Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lemon Blueberry Muffins


Hmmm…what to say about warm muffins fresh from the oven?  Well,these muffins take the cake in terms of delicious gluten free muffins, if I do say so myself!  I used to make a lemon-blueberry muffin recipe full of gluten and I was looking for a substitute to make for breakfasts and brunches.  I turned to my good friend almond flour for the lower carbohydrate count and protein factor.  I did some searching around and found a great blueberry muffin recipe.  I made it as it appeared (the link is below) but I felt that they would benefit from a little citrus.  Lemon zest andblueberries = a magical combination.

A few more facts about these muffins-they are amazing to take as a on-the-go breakfast.  I wake up EARLY and I can’t stomach breakfast first thing in the morning.  I am able to pack up one of these muffins and either eat it in the car or when I get into school in the morning.  Either way, it is something fast, low carb, full of protein and healthy fat and a great way to start the day.  I did an approximate carb count on them and figured about 15 grams of carb per muffin.  A 1.5 hour post meal blood sugar check confirmed that I was pretty accurate.  Please don’t take this as an official cab count however, it is more of a general approximation. These muffins are great on their own, with a little butter or with some cream cheese schmeared on top (although I haven’t tried that yet!).  ENJOY!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from the Blueberry Muffins at Daniela’s Kitchen

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups Honeyville blanched almond flour, packed
1/4 cup agave nectar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 2 large lemons (about 2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.

2. For large muffins, spray 8 sections of a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. For smaller muffins, spray all 12 sections.

3. In a large bowl mix salt, baking soda, baking powder, almond flour and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and oil.  Then mix in agave, vanilla and lemon zest.

5. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture, stir together with a large mixing spoon until well combined.

6. Fold in blueberries.

7. Fill 8 sections of the muffin tin to the top.  If you want smaller muffins, fill 12 sections half-3/4 of the way full.

8. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes (for large muffins), or until muffins are brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

9. Let muffins cool in the tin for about 20 minutes and then gently coax them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.  These muffins are pretty soft, so you may have to use a butter knife around the edges to get them out completely without the tops popping off.



Filed under bread, breakfast, gluten free, vegetarian

Homemade Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is one of those amazing comfort foods that not many people make at home anymore.  I remember when I was younger my grandma making applesauce for all the special occasions we would celebrate together as a family.  She would make one that was sugar free for me and another with sugar for the rest of the family.  I personally see no need to add sugar to applesauce if you buy apples that are not too tart.  Homemade apple sauce is good for you (an apple a day, right?), it is delicious, and most importantly it is easy!  I use one special piece of equipment, a Food Mill, but with the method I am going to show you, if you don’t want to buy a food mill or don’t own one already, there is a slightly more time consuming way to make it as well.

Apple sauce is GREAT for canning.  I do not know how to can (although I wish I did) and there are many people who make HUGE quantities of apple sauce and then can it. Check out these links if you are interested:

*Pick Your Own

*Make it Do

*Simply Canning

Homemade Apple Sauce

This is one of those recipes that is more of a method than a “I must stick exactly by the quantities to make this recipe work” recipe.

1. Gather apples.  The sweeter the apples, the sweeter the sauce.  Gala, Jonathan, Fuji and Pink Lady work well.  For this batch I used 10 apples that were getting a little mushy.  The texture was not great for eating, but that doesn’t matter for saucing.  However, as you can see from the picture, the skins of the apples are reddish/pinkish in color.  This will add a beautiful pink hue to the sauce.

2. Use either an Apple Corer and Slicer or a sharp knife to slice and core the apples.  DO NOT remove the apple peel.

3. Place apples in a large pot and add about an inch of water.  The apples will start to break down, so you don’t want to add too much water.

4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the water has been boiling for a bit, reduce heat to medium-high and cook until all the apples are cooked through.

5. Let the apples cool a bit and then if you do have a handy food mill, pass the mixture through the food mill.  If you don’t have a food mill you have two choices: 1. Cook the apples with no skins to begin with and mash them with a potato masher when done (the sauce will not have a pinkish hue) OR 2. Spend some time pick out all the skins once the sauce is cool, then you can mash with a potato masher.

6. At this point, when all my glorious apple sauce is in a large bowl, I add cinnamon to taste.  For the 10 apples I added about 1 Tablespoon.

7. EAT! YUM!

Note: you can eat this apple sauce warm or cool it off in the fridge.  Either way it is amazing.  I suggest either eating it as a snack, over latkes or with pork chops.


Filed under breakfast, dairy free, dessert, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, paleo, side dish, snack, toddler approved, vegan, vegetarian

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Quinoa is one of the most amazing and versatile ‘grains’ out there.  Quinoa is not a true grain, and is actually more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds than to grains like wheat or rice (thanks Wikipedia).  Quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein which makes it perfect for people with gluten intolerances and for vegetarians.  I personally feel that it is an amazing food for just about everyone!  You can typically find quinoa in a white or red variety and for this recipe I used red.

Lately, I have been making a big batch of quinoa salad on Sundays and eating it for lunch throughout the week.  I have been throwing together lots of different ingredients with the quinoa to create really interesting salad combinations.  Below you will find one of my favorite combinations which combines cilantro, lime, black beans and quinoa goodness.  I kept this version meatless, however, this would work well with some cubed chicken tossed in.

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 15 oz. can black bean, drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion, diced
5 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 avocados, cubed
*1 cup cilantro lime dressing

Cook quinoa in water or chicken broth according to directions on package.  Toss the cooked quinoa with the olives, pepper, tomatoes, beans, onion, scallions, avocado and dressing.  Serve immediately or refrigerate to eat later on in the week.  Bring back up to room temperature before serving.  Serves 6.

*Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and gorgeously green in color.

