Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin makes homemade baked goods even better tasting. A few days ago I made a batch of pumpkin muffins; they turned out nice.  I did the upgrade version: mini chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.  Really amazing flavors and great texture in the resulting muffins!

This recipe is my version using the banana muffin recipe from Annalise Roberts’s wonderful cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics as my jump off place.  They are easy to make, perfect in texture and totally yummy. I used coconut palm sugar; low on the hypoglycemic scale which is great for me.  I do love to sprinkle the raw muffins with chunky sugar before baking.  I sprinkled them this time with oatmeal but I do love to use coarse sugar too.

I freeze any I won’t eat in 2 days; in a Ziplock freezer bag.  They make perfect snacks. My grandson loves them as much as I do. Enjoy!

chocolate-chip-pumpkin-muffins-011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (14 muffins)

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar or coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp. ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 c packed canned pumpkin

½ cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 lg eggs beaten

½ c milk, 1 or 2 percent plus 2 extra tbsp. if you use the palm sugar

½ c canola oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 12-14 muffins depending on how large you want them.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl. Add nuts and then pumpkin puree, stirring into the dry ingredients. Combine milk and oil, beat in eggs.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir until fully blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  Bake 22-23 min until golden brown. Do not over bake or they get dry.  I baked these on the convection setting of my new range; done in 17 minutes. Rest for five minutes and then remove from the pans using a fork, cool on a rack. Freezes well for up to 3 weeks.

Brown Rice Flour Mix mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally published in 2016; minor updates to recipe as to using a convection oven.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry

This is another old school entrée. But old school often means very tasty and not too fancy (read complicated!) This is in that category. Lots of veggies, amazing flavor and super easy. I can’t think why I haven’t made it yet this winter.  So we had it the other day for supper. As easy and as tasty as ever. I simplified my Betty Crocker recipe just a bit. Feel free to add more or less veggies and vary them; just need that pineapple and some pepper for sure! Be sure that your soy sauce is GF: La Choy is my favorite brand.

Notes; use all the pineapple if you like lots of it. You can add raw bean sprouts instead of the celery or try sliced water chestnuts. Add them with the pea pods. If you hate any of these veggies sub in something else; I used some sliced zucchini in my most recent version; about a cup of it, added with the pepper chunks. I love lots of veggies.  You can add a bit more sugar and vinegar if you like your sweet and sour more pronounced. The chili sauce makes it a bit spicier.   Serves 4.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients:

¾ lb pork cubes

¼ cup rice flour mixed with 1.5 tsp. ground ginger
2-3 Tbsp. mild olive oil

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. reduced salt gf soy sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. brown or white sugar

2 tsp. chili sauce (optional)

1 tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 large onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced in large chunks

2 celery ribs cut thin on bias

1 cup zucchini rounds

2 garlic cloves minced

1-1.5 cups pea pods ( I cut the blossom ends off before cooking)

¾ can drained pineapple chunks canned in juice; save juice for sauce

2 Tbsp. cornstarch, mix with half the pineapple juice

Hot cooked rice; I prefer brown rice but what ever floats your boat!

DIRECTIONS:

Roll pork cubes around to coat with flour blend. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil to wok, Heat and add pork. Stir fry (chow) on high using a big spatula or spoon to toss: brown all sides. I have a wonderful tool with a rounded front edge which is perfect in a wok; can’t stir fry without it! While the pork browns mix vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce and salt/pepper. Dump into medium sauce pan, add the pork once browned, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until tender. While it cooks make rice. When you got that going and have 10 minutes left on the pork, reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp. oil to wok, add onion, stir for 2 minutes, add celery, and stir 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper and zucchini , cook a minute, add garlic, cook another minute. Add pea pods, stir fry 3 minutes. Add back the chicken and sauce. Stir and add the cornstarch slurry and pineapple chunks. Cook a minute and then add most of the rest of the pineapple juice. Cook another minute; add more juice if too thick. Adjust seasoning. Serve over hot rice. Enjoy!  sweet and sour pork on plate

 

Fruity Scones – GF and Delightful!

Scones are a guilty pleasure; full of butter and what ever yummies you folded in. My friend Josh was stopping by and I wanted to make a treat for us. Scones aren’t generally something I make just for me. So these were a special delight in the late afternoon. The recipe was new to me and came off the King Arthur Flour website. It is super easy and definitely a keeper.  https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-scones-recipe

Use whatever drop ins you want; I used a mixture of dried berries and cherries, plus some dried cranberries and a good sprinkle of currants.  Plus some orange zest and a touch of lemon extract.  Go with flavors you like and dried fruit/nuts in your cupboard.  I made 10 smaller ones but the original recipe was 8 big fat ones. You will surely impress anyone eating these scones.

scones

The rear one is more of a wedge shape. The others were made in an old tin muffin pan; great browning in that pan….

