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Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free: Healing Chicken Soup

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been flirting with a cold – one day I’m feeling fine and the next like I hit a brick wall. Ugh. Whenever I was sick as a kid (or teenager … or even as an adult, really), my mom would recommend eating homemade chicken soup. There really is something about it that makes you feel just a little bit better and makes your head a little bit clearer when you’re sickly! I remember a few months after I started dating Mr. Bean, he got really sick, so I went over to his house and fed him chicken soup. I don’t remember exactly, but I can pretend that it made him feel much better! (Probably having a doting girlfriend feed you soups helps, too.)

Luckily for me, this soup also works perfectly for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free challenge, hosted by Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake, themed “Foods that Heal.” While I don’t really know that much about nutrition or what foods promote healing of the gut or whatever, I do know that chicken soup helps when you’re feeling sick and still tastes great when you’re not!

The biscuits probably aren’t terribly healing, but I love biscuits with chicken soup! This isn’t the first time I’ve made chicken soup and biscuits but this soup uses leftover roast chicken and the biscuits are my adaptation of both biscuits from my mom’s recipe book and from the Joy of Cooking. I think they are still quite light and fluffy and you don’t have to grate the fat into the dry ingredients. (I found that just clumped up anyways, so I was really no further ahead.) Plus, there’s no rolling, so it literally takes about 20 – 25 minutes from start to finish depending on how much they need to cook. I’m definitely going to be making this meal with the leftover soup that I froze once I start working!

Homemade Chicken Soup

Chicken Carcass with some meat left on it – ideally free range organic, but do the best you can
Water
Parsley (and other spices if desired)
Veggies (I used: mushrooms, carrots, celery, peppers, peas and corn)

  1. After you’ve roasted and carved you chicken, place the carcass in your slow cooker. Add enough water to mostly cover the chicken. Add spices like parsley, bay leaves, etc.
  2. Slow cook your chicken soup until the chicken starts to fall apart. I probably let it cook for a full 18- 24 hours. I love cooking soup in my slow cooker as I don’t have to worry about leaving the stove on.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the carcass, bones and meat and place on a plate to cool.
  4. Pour liquid through a sieve into a large pot. If there are any meat chunks left in sieve, feel free to add to soup stock.
  5. Bring the pot up to a boil. Chop up the veggies and add to the soup.
  6. Once the chicken is cool enough, pick off all the meat and put in pot. Discard bones and pour any liquid through sieve into the pot.
  7. Once the veggies are cooked, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve up and enjoy!

This recipe can make a TON of soup depending on the size of chicken and how much water you add. We ended up freezing some for future use in old glass mayonnaise bottles with a piece of wax paper under the lid. Remember to leave ample space for the soup to expand as it freezes so you don’t end up with broken glass in your freezer!

You could add noodles if you want, but noodles and biscuits are too much starch, so no noodles it was!

Gluten and Egg Free Biscuits (can be dairy free, too!)

1 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. sorghum flour
2/3 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
1 tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
4 – 5 tbsp. dairy free margarine
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. lemon juice
Additions – grated old cheddar cheese (Mr. Bean’s favourite), currants, garlic, chives, parsley, etc

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  4. Measure in the fat into the dry ingredients and work it through with your fingers until it’s pea sized.
  5. Add in the cheese (or whatever) to the flour mixture.
  6. Using a fork, mix in the milk. The biscuits should be quite wet and sticky but still a very soft dough.
  7. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (depending on the size of biscuits) until they start to turn golden brown and they don’t squish when touched.
  9. Remove from oven. Wrap biscuits in a towel on a plate or basket and serve immediately.
  10. Enjoy with butter/margarine (Mr. Bean’s favourite) and dip them in the soup or with honey (my favourite).

What’s your favourite”healing” food for when you’re sick?

Shared at: Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop and Allergy Friendly Fridays.

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GAHIGF: Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Pecan Pie Bars

Can you believe that I have never had pecan pie before? I’m assuming for some Americans that is shocking as it’s an American Thanksgiving staple, but my family never ate it. So when Brittany of Real Sustenance announced that the themed for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free was Thanksgiving, I thought why not try a Thanksgiving staple that I’ve never made before? I guess I could have made an actual pie, but bars are smaller, less fussy and easier to photograph!

