Frosted Graham Crackers

We loved this treat as kids.  It was super easy for mom and we were super happy, so everyone was a winner!  As kids we used a jar of frosting and a package of just regular graham crackers.  As an adult eating gluten free, it hadn’t occurred to me to resurrect this easy treat.  One day I wanted something sweet but didn’t want to make a big recipe that I would have to work on for days to finish.  We are trying to eat less sugar and that just wouldn’t do.  I started scrounging in my pantry and freezer.  I came across one lonely graham cracker (Kinnikinnick brand), and in my freezer I had some frozen cream cheese frosting leftover from my carrot cake.  You better believe I set that frosting out on the counter immediately to let it start defrosting :-).  As soon as it was spreadable, I spread it on that graham cracker and relived my childhood.  I invite you to enjoy such an easy treat.  There’s actually a lot of canned frosting that is gluten free and dairy free if you want to make it even easier on yourself.  I have gotten spoiled in my old age and prefer homemade, but as a kid, the canned stuff was just fine by me :-).

 

Ingredients:

leftover frosting (about 1-3 T. depending on the size of your graham cracker)

1 graham cracker (I used Kinnikinnick brand- may contain eggs although it’s not listed in the ingredients.)

 

Directions:

Break the graham cracker in half.  Put frosting in between the two pieces of graham cracker.  Now you have a frosting sandwich.  Enjoy!

 

Other frosting ideas: chocolate frosting, oreo buttercream frosting

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Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Even my husband, who doesn’t really care for avocados, was helping me lick the bowl after this one.  We served it over a southwest salad.

 

Ingredients:

2 small avocados

2 T. mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise so it would be egg free)

1 c. cilantro, washed

2 green onions, sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

juice of 1 lime (about 1 T.)

3 T. milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp white vinegar

 

Directions:

Scoop out the avocados and save the pits for storing in the dressing. Blend all ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container with the avocado pits in the dressing to help keep it fresh.  Could also be used as a dip.

 

Inspired by:

http://www.food.com/recipe/creamy-cilantro-avocado-dressing-449407

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

I bought a lot of bananas for a campout.  They didn’t travel very well and were desperately in need of being eaten when I arrived home.  I have been brainstorming ways to use them up and this is one of them.  Blueberries and bananas.  What could be better?! (Don’t answer that 🙂

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 very ripe bananas

1/4 c. frozen blueberries (I think a 1/2 cup might be better)

1/2 c. coconut milk from a carton

1/4 c. crushed ice

 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Drink immediately.

 

Notes:

This was very good, but a little heavy on the banana.  I think the additional blueberries will balance out the banana taste.  We are going to experiment some more and let you know.

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Simple Peanut Butter Banana Frozen No-Bakes

The name is longer than the ingredient list.

One of my friends told me about these.  It is her husband’s dessert that he makes.  She didn’t, however, give me the exact recipe, so this is my experiment.  It is very simple and oh so good!  I think I am going to try it as popsicles sometime and I’ll let you know if they turn out.  This is a good, cheap, and healthy snack for kids too.

 

Ingredients:

1 large, very ripe banana, mashed

2 T. peanut butter

 

Directions:

Mash banana.  Add peanut butter and stir well.  Place onto wax paper and freeze for at least an hour.  I froze mine overnight.

 

Notes:

I tried adding additional ingredients, but it actually made them less tasty.  The only down side is that your fingers get kind of messy as the heat from them melts the “cookie” which is why I want to try them as popsicles.

 

Glutino-Stuffed Brownie

We recently had our 6-month anniversary.  In celebration, I attempted brownies with my chocolate cookie recipe as previously promised.  I also had a package of Glutino’s open that I wanted to use up.  I googled it and apparently a bunch of people already beat me to the punch.  It’s already a thing.  However, I didn’t see any gluten free vegan versions, so here you go!

Ingredients:

3/4 c. brown rice flour

1/4 c. tapioca starch

1/4 c. potato starch

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted but room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. packed brown sugar (I used light brown because that’s what I had)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/3 c. non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened Cashew Milk this time, but normally I use coconut milk)

1/4 to 1/2 c. chocolate chips

9 Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (or Oreos if you aren’t gluten free)

 

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix flours and starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  In a stand mixer bowl, mix coconut oil and sugars.  Blend on low.  Add vanilla and blend again on low.  Add half the flour and half the milk and stir just a little bit before turning on the mixer to prevent a flour cloud.  Mix briefly with the mixer.  Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk and mix with mixer briefly.  The dough should be very thick. Stir in chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, grease an 8×8 pan.  Add a very thin layer of brownie batter, then place a layer of Glutinos in the bottom (about 9 cookies).  Top with remaining batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until desired firmness.  *Note* Coconut oil will harden as it cools, so do not over bake.

