Category Archives: Food

SRC: Troyer’s Loving Life’s Fruit Crisp and Refreshing Strawberry Watermelon Drink

Troyers Loving Life-5

For August’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Kirsten of Troyer’s Loving Life. Kirsten is a stay at home mom who lives in Washington State with her husband and two daughters. She shares stories, moments and recipes from her life and journey as a daughter of the Most High King.

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She has tons of delicious recipes – even including some gluten free ones! The following recipes caught my eye – creamy avocado dressing, Vegan peanut butter cups, Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Fusilli with Sausage, Zucchini and Cheese. When I was on holidays, we needed to bring a dessert to a dinner party, so I made a variation of Pioneer Woman’s Peach Crisp and it was a success! I was also feeling really ambitious, so on a hot day I made her Strawberry Watermelon Drink, which was super refreshing!

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I did make a few modifications to the crisp to make it more “me friendly:” made it gluten and dairy free, didn’t add the maple cream sauce (although I’m sure that would be absolutely heavenly), reduced the sugar and used the fruit I had on hand. We served it with coconut ice cream and it was delicious! Definitely a keeper!

 

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Gluten Free Vegan Peach Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp

3/4 c. Gluten free flour blend (I used Bob Red Mill)
1/4 c. almond meal (could use more flour)
1/4 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (or other fat – coconut oil would probably work as well)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of Allspice or Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Juice and Zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp. maple syrup
5 – 6 c. of fruit (I sort of eye-balled it and used two sliced peaches, ~2 c. of fresh blueberries and ~3 c. of fresh blackberries. I didn’t skin my peaches, but if you want to, Kirsten has really good directions with her recipe.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, almond meal, oats, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and Salt.
  3. Cut in margarine using a fork or a pastry blender (or go really old school and use your fingers, like me) until it is a moist, coarse meal.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together fruit, lemon zest and maple syrup. Pour into a 8 x 8″ pan. (I also put some into muffin cups so that I would have some available to take photos of in case nothing was left over after the dinner party.)
  5. Sprinkle topping over fruit and press down lightly.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and bake for another 30 – 45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. (The muffin tins took about 35 minutes total)
  8. Let cool slightly before serving warm with the maple cream sauce or ice cream.
  9. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Watermelon Drink

Strawberries (I used less than 1/2 a pint)
Watermelon (3 – 4 2″ frozen chunks)
Fresh Basil Leaves (I used 2)Ice (if not using frozen watermelon)
Vodka or other hard liquor (optional)

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional basil/ice if desired.
  2. Enjoy on a hot day!

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Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!

 

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SRC: I am a Honey Bee’s Watermelon Tomato Feta Salad

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For June’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Nicole of I am a Honey Bee. Nicole is also a lover of Boston Terriers, beaches, and food! She recently had her daughter, Autumn, and she is so cute! Nicole also goes on lots of adventures and eats tons of delicious looking food – yum! On top of that, she has tons of delicious recipes on her blog, including these s’mores campfire banana splits, a legitamite Horiatiki salad, and sauteed green beans with lemon and almonds.  After much humming and hawing, I ended up choosing her Watermelon Tomato Feta Salad, which is perfect for summer – especially since we’re actually starting to have nicer weather around here!

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I didn’t change anything except the dressing – I’m not a huge dressing person, so I cut it back to 1/4 c. liquid total and added the lime zest.

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It turned out really well! The flavours worked together quite well and both Mr. Bean and I went back for seconds! (He even tried to eat the one I was photographing before I was done with it!)

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Watermelon Tomato Feta Salad

3/4 of 1 small watermelon, 1″ diced
1 english cucumber, diced
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small block of feta, crumbled
Finely sliced red onion, to taste (I used about a quarter of a small one)

Dressing:

Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

  1. Toss together all the ingredients.
  2. Squeeze lime juice into a glass 1 c. measuring cup. Add enough olive oil to measure 1/4 c. Add zest, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, toss lightly to coat and serve immediately.
  4. Enjoy!

