Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cherry Cashew Loaf

After a fabulous weekend at the beach with my family, I returned back to Manhattan last night with the yearning to bake…don’t ask me why because it was about 100 degrees outside and my tiny apartment was a hot box even with the air conditioner blastingBut that didn’t stop me from baking an incredibly moist and flavorful loaf…I picked up a dozen of eggs from the market and got to work in my kitchen…a little bit of this (cherries) and a little bit of that (cashew butter) and a little imagination (sunflower seeds and pine nuts) created a divine loaf, which I enjoyed for my Sunday evening dessert…toasted and topped with fresh marmalade.

This loaf is delicious as a breakfast nibble spread with nut butter, an afternoon snack crumbled atop of Greek yogurt or enjoyed simply sliced (and eaten while slicing, hehe)…

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Eggland’s Best eggs (my favorite)
  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare a loaf pan; coat with non-stick baking spray.
  • Combine cashew butter, oil and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed; blend until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot powder, sea salt, pepper and baking soda.
  • Combine arrowroot blend with cashew butter blend; mix well.
  • Slowly add in cherries, dates, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and orange zest; gently fold to combine.
  • Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes or until center is cooked when tootpick is inserted.
  • Set aside to cool before slicing.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Enjoy with a dollop of Greek yogurt and  a spread of jam.

In The News…

Consumers Enjoying Sit-Down Dinners at Home More Often

School Cafeterias Aim For Nutrition Balance

Contaminated Gluten-Free Foods

The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

I was recently sent The Secret Ingredient Cookbook by Sally Bee to review.  I enjoyed Sally’s recipes, however, they were not gluten-free or dairy-free, therefore I made some tasty changes and made a spin-off of her famous recipes.

Here are two delicious recipes that I thought you may enjoy. Although they are not gluten-free, I’ve made changes below to make these meals enjoyable by us folks with gluten-intolerance.

Chicken Casserole

This dish is easy-peasy but so delicious my family demand it at least once a week. It’s simple enough to have mid-week without too much fuss, with a good helping of brown or basmati rice and lots of green vegetables (I love it with steamed asparagus).

This recipe calls for white wine, which does give a lovely flavor. Most of the alcohol is burned off during cooking, so it’s not a problem. However, if you’d like to miss out the wine, simply add more stock or even some non-alcoholic grape juice.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp flour (I used Gluten-Free Rice Flour)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
  • 4—6 skinless chicken breast portions, cut into chunky pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 rashers (slices) very lean bacon, cut into cubes
  • 8 ounces shallots, peeled, and halved if large
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red and 1 green (bell) pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used Gluten-Free)
  • 1 ¼ cups white wine (the alcohol will burn off during cooking)

Directions

1.)    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2.)    Mix the flour with some black pepper and the dried mixed herbs in a large bowl, then dust the chicken breasts in the flour and put to one side. Reserve some flour for the sauce.

3.)    Over a medium heat, gently heat the olive oil in a large, lidded flameproof casserole dish, Add the chicken and the bacon and fry until golden.

4.)    Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

5.)    Now add all the remaining ingredients – the (bell) peppers, zucchini, stock and wine. Stir in the reserved flour to add thickness to the sauce.

6.)    Cover and cook in the oven for about 11/2 hours, or until the chicken is nice and tender.

* If towards the end of cooking you feel the sauce has reduced too much, just add a little more stock.

Orange and Peach Filo Parcels

These low-fat parcels (pockets) are like golden presents wrapped in brown paper. It’s only when you open them up and taste the insides that you appreciate the flavor and aroma of the cooked fruit and sweet maple syrup.

Makes 6 parcels

Ingredients

  • 3 oranges
  • 3 peaches or nectarines
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (I used agave nectar)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 12 sheets fib (phyllo) 7inch squares (I used Rice Paper)
  • Icing (confectioners ) sugar, to dust (I used Stevia natural sweetner)
  • 3 ½ in diameter ramekin dishes

Directions

1.)    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.

2.)    Using a small knife, remove the peel and pith from the oranges and cut in between each segment.

