Gluten Free Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake

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You guys. Have you ever made a recipe that is so good that you are at a loss for words? I just did that. Earlier in the week, I found a recipe for an Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake that looked out of this world. It wasn’t gluten free, so I thought I’d be nice and make it such, so my husband could eat it, too. I definitely deserve some kind of pat on the back or a new pair of shoes or something for that act of kindness. Anyways.

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This cake was not only easy (you probably have ALL of the ingredients!!), but it wasn’t overly sweet OR unhealthy.

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It’s basically a health cake. You’re welcome.

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I’m going to be perfectly honest with you right now. I cut a huge slice of this and put it on my dinner plate. I ate the first slice right along with my baked ham with cloves, green beans with almonds, and corn.

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I DO have one regret – not buying (and eating) vanilla ice cream with this. It would be killer. So, that is my sage and wise advice to you today. Buy vanilla ice cream to go with this.

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This cake was one of the best things that happened to me all day.

Gluten Free Apple, Honey, and Olive Oil Cake

Recipe adapted from: Pickledplum.com

5 small red apples (or 4 larger ones), peeled, cored, and sliced thinly

5 T gluten free flour mix (with xanthan gum in it) or another GF flour with 1/8 t xanthan gum added)

5 T brown sugar

5 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t baking powder

4 large eggs

⅔ C honey

Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease an 8-inch cake pan, then place the apple slices inside. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, olive oil, eggs, and honey in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter over the apples and sprinkle cinnamon over top. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and drizzle more honey on top. Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Eat hot or cold. It was ridonk hot. It would be even more ridonk hot with that vanilla ice cream. I’m planning on eating it cold later tonight and/or for breaky. I’m sure it’ll be ridonk, once again.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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Dinner Tonight: Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and Peaches

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I am finally getting back into my “good” dinner cooking groove. If only I can get the rest of my life groove back, I’ll be set! But alas, that is not the case at this time. Maybe once we are settled into our new school routine. But dinner was a success, and some days, that’s all I can ask for. That and leaving the house with all my children and necessities.

I digress.

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Back to dinner. I had purchased a few BOGO packs of big chicken breasts at Publix and had to come up with something creative to with them. And since it IS still peach season (#vivasummer), I decided to grill both.

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It was one of my better decisions that day.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and Peaches

3 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

S&P

2 T honey

1 1/2 T dijon Mustard

splash red wine vinegar

olive oil

2 large peaches

Make the honey mustard mixture by combining the honey, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk until combined.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Salt and pepper the chicken. Swirl some olive oil around a grill plan that is preheating over medium high heat. Grill the chicken for about 4 -5 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes. During this time, brush the honey mustard mixture on the chicken a few times.

Add another swirl of olive oil to the grill pan. Slice the peaches and grill in the pan.

I served this with brown rice and steamed broccoli. It was fabulous.

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I’ll be dreaming of this when I make a crap dinner…probably tomorrow. #itiswhatitis #cantwinthemall

Enjoy!

Kristin

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

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Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( 😦 ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.

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Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. 😀

I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.

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These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.

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You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I can barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C oats

1/2 C coconut

1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)

1/4 t salt

1/2 C peanut butter

3/4 C honey

1 T  oil (I used coconut)

3 T brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 t oil (I used coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.  Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.

To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.

Cut and serve.

These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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Dessert Tonight: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Avocado

I love dessert. And, because of that, I am constantly looking for healthier dessert alternatives that aren’t bowls of fruit. I love bowls of fruit, also, but Imma be honest – compare it does not, to a happy bowl of decadent ice cream or a perfect slice of frosted cake.

Tonight, I put together a really delicious and super healthy dessert recipe, one that is better than a bowl of fruit – Chocolate Avocado Mousse. The avocado makes the mousse ridiculously smooth and creamy, and even little bit airy. The dark cocoa powder adds a richness. Why should you use avocados in your desserts? Well, despite being high in calories (which is why it is important to eat the suggested serving size), avocados are chock-full of vitamins, including Potassium, B, C, and E vitamins. They are low in sugar, high in fiber, and high in the good kind of fat (that helps combat the bad cholesterol).