Fruity Scones –

makes 8 big ones or 10 smaller scones

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup King Arthur Basic All Around gf blend (the mix I use all the time)

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. xanthan gum

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. nutmeg (skimpy)

Sprinkle cinnamon

1 stick cold butter

Grated zest of one small orange

¾ cup of dried fruit; cut into ½ inch dice. I used mixed berries/cherries, currants and dried cranberries; go with any mixture you have

1/3 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

½ tsp.  lemon extract or 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions: Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, I used my stand mixer. By hand is do-able. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 10 muffin cups or a sectioned scone pan or a baking sheet.

Cut stick of butter into about 10 thin slices, blend into flour mixture. (You can use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter or even a butter knife but the stand mixer is super quick and easy.)  Grate the orange rind into the blend. Blend in the dried fruit briefly. In a small bowl mix milk, eggs and extract.  Pour into the dry mixture and blend briefly; get all dry stuff mixed in. Do not over mix. Using a big serving spoon just blop big chunks of the dough into the sectioned scone pan or muffin cups or onto baking sheet; if you do the sheet you could shape them into the traditional wedge shape. [The original recipe says to let them rest 15 minutes at this  point… before baking; forgot to do this; next time!] Sprinkle with coarse finishing sugar if you like and I do. About a tablespoon is plenty to spread around. Bake 15-20 minutes until light brown. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Butter can be applied (a certain friend seemed to enjoy that embellishment!) but I found them rich enough all alone.  Enjoy!

Tuscan Chicken Made Fast and Easy

 

Burrr…winter has us firmly in it’s icy grip and I am looking for comfort food. And easy stuff that makes me think of summer.  This recipe for chicken is my new fav. Tasty, quick to throw together, done in my Instant Pot and it does make me think of an Italian summer. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

I use chicken thighs; bone in and skin off. Use whatever cut you like.  You might go a minute less for breast meat.  If you hate artichokes; leave them out. Any pasta will do or make potatoes to serve with this entrée. I have used heavy cream, milk or half and half; all will work; less calories for milk, richer flavor for cream.

tuscan chicken

I took this picture quickly before devouring it. The chicken blends in with the sauce and pasta and this plate is totally not arranged for a photo shoot but you get the idea!

Tuscan Chicken with Pasta

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, EV if possible

1 large onion diced

1 carrot cut up into dice and/or 1 stalk celery diced

4-8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1 -2 tsp. Italian seasoning; I did half and half basil and oregano

1 cup chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

½ cup sundried tomatoes cut in half

1 small jar marinated artichokes, drained

1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

1 1/3 cup uncooked pasta

2 Tbsp. corn starch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

¼ cup finely chopped parsley and/or kale (use ½ cup of that)
Directions. Heat IP on sauté feature. Add oil then onions, cook about 4-5 minutes until getting soft. Add the carrot/celery after a minute of that 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms a minute later. Add garlic in last minute of saute. Push aside; add chicken; brown on top and bottom; 3 minutes a side. Add the Italian seasoning; stir; then add wine; cook one minute; add broth and half the sun-dried tomatoes. Lock lid on and cook 8 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; cook a minute; then add the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, kale (if used and actually I would add that first; cook it 1-2 minutes before adding the other stuff in this list) cream and pasta (which you cooked but for 1 minute less than package suggests.) I used rigatoni this last time and liked it for this recipe. Other pasta will probably be great too. Cook it on sauté for a minute; don’t let it boil. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. You can guild the lily with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese; it is a nice touch but if you want to cut calories; leave that off and use whole milk rather than cream. I have done this with kale; great with spinach. Last time I just used fresh parsley. Enjoy!

PS: I used my IP but you could simmer the dish on your stove top in a big pan; so… after the adding of the broth; maybe 25 minutes to cook the chicken. Rest of recipe stays the same.  If you use chicken breasts cook them shorter either method of cooking; they take far less time than thighs.

Banana Cake, GF But Delish!

