Christmas Baking: Moravian Spice Cookies

I love both my cookbooks by Annalise Roberts,  this recipe is from “The Heirloom Collection”…have made some really tasty baked goods from it like my apple custard tart.  I blogged that the other week. Today I bring you her Moravian Spice Cookies. I chose them for many reasons – the memories of spicy cookies being foremost.  I think you will love this cookie for its flavor and crisp texture. I live not far from Bethlehem which is the home base for the Moravian Church.  You can buy these cookies in the Moravian Book Shop but not gluten free.  So now those who can’t eat gluten can have them to enjoy this holiday season.  xmas cookies 007

You can cut them out in shapes but I found I liked to mostly make diamonds using a sharp knife. I did do some hearts and ornament shapes but it was tough going to get them off the wax paper and onto the baking sheet without distorting their original shape. You can take her advice and chill them further to facilitate the moving process.  I do love them any shape they are!

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Moravian Spice Cookies

1 1/4 cup GF flour:  suggest brown rice blend (recipe below)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter (room temp)
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses

Directions: First combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl; mix well.
Beat shortening, brown sugar and molasses in your big mixer bowl until smooth, add flour mixture and blend until well combined. Shape dough into two disks, chill about 30 minutes, lay between two sheets of wax paper, roll into a very thin (1/8 inch thick) sheet. Cut into 2 inch or less shapes, move with spatula onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If they are sticky and hard to lift up return the sheet to the freezer for a few minutes until they are stiff enough to move. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-11 minutes. Make sure they are fully baked or they won’t be crisp. Leave on the cookie sheet a minute before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight cookie jar or tin.

Spicy and crisp. Great with a cup of coffee or tea! Annalise says you can reduce the spices for less zing; 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, ¾ tsp. ginger and ½ or less of cloves.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur Basic GF flour)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour

First published on my blog in December 2016

Zingy Chicken Coconut Stew

Cold winter, sniffles, chilly fingers: all great reasons to make soup, especially chicken soup.  But I found myself wanting something more, a big bowl of soup with a ton of flavor and some zip in it. So I threw together a quick soup using some broth I made the other day in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker; to make the broth I put in the roasted chicken carcass and a bit of celery and carrot plus lots of water on for 30 minutes on high pressure and after straining I had a nice container full of rich chicken broth.  I added lots and lots of veggies as well as some great aromatics: slivered fresh ginger and a big clove of garlic. To pull the flavors together I poured in half a can of light coconut milk and added a handful of broken up raw rice noodles (any brand of wide rice noodles will work). Added some cubed roasted chicken and in no time at all I was slurping down this excellently flavored chicken coconut stew. It was like I was eating at a beach soup shack in the islands feeling the warm sea breeze through my hair…  Light zingy flavor and tender chicken with lots of fresh vegetables.  Man, was it yummy and healthy!  Totally guilt free and naturally gluten free if you are careful in choosing your broth.


Not the greatest picture but you can see it is chock full of rice noodles and veggies.

Angie’s Chicken Coconut Stew

2 medium sized carrots cut on diagonal into thin coins

2 celery stalks, cut on thin diagonal slices

1 onion cut down the top to bottoms, peeled and cut into long strips

1 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

½ cup chopped green cabbage

2 baby bok choy cut into one inch lengths, bases cut in quarters or eighths

1 quart chicken broth; preferably homemade

4 rounds of thinly sliced fresh ginger cut into narrow strips

½ a can of light coconut milk

1 cup pea pods

½ cup crushed rice noodles

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used leftover roasted chicken breast)

Directions: Sauté carrots, celery and onion in large soup pot in the hot oil on medium heat: about 4-5 minutes, do not brown, add garlic; cook 1 minute, add bok choy and then the broth.  Heat to nearly boiling and add the ginger and cabbage, cook 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, rice noodles, red pepper flakes and pea pods.  Turn heat down to very low and cook 7 to 9 minutes until noodles are cooked through.

Notes: The amounts of veggies are as fluid as you want to be; leave out something you dislike or don’t have or use more/less of any veggie. I used frozen snow peas as I couldn’t find fresh in the store.  My coconut milk was organic, thin and wasn’t too strongly coconuty. Perfect for this stew. lt-coconut-milkI used baby bok choy but a couple stalks of regular will work just as well; might need to cook slightly longer than the baby choy. If you use store broth: Kitchen Basics has really good gf chicken broth; one 32 ounce box container should do it.  I used home roasted chicken breast but you could use a rotisserie bird, although I suggest you check for gluten free before choosing that route as some stores make their birds with ingredients that make it not gluten free so not safe for those with celiac disease.


Gorgeous Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

A stir fry is a great way to get veggies into you and your family.  We like lots of different vegetables. I put in broccoli for my 3 year old grandson who will eat anything with broccoli in it. Plus carrots for color and sweetness, chunks of chicken breast for a protein source and a few other choice vegetables to round out the mix.  This stir fry is made with medium wide rice noodles, the kind you put in Pad Thai.  They are low calorie and have no eggs or dairy.  The fresh ginger is crazy good for you as is the garlic and all those fresh vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to change a vegetable if you don’t like something or don’t have it on hand. My rule of thumb is to try not to have more than five main veggies in it or it will lack a cohesive flavor profile.  I used chicken but it works great with thin sliced boneless pork or beef.  I actually love it made with light tuna packed in olive oil.  Don’t like pineapple juice: use orange juice or another fresh 100 percent real fruit juice. Dislike ginger: leave it out but that will reduce the flavor punch so you might need soy sauce after all.  If you hate rice noodles it can be served over brown or white rice. That is the beauty of a stir fry; flexibility in many directions.

