Cookbook Giveaway #4: Go Dairy Free and a Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookie Recipe

Posted by on November 19, 2009 | 179 Comments

go dairy free giveaway

What would a “favorite cookbooks” giveaway be without my own book! Yes, I do reference my own recipe collection often, and have so much fun coming up with new variations, as you will see in today’s recipe of the day. Plus, I couldn’t believe that until today, I hadn’t even given away a copy of Go Dairy Free on my own blog. The shame of it.

To sweeten the deal even more, I am giving away one paperback copy of Go Dairy Free and one e-book copy of Go Dairy Free (which is identical in content), and the e-book is available internationally. So no matter where you are in the world, you are eligible to win this giveaway!

Now, I will do my best to be unbiased in this mini-review …

The full name is Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living … yes, a mouthful. You can see why I didn’t have room to put, “and it’s Vegan-friendly too!” The first half of the book is an extensive guide with various resources from explaining (in detail) what milk is to ingredient lists to dairy substitutes.

The second half of Go Dairy Free is all cookbook, with over 200 dairy-free (and tested egg-free) recipes. In the back you will find a full food allergy index noting which recipes are also gluten-free, nut-free, and/or soy-free. Since it is the holiday season, I will note some of the holiday-friendly recipes you will find within:

  • Tender Squash Dinner Rolls
  • Condensed “Cream” of Mushroom Soup (trust me, it is the best dairy-free version yet!)
  • Cheese-Free Scalloped Potatoes
  • Almost Traditional Green Bean Casserole
  • Traditional Mashed Potatoes and Whipped Mashed Potatoes
  •  Cashew Gravy

Oh yes, and of course there are more than a few desserts to choose from too. Here is just a sampling …

Pumpkin Cheesecake

vegan pumpkin cheesecake

Coco-Nog (soy-free too!)

Coco-Nog

Vanilla Ice Cream

dairy-free vanilla ice cream

Ready to Win? (Giveaway open internationally)

  • To enter to win a copy of Go Dairy Free (paperback or the eBook version), leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win Go Dairy Free. Is it for you? Is it a gift?
  • To receive a bonus entry, spread the word about this giveaway … tweet it, share it with your friends on facebook, mention it on your blog, or email some colleagues … whatever works for you. Just make sure you come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you did.
  • To receive a third entry, become a fan of Go Dairy Free on Facebook and leave another comment letting me know you did (If you are already a fan, leave a comment letting me know that you are for the third entry).

Entries will close at midnight TODAY, so get your entry in now! All of this week’s cookbook winners will be announced at the end of the week.

Since I know many of you already have a copy of Go Dairy Free, I thought it would be fun to give you all something new. I made some changes to the Maple-Spice Pumpkin Cookie recipe in Go Dairy Free

pumpkin cookies

… to come up with these scrumptious Cinnamon Sweet Potato Cookies

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies - Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan

Beyond swapping the pumpkin for sweet potato, I went solely with cinnamon for the spice, opted to use oil for the fat (to show you its versatility in cookies!) and tried to add a wee bit of fiber by using whole wheat pastry flour. I have yet to experiment with the gluten-free flours or blends in this recipe, but plan to soon. Enjoy!

 

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies

This recipe is adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.

These deliciously soft cookies are perfect for sharing this holiday season. See the options at the end the recipe for jazzing them up even more.

If you use coconut oil (as I did), just make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. I have a bad habit of adding chilled maple syrup, which causes the coconut oil to solidify. Also, if you like a soft cookie, store any leftovers in a ziploc bag once cool. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, and optionally Nut-Free.

  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or All-Purpose (Plain) Flour (Can sub your flour blend of choice though I haven’t tested GF flours in this cookie as of yet)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, or other Neutral-Tasting Oil
  • 1 Cup Sweet Potato Puree (can sub pumpkin puree)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, sweet potato, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet mixture. The dough will be rather sticky. For best results and better manageability, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. If using coconut oil, it will firm up particularly well.

Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto baking sheets (ungreased non-stick or lined with non-stick silpats or parchment paper).

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they no longer look wet, and are just beginning to brown around the edges, or to your desired doneness. (I like them a little softer on the insides, so I bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size).

Options:

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping: If desired, combine 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar (white sugar, palm sugar, etc.) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small dish, and sprinkle the mixture atop each ball of dough before baking.

Pecan Topper: I like the festive touch of pressing one nice half pecan into the top of each ball of dough before baking. The pecans toast up nicely.

Flavorful Add-ins: If you like, you can add dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts to your cookies. Stir about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your desired add-ins into the dough after you stir in the dry ingredients.

Yields 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make ‘em

Cinn-ful Sweet Potato Cookies - Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe to the Holiday Food Fest – Gifts of Good Taste. I haven’t had the chance to wrap them yet, they are still fresh out of the oven. But I like to tie them in cellophane wrap with ribbon around the top for a simple, yet attractive hostess gift.

Cookbook Giveaway #3: Sweet Freedom and No Waste: Orange-Oat Muffin Recipe

Posted by on November 18, 2009 | 166 Comments

sweet freedom giveaway

Ricki Heller is simply one of my favorite people in the blogosphere. Her writing style is entertaining and humorous, she has such a friendly and helpful demeanor, and how can we forget about the recipes? As a nutritionist, she always has health in mind, but as a lover of food, it has to taste good. Thus, I can always count on Ricki for recipes that I want to make and that I should make.

