Monday Meals: Butternut Squash and Spinach Rice Bowl

This is a spin on last week’s Monday Meal (click here for Zucchini Noodles and Rice).

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This is no less true than trying to cook for a road trip because of food intolerances. Happily, shredded butternut squash was on sale at Kroger last week, so I snagged a bowl, along with two pounds of beef and a bundle of spinach.

The following recipe makes 4 meals. I ate one as a freshly cooked dinner. The other 3 were simply 1/2 cup each of rice, beef, and shredded butternut squash layered and frozen for my on-the-road meals.

This recipe is great for making lunches or just having a homemade freezer meal to reheat on a busy night. The meals reheat beautifully without losing flavor or getting mushy.

*note: I do not use much added spices to flavor this meal. I relied on the caramelized flavor of the cooked squash and salt to round out the meal. The more I cook simply for my diet, the more I enjoy the distinct flavors of the food itself that can be otherwise masked with other flavors. The savory flavor of the beef with the hint of sweetness from the squash is a great combination.

1. Brown 2 lbs of lean hamburger meat, salted to taste. Save grease and set meat aside to drain/cool.

2. In the same skillet, sauté 2 cups shredded butternut squash in 2 Tbs. of hamburger grease. Season with salt (and ginger, if desired). Cook about 10 minutes on high heat so that the squash is cooked through (but not mushy), and getting some crispy-ness and caramelizad for extra flavor.

3. In a smaller skillet, sauté 1-2 cups of spinach on high heat with 1 Tbs. oil and some salt to taste. Cook about 2-3 minutes, or until desired done-ness.

4. Top 1/2 cup warm, cooked rice with desired amount of beef, squash, and spinach. Divide the remaining beef and squash with rice (see notes above) for freezer meals. Enjoy!

Baking Day: Spice Cakes

Which one is gluten free and which one isn’t?

Click here for delicious “regular cake” and cream cheese frosting recipe from Cooking Classy.

Click here for the equally tasty gluten, dairy, oil, soy, and egg free version from The Vegan 8 with my modifications.

Rainy Day Pancakes

Rainy mornings call for pancakes. I wanted to experiment with different flours… trying to get in more fiber, iron, and protein while reducing carbs. After comparing flours, I decided to go with Almond (low carb, good fiber and iron, high fat), oat, and sweet sorghum (higher carb, low fat, good fiber and iron).

Almond Flour Compared to…

General purpose gluten free flour (which is still great for cakes, but I’m trying for “cleaner” baking).

Here were the oh-so-very delicious and filling results.

The recipe:

To make these nut free, use either sorghum or oat flour in place of the almond meal and coconut milk for the almond milk. Also watch the consistency of the batter. Extra milk might be needed with the nut-free version.

I used slightly less than three cups milk for the above recipe.

They bake up so nice and thick, even without a lid on the skillet.

Recipe makes about 18 4-5 inch pancakes. Serving size is pancakes. If you put syrup on them, you might want to go for 2 to start. These are super filling!

Here you can see me trying to figure out the nutrition facts:

Best as I can tell… without factoring in the less than 1tsp. Honey for each pancake, here are some basic facts:

For 3 Pancakes:

419 cal.

15.25 g. fat

60.3 carbs (about 20%)

8.6 g. dietary fiber (about 33%)

13 g. protein

22.7% daily iron

Easy to whip up, even easier to eat! 😋 Enjoy!

Oat Breakfast Muffin

It’s no secret that I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately… well, the last 4 months. This past week, I thought more about the flour I’ve been using. Four years ago, I was very strict about the flour I used. No blends, no tapioca, no potato flour, no bean flour. Oh, and I definitely didn’t use sweetener outside of honey, fruit, or unsweetened applesauce.

I wanted to get back to that cleaner way of baking and eating. I really do feel better, even though I almost never stray from gluten and dairy free.

I also wanted to get the best deal nutritionally from my flour. (But more about that in a later post.)

All this led me to bring back an old muffin recipe and tweak it just a bit (click for original post). One thing I remember is that the muffins were good, but crumbly and the taste could have been better.

As soon as I tasted the first muffin, I remembered how much I enjoy the taste of honey and the homey, comforting flavor of these flours without the add-ins of a blend. These muffins are so smooth and NOT crumbly, it’ll be hard to eat just one. AND these are dairy-gluten-egg-soy-nut-refined sugar free. It’s a tall order for a muffin, but it comes through!

So, without further ado, Oat Breakfast Muffins!

