Monday, June 22, 2015

Lemon Sugar Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

The month of June has been CRAZY! My family finally closed on a house and my husband and I are frantically working on several DIY projects before we move in at the end of this month. So, all I can do is dream about baking up delicious goodies to eat.  One of my fav's is this lemon sugar cookie recipe. It's so perfect for summertime parties, or to simply keep stock of in the freezer for a treat.

With these cookies I like to make fun shapes using a cookie press but you can also roll out the dough (after it has been chilled in the fridge for a bit) and use cookie cutters.  Or you can simply make little one inch balls and flatten them with the palm of your hand on the cookie sheet.  I like the cookie press because it saves me time from rolling and cutting and I still get cute little shapes. AND there's no chilling involved.  I will say though using a cookie press requires you to have rhythm.  Once it gets going you have to keep moving and if you don't press and move on at the right time you will get odd shaped cookies.  Once you do establish a rhythm it goes very quickly and you'll be eating these little sweeties toot suite!

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to.  

Lemon Sugar Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, vegan):
1 Tablespoon flax meal
2 Tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup (60g) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (72g)) white rice flour
1/2 cup (70g) brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 1-2 lemons)
6 Tablespoons (84g) vegetable shortening (I use Earth Balance Organic brand)
3/4 cup (145g) cane sugar (use organic for vegan)
1/2 Tablespoon Sprinkelz (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Set out one large clean cookie sheet. In a small bowl mix together the flax meal and warm water then set aside. In a stand mixer cream together the vegetable shortening and sugar by mixing on low with the paddle attachment for a few minutes. I usually let it mix while I am combining the dry ingredients.  In another bowl combine and whisk together the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum.

Add the flax meal and water, lemon juice and lemon zest to the creamed mixture.  Mix on low until combined. Then add the dry mix in two parts mixing on low until it turns into cookie dough. Stop to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. If the dough is crumbly (this may happen in dryer climates) add 1 teaspoon of water and then mix to combine. Repeat if necessary.

With a cookie press or using cookie cutters (chill dough first) make small 1/4 inch thick cookies. Decorate with Sprinkelz. Bake in the oven on middle rack for 5 minutes or until you can easily remove the cookies with a spatula (they will be too soft if undercooked). Be cautious not to let them overcook as they brown easily and will no longer look so pretty.  Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Easy Rice Paper Wraps with Lime Vinaigrette (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

I love vegetables. I really do. I especially love them when they are all wrapped up in a nice little roll with yummy lime vinaigrette to dip them in! These rice paper wraps are so easy to make and you can put just about anything in them.  I like to do what I call my version of a California Roll; fresh avocado with a sprig of cilantro along with carrots, cucumber, lettuce and scallions. They make a great snack or side with a nice summer meal.

The hardest part about this recipe is finding the rice paper wraps.  I thought I would have to search high and low for them. Luckily they were in my local Stop and Shop in the international section on the bottom shelf. Of course, Amazon almost always has whatever I can't find locally, so if you can't find them near you try Amazon.

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to.  

California Roll Rice Paper Wraps: (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)
1 package rice paper wraps
2-4 leaves lettuce, shredded
1 medium cucumber
1 medium carrot
1-2 scallions, diced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 avocado

Peel the skins off the carrot and cucumber then cut into thin horizontal strips, about 3-4 inches in length. Set aside about 8 sprigs of cilantro.  Cut the avocado lengthwise into thin slices. 

Fill a shallow pan with warm water. Pan should be wide enough to lay a piece of rice paper inside.  Lay a damp kitchen cloth on a clean surface and place the pan with water and cut vegetables next to this.  With clean dry hands delicately remove one rice paper sheet and place into the warm water for about 5-10 seconds.  Once the rice paper has started to soften, remove it from the pan and lay it onto the damp cloth.Then place about 2 avocado slices, 4 cucumber slices, 4 carrot slices, a sprig of cilantro, pinch of shallots and a bit of lettuce in the middle of the rice paper on top of one another.  Take one side of the rice paper and fold it over the vegetables.  Then fold the ends in and roll it up.  If you need a visual take a look at this video from Fifteen Spatulas.  She also has a great peanut dipping sauce recipe too.

Makes about 8 wraps.

Lime Vinaigrette: (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
1 teaspoon tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 

In a small bowl combine the lime juice, tamari, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Then slowly whisk in the the vegetable oil.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Banana Bread (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)


I tend to eat a lot of bananas.  They are such a good snack to have around the house.  Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one who thinks this because I rarely see my husband or my son eating any of them.  Which, I guess is good for me (don't have to worry about someone else eating the last banana!) except I'm very particular about the ripeness of my bananas.  I only like to eat bananas that are slightly unripened with the stems still green.  Once they start to turn I don't like the taste.  Therefore, I end up with uneaten bananas. So what's a girl to do with leftover bananas? Make banana bread of course!

I make my quick breads in small USA mini loaf pans which gives them a better rise (the smaller the pan, the higher the rise).  This also allows me to keep one loaf for eating and another in the freezer for later.

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to.  

Banana Bread Recipe (gluten free, dairy free, vegan):
1/3 cup (50g) white rice flour (I use Authentic Foods brand)
1/2 cup (60g) tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons (24g) potato starch (not flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
one ripe banana, peeled and mashed (105g)
1/3 cup  1 Tablespoon (90g) coconut milk (I use Native Forest brand)
3 Tablespoons (40g) vegetable shortening, melted or oil (I use Earth Balance brand)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (50g) cane sugar (use organic for vegan)
1/8 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Set out two USA mini loaf pans . In a bowl whisk together the white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In bowl of a stand mixer combine the banana, coconut milk, vegetable shortening, apple cider vinegar and cane sugar.  Mix on medium until fully combined.  Then add all of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on medium and then high stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.  Once completely combined add the walnuts.  Then mix on medium briefly until the walnuts are mixed in.  The batter should be like thick cake batter. 

Evenly scoop the batter into the two pans.  Then place pans in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops have browned.  Remove from the oven and turn out the loaves onto a cooling rack.  Let cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.

What's your favorite quick bread recipe? Let me know in the comments below.