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Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below:

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SRC: Spiffy Cookie’s Peanut Butter Apple Bars

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For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Erin of The Spiffy Cookie! She literally has the cutest little cookie figure  – especially the one that has its eyes closed! Erin is definitely a smart cookie – she has a PhD in Microbiology! Plus, she thinks chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination ever! Spiffy Cookie Apple Peanut Bars-1

She even has a whole list of gluten free recipes! I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person who struggles to get up more than 30 minutes before I need to get out the door! She has so many delicious looking recipes like these Avocado Brownies, Raspberry Mango Margarita Pie, Banana Foster Muffins and these Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfaits.

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In the end, I chose her Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars. I made them gluten free, vegan and reduced the sugar in half. Even then, I found them to be quite sweet, although the glaze is good as it adds extra moisture.

They were delicious! The best part were the apples, especially since they got drenched in the glaze. Yum! I sent them along with Mr. Bean to work and his coworkers loved them! They didn’t last very long!

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Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars

Bars Ingredients

1/2 c. each brown rice, sorghum and millet flours *(if you don’t have one of these flours, just use more of what you have)
1/2 c. each tapioca and potato starch
1 1/4 tsp. xathan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp raisins, finely diced
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (use soy free buttery spread to make soy free)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter (I used Adams all natural crunchy)
2 eggs or egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder + 1/4 c. almond or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1+ c. finely diced apples
Almond Milk (I used 4 tbsp as my peanut butter was really quite hard

Glaze Ingredients

2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. almond milk (my peanut butter was fairly hard, so I added an extra tablespoon of milk)
1 c. sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

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  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper (I used a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet).
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt maragarine and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Shift the flours and whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the diced raisins. Set aside.
  5. Add eggs one at a time to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  6. Pour peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients, add the apples and stir until combined. Add extra milk if necessary to make the batter more easily spreadable.
  7. Transfer batter onto prepared pan and spread the batter into the corners.
  8. Bake in oven for ~20 min for a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet or ~30min for a 13″ x 9″ pan. The bars should be slightly golden on top and edges are slightly brown.
  9. Remove and place on a rack to cook.
  10. As the bars cool, prepare the the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, peanut butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add more milk/sugar to get it to the correct consistency  for drizzling.
  11. Drizzle the glaze over the bars and cut into squares.
  12. Enjoy!

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Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!

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SRC: Angel’s Homestead’s Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Angels Homestead GF Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes-1 For November’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with April of Angel’s Homestead. April is the wonderful force behind the SRC and has a wonderful blog to boot! She recently became gluten free and primal, so there were lots of Bean-friendly recipes for me to look at! Tasty Recipes like: No-mato Sauce (I definitely passed this onto my brother who doesn’t like tomatoes), this Almond Flour Cornbread and these Baked Apple Chips.

After much pursuing, I decided to make her Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes using her Gluten Free Almond Flour Pancakes. For once, I didn’t actually change anything (gasp!) except that I have a feeling the original recipe used non-natural, smooth peanut butter, whereas I used natural, chunky stuff. They still turned out well!

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I tried making a small amount of the peanut butter syrup, where I learned that it’s best to use smooth peanut butter as the chunky stuff doesn’t look that good. Plus, I have a feeling it was also for non-natural peanut butter, so it definitely wasn’t as smooth as it could have been! That being said, peanuts and maple go surprisingly well together!

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In her instructions, she says to cook them on low heat – please do! I initially had my griddle at 325F and it was too warm, so the pancakes got quite dark. The next batch I cooked at 275F and they were much lighter coloured.

As I was making the pancakes, Mr. Bean was making bacon, which means: Elvis pancakes!

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In case you don’t know what Elvis pancakes are – apparently Elvis liked to eat peanut butter, bananas and bacon together and the combination is surprisingly tasty! Add a bit of maple syrup and you’re good to go!

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April, it was a delight to look through your blog! Thank you so much for all the work that you put into the Secret Recipe Club!

Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below!

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Trip to Quebec: Food!

