept using too much carrot juice and ended up using only 2 cups of it in the end.  There is also 1- 1/2 cups of finely shredded carrot, so it has lots of carrot flavor.This recipe probably looks harder than it really is- the main thing is to have all of your ingredients prepped including cutting up the pineapple and shredding the carrots.  If you have everything ready in bowls before you heat the carrot juice it will be really easy.  You also need to keep stirring once you add the cornstarch mixture so it doesn’t get little lumps!