3.)    Wash and slice up the peaches or nectarines into similar sized pieces as the orange segments.

4.)    Put the fruit, maple syrup and water into a large pan and simmer over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and strain over a jug (pitcher), saving the juices for later. Lightly oil the ramekins.

5.)    Brush one of the fib (phyllo) squares with a little oil, then lay another square on top and brush again. Turn over so that the greased side is facing down, then gently push the double fib square into a ramekin.

6.)    Repeat with the remaining pastry to line the remaining ramekins.

7.)    Divide the fruit among the ramekins. Gather up the fib edges and twist together lightly to seal. Transfer ramekins to a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

8.)    While your parcels are cooking, pour the juices into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by half.

9.)    When the parcels are cooked, remove from the ramekins and put onto plates. Dust with icing (confectioners’) sugar and serve with the reduced juice poured over. Yummy!

Recipes from The Secret Ingredient by Sally Bee, copyright 2010 Sterling  Publishing Co.


A Special Thanks to Partner’s Tea Co. who I had the pleasure of meeting at The Fancy Food Show last week.  Partner’s Tea is offering my readers a great discount thru August 1st.

The Discount Code Is: Apple20

Enjoy their tasty teas; I’m loving their Green Teas…

And, be sure to check out my featured post,

“Who Doesn’t Love An Egg?” on the Eggland’s Best website!


The Great Gluten Free Recipe Contest

I was recently contacted by Amy’s Organic and Lundberg Farms, who are hosting a unique recipe contest.  Both Amy’s and Lundberg are dedicated to serving the gluten free community and invited me to share how I use their tasty products.  Here is my delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free and Vegetarian Recipe.

I hope you’re hungry, because it’s delish!


Sweet Potato, Rainbow Chard and White Bean Pasta

Serves 4

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces Lundberg Brown Rice Penne Pasta
  • Amy’s Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • ½ sweet onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 bunches rainbow Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated; cut crosswise into 1 inch slices
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. of chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

    1. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water.
    2. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of Amy’s Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce in a small pot over medium-low heat; stir frequently.
    3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks and onion; cook until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sage; stir for 3 minutes.
    4. Add Swiss chard, beans and sweet potato; cook covered until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 minutes.
    5. Add the reserved cooking water; simmer and stir until potatoes are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
    6. Add cooked pasta, balsamic vinegar, chili powder and nutmeg.  Gently toss to combine.  Sprinkle with fresh basil, crushed red pepper, golden raisins, sea salt and black pepper.
    7. Divide the cooked pasta among individual bowls.  Top with Swiss chard mixture and Amy’s Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce.
    8. Serve warm or cold.
    9. Enjoy!

Be Sure To Check Out My Eggland’s Best eggs recipe on the Eggland’s Best website!

Eggland’s Best Eggs Event

I was recently invited to attend a seasonal cooking event the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) hosted by Eggland’s Best eggs and led by Chef Erica Wides (Chefsmartypants.com) and recent contestant of the Food Network’s hit show ‘Chopped’.


This was an amazing event where myself and other NYC foodie bloggies created a seasonal meal with fresh, locally grown summer foods and America’s No. 1 branded egg, Eggland’s Best.  As I’ve mentioned before, Eggland’s Best eggs are now higher in Vitamin D, E and B12 and a good source of Vitamin A and B2.  They have 25% less saturated fat and three times more Omega 3 than ordinary eggs.


The event was so much fun and I met a group of wonderful NYC bloggies (and suprisingly saw some of my NYC bloggie friends there too).  I had the fabulous opportunity to finally meet Lainie, whom I work with over at Eggland’s Best…she truly is the ‘Best’.

The bloggies and I got busy cookin’ in the kitchen making salad, vegetables, poached eggs, raviolis, mirangues and custard all using Eggland’s Best eggs.


Thank you, Eggland’s Best for a deliciously nutritious, local and fresh dinner and a superb event…I had a great time and was so glad to finally connect with the Eggland’s Best team and the incredible nutrition inside each EB egg!


I can’t wait for their hard-boiled eggs to hit the store shelves here in Manhattan!

