Nut Butter Balls

It has been a little while since I posted on this site.  In fact, I haven’t posted since I began graduate school in January, but today I want to share a recipe my girls have begged for this summer for snacking.

So here we go:  Nut Butter Balls!

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I start with pepita butter, almond butter or peanut butter. Pick your favorite!

I personally love Naturally Nutty Nut Butters made in Traverse City Michigan.  I often use pepita butter, which is actually a seed butter, but your favorite will do.

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In a large mixing bowl, mix:

2 c nut butter, 

1 c crushed pecans, almonds, or other nut

1 c crushed seed such as sunflower, pepita, etc

1 c rolled oats (If you are worried about cross contamination with gluten, there are some oats certified to be free from cross-contamination.  Also, some who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to the oat protein avenin, so please take this into consideration if you have issues with gluten.) I have used corn flour as a thickener/filler in these as well.

1 c chopped dried cranberries

1 c chopped dates

1 c chopped rasins

1 tablespoon honey, molasses, maple syrup, or your favorite natural sweetener

spices to your taste:  I like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or any of the fall spices.  I have also used vanilla.

optional: chocolate or carob chips, other dried fruit, Flax seed meal, or ANYTHING you can get to stick in the nut ball!  

Stir and press all together well and use coconut oil to help things stick together if needed.  I usually do not need more than 2 tablespoons per recipe.

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Now use a small scoop to form balls and finish pressing together with fingers.

Some of the below are rolled in g-free oats to dry the exterior.

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These disappear in an instant!  In fact, I have to limit how many my girls can eat in a day.

They are easy to wrap in waxed paper or toss in a baggie for packed lunches, ball games, or after school snacks. No need to refrigerate, but if I could keep them in the house a little longer, I might use the refrigerator to keep them fresh.

I would like to give credit for this recipe to my friend and dance teacher Peggy Alberda.  She has a true gift of creativity in everything she does!

  2006 dance behind the scenes 132

Chia Seed Pudding

There is no recipe easier than Chia Seed Pudding!

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I remember the commercials from the 80s: cha-cha-cha-chia! Wet the seeds and spread them on the terra-cotta–thing–animal–whatever.  Watch it grow!  I always thought it was strange, to say the least.  Somehow the product survived to this day, if only to take on the obscure, mostly being exchanged as gag gifts at company Christmas parties.  

But now there is a new Chia.  We have discovered the health benefits of chia seeds, and the Ch-industry has been revived.  Chia seeds are high in fiber, high in protein, high in antioxidants, and in omega-3 fatty acids.  They are easily digested, and do not need to be ground prior to eating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/business/chia-seeds-gain-popularity-for-nutritional-benefits.html?_r=0

Only two ingredients are needed for Chia Pudding:

Chia seeds and your favorite milk, at about a 1:4.  Just mix 1/2 cup seeds in 1 cup milk, and allow the mixture to sit for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.  What you get is a pudding about the consistency of tapioca, and you can make any flavor you wish.

In our picture, we have used Prairie Farms Red Velvet Milk, and have made a very tasty dessert, but you may use almond milk, soy milk, coconut, etc.  You may also add flavoring, or just start with flavored milk.

So easy a child can do it!

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Chocolate Balls

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Here’s another gluten-free cookie recipe for the holidays:

I started by crushing gluten-free graham crackers.  We have found that we really enjoy  Kinnikinnick brand, which is available at Meijer.  These gf grahams are actually better than traditional grahams!

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Recipe:

2 1/2 c gluten-free graham cracker crumbs

2 1/2 c crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)

1 pkg (6 oz) gf chocolate chips

1/4 c honey

1/3 c port wine, apple juice, or coffee (depending on the taste you want to create)

colored sugar for decorating

Heat honey and chocolate chips in a sauce pan or microwave until fully melted and blended.  then stir all ingredients together and shape into balls.

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IMG_4260They are ready to eat! Bon Appetite!

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Christmas Cookies–The Gluten-Free way~!