Since I had enjoyed several of Ricki’s wholesome recipes before the release of her new cookbook, Sweet Freedom, there was no doubt that I was going to love it. It was just a matter of what to make first!

Since I already had a penchant for the Carob and Date Pancakes in Sweet Freedom (they were the inspiration for the Pillowy Whole-Grain Pancakes in my book, Go Dairy Free), I went with familiarity, and made the Fluffy-Fruited Spelt Pancakes.  So, so marvelous – Ricki seriously knows her way around whole-grain pancakes …

sweetfeedomfluffyfruitedpancakes

Though there are three more pancake recipes in Sweet Freedom that I have yet to trial, I had to jump to the muffin section. I had my eye on the Orange Oat Muffins. This was the first recipe I had ever made where you use the entire orange, peel and all, and it was so wonderfully simple. I also loved that these hearty little babies used a combo of dates, maple syrup, and molasses for a deep and rich sweetness.

orange-oat muffins from sweet freedom

I have had a lot of cookbooks to trial as of late, but I just couldn’t keep away from the Banana-Oat Bar recipe before doing this post. Upon seeing the title of another recipe in Sweet Freedom for Sweet Potato and Cranberry Muffins, I knew I had to combine the two for this holiday season to create these yummy Sweet Potato and Cranberry Oat Bars. I simply subbed 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (you could of course use pumpkin puree) for the bananas and added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. As you can tell by the broken off piece (before it had cooled of course) with the sloppy, melting frosting, I didn’t care very much about taking pictures, I was hungry!

sweet freedom oat bars

Keep in mind, all of the dessert and snack recipes in Sweet Freedom are free from refined sugars, and they are vegan (dairy-free and egg-free) and wheat-free. They are also whole grain and wonderfully all-natural. However, while there are many wonderful gluten-free recipes within, some of the recipes do utilize spelt flour or barley flour. I loved how many soy-free recipes there were too, since Ricki doesn’t rely on margarine in her recipes, bonus!

Also, as you can see, I’ve barely made it past the first chapter. There are cakes, cookies, candies, pies, puddings and more in this fabulous “tackle that sweets craving with nutrition” cookbook. So now that I have captured your appetites, here is your opportunity to enter to win a copy of your very own (Open to the U.S. AND Canada!).

  • To enter to win this fabulous cookbook, leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win Sweet Freedom.
  • To receive a bonus entry, spread the word about this giveaway … tweet it, share it with your friends on facebook, mention it on your blog, or email some colleagues … whatever works for you. Just make sure you come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Entries will close at midnight TODAY, so get your entry in now! All of this week’s cookbook winners will be announced at the end of the week.

Note: The comments will remain open, since there  is a review and recipe on this giveaway post, but only comments made by midnight will be eligible to win!

Now back to those Marvelous Muffins …

 

No Waste: Orange-Oat Muffins

This recipe is from Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller.

“Unlike many low-fat muffins, these taste great: they are moist and flavorful, with an intense orange presence. There’s also substantial fiber from the fruits and whole spelt. Using a food processor means these are incredibly easy to prepare!” – or blender in my case as you shall see. And yes, Ricki includes metric measurements for all of the recipes in Sweet Freedom, just like this one. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and Free from Regined Sugars.

  • 1 Whole Medium Organic Seedless Orange, washed, whole and with skin [This is one time when you want to spring on that organic orange, since you will be using the peel too]
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Finely Ground Flax Seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Water
  • 1/2 Cup (60 g) Chopped Dried Pitted Dates (they should be soft)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Sunflower or Other Light-Tasting Oil [I used grapeseed]
  • 1/4 Cup (60 ml) Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup (120 ml) Plain or Vanilla Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 Cup (140 g) Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon (5 ml) Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon (1 ml) Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup (100 g) Old-Fashioned, Whole Rolled Oats (not instant)

Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners for small muffins or 9 liners for large muffins, or spray with nonstick coating.

In the bowl of a food processor, process the orange segments until almost smooth.  Add the flax seeds, water, dates. oil, maple syrup, molasses, and milk alternative and process almost to a smooth puree (you can leave a few small flecks of date and/or orange, but none should be larger than sunflower seeds). Set aside for a few minutes to rest, while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Alisa’s Note: No Food Processor? I don’t have one either. I simply added the orange sections through the milk alternative to my little old blender, and let ‘er rip until it was well blended, with a few tiny date and orange bits left for interest.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Add the oats and stir to mix.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture in the bowl and stir just until combined (it’s okay if a few dry spots remain, you just don’t want to overmix!). Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups or tins – they will be quite full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan about half-way through [I skipped the rotation], until a tester inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.  These taste even better the next day, as flavors meld [I can vouch for that!].  These muffins freeze beautifully [I can't vouch for this, since we devoured them all while fresh].