From the recipes I first found, I was shocked at the amount and kind of sugar that goes into many of them – 1 c. of corn syrup and at least 1/2 a cup of sugar for one cup of pecans? No thank you! So obviously, I wanted to make my attempt at pecan pie much, much less sweet so I didn’t end up with a headache. This version uses about 1/2 c. of sweetener in total and they are still sweet, but not sickeningly so. I was first inspired by these Vegan Pecan Pie Bars by The Almond Flower – they look so simple and delicious! However, when I asked Mr. Bean about the consistency of the filling and he said “soft” – most likely due to the eggs – and I wasn’t sure if that recipe would give me the texture I wanted. Further searching came up with this Sugar Free Pecan Pie Recipe that uses flax meal and arrowroot powder instead of eggs. It seemed to have worked as Mr. Bean said that the texture of the filling was almost spot on! Hurrah!

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Pecan Pie Bars

Shortbread Crust:

2 c. blanched almond flour
4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
dash of salt

Pecan Filling

1 3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 – 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar, if desired
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp. tapioca starch (could use arrowroot to make grain free)
2 tbsp. nut milk (or whatever kind of milk you want)
Salt for pecans

  1. To make crust, turn oven to 350F and line with parchment paper or grease an 8×8″ pan.
  2. Mix ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined.
  3. Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. For the filling: In a small-medium sized pot, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract.
  5. Bring pot up to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (The coconut oil and sweeteners will not mix very much as one is polar and the other is not. Don’t worry as the nut milk slurry will act as an emulsifier.)
  6. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (I stuck mine in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes, giving it the occasional stir to prevent any coconut oil from hardening.)
  7. Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a pan on medium heat for about 5 – 8 minutes or until they smell like roasted pecans, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal, tapioca starch and nut milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  9. Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooler, whisk in the nut milk mixture until combined and smooth.
  10. Mix in the chopped pecans and mix until combined. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and distribute evenly.
  11. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
  12. Before serving, chill in the fridge for at least an hour – the colder they are, the easier they are to cut and serve!
  13. Enjoy!

What is your favourite Thanksgiving Staple?

Recipe shared at: Sugar Free Sundays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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GAHIGF: Gluten Free Ginger Beef and Chinese-esque Pork Dumplings

When I was a kid, almost every time my mom was out of town, my dad would order us Chinese food. Usually we’d get ginger beef, sweet and sour pork, some sort of chicken stir fry with vegetables and occasionally Shanghai noodles. When we found out that none of us could eat gluten, we stopped ordering in Chinese food altogether.

Over the years I’ve had Chinese food a few times, especially over my teenage years when I disregarded the need to eat gluten free all the time. I think the most memorable experience was when I was invited to my best friend’s family birthday dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Given that they were Chinese, we had a variety of actual Chinese food – including duck (good) and jellyfish (bleck. When I asked what the long clear strips were, they said that I should try one because they were tasty. I did and after chewing on it for a few minutes, I asked what it was. “Jellyfish!” they replied. Needless to say I didn’t eat any more of it!)

When Iris from the Daily Deitribe, who is hosting this month’s “Mooncake Festival” themed Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, said to make one of our favourite Chinese food dishes suitable to our dietary needs, I knew I wanted to make something I hadn’t eaten in a while. (No, not jellyfish – I’ve since then discovered an allergy to shellfish and non-fish sea creatures). I recently started to eat some cuts of beef (a story for another day), so I thought that I should try to make ginger beef gluten free. Since I’m also an overacheiver, I also wanted to make some dumplings, especially since seeing LaxSuperMom’s recipe for gluten free wonton wrappers. (I call them Chinese-esque because I can’t presume that they are truly Chinese dumplings. )

Both ended up being very tasty – Mr. Bean LOVED the dumplings despite me not rolling out the dough thin enough. I really enjoyed the ginger beef as the sauce was so close to how I remember it and how they were not mostly gross deep-fried batter. The recipe allowed for 2 very generous meals for both of us, plus a bunch of dumplings and  about 1/3 of the dough leftover. We also had left over meat from the dumplings, which I guess we could have used to make more dumplings, that Mr. Bean made Asian inspired meatballs out of.