As I mentioned in my September SRC post, Mr Bean and I went to Montreal mid-September for a work conference for him. It was a bit of a hit and run trip – we arrived on Tuesday evening, the conference ran from Wednesday morning to Saturday afternoon and we left on Sunday morning. Definitely worth it though!

My sister lives in Quebec, so I took the time to visit with her while Mr. Bean was otherwise occupied. Both of us love food, so we knew the time we were going to spend together would revolve around it. Not terribly surprising, but very delicious!

On the Wednesday morning, my sister picked me up from the hotel and we went and picked apples.

imageIt was quite fun! The ladders were a bit bizarre and part way through the orchard was invaded by 4 or 5 bus loads of school children. We ended up with two large bags of apples, which we then put to good use throughout the rest of the trip!

We planned to spend lots of time making food together and we definitely did! Here’s what we made (over 2 1/2 days):

  • Swiss Hazelnut Macaroons – we made these while having dinner with a family my sister works with. We also had the most amazing Maple Sugar ice cream – I try not to eat a lot of dairy, but it was definitely worth it!Here is the closest recipe I can find for the macaroons based on ingredients – but instead you beat the egg whites until stiff, add the sugar and beat until glossy, then gently fold in the hazelnut meal. Spoon the macaroons onto lined cookie sheets and put a whole hazelnut on each macaroon. Bake until firm but still a bit soft. Let cool down and enjoy!
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Please Excuse the Gross Phone Shot

  • 2 batches of Applesauce – we sweetened it with maple syrup and made it spiced – so good!

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Hapa-tite Zucchini Muffins-3

  • Coconut Macaroons

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  • Apple Pie – I used a combination of lard & shortening and I didn’t really like the taste of the crust so much. Plus, since I used a glass pan, I could see the fat bubbling away as it cooked (ick!). Has anyone else had this issue with GF pie crusts?

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  • Butternut Squash Soup - I’m not a huge fan of squash, so I was a bit apprehensive when my sister said that she was going to make this soup. I was wrong to doubt as it was delicious – so delicious that I’ve made it since I’ve come back.

My sister then dropped me off in Montreal on the Friday afternoon for a conference event and then re-joined us on Saturday morning for some sight-seeing and food adventures.

For lunch, we had Poutine at La Banquise. Poutine is a french Canadian dish that consists of fries, cheese curds and gravy, but this place also had many different variations with various additions.

Mr. Bean had the “La Trois Viandes” – ground beef, pepperoni and bacon,

Poutine-4My sister’s had “La Miam” – ground beef, sausage, onions, tomatoes and swiss cheese.

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I had the “La Matty” – bacon, onions, peppers and mushrooms without the gravy as it’s definitely not gluten free. I also ordered a salad so that I wouldn’t feel as gross and heavy. Definitely a wise move!

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To be honest, I didn’t really like it that much as I thought it was kind of greasy and it probably wasn’t as good as if it were slathered in gravy. Oh well. We decided that we would try to make it ourselves with gluten free gravy and not as greasy fries when my sister is coming to visit for my cousin’s wedding in October.

They pretty much have the most awesome tables ever. I’m sad that we weren’t sitting closer to a window so that the light would have been better.

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We also went to a restaurant called Zero8. Everything on their menu is made without the top 8 allergens – gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and shellfish. It’s a great place for people with allergies (obviously) and has some pretty tasty food!

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We started off the with the Bruschetta, then Mr. Bean had the Duck Confit and both my sister and I had lamb burgers.

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The only thing I was disappointed in was the dessert as I had a spice cake that was like cardboard. Apparently, they baked it too much. The Chocolate ganache was the only thing that made it worthwhile…

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My sister and I also found a gluten free bakery called “Cookie Stefanie“, which was pretty delicious. Their Orange Cranberry muffin made a good breakfast for our early travel day home.

I would really like to go back to Quebec to explore the food side of things more (there are at least a few other GF bakeries that we didn’t visit), plus visit Quebec City!

Have you had any Culinary Adventures lately?

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