Yields 9 to 12 scrumptious muffins

orange-oat muffins from sweet freedom

Cookbook Giveaway #2: The Garden of Eating and Honey-Mustard Chicken with Ginger Recipe

Posted by on November 17, 2009 | 92 Comments

gardenofeatinggiveaway

Even the full review I have written about The Garden of Eating (on Go Dairy Free) doesn’t do justice to this over-sized, 581-page resource that I refer to as a bible for healthy eating.  I first learned about the author, Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz (aka The Healthy Cooking Coach), when she came out with The Ice Dream Cookbook. It wasn’t until almost a year later that I discovered The Garden of Eating, which was actually her first book. Though this book would have been immensely helpful for me several years ago, I can honestly say, better late than never.

The first half of The Garden of Eating is dense with information. The chapter topics smoothly flow from health and nutrition (with titles like “Friendly Foods,” “A Short Fat Primer,” and “Returning to the Garden of Eating – General Principles) into kitchen help and menus. The principles Chef Rachel shares focus on what she calls a produce-dominated diet. I like to call it a Paleo-friendly diet or a whole foods diet to the extreme. 

Of course, beyond the useful information, there are the delicious recipes. I simply love the recipe layout of this book, which is organized by key ingredient …

With some serious broccoli cravings beckoning (yes, I crave broccoli), I flipped right to the clump of broccoli recipes in Chapter 18 (Cooked Leafy Greens , Flowering Vegetables & Shoots). The Simmered Broccoli in Herbs caught my eye as a fantastic one pan dish. The result was so light and flavorful that I devoured the entire dish myself. And how could I not love how easy this dish was to make?!

simmeredbroccoli430

Then there were the boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I stocked up on for a great price. I flopped The Garden of Eating open, and thumbed my way through the chicken recipes in Ch. 16 (Birds of a Feather). Within minutes I had picked out a recipe that I had all of the ingredients on hand for.

My husband generally dislikes honey mustard, and he loathes ginger, but since I am a fan of both, I went out on a limb and made the Honey Mustard Chicken with Ginger. The gamble paid off, it was a tasty success. As a side note, I loved how flavorful this dish was without any added salt, and the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet in the least bit. For dinner, we enjoyed the chicken breasts with a side of broccoli (of course).

honeymustardchicken4303

And then again for lunch, we enjoyed the chicken sliced atop a basic avocado and bell pepper salad, topped with a light and simple (homemade) honey mustard vinaigrette.

honeymustardchicken430

Then, I wanted a variation on the peanut butter protein spread I typically make for our snacks, and wouldn’t you know it … there it was, the Protein-Nut Spread recipe in Ch. 24 (Sweet Protein-Packed Snacks & Mini-Meals). This recipe was wonderful for reducing the fat in the nut spread I was using, allowing me to enjoy a thicker spread. It didn’t thicken up quite enough after refrigeration, so it was still a bit gooey, something I can easily solve by reducing the water a bit next time, but it was tasty.

nutproteinspread430

Every time I was left wondering what to eat, I just had to pick out an ingredient in our refrigerator and plop open The Garden of Eating; a true gem. It would be easy for me to simply say, this is a great book for dairy-free and gluten-free dieters, but that would cut out too many other people whom this book and cookbook could help. If health and nutrition is of importance to you and your family, then The Garden of Eating should be on your wish list. This is one book that will remain in my collection until it is so tattered with dog-eared pages and splattered with ingredients, that I have to get a new copy.

Speaking of new copies, who would like to win one?

  • To enter to win this fabulous cookbook, leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win The Garden of Eating.
  • To receive a bonus entry, spread the word about this giveaway … tweet it, share it with your friends on facebook, mention it on your blog, or email some colleagues … whatever works for you. Just make sure you come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Entries will close at midnight TODAY, so get your entry in now! All of this week’s cookbook winners will be announced at the end of the week.

Now, about that recipe I mentioned …

 

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Ginger

Recipe adapted from The Garden of Eating by Chef Rachel Albert-Matesz.

In the cookbook, it states to cut the chicken into 2-inch wedges. I completely missed this part and broiled them whole – luckily it worked out beautifully. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Free of Refined Sugars.

Prep: 20 minutes ~ Cooking: 8 to 10 minutes ~ Yield: 6 servings

Chicken:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Honey-Mustard Marinade:

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Creamy White, Yellow, or Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Finely Grated or Minced Fresh Gingerroot
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Red or Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt or 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce (optional) [I omitted and it was still delicious!]

Add chicken to a glass or Pyrex dish. Mix marinade, pour over chicken, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, all day, or overnight.

Cook chicken pieces on grill, under broiler, or in lightly oiled, heavybottomed skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes per side, or until firm, meat is beige throughout, and juices run clear when a test piece is cut in half. I opted for broiling.

To broil, preheat your broiler (about 8 to 10 minutes), and move the oven rack so that the meat will be about 5 to 6 inches away from the element. Spread the meat out in a broiler pan or over a wire rack in a roasting pan, to allow the juices to drip while cooking. Give it a good basting of that thick marinade, and broil for 3 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken begins to brown. Flip the chicken and marinade it again (see the next step for heating up that marinade). Return it to the oven and broil until the chicken begins to brown and the meat is cooked through, roughly another 3 to 7 minutes.

To bake, preheat your oven to 400˚ F. Transfer the chicken and marinade to an oblong 14x9x2 or 18x9x2-inch heatproof Pryex baking pan if it has not been marinating in one.  Bake until chicken pieces reach an internal temperature of 160˚F or the juices run clear and chicken is the same color throughout when cut in half.