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

4 Servings

2 ripe [enough] avocados

2/3 C dark cocoa

2 T honey

2 T pure maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

1/3 C unsweetened coconut milk (more or less, if needed)

Put all ingredients into a food processor. Whiz together until smooth. Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (try to avoid refrigerating for too long, as the avocados will turn brown [not that you’d see it in the rich chocolate], and affect the flavor).

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I mean, forrreeeaaallllzzz, look at that creaminess!

ENJOY!!

Kristin

Circus Week – “Magic Bunny” VPK School Lunch

I feel like circuses have magic shows. Do they? Like, with a magician in a tux, pulling a rabbit out of a top hat?

I might be stretching it a little. I only have so many circus-themed cutters.

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I made a magical bunny shaped PB&J and added details for his ears (very instrumental to his magic show), eye, ad nose. I also packed a few banana chips, a few TJ’s organic PB sandwich crackers, two dried dates, an aprium, colby jack cheese, a Tim Tam (thank you Australia!!!), and a homemade granola bar.

And for my Smalls:

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I packed half a PB&J, trail mix, an aprium, TJ’s PB crackers, colby jack cheese, and a cotton candy Oreo. He’s got a granola bar for snack.

I made the granola bars for Teacher Appreciation Week a few weeks back. They were delicious!! I thought I’d make them again for my own family.

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They were super easy to put together…

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…and had ingredients I both had on hand and could pronounce.

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AND they are easy to individually package and freeze!

http://happymoneysaver.com/no-bake-homemade-chewy-granola-bars/

A hint – if you are out of honey, as this recipe requires a LOT, you can use corn syrup as a sub. I don’t love using that, but I do keep it on hand for some recipes.

Do it!

Kristin

It’s the end of the week as we know it (and I feel fiiiine)

It’s in your head now. Right? You’re welcome. R.E.M. rocks! Do people say “rocks” anymore? Do young people say “rocks” anymore? I wouldn’t know.

So, the end of the week is here (yay). It’s been such a crazy week. I haven’t even had a second. But now I do. So, I’m taking my second to show you food.

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Bigs’ Wednesday lunch was a breakfast theme! I packed a pancake “sandwich”, made with two gluten and dairy free pancakes, peanut butter, and honey. I also packed one slice of turkey bacon, cut up, some assorted raisins (Trader Joe’s big bag of assorted raisins ROCKS [#cantstopwontstop #imold]), a colby jack cheese slice, an orange, and granola (Trader Joe’s again).

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Bigs’ Thursday lunch was another turkey lunch (this time with ham and cheese!). I used my Food Writers and a turkey cookie cutter to make him so cute (if I can say so myself). His hay bale is crusts. I also packed grapes and applesauce. Bigs told me he was “staaaaarving” after eating this, so I made sure to pack more tonight for Friday’s lunch.

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So. For Bigs’ lunch tomorrow (Friday), I was sure to pack more food. I went with a Fallish squirrel theme. I made a ham and cheese sandwich, shaped like a squirrel. I used my Food Writers for his eye detail and cut out a little piece of fruit leather in the shape of an acorn. I also packed pretzels, seasoned corn, grapes and pineapple, an organic yogurt squeezy thing, and Trader Joe’s ginger cookies for dessert.

He’s going to go nuts! Get it? I love a pun.

And for my Smalls’ lunch today, I packed a Mickey Mouse(ish) lunch. And to prove it, here’s a blurry picture:

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Three baby Mickey Mouse shaped PB&J’s, some organic Trader Joe’s PB crackers, grapes, and TJ’s school house letter cookies. He ate all the grapes this time!

I also made Thanksgiving this week! I don’t think you can have it enough. I made a meal for a friend and doubled so my family could enjoy it too!

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I can’t wait for the REAL Thanksgiving! It’s going to be the bomb! (Do they say “bomb” anymore? Or is that done-zo?) For us, I made gluten free Turkey and Sage Meatballs.

Turkey and Sage Meatballs

1 lb (ish) ground turkey

1/2 C gluten free breadcrumbs

1 egg

S&P

1 1/2 t of ground sage or poultry seasoning

Mix together, roll into balls, place on greased pan, bake for 30 – 45 minutes (depending on size of meatballs) at 350F.