Ginger Beef (based on this recipe from tasty kitchen)

~1 lb sirloin tip steak, sliced in 1/4″ thick strips
Rice flour
Oil
1 onion, sliced
2 – 3 stalks of celery, chopped diagonally
1 – 2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 pepper, sliced thinly (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green)
2 -3 baby bok choys, chopped
1 handful of bean sprouts
2 green onions, chopped
4 tbsp freshly grated/minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. GF soy sauce
2 tbsp. cooking sherry
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. sugar (could use 1/4 c. agave if you wanted to make it refined sugar free)
Salt
Red Pepper flakes (optional)
Cornstarch and water

  1. Heat some oil up in a frying pan. Dredge the beef strips in the rice flour. Fry in batches until meat is browned. Remove from frying pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Once the meat is done, add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary and sauté the onion, carrots, onion, garlic and ginger until the onions are starting to become translucent. Add the rest of the veggies.
  3. A minute or two later, add the soy sauce, cooking sherry, apple cider vinegar and sugar and bring up to the boil.
  4. Create a slurry with some water and cornstarch and add to the boiling liquid. Stir. Add more slurry if necessary to get the sauce thickened to the desired consistency.
  5. Add the beef back to the stir fry and stir to coat. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  6. Serve over rice if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chinese(esque) Pork Dumplings

For the wrappers (based on this recipe from LaxSuperMom – for detailed instructions with pictures, check out her blog post)

2 c. sweet rice flour
1/2 c. garbanzo bean flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. xathan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
7/8 c. applesauce (or 1 c. if it’s quite thin as my applesauce was very thick)
Water
Cornstarch

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and applesauce.
  3. Mix together and add enough water to make an elastic dough. (I used over 1/2 c.)
  4. Sprinkle some sweet rice flour over a long strip of wax paper (or other non-stick surface.)
  5. Roll out about half the dough until 1/8″ or less thick. The dough sticks together quite well, so it can be fairly thin.
  6. Cut ~3″ squares in the rolled out dough.
  7. Spoon ~1/2 tbsp. of meat mixture into the middle of the square. Create a slurry with some cornstarch and water (you only need about 1/4c. water and a tbsp or two of cornstarch) and use your finger to “paint” slurry on two adjacent edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the meat and seal the edges.  Place finished dumpling on a piece of wax paper.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the dumplings in the boiling water until they float. (I let them cook for a few extra minutes after they started floated to ensure that the pork was cooked.) Once done, remove from the pot and place in a strainer to drain.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
  11. If desired, you can fry them until they are browned. I actually preferred them that way over just boiled.
  12. Once all the dumplings are cooked, you can eat them any way you like. SuperLaxMom ate hers in a broth, whereas we ate ours dipped in the sauce from the ginger beef.
  13. Enjoy!

Pork Filling for Dumplings (based on this recipe from Steamy Kitchen)

1 lb ground pork
1/2 c. thinly chopped green onions
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tbsp. GF soy sauce
1 tbsp. Cooking sherry
2 tsp. olive oil (could use sesame, but I don’t own any)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Mix together all the ingredients until fully incorporated. (I used my hands but you could also easily use a food processor.)
  2. Store in fridge until ready to use.

What is your favourite kind of Chinese food?

Recipe submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesdays.

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Vegan Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake (GAHIGF)

Mr. Bean and I celebrated Easter Dinner at his parent’s house and my mother-in-law asked me to bring a dessert as it’s really difficult and not fair for other people to make desserts that I can eat that are not just fruit. I hummed and hawed over what I should make, but I knew what I wanted after seeing all these strawberry shortcake recipes popping up everywhere:

Cook It Allergy Free’s “The Most Unbelievable Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Strawberry Shortcake
Pumpkin Pantry’s Strawberry Shortcake with Vegan Frozen Yogurt
Sweet Caroline’s Strawberry Shortcake with Fluffy Whipped Cream

Don’t those make you want to make strawberry shortcake immediately? Yeah, me too!