Add a dash of water to any leftover marinade, bring to boil, and simmer 4 minutes. Baste chicken with mixture as it cooks. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 3 days. (They’re delicious cold)

Variations

  • In step 1, add 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, tarragon, dill, or basil.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken with Chipotlé: Replace ginger with 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotlé. Omit black pepper and garnish final dish with minced cilantro before serving.
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken Salad: Serve chicken over heaping individual plates of raw spinach, arugula, or spring greens, minced scallions, parsley, red radishes, celery, fresh or sun-dried tomato slices, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Nutrition analysis provided by The Garden of Eating: 1 serving ~ 230 calories, 30 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 15 mg calcium, 128 mg sodium

honeymustardchicken4302

MORE Fantastic Blog Giveaways:

Love cookbooks? My friend Sarah over at No Whey, Mama is giving away a copy of My Sweet Vegan this week! Delicious holiday desserts anyone? Head over to the giveaway post to enter!

How about chocolate? Chocolate-Covered Katie has an extreme chocolate giveaway going on. And don’t forget about Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness!

Sex, Drugs, and Mood Swings? Did I get your attention? Meghan at Making Love in the Kitchen has some great information and a unique non-food giveaway going on.

Food Allergies Got you Down? Perk up with these four fantastic giveaways from AllergySense. You can win baked goodies from Two Moms Bakery, oodles of coupons for Silk Heart Health Soymilk, and more!

Cookbook Giveaway #1: The Almond Flour Cookbook and Chewy Chocolate Cookie Sandwich Recipe

Posted by on November 16, 2009 | 128 Comments

almond flour cookbook giveaway

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook has been feeding my latest curiosity, grain-free cooking and baking. The day I received this book I was so excited by the potential of all of the recipes … no special binders required, short ingredient lists, seriously whole foods oriented.

There was just one little snag … the author, Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry is adamant that you must use blanched almond flour to get desired results. And I was really hesitant to load up on 5 lbs of almond flour via the internet without knowing if we were even going to like almond flour baked goodies. So I cheated. Yes Elana, I ground my own unblanched “raw” almonds and sifted to get the best of it. But, I am not here to complain in the slightest. The results were awesome … so awesome in fact that I placed that order for the unblanched almond flour, and can’t wait to see how it elevates these baked treats even more. Trust me, you won’t miss the wheat, or the xanthan gum, or any other alternatives for that matter … these recipes are marvelous!

FYI, I ordered a 5 lb bag from Honeyville (the brand Elana recommends most), and I had a coupon code from the company’s newsletter. Use the coupon code: VETERANS from now through November 17th, and get 15% off your order. And whatever you do, order direct. Do not order this product from Amazon, as they mark it up another $10! With the coupon code, the price is pretty respectable from Honeyville.

You can read my full review of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook on Go Dairy Free. For today, I will just give you a taste of the items I have made so far, and a sample recipe to entice you!

I started with the Peach Blueberry Crumble recipe first, but made it into an Apple Raisin Crumble (I subbed 5 medium apples, diced and ½ cup of raisins for the fruit, and also sprinkled ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on the fruit). Perfect for a snowy morning …

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Almond Apple Crumble

What I liked about this recipe was that not only was it grain-free, but it was completely unsweetened. I had been trying to figure out how to make apple crisp breakfast-friendly, and it had never occurred to me to simply omit the sweetener and let the crumble and fruit shine on their own! However, because I was out of vanilla (I know, heaven forbid!), and the recipe called for a whole tablespoon, I subbed in maple syrup. So mine wasn’t totally unsweetened, but 1 tablespoon of maple syrup for an entire pan of apple crumble is pretty low on the sugar spectrum. There is a sweetened fruit crisp recipe in the book too, but I liked this one for a nice change of pace. The only thing I would change next time is to reduce the salt just a smidge.

Next up was the Chewy Chocolate Cookies. They were delicious! They were beautifully chewy cookies that were slightly sweet and gently chocolaty. Using a suggestion from the recipe, I decided to make the cookies smaller, and turn them into sandwich cookies with a layer of vanilla frosting between them. Absolute perfection! Once again, the instructions (aside from not mentioning that you need to pack the almond flour – pack your almond flour! This isn’t fluffy all-purpose stuff.) and the cooking times/temps were spot on.

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Okay, are you ready for a recipe or do you want to jump right ahead to the giveaway? Let’s start with the giveaway, shall we?

  • To enter to win this fabulous cookbook, leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.
  • To receive a bonus entry, spread the word about this giveaway … tweet it, share it with your friends on facebook, mention it on your blog, or email some colleagues … whatever works for you. Just make sure you come back here and leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Entries will close at midnight TODAY, so get your entry in now! All of this week’s cookbook winners will be announced at the end of the week.

Update: Feel free to comment on this post and the recipe, but official entries for The Almond Flour Cookbook giveaway closed on Monday, November 16 at midnight, the winner will be announced on Saturday, November 21. Head back to the main page on One Frugal Foodie for current giveaways and posts.

Recipe time!