Don’t be frightened of the rice noodles.  They are so simple to make. Just boil up enough water to cover the noodles; pour it over them in a bowl and let stand ten minutes.  Drain and they are ready to throw into the stir fry near the end.  Simple and they add authenticity without a lot of calories.  You can find them nowadays in many grocery stores in the international food section as well as in Chinese grocery stores.

This entree goes together very fast once you chop the vegetables.  I didn’t add any soy sauce or rice vinegar.  I liked the mild clean flavor: lets the ginger and garlic shine.  Add those other things if you must! Very important: try not to overcook it – soggy is not the way you want the veggies to look or taste.  They should be just barely tender.  Makes 3-4 servings depending on your hunger.

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Ginger Chicken and Noodles


1 cup pad thai noodles, broken up somewhat

1 ½ cup boiling water

¾ lb chicken breast tenders (or pork in thin strips)

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled

2 celery stalks

1 large carrot

1 cup zucchini slices

2 cups broccoli florets

2 thin slices fresh ginger cut into short strips

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup pineapple juice

Prep: Chop onion long way in half and then into long strips.  Cut celery into thin slanted slices, same for carrot.  Cut zucchini into ¼ inch slices  and cut into half moons. Cut broccoli stems into thin rounds and separate the florets into bite sized bits.  Peel garlic and smash in press.  Put dry noodles into a bowl, cover with the hot water and let stand ten minutes and then drain. Reserve to add near the end of the cooking.

Stir fry directions: Cut chicken into small chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a mini wok (9-10 inch diameter) and add half the oil. Heat not quite to smoking hot. Add the chicken; brown lightly on both sides, remove from pan, set aside. Add rest of oil to still hot pan. Add onion and carrot slices, stir for a minute, add celery, stir 2 minutes, add broccoli stems, cook a minute, add the tops, cook a minute, add the zucchini, garlic and ginger.  Cook until tender crisp.  Add chicken back in.  Stir a minute to heat it, add the noodles, stir briefly.  Mix the cornstarch and juice; pour over the stir fry.  Mix in and cook one minute. If you need more liquid add more juice or some water. Serve hot.

I Be Feeling Sick Chicken Soup!

When you feel ill, like with the flu, a cold, an icky stomach bug, or if you get glutened, you want to eat something warm and soothing.  Something healthy that will stay down and feel happy in your tummy.  Something like homemade chicken soup.  That is where I was at when I made this Oriental chicken soup.  I was gutened by something the day before and still felt not well enough to eat regular food.  So I whipped up a small batch of fresh soup with homemade chicken broth I had leftover from this past weekend. This soup took less than 30 minutes, some of that actively chopping and some just allowing it to cook. Just the ticket when you are under the weather and have no pre-made soup to reheat: whip this up and you are set for several delicious meals.

I suppose you can make this soup with canned broth; be sure it is gluten free if you have celiac disease like I do.  Homemade is going to make it more flavorful but sometimes you just don’t have time to make fresh broth.  And if you don’t like sesame oil leave it out.  The pea pods, onion, ginger, garlic, parsley and celery leaves are very healthy additions and they each add great flavor. Ginger is particularly good if your tummy feels poorly. I often keep a bit of it frozen in a freezer ziplock baggie so it is there for a quick grate into a dish. I like the pad thai noodles; made of rice so they are easier on the tummy than egg noodles.

Don’t freak out if you only have one carrot or don’t want as much of any ingredient; make it your way.  I sometimes fail to measure as I make soup so some of these ingredients are a bit fluid.  As a young adult I would ask my mom to give me her recipes and got very frustrated by her un-measuring way of cooking.  These days I estimate or eyeball some ingredients.  Use your good judgment and what you have on hand in your pantry/fridge.

If you don’t want meat in it; leave it out. If I am really ill I do that; easier to digest without that protein. You could buy a rotisserie chicken but if you are gf; check the labeling; not many stores make gf rotisserie chicken. I used leftover roasted chicken breast from a family supper. Roasted chicken has a lot of flavor compared to steamed or poached.

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Angie’s I Be Sick Chicken Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced

2 carrots, washed but unpeeled, sliced into rounds

2 celery stalks diced including the leaves; separate them from stalks

1 garlic clove, peel and mince

About 2-3 tsp coarsely grated fresh or frozen ginger

1 quart of chicken broth

1 tsp. sesame oil

A handful of pad thai rice noodles

½ cup pea pods

½ to 1 tsp. sea salt

1 to 1½ cups diced chicken breast

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; I used a two quart one.  Add the diced onion and carrots.  Cook the soup, stirring frequently; about 2-3 minutes.  Add the celery stalks and the minced garlic clove, cook approximately 3 more minutes.  Add the broth which you have heated.  Stir and add the fresh ginger and sesame oil.

Heat 1.5 cups of water in a microwave safe container and add the rice noodles.  I like to break them up somewhat or they are a mess to slurp down. Up to you! Let them stand ten minutes while the soup cooks.

Cook the broth and veggies 8 minutes, add the celery leaves and pea pods which you coarsely chopped.  Cook 3 more minutes.  Add sea salt to taste and the chicken breast.  Stir and heat a minute or two.  Taste and adjust the salt. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Pour in bowls.  I topped mine with some pea pod micro greens I grew in a pot at my kitchen windowsill.  Perfect meal when you want to sooth an iffy tummy.