This dressing is phenomenal served on just about anything!  Brian and I also love to make a huge Mexican salad tossed with this dressing.  If you would like it sweeter, you can add a tablespoon or two more honey to the blender.


Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, low sugar, main dish, salad, vegetarian

Sloppy Toms

When I think of Sloppy Toms (the ground turkey version of a sloppy Joe) I can’t help thinking of the Adam Sandler song Lunch Lady Land!

I love Sloppy Joes and Sloppy Toms and wanted to create a recipe that reflected my eating habits.  That means using organic ketchup and not putting the meat on bread.  Unlike others, I don’t have fond memories of eating Sloppy Joes all that often as a child.  We didn’t EVER have canned Sloppy Joe meat like Manwich or anything like that (Thank you mom! And if my memory is not serving me correctly, please don’t tell me the truth!)

Since I choose not to eat gluten filled bread at the moment, Brian and I ate this deliciously sloppy meat over a mixture of sweet potatoes and cauliflower (note the orangey color of the mixture-kind of fun!).  It all worked well together-but feel free to serve this meat over buns of your choosing!

Sloppy Toms


20 oz. lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup canned tomato sauce
3 oz. tomato paste
½ c. organic ketchup (NO HFCS in this house!)
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste


Spray a large nonstick sauté pan with cooking spray.  Cook ground turkey, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked through. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, red wine vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, paprika, salt and pepper, mix well. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until mixture has reached desired thickness.

Serve over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, mashed sweet potatoes, (or a combination of the previously mentioned), or hamburger buns.  Enjoy!

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Filed under egg free, gluten free, main dish, nut free, toddler approved

Almond Cheesecake with Nutella Topping

You have all been very patient waiting for my next post!  This is the recipe made with the jar of Nutella sitting on the counter in my Deviled Egg post.  HUGE DISCLAIMER: this recipe is full of sugar and for me is a once in a blue moon type of baking project. The original recipe for this cheesecake came from Giada De Laurentiis over at the Food Network.  She calls her cheesecake: Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust.  Since I have been working my butt off trying to be gluten free and all, and I REALLY wanted to make this for New Year’s Eve, I decided to take this recipe and change it up a bit.  I only had to make a few changes to make it gluten free and then I made a few more changes to reflect my mood.

This cheesecake makes quite a bit and it is VERY rich.  So, when you are done enjoying it, I suggest cutting it into slivers and wrapping and freezing them individually.  When you want to eat a slice, just take it out and enjoy it frozen (Brian loves it this way) or let it defrost for a bit.  And there you have it! Enjoy!

Almond Cheesecake with Nutella Topping

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup almond flour (I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lb.)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon butter melted
1/2 Tablespoon water

To make crust:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Tightly wrap the outside of a 9 or 9 1/2-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the almonds, almond flour, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and water and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not on the sides of the pan). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon almond extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

To make filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in almond extract. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.


1/2 cup Nutella*
1/4 cup whipping cream

To make topping:

Combine the Nutella and cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.

When cake is completely cold and firm, remove sides of springform pan and spread the topping over the entire cake.  Refrigerate a few more minutes until topping cools.  Then cut and serve. Delicious!

* Taken directly from Nutella’s website (because I was curious):

Is Nutella® gluten free?

Nutella® does not contain any ingredients derived from gluten containing cereals: wheat, barley, rye, oats or triticale.


Filed under dessert, vegetarian

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

New Years is a wonderful time for reflection and renewal.  In pagan springtime celebrations, the egg was used as a symbol of rebirth.  I love using this notion of rebirth around this time of year and I also love eggs and Brian loves smoked salmon.  Put it all together and you get a delicious smoked salmon deviled egg appetizer for New Year’s Eve or any other occasion!

These deviled eggs are naturally gluten-free and diabetic friendly.  I only made a small batch of these because we went to a small New Year’s Eve party.  Feel free to double the recipe if you need a bigger batch!

Oh, what’s that you’re saying?  You want to know why there is a jar of Nutella behind the cutting board used in the photo…well-you will have to wait for my next post to find out!

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

8 hardboiled eggs*
3 Tablespoons sour cream
3 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Slice each egg in half lengthwise.  Place all the yolks in a medium size bowl and mash with a fork.  Add sour cream, smoked salmon, scallion, salt and pepper.  Continue mashing with a fork until well incorporated.  Choose your best looking egg whites.  Now, you have a few choices, you can: spoon the mixture into the whites; use a piping bag with a big tip and squeeze the mixture into the whites OR; use a ziplock bag with the tip cut off and squeeze the mixture into the whites.  Any of the three methods will work just fine and in the end, the eggs will all taste the same regardless of how you put them together.

To serve: I like to place red or green lentils on a nice plate or platter and place the eggs on the lentils. The lentils hold the eggs in place and make for a pretty presentation.  (Note: this is an older picture of regular old deviled eggs I made a few months ago.  That is why they look slightly different.) You can sprinkle the tops with capers or leave them as they are.


*Different people have different beliefs about how long a hardboiled egg should be cooked.  I personally prefer my hardboiled eggs to not get overdone, so I am in the “cook the eggs for less time” camp.  Other people, like my mom, like their eggs cooks for a few minutes longer.  Here is the general method I use (cook for as long as you see fit):

12 minute eggs

Place eggs in a medium sized pot.  Just barely cover eggs with water.  Cover pot and bring water to a boil.  AS SOON AS THE WATER BOILS turn OFF the heat and set a timer for 12 minutes.  (My mom prefers 15 minutes).  Drain the eggs and run cold water over them until they are easy to handle.  Peel the eggs while they are still slightly warm.


As a side note: older eggs are actually easier to peel when hard boiled because the inside membrane has started to weaken.


Filed under appetizer, breakfast, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, side dish, snack, vegetarian