There are desserts I really miss.  Leading a busy life it is hard to find time to bake. My sisters were here to visit for the weekend and I had planned an elaborate dessert; lemon meringue pie. But my taste buds were craving old school banana cake. Of course it has to be gluten free for me. yet it has to taste yummy for all of us. My grandson helped dump in ingredients and he smashed the bananas up with a fork. These were dead ripe bananas I had frozen a month ago and really wanted to put them to good use. Gotta say, this was a wonderful choice! I let them thaw partially before Aiden went to town with his fork. This recipe is simple and I subbed in my favorite all purpose gf flour from King Arthur and it worked great. My family loved the results!

I made the cream cheese icing in the recipe but doubled the vanilla as I like it with more of that delicious stuff!  It was a big hit and really finishes off the flavor of the cake. This is made in a nine inch square cake pan. I did put my cake strips around it as it was browning unevenly.  They helped to even the baking out.  The cake is all gone and I wish it wasn’t….one more slice with a cold glass of milk would have been awesome!

banana cake in pan

Ingredients:

2 cups GF flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar packed

3 ripe bananas

1/2 tsp. vanilla


Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese at room temp

1/4 cup butter softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

banana cake

A big hunk of banana cake.

See recipe at theprettybee.com for directions. If you love banana cake and have to be gf; this recipe is simple and delish! Enjoy.

 

Blueberry Tart with Almond Crumb Crust

Dead of winter…not blueberry season. I know. But sometimes you gotta break the rules for the one you love.  For our Valentine’s dessert…the blueberry tart made him really happy. That makes me smile.  And I know he enjoyed this dessert so much. He left here with two slices; very pleased indeed!

blueberry tarts topped

It’s a very simple and easy recipe with a special almond sprinkle on top of the crumb crust. If you don’t want to get blueberries out of season; try it with cranberries; just up the sugar a bit; maybe ½ to 2/3 cup then. This tart will make 6 generous slices of dessert heaven.

blueberry tart, untopped

bueberry tart unbaked

Angie’s Blueberry Crumb Tart

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and lemon juice.  Mix briefly until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you mix up the filling and heat the oven.  Then roll out and put in the tart pan.

Filling:

2 pints fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. instant tapioca

Sprinkle cinnamon

Topping:  ¼-1/3 cup sliced almonds

Mix all dry ingredients; pour over fruit and stir up and pour carefully into crust that you rolled out and placed into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8 inch pie pan.   Top with the following crumbs:

In stand mixer: ¾ cup brown rice flour mix, ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp. xanthan gum and 1/3 cup cold butter cut into six chunks. Mix until the butter is in fine crumbs well blended with the dry ingredients. I use about 1 ¼ cup of crumbs on top of this tart; you can use as much or as little as you like. Don’t press on them; just lightly sprinkle over top of fruit mixture. Sprinkle with the sliced (or slivered) almonds

Bake on lowest shelf of your oven at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes; should be gently bubbling and lightly browned as to crust and lightly toasted almonds. Let cool and set for at least 1 hours before cutting.  Great with vanilla ice cream. I like it alone so I can savor the delicate flavors together; blueberry/cinnamon/almonds. Delish!blueberry tart baked

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic all purpose gf blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition. Filling is my easy and quick fruit mix for tarts. Enjoy! blueberry-tart-sliced.jpg

 

 

 

Aldi’s Brownie Mix vs Scratch GF Brownies

Box mixes are generally not my favorites for baking as they can be full of stuff I don’t want to ingest like excess salt, sugar and fats. So I rarely buy them. But recently I bought a gf brownie mix from Aldi’s for less than two bucks. It can be used for chocolate chocolate chip cookies but I made the classic brownies with my box. They came out very tasty. The flavor is that of very dark chocolate and the texture is extra fudgy. They were easy to make and even non celiacs enjoyed their fudgy goodness. brownie mix I tried something different and had my last brownie with flakes of pink Himalayan sea salt on top. The fat ones are the best for this. I do have a big jar of fine grind pink salt from Aldi’s which is great for most uses but not for this; go big and flaky.  I happen to like chocolate with sea salt so I reasoned this could work too and it did. Very nice contrast; try it sometime!

Still, I personally like the scratch brownies I usually make much more as they have the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy. I use top end baking chocolate which gives a superior result. So they rein supreme as the best gluten free brownies I have tasted. Frankly they are even better than my old wheat flour brownies.  Here is the link to my brownie recipe made with the gf flour blend I prefer; King Arthur’s All Purpose GF flour blend: https://myworldwithoutwheat.com/2018/02/14/brownies-to-love/  If you want a great Valentine’s Day treat I suggest this recipe; super easy, super fast and super yummy. They also stay fresh longer than any gf cake I have made.  Tomorrow will be snowy here in eastern PA. Perfect day for baking a sweet treat! Enjoy!