 

Chewy Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Recipe adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

Since I used homemade almond flour, and didn’t want to spend all day grinding and sifting, I reduced the batch size of the recipe, and adjusted some of the ingredients accordingly. Also, I didn’t have any agave nectar on hand (we aren’t big fans), but found that honey and maple syrup do sub nicely.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, Free from Refined Sugars, and far easier than it looks – boy I do ramble on, don’t I?

  •  3/4 Cup Almond Flour, packed*
  • 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar, Honey, or Maple Syrup – or combination (I used 2 tablespoons honey + 1 tablespoon maple syrup)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Frosting (optional) (I was sampling the frosting from Sean’s Food, but you can use the Marshmallow Frosting Recipe in the Almond Flour Cookbook, Elana’s Coconut Cream Frosting, the Vanilla Frosting in Go Dairy Free, this Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting, or whatever creamy filling you choose)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweetener(s), oil, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in your medium bowl, until well combined.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon onto your prepared baking sheet. I found the dough to be just a touch sticky but fairly pliable, allowing me to loosely roll them into balls.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Do not overcook them. The tops of the cookies will start to look a little dry and crack a bit when done, but not as much as chocolate cookies that contain eggs. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet or a wire rack for 30 minutes.

If making sandwich cookies, spread frosting (however much you want!) on the bottom of one cookie and top it with the bottom of another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Take a bite, smoosh and enjoy.

*Elana recommends blanched almond flour, which I am sure is superior. If you are like me and just have some raw almonds on hand and want to trial this recipe out, pulse them in your spice grinder until a mealy/floury consistency is reached. This happens very fast, do not overgrind lest you end up with almond butter. Using a mesh sieve, sift the almond flour to extract the finest bits to use for your flour. Repeat until you have the amount you need. Don’t fear waste either; you can turn any rejects into almond butter!

Yields a dozen soft and chewy cookies or six smooshable sandwich cookies

Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Cooking Light Makeover: The Good, The Bad, and The Peanut Butter

Posted by on September 30, 2009 | 11 Comments

A few weeks ago I received an email from a Cooking Light rep about checking out their September issue, which was the first month to sport their “new look.” As you may have read prior, I broke down earlier this year and indulged in a subscription (read my note at the end before you think about doing it yourself!), so she didn’t need to send me a copy, mine was already on its way.

My take on the “new Cooking Light?” Well, I have been reading Cooking Light since some time in the mid-90’s, so I had grown very familiar with their format, and I can say they have shaken things up a bit. Here are a couple sample pages to offer the color scheme and department-thing they are going for:

cookinglightsept

The Bad:

The “look” is really 1980’s if you ask my husband and I. They have gone out with the solid-colored backgrounds, and brought in white pages with red writing and what looks to be bigger fonts (possibly good, but does this mean less content?). It does make the food photos pop more, but gives the mag a cheaper look in my opinion. Also, the pages seem “busier,” which bugs my eyes a bit. Of course, these factors don’t affect the content, so I am sure I will get used to it!

The only content complaint I have is the new flow of the magazine. I actually really, really liked how the first half of the magazine focused on health living stories and tidbits, while the second half focused on the actual recipes and cooking. I always enjoyed reading the substance first and then feeling rewarded for my attention with the abundant food photography and recipes after. Plus, it made it easy for me to go back and find a story even if I couldn’t remember the name. The new format jumbles everything altogether, a story here, a recipe there. It will take me a little time to get used to the new flow I think.

The Good:

At least one photo with every recipe. Need I say more? Well, you really can’t shut me up so … I am not sure if this means less recipes overall, but thus far, I haven’t felt slighted. I wasn’t someone who was yearning for all of those photos, but who am I to complain about additional eye candy?

They seem to be keeping up with the times. There has been a huge shift in the magazine’s focus (at least from what I noticed) to fast and frugal. Words like “easy” abound, with a feel for more simple home cooking and money-saving tips.

They have added several more “departments,” which I find quite fun. The magazine seems much more compartmentalized, with more consistent base topics each month allowing you to look forward to your favorite sections each month. Just a few include the The Superfast 20-minute dishes, Dinner Tonight 7 easy menus, 10  Things to Know About, Stress Free, Ask Our Dietician, and my current favorite … New Uses for Everyday Ingredients … which brings us to …

The Peanut Butter:

The “New Uses for Everyday Ingredients” section offers up a few fun suggestions for using three everday ingredients that you may not have thought of. The September issue highlighted ground red pepper (cayenne), fresh rosemary, and good ol’ PB. As you may have noticed, I am on a PB kick lately, so I was most excited about some of their suggestions:

  1. Substitute 3 tablespoons of creamy or chunky peanut butter for 1 egg as a binder for meatballs with an Asian flavor profile. ~ you can bet I will be trialing this idea!
  2.  Use 1 to 2 tablespoons natural or chunky peanut butter to add body to a brothy soup. ~ I actually love this technique in African Peanut Soup, but could see some more potential.
  3. Stir 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter into a broth-based pan sauce for pork or chicken in place of the dairy butter to finish the sauce and add richness. ~ The husband isn’t a fan of PB with meat, but I have used other nut butters this way (cashew, brazil nut, and pine nut) and it is awesome!