Sugar Cookie Cut Outs

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Sugar cookie cut outs are my favorite Christmas food, and possibly my favorite food of all time!  Over the years I have modified the recipes of friends and family, and come up with my own *almost* famous recipe.  Now that we have a gluten-free member in our family, I am attempting to make all our favorite foods without gluten.  I don’t want her to have to give up the food traditions we have held since she can remember…

Recipe:

1 c real butter or coconut oil

1 c white or raw sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp almond flavor

1/2 c evaporated milk

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 c. almond meal (added protein and taste)

1/3 c. flaxseed meal (added fiber and protein)

2 1/2 c gluten-free baking flour. See recipe here: https://fruitfulsteps.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/gluten-free-baking-flour/

1 c oat flour

Note: Oat flour does not contain gluten, but many warn against using oats as they may be processed in a plant that also processes wheat flour.  Another concern some voice is that the oat protein avenin has a similar make up to gluten, but it lacks some elements, which may make it tolerable to the gluten intolerant.  As for us, our girl seems to tolerate oats well, so sweet oat flour is a nice substitute for baking cookies!

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and flavorings.  Blend dry ingredients well, and add to the butter mixture half at a time alternating with the evaporated milk.  Stir until well blended, and then cover and refrigerate for two hours.

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When ready to roll out cover surface  and rolling-pin with any gluten-free flour, and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. cut with your favorite cutters and bake at 350 degrees until cookies are dry in the center.

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When cooled, frost with your favorite frosting.  I always make homemade butter frosting, but if you have allergies in your family you may have another favorite.

1 stick softened butter

2 T milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp almond flavor

powdered sugar, enough to thicken the frosting to desired consistency–at least a pound.

Color the frosting, and go to town!  I like to pipe it on for extra thickness and for looks.

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This is my FAVORITE result:

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*Watch for more gluten-free Christmas Cookie recipes!

Tortilla Cheeseburgers

This is the easiest recipe I have ever posted, but it is well-liked by the entire family, and once again, it is gluten-free!

Tortilla cheeseburgers:

1# ground beef browned and drained

1# sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

12, 6 inch all corn tortillas

1/2# mozzarella cheese, shredded

Spoon a line of ground beef across each corn tortilla, and cover with a thin layer of cheddar cheese.

Roll each tortilla and place seam down in a greased 9×13 pan.  Cover the tortillas with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees 10-15 minutes or until tortillas are crispy on edges.  We like the crunch of the crispy edges!

enjoy!

 

Zucchini Spaghetti

Zucchini Spaghetti is a new item on our menu!

This time of year there is always plenty of zucchini coming out of the garden, and now that a member of our household is gluten-free, we’ve found a perfect way to use up this abundant squash!

My first challenge was to find a julienne cutter. I didn’t want anything fancy, as I don’t have a large kitchen, and knew storage would be a challenge.  Once I found one, using it was easy, and my daughters volunteered to do the work!  Just one caution…despite my warnings, two of my daughters julienned their fingers ~~ouch!  Yes the device came with a finger guard. Yes I told them about it. And no, they did not think they needed to use it!!!

With that out of the way, complete with safari band aids, the rest was simple:

Pour 2 T olive oil in a skillet, saute the zucchini until cooked- through and remove to a plate 3-4 minutes.  Top with your favorite pasta sauce, and fresh parmesean cheese!  It was delicious!

If you want a delicious pasta sauce recipe, here is one from my friend Shelly:

2# ground beef (or other ground meat)

1/2 c chopped onion

Brown and drain the above two, then mix in:

3 c tomato juice

2 T brown sugar

1 T vinegar

2 t salt

2 t fresh minced oregano

1 t ground marjoram

1 garlic clove, minced

Cover and simmer the above, 20 minutes

Add 2 T cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 c water, and stir till thick.  Serve over your favorite dishes! 

Butternut Quinoa

This may be my favorite quinoa recipe yet! 

It looks and acts a lot like a flavored rice, but has more protein, and a lower glycemic index.

1 T olive oil

1 c butternut squash puree

2/3 c chopped bell pepper

1/3 c finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 1/3 c chicken broth

1 c uncooked quinoa

1/2 t salt

Heat oil in a large sauce pan, and add garlic, onion, celery, and pepper.  Saute 4 min and add squash, broth, quinoa, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Serve hot.