I learned from my Joy of Cooking that strawberry shortcake can be made in two ways: using biscuits/scones or sponge cake. Since I’m not eating eggs, the decision to make the former was incredibly easy. The shortcake recipe is based on a variation of the “fluffy rolled biscuits” from the Joy of Cooking. Of course, I just made them vegan, gluten and refined sugar-free. :)

This dessert is fantastic if you’re trying avoid sugar – there is less than a tablespoon of sweetener in the entire thing. You can add more if you like, but using ripe strawberries and coconut cream, which is quite sweet on its own, made it plenty sweet enough by my standards. These are perfect to share with a group of people as each can assemble their shortcake to their taste. They are also not very heavy, so they would be perfect to serve at a brunch or even as an afternoon snack with tea.

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Strawberry Shortcakes

8 shortcakes (recipe below)
1 pint of strawberries, sliced (plus smaller whole ones for the top if desired)
2 cans coconut milk, left in the refrigerator overnight
Sweetener (if desired) – I added 1 tsp. agave nectar

  1. Carefully open cans of coconut milk and skim off the white coconut cream. Set the coconut milk aside to use in the biscuits and for whatever else.
  2. In a mixer equipped with a whisk, whip the coconut cream and sweetener until it holds peaks and is fluffy. Place in fridge until ready to use.
  3. After the shortcakes are cooled, cut in half.
  4. On the bottom half, spread a dollop of coconut cream on the lower half. Pile on some strawberries and another dollop on coconut cream. Place the top half on the cream to create a sandwich. Add another dollop of cream and a whole strawberry to garnish if desired.
  5. To make them easier to eat, make two open-faced shortcakes piled with coconut cream and strawberries.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Shortcakes

1 c. Brown Rice Flour
1/2 c. Tapioca Starch
1/4 c. Potato Starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 – 5 tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. coconut milk with coconut cream removed
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients. Make sure that you spoon the flours into the measuring cups or else it might be too dense. If you don’t feel like doing that, just add more coconut milk when you add the wet ingredients.
  3. Using fingers, work coconut oil through the dry ingredients until there are no chunks of coconut oil left.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until mixed using a fork.
  5. Roll (or pat) out the dough on a floured board until about 1″ thick.
  6. Cut out into ~3″ circles – I just used a glass. It should make 8 shortcakes.
  7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.

This is my submission for April’s Brunch themed Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free Challenge, hosted by Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake.

What is your favourite Brunch Item?

This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop Volume 45 and Gluten Free Wednesdays!

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Health(ier) Peanut (Not Quite) Brittle

January 26th (Tomorrow) is apparently National Peanut Brittle Day. Who knew? This month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free, hosted by the lovely Lauren of Celiac Teen, is “Follow the Calendar.”  Since I’m a rebel, I decided to try making this a bit early so I could submit it for Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. (I actually made it on the weekend so I wouldn’t have to cheat on my Daniel Fast but that’s just how I roll.)

I wanted to make a peanut brittle that didn’t have any corn syrup and wasn’t just white sugar, so I based the recipe on Spunky Coconut’s Spiced Almond Brittle, which used agave nectar. Mine was only brittle when it was straight out the freezer as I didn’t use a candy thermometer and I added baking soda at the beginning, so I was unsure on how hard I should boil it. That’s what happens when you don’t follow the recipe 100%.

Health(ier) Peanut Brittle

1 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. coconut oil
1 1/2 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda (optional)

  1. Measure agave nectar and coconut oil into a small to medium sized pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add peanuts.
  3. Not so brittle way: bring to a simmer (lot of little bubbles) and stir continually for 20 minutes.
    Brittle way: keep boiling/simmering until you’ve reached hard crack temperature. (around 290 – 300F)*
  4. Remove from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. If you add the baking soda, it will be very frothy.
  5. Pour onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Put into freezer for two hours to cool.
  7. Once cool, break into pieces. If you made the not-so-brittle version, store in the fridge or else you’ll have very sticky peanut toffee!
  8. Enjoy!

Which do you like better: brittle or toffee?

*Note: Since I’m not an expert on sugar and since we’re using agave nectar instead of sugar, the hard crack temperature might be different. If you try this, please let me know how it turns out!

I submitted this recipe to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. As usual, the recipes look amazing, so check it out!

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