Now there is one more great use for PB or other nut butter that I just discovered, which they didn’t list here:

Alisa’s #4: Stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of nut butter into a tomato rich soup or sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes a bit and mellow the flavor. I did this just this week with a tomato basil soup, and it really did cut the acidity and added to the overal flavor/texture. Now, if I can find my dang notes, I will post the recipe!

Do you have any other ideas for using PB or nut butters? Have you seen the new Cooking Light look? If so, what do you think?

Two final notes:

There is a feature in the October 2009 issue of Cooking Light (on newsstands now) called “How to Build a Better Noodle Bowl.” Oh my goodness, if you love all types of noodle dishes (from Japan, China, Malaysia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and Thailand) then you must check this article out! I am hoping to trial every single one of the noodle bowl recipes.

Since discovering that the recipe indexes and all of the recipes for the issues are now posted online, I won’t be wasting the paper on print issues in the future. I had no idea! So to help save some trees, I suggest you check out the Cooking Light Current Issue page online, before deciding that you need the full thing in print. A handy new feature for us E-recipe junkies.

Giveaway: Vegan Brunch AND Vegan Soul Kitchen

Posted by on September 8, 2009 | 284 Comments

Entries are closed. The winner will be announced in the next post!

It is a vegan themed giveaway today on my humble blog, though you need not be vegan to enjoy these dairy-free, egg-free, animal-free gems!

vegancookbookgiveaway2

I reviewed Vegan Soul Kitchen personally, and I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read my full review on Go Dairy Free, but really, I am still making my way through this highly creative book of easy recipes (yes I said creative and easy!). Bryant Terry put so much energy and thought into Vegan Soul Kitchen; it really is amazing.

I have just cracked open Vegan Brunch , so I will defer you to my good friend Sarena’s review of the latest cookbook by the famed Isa Moskowitz. Sarena has seriously put Vegan Brunch to the test, so you can take her word for it that it is good!

mangolassi430

Mango Lassi from Vegan Brunch

powerporridge430

Power Porridge from Vegan Soul Kitchen

Vegan Brunch Peach Sauce

Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles with Brown Sugar Peach Coulis from Vegan Brunch

 

One lucky winner will walk away with a brand new copy of BOTH of these cookbooks!

To Enter:

  • First Entry – Leave a comment and tell me your favorite breakfast or brunch dish!
  • Second Entry – Spread the word about this giveaway. Shout it out on twitter, send it to your buddies on Facebook, post about it on your blog, etc. Leave a second comment here letting me know where you passed on the word.

The winner will be chosen on Monday, September 14th, 2009, so hurry up and enter!

 

To get alerts of my giveaways and recipes in the future, you can follow me on Twitter, become a fan of Go Dairy Free on Facebook (includes my RSS), or simply grab the One Frugal Foodie RSS Feed.

 

Filed Under: Cookbook Trials, Giveaways

From Tender Squash Rolls to Perfect Potato Bread

Posted by on May 17, 2009 | 9 Comments

Sarena of the Non-Dairy Queen is one of my favorite dairy-free divas. So I was completely honored when she used one of my recipes to create her family’s favorite new everyday bread. My original recipe is called Tender Squash Dinner Rolls, and it can be found in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. I love serving these buttery soft and lightly sweet rolls (just like they are from the bakery!) at family get togethers; they literally disappear …

Tender Squash Dinner Rolls from Go Dairy Free

For more of a savory product, Sarena replaced the squash with potato, and reduced the fat and sweetener a bit to create this delicious dairy-free and vegan Potato Roll Recipe that her family enjoyed with veggie burgers …

sarena's potato rolls

Unable to stop there, she tweaked it just a bit more, and made a Potato Bread Recipe that was equally successful. I will definitely be trialing these recipes out, and I hope that you get the chance to enjoy them too. Thanks Sarena!

Sugar-Free, Guilt-Free Banana Bread

Posted by on January 10, 2009 | 16 Comments

The Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread recipe is now viewable in a new post for you to trial!

With a couple of over-ripe bananas beckoning from the counter, I knew it was time to take some baking action.  Luckily, blogging buddy Ricki reminded me of the “Breakfast-Worthy Banana Bread” in Go Dairy Free. Though I was a banana shy of a full loaf, the recipe could easily be halved to make 2 mini loaves! (The original recipe will make 4 mini loaves or 1 9×5-inch loaf) 

About a year ago, I found myself a bit lost when faced with yet another mound of darkening bananas. With piles of cookies and sugary treats lingering in our house, a sweet banana loaf was the last thing we needed.  But then, I began to wonder what a quick bread would turn out like with no sugar at all.  After all, aren’t overripe bananas sweet enough on their own?  As it turns out, the bananas add just a hint of sweetness to the bread making it perfect to enjoy with jam in the morning, or any time of day really … and best of all, it is virtually guilt-free … no added sugars AND made with whole grain flour (the one pictured below is 100% spelt)!

Of course, you can add a pinch of stevia or some sugar if you please, but I recommend just a tablespoon or two, and certainly no more than 1/4 cup for the whole recipe.  It isn’t intended to be a dessert, but rather a nutricious quick bread that you can enjoy anytime of day, topped with jam, honey, or your favorite spread.