Oat Breakfast Muffins Recipe:

1 c. Brown Rice Flour

1 1/4 c. Oat flour (plus extra if needed)

1 c. Sweet Sorghum flour

1 scant tsp. salt

1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Baking soda

2 c. Unsweetened applesauce

2 Tbs. Apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. Gluten-free vanilla extract

Flax seed egg (2 Tbs. milled flax seed + 2-3 Tbs. cold water and sit for 5 minutes)

2 Tbs. melted coconut oil (plus some for greasing pans)

6 Tbs. raw honey (I *may* have used a bit more)

  • Preheat oven to 380F. Grease pans with the extra coconut oil. (This recipe makes 18 muffins.)
  • Whisk dry ingredients together
  • Add wet ingredients and stir until mixed. If mixture seems loose, add a couple Tbs. of oat flour.
  • Scoop into prepared baking pans. Filled cups 1/2-3/4 full. These muffins don’t rise a whole lot, so keep that in mind.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • Let set in pan about 10-15 minutes to firm up. Let cool on wire rack or plate.
  • Enjoy as they are, or with honey or fruit spread! Oh, and coffee. ;-)

Sugar Cookie Mini- Muffins

I was going for doughnuts. And I got them, but the flax seed spots don’t look very doughnut-y. However, the taste is delicious!

As a mini-muffin the spots are not as noticeable. When I have more free time, I’ll try these without the flax seed.

This is a variation on the chocolate doughnuts (click here).

Ingredients:

1c. Oat flour

1c. General purpose gluten free baking flour (rice based, Bob’s Mill blue bag)

1/4 c. Pure cane sugar

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. Salt

Whisk these ingredients together and then add:

Prepared flax seed egg – 2 Tbs. milled flax seed and 4 Tbs. water (or leave out and see what happens) 😉

1c. Dairy free milk or coconut milk french vanilla creamer (I used the later… because I’m out of milk)

2 tsp. Vanilla extract (gluten free)

4 Tbs. melted coconut oil

Stir until mixed. Grease a mini-muffin or doughnut pan with coconut oil. Use a ziploc bag with a corner cut to pipe the mixture into a mini- muffin pan or a doughnut pan.

Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for 10-14 minutes. Let set in pan 10-15 min, then cool completely on wire rack.

Make some coffee and enjoy!

Coconut-Vanilla Icing

After coming up with a delicious gluten-free vanilla cake (see post here), I needed an equally delicious dairy and egg free icing to go on it. This is it. And I don’t even like the taste of coconut all that much. I sure do with this icing though. Maybe it’s all the sugar. Seriously, it’s sweet. And so, so good.

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Coconut-Vanilla Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 3 Tbs. french vanilla coconut milk creamer
  • 2 Tbs. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp gluten-free vanilla (Clear extract could help keep the color of the icing lighter. I did use regular and I really didn’t notice.)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Mix the coconut oil until there are absolutely, positively no clumps of oil left. Don’t melt it at all. Just cream it while you ponder the meaning of the words strength and patience. ;) Just kidding. Sort of.
  2. Add in the vanilla and coconut milk. Sift in 1 cup powdered sugar. Using a hand-mixer, mix until well-blended. Add in creamer and sift in anther cup powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add in lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar (again, sifted).  Mix until all is completely blended. The consistency should be smooth, but not runny. (I forgot to take a picture). If too runny or sticky, add in coconut milk or sifted powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency.
  3. This makes enough icing for two 8×8 or a double layer cake.

*Notes:

  • The first cake I iced when it had cooled and before the frosting went in the refrigerator. It was good, but ran a little, then firmed back up.
  • The second cake was iced a couple days later, after the icing had been refrigerated. I let it warm up to room temperature before icing. It was a tad bit more difficult to ice with, but it kept it’s shaped and was worth the extra effort. If you want to pipe the icing (which I can’t vouch for), I would recommend refrigerating it over night first. img_0711

Vanilla Blueberry Scone Recipe: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-freedom

Today is a snow day!

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In keeping with snow day tradition, I slept in and then made my way to the kitchen for coffee and morning baking.

Last snow day, I made pancakes (recipe here). Today, however, I wanted something a little lighter and not as fried.

Scones.

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These blueberry-vanilla scones are every bit as good as I remember- maybe even better! Here is my recipe modified from Wholesome Patisserie’s Blueberry Scones:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 Tablespoon gluten free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1/2 cup coconut cream (the thick part from the top- don’t shake the can!)

1/4-1/2 cup vanilla almond or coconut yogurt (can also use peach or strawberry)

3/4 cup coconut milk french vanilla coffee creamer

1/2 c. Frozen blueberries

Extra gf flour for rolling

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Step 1: Make a cup of coffee to drink. That’s my baking secret. Also, preheat oven to 390 degrees F. Generously spray a round cake pan or use coconut/ grapeseed oil to avoid any soy.

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Step 2: add all ingredients together, except the blueberries. If the dough is not soft, add a bit more all purpose gf flour. It should be sticky, but maleable.

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Step 3: add frozen blueberries and stir carefully.

Step 4: turn dough out on floured surface and pat/hand roll until about 1 1/2 inches think. Use floured cookie cutter or plastic cup to make 2 in. circles.

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Step 5: Place scones in baking dish. Brush with coffee creamer and sprinkle with raw sugar (if desired). Bake 25-30 minutes or until sides and tops feel firm and crunchy. (I used too much creamer and had to bake an extra 8 minutes). Let set 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Make another cup of coffee and enjoy with the scones!

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