I covered our meatballs with a homemade cranberry orange sauce.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 C fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 C frozen orange concentrate

1/3 C water

1 T sugar

1 packet of plain (unflavored) gelatin

Place all ingredients, except for gelatin, in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the gelatin and simmer until thick.

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Roasted turkey breast for my friend. I seasoned it with S&P, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and olive oil. I roasted it according to directions.

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I made green bean casserole, all of which I could have eaten by myself. I love it.

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I made sweet potato casserole. I didn’t have marshmallows, but I DID have marshmallow fluff. And being the resourceful woman that I am, I swirled that ooey gooey fluffy goodness around in the sweet potatoes and it came out just fine.

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I made cheesy corn and cornbread casserole.

http://jareskepinterestrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/corn-casserole/

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I made my first ever pumpkin pie (weird that it’s my first!). I used a basic recipe. And I overdid it. But I love my friend, she didn’t even care.

And lastly, I made an old fashioned Cranberry Fluff Salad. I took a picture, but it looked awful. Like bad awful. But it was good. SO good. I am on the molded and gelatin based salad train. Doesn’t that sound like a gross train to be on? It’s not. It’s amazing. If you like that sort of stuff. Which I do. I DID have to change the recipe, due to my lack of marshmallows. Again, I used the fluff. I thought it might work since that IS one of the names in the recipe. And it DID work, maybe not as successfully as marshmallows would have, but it was still really good!

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/cranberry-fluff/

Do it. That could be your Thanksgiving, right there.

Have a BLESSED end to your week! We are ending our week right with our church/school’s Fall Festival tomorrow night! It’s going to rock!!

Blessings,

Kristin

Honey Sesame Tofu & a TJ’s Review

Oh, boy! A Trader Joe’s opened up near me! Yippee! I know that many people are used to having this store, but it’s a big deal in our town. We’ve waited patiently for it to be built, and then we waited patiently for the crowds to die down. We finally braved it last weekend, early in the morning. The trucks had just been unloaded (I think) and most of the shelves stocked. The boys found Parker the Peacock (the store’s stuffed animal), a first for this location, or so we were told by a worker. They got a prize, we got fun groceries (some of which include wine [obvi], gnocchi, meatballs, chicken tenders, “green” juice”, cupcakes [I had to!], ginger cookies [their number one selling item!], frozen fruit, and GF waffles for Hubs). It was a good time. I decided to do a review on some of the items we bought.

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Today, I am reviewing the Trader Joe’s Organic Sprouted Tofu.

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A good reviewer would have written down the price…or saved the receipt. I did neither. But I do remember that this twin-pack was the cheapest of all the tofu selections there. I like that you get two smaller blocks of tofu. Sometimes I don’t want to eat a whole brick.

They were packed in their “tofu juice”, as usual. I covered my block with a paper towel and let it drain. Then I cut it into cubes. The inside of the block crumbled a bit, despite being “extra firm”, but the crumbles were big enough to count as a “piece”.

I decided to make a honey and sesame version. My recipe is below. It came out delicious. My youngest, Smalls, ate almost half of the serving. He couldn’t get enough of the “to-few”.

Review Result: Recommended

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Honey Sesame Tofu

Serves: 2

1 brick of tofu (as you know, the TJ’s one was smaller)

1 T sesame oil

1 t vegetable oil

1 – 2 T sesame seeds

1.5 t soy sauce

1.5 t honey

1/2 t brown sugar

Place the sesame seeds in a small pan and heat on medium until brown, swirling in pan (so they don’t burn). You can skip this step, but you’ll be sorry. Browning the sesame seeds makes them incredibly nutty and fragrant, and deep with flavor.

Remove seeds from pan and add sesame oil to pan. Add the tofu and brown. I added the veggie oil because the tofu pieces were starting to burn.

Once browned, added the soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Add sesame seeds right before serving.

You don’t have to add the brown sugar. I did it so there would be some caramelization.

Enjoy! 🙂

And PS – I learned tonight I can use chopsticks with my left hand (I’m right-handed for writing) as well as my right hand! NEAT! Who knew!

Kristin