So, for those of you who have my book, the mini loaves seem to take 22-24 minutes at 350º to bake to perfection. I was out of vanilla extract (I know, and I call myself a baker!), so I subbed in almond extract (about 3/4 teaspoon), topped each little loaf with a generous tablespoon of sliced almonds, and slathered my first slice with … I am a bit predictable aren’t I? … almond butter!

Mini Sugar-Free, Spelt Banana Bread Loaf

Whether you use my recipe, or prefer to tinker with your own banana bread recipe, try cutting way back on the sugar for banana bread that isn’t made for gifting, but rather for a quick, tasty, and healthy breakfast or snack!

Gifts from the Kitchen: Gingerbread Granola

Posted by on December 22, 2008 | 6 Comments

The baking bug hit me this weekend, so I decided to prepare some treats to give to friends this holiday season.  I was a bit torn on what to make since I would be shipping some of the items, when the weekly email from Meatout Mondays arrived suggesting holiday granola.  Brilliance!  Unable to stop with one flavor, I baked three different kinds, and while those were in the oven, I whipped up some truffles too!  It was an all-day venture for the amounts produced, but relaxing and fun. Now, onto the granola and a recipe …

Granola Flavor #1: I made my tried and true Home Baked Granola from Go Dairy Free, my cookbook/guide; it is a maple, cinnamon, raisin type flavor.  I stayed faithful to my recipe but opted to go all walnuts for the nuts.

Granola Flavor #2: Some slight modifications to my original recipe produced a delightful Vanilla Cranberry Almond Granola.  For those of you who have Go Dairy Free, simply increase the oats in the Home Baked Granola by 1/2 cup (to 4 cups) and use 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds for all of the nuts.  Then, swap the maple syrup for honey (I did try agave nectar, but both my husband and I agreed it tasted a bit “off” in this recipe), increase the vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon, and substitute 1/2 t ground nutmeg for the cinnamon (or you can stick with the cinnamon if you like) and dried sweetened cranberries for the raisins.

Granola Flavor #3: My husband is not a ginger fan, so I have kept my desires for a ginger granola locked away in a vault. But, with the holidays upon us (and some ginger-loving friends), it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to break loose and finally create that Gingerbread Granola I had been dying to try out!  This really is an all new recipe, quite different from my traditional one, so I am very happy to share it here (recipe below).  Thus far, from us ginger lovers, it has received 2 thumbs up, and the smell is awesome when it is baking!

Gingerbread Granola

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Wheat-Free. You can make it Nut-Free by using your favorite seeds in place of the cashews and Gluten-Free by using those trusty Gluten-Free Oats, if they work for you.

4 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut (shredded or “chips”)
1 Cup (5 ounces) Raw Cashews, Coarsely Chopped
1/2 to 2/3 Cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice or Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Cup Molasses
1/3 Cup Grapeseed, Extra-Light Olive, or melted Coconut Oil (or your baking oil of choice)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Finely Minced Crystalized Ginger (optional) – I actually used the “uncrstalized” ginger from Trader Joe’s, which is still sweetened and gummy-like, but doesn’t have sugar crystals coating it; I liked the uncrystalized version best 

Preheat your oven to 250ºF (120ºC). In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, cashews, brown sugar, and the spices, stirring everything together until well distributed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, except for the crystalized/uncrystalized ginger. Stir this wet mixture into the oats and nuts, until everything is very well coated. Spread the mixture into one or two large, ungreased glass baking dishes (I use a 9 x 13-inch). Bake the granola for 60-75 minutes, checking in to give it a stir every 15 minutes. When done, transfer the granola to a large bowl and stir in the minced ginger, if using. Since the ginger will be a bit sticky, make sure you mix it up well to separate. Once cool, store it in an airtight container.

Nut-Free Option: Substitute the cashews with any combination of additional oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy nuts, and/or additional coconut.

My notes on baking time: I have tried turning up the heat to shorten the time, but without fail, it burns.  This slow bake process produces a better granola in my opinion, and you have much more control over the doneness.  If you use metal pans, I find that the granola browns much more quickly, so keep a sharp eye!

My notes on sugar: I use a very firmly packed 1/2 cup, but if you want a sweeter, more dessert-like granola, you can up it a bit.

As for the truffles, I made the Peanut Butter “Truffles” and the Bittersweet Truffles (vegan and soy-free too!), both recipes from Go Dairy Free. For the Bittersweet ones, I made a plain vanilla variety, some with chocolate coating and some with a dusting of both cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  But, I couldn’t resist making a “Hint O’ Mint” batch too.  I chocolate coated those and put candy cane bits on top to help identify them. If you want to try the mint version, I added 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of mint extract (I can’t remember which! But you can taste-test to your desired amount) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the whole batch.

Note the bags of granola in the background … it was easy to get carried away!