Have you tried Eggland’s Best eggs? If so, what kind to you purchase?

I love their organic eggs.

Simple Substitutions

We’ve all been there…you’re in the middle of making dinner or baking a pie and, Oopsie Daisy… we’re stuck without a much needed ingredient.  Have no fear, here’s a few simple substitutions you can use (instead) hehe, of the ingredient called for in the recipe…

When in Doubt…Opt for Greek plain yogurt when you need:

Soup Base: 2 Tbsp. Rice Flour and 1 cup Greek plain yogurt

Cream Cheese: Strain plain Greek yogurt in cheesecloth; cover and place into the fridge for 24 hours.

Sour Cream: Plain Greek yogurt and 1 tsp. baking soda added to your dry ingredients

Mayonnaise: 1 cup Greek plain yogurt, sea salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

Other Substitutions

1 clove Garlic: 1/6 tsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. Fresh Herbs: 2 Tbsp. dried herbs

1 tsp. All Spice: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 cup honey: 1 cup agave nectar or 1-1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup warm water

1 tsp. Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp. White vinegar

1 cup Dry Bread Crumbs: 1 cup crushed crackers, cereal, corn chips, rice chips

OR

1 cup Dry Bread Crumbs: 2 slices of bread, toasted in the oven, then crumbled or sliced into cubes

1 oz. Baking chocolate: 1 oz. raw cacao nibs

OR

1 oz. Baking chocolate: 3 Tbsp. cocoa and 2 tsp. butter or ghee

1 cup Buttermilk: 1 cup milk (or 1 cup Greek plain yogurt) mixed with 1 Tbp. white vinegar; let sit for 20 minutes.

1 cup Self-Raising Flour: 1 cup all purpose flour mixed with 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. Arrowroot: 1 Tbsp. Flour and 1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. Flour for thickening: 1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot

1 tsp. Baking powder: 1/3 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Whole Eggs: Two egg whites for each whole egg and 1 Tbsp. oil

In The News This Week…

Salt-Loving May Seeks to Trim it from NYC Diets

Guiding Stars Site Adds a Nutrition Blog

Celestial Seasonings Explores Facebook “PossibiliTEAS”

Online Programs Can Boost Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Soda Fountains Contained Fecal Bacteria, Study Found

All Fibers May Not Be Created Equal

Target, Giada DeLaurentiis Launch Line of Cooking, Food Products

Musselman’s Apple Sauce Holiday Side Dish and Giveaway Gift Basket

Recently I was contacted by Musselman’s Apple Sauce to create a holiday side dish using their apple sauce.  To say the least, I pretty much inhaled the complimentary 2 jars they sent to me Delicious is an understatement and I had a fabulous time in my new kitchen devising a holiday recipe side dish.


And the best news is that the kind folks over at Musselman’s are offering a Musselman’s Gift Basket to one of my readers. Simply leave a comment on this post with your favorite ways to eat apple sauce and I will be choosing a winner tomorrow!  Good Luck!


Basil Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Musselman’s Apple Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp. ghee or butter alternative
  • Stevia for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine ghee, agave nectar and sugar in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, chopped basil, applesauce, and pumpkin to sugar mixture; mix on low speed.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Slowly add to the wet ingredients while continuing to mix on low speed.
  • Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Fill muffin pan with batter 3/4 way full.
  • Sprinkle each muffin with stevia.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Zucchini and Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

I have recently been contacted by Stonyfield to create some tasty recipes using their delicious yogurt.  I am a huge fan of Stonyfield’s Oikos Greek yogurt and my family loves the Stonyfield plain yogurt, as well.  Over the next week, I will be posting 5 of my favorite Stonyfield yogurt recipes…they’re perfect for this holiday season and a sure taste-bud pleaser so be sure to keep checking in over the next two weeks for my tasty and healthy Stonyfield recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Stonyfield plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 large ripe zucchini, shaved

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and Stonyfield yogurt; mix well.
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients.  Add zucchini shavings and mashed banana; mix well.
  • Slowly fold in dark chocolate chips; stir until completely mixed.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and firm in the center.