Frugal Foodie Notes & Tips:

I am a big believer in homemade gifts, as that is what I would prefer to receive.  It just means so much more when you know the work and love that wen into it.  Of course, it also saves a bundle …

Granola Cost: Approximately $2.00 per 30-ounce batch

The granola made 3 10-ounce bags to give as gifts (or consume at home!).  I purchase the oats in bulk ($.99/lb for organic, $.69/lb for regular – I stock up on either when on sale), the coconut in bulk (usually $2/lb or less) and I get the cashews in a 1 lb bag (raw) from Fresh & Easy for $5 (I believe they are also a good price at Trader Joe’s). I then use a coupon at the store for $4 off $20 or $6 off $30 (often available on the Fresh & Easy website) to bring the overall cost of my shopping trip down a bit more. I do buy organic brown sugar at Trader Joe’s, as I find the taste to be far superior, and it comes in a ziploc bag, which is a must for the dry conditions here that immediately turn brown sugar into a rock. I stocked up on Grapeseed oil at Fresh & Easy when they were blowing out large bottles of it for just $3!  I also buy the spices in bulk and the vanilla at Trader Joe’s. I calculated the cost of each batch previously and it comes out to about $2 for the full 30 ounces, and trust me, home baked granola tastes way better (and way more fresh) than store bought!

Truffle Cost: Approximately $4.00 for 4 dozen truffles

As for the truffles, Fresh & Easy had a great discount on their big 1lb plus dark chocolate bars for $1.99 per bar (it is OEM’ed from Scharffenberger).  I made the entire batch of truffles (4 dozen!) for about $4 … and they were awesome!  Beat that Godiva!

Thyme for Sweet Potatoes

Posted by on November 28, 2008 | 5 Comments

I prepared the Traditional Green Bean Casserole made with my home-made “Cream” of Mushroom Soup (both recipes are in Go Dairy Free).  This was an old-reliable type recipe, so I knew it would be yummy, and it was!

I was going to make my Tender Squash Dinner Rolls (also in Go Dairy Free), which are always a big hit.  They are those tender soft, pull-apart dinner rolls that taste bakery fresh.  However, when I discovered a package of Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix lingering in the cupboard, I thought to myself, “two from-scratch dishes is enough I will just make this for bread.”  I really should have gone the extra mile.  I usually like gluten-free breads, and cornbread isn’t a big stretch for gluten-free, so I thought these would pass with the rest of my family.  I am not sure if I did something wrong, but I really didn’t like it.  The bread had a slight bitter taste that I just couldn’t get away from (I used unsweetened almond milk, I would definitely use a sweetened version like Amy did), and they were a bit dry and crumbly.  The texture could have been my execution.  I had to bake them for 10 minutes longer than called for, as they just weren’t cooked through.  Regardless, for Christmas I will definitely take the time to make my squishy squash dinner rolls!

As for the third dish, I made some truly scrumptious roasted sweet potatoes. Until I was well into my 20’s, I thought I hated sweet potatoes.  My only experience with this orange-fleshed starch was via canned candied yams topped with marshmallows.  But when I discovered the natural sweetness of unadulterated sweet potatoes, I was hooked!  I made them savory style with thyme and garlic, which only proved to bring out even more of the yams’ natural sweetness.

Fast forward for a moment.

My husband and I ventured out for Black Friday today, but we traveled the less crowded path.  We hit up Whole Foods for some $.99 organic apples and their awesome 365 semi-sweet chocolate chips for just $1.50 per bag.  Last week we decided (when the weather turned south) that is was time to purchase a slow cooker.  Yes, we both work from home, love soups, and yet we have never owned a slow cooker.  My husband found a great deal that allowed us to get a 6 quart, Hamilton Beach, coincidentally matches our kitchen, slow cooker for just $5 ($19.99 at Kohl’s – $10 rebate (that my husband already sent in) – $5 coupon for signing up for their free e-newsletter)!  Those two stops and some laundry detergent were the extent of our big shop today, which I was thankful for, since I was starving.

Back to those sweet potatoes.

I returned home and dished up a big bowl of the leftover sweet potatoes.  I was lucky, there were three other crowd-sized potato dishes for our petite Thanksgiving party of 7 … this meant leftovers of everything!  And as it turned out, these sweet potatoes are incredibly awesome cold too.  I think these will be on repeat throughout the winter in my house:

Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Garlic

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs (approximately) Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme or 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (I quickly powder them in the spice grinder to keep from having pockets of spice; feel free to double the amount if you want them a bit on the spicy side)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks. I chop off and discard the ends, but do not peel them (after giving them a good rinse of course!).
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish, or similar size baking pan.
  4. Toss in the sweet potatoes, and sprinkle them with the thyme, salt, red pepper, and garlic.
  5. Drizzle the remaining oil over top, and stir the potatoes until they are well coated with the oil and spices.
  6. Bake the potatoes for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your desired tenderness.
  7. Be sure to check in every 15 minutes and give them a good stir to ensure they cook evenly.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Diet tags: Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten free, Milk free, Nut free, Peanut free, Soy free, Sugar free, Wheat free

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

 

Frugal Recipe Tips:

Sweet Potatoes – Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams do not require as many pesticides to produce, so purchasing conventional is usually a-okay, and will save your wallet some coin.

Oil - Keep an eye out on oil sales.  Don’t use expensive extra-virgin olive oil for roasting, especially since it tends to have a lower smoke point.  I seem to find grapeseed oil or extra-light (not extra-virgin) olive oil on clearance or sale with great regularity, though peanut oil or vegetable should also work fine.

Spices – I used to shy away from natural food stores as they seemed far too expensive, but I recently discovered that some carry bulk spices. This saves me a small fortune!

 

Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes, Cookbook Trials

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