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Adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/vegan-chocolate-almond-cookies/?m

Green Bean Casserole

My sister introduced this to me.  It is starting to become a staple of our holiday dinners.  I can’t exactly say it’s good for you, but it’s yummy nonetheless.  The original name is Sweet and Sour Green Beans, but we have started calling it Green Bean Casserole.

Layer in 9×13 casserole dish in this order:

2 large cans of French cut green beans, drained

1 large can of sliced mushrooms (optional)

1 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (save the grease)

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 large can Rotel (original)

 

Mix and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:

12 T sugar

12 T. red wine vinegar

all of the bacon grease from frying the bacon earlier (about 12 T.)

Pour boiled sauce over the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until bubbling and onions are done).

Notes:

Can be baked anywhere 300-450 degrees for up to 60 minutes, so you can cook it in the oven with other parts of the holiday meal.  We usually leave out the mushrooms and sometimes add an extra onion.  We never measure the bacon grease and just add it all.  If you don’t eat pork, turkey bacon may work. You may have to add a little extra grease if your turkey bacon isn’t very greasy.  Hope you enjoy this casserole as much as we do!

Recipe is compliments of Alberta Denham.

 

Pineapple Fried Rice

My husband loves pineapple fried rice.  He orders it almost every time it’s on the menu.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a gluten free one in a restaurant yet, hence this recipe.  If you want it to be vegetarian, just skip the chicken.  You could add scrambled eggs in too if you can eat eggs.

 

Ingredients:

1 T. coconut oil

1-1.5 pounds chicken, cubed

1 1/2 c. pineapple chunks

1 red pepper, diced in 1/2-inch pieces

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. cashews

4 c. cooked rice

1/2 c. raisins

1 lime

1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce

2 T gluten free soy sauce

 

 

Directions:

Warm 1 T. coconut oil in a large wok.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  Set chicken aside in a bowl.  Leave 1 T. of the liquid in the pan.  Add pineapple, red peppers, and brown sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the green onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add pineapple mixture into the bowl with the chicken.

Toast cashews in the pan for 30 seconds and then add in the cooked rice and cook for 2 minutes.  Add raisins and return the chicken and pineapple mixture to the pan and continue cooking until it is all warm again.  Add in the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and lime and stir.

I used to make this with three pounds of chicken and it was way too meat-centric.  I have now cut the meat down to 1-1.5 pounds which will help the other flavors shine.

Adapted from: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/thai-pineapple-fried-rice-recipe/

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I actually made this dish twice.  The main picture has cilantro in it, but I decided it was better without cilantro.  This is the second rendition and tasted much better.

Cilantro Lime Rice in Rice Cooker

This evening I started rice in my rice cooker and about 10 minutes later realized what I really wanted was cilantro lime rice.  I googled for inspiration and didn’t find a recipe that exactly fit my needs.  My mother-in-law makes wonderful cilantro rice, but hers is stovetop and I was already past that point and I didn’t have all the ingredients.  I decided to try my hand at makeshift rice.  As suspected, I was able to just add the desired ingredients to the rice once it was cooked, so I didn’t have to mess with stovetop rice.  Yay!  If you don’t have a rice cooker, you could just do this on the stovetop.

Ingredients:

2 c. uncooked brown rice

water (the amount your rice cooker says to use for 2 cups of rice)

2 T. non-dairy butter

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp salt

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

 

Directions:

Cook rice according to rice cooker directions.  Once it is cooked, add the butter, lime, salt, and chopped cilantro.  Stir well and serve as a side.  Pairs well with my enchiladas.

 

Adapted from: http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2015/04/copycat-chipotle-cilantro-lime-rice.html

 

Refried Beans

The name isn’t actually true.  I didn’t actually recook these.  They really should be “mashed and seasoned beans,” but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and it is a highly unlikely google search.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 cups cooked and mashed pinto beans, or 2 cans of pinto beans, drained

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can of rotel with juice (10 oz can)

Juice of half a lime

 

Directions:

Soak beans overnight.  Drain and put in crockpot.  Cover with water with an additional inch of water on top of beans.  Cook on low all day (6-8 hours).

Drain water.  Mash beans (I used an immersion blender.)  Add in all ingredients and stir well.  May be served as a side dish or used as the bean portion of my enchiladas.

Quick Sweet Potato Mash

I have a habit of buying potatoes and then letting them sit around for a really long time.  I know I should use them quicker, but sometimes they seem like they take forever to make and that effort seems wasted if it’s just on one potato.  When I recently had oral surgery, I was on a soft food diet for several days.  I quickly tired of guacamole, yogurt, and applesauce.  That’s when I saw my poor lonely sweet potato sitting on the counter.  I figured I could make a mash in the microwave pretty easily.  This is the result!

 

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, washed and pierced with a fork all over

3-4 T. non-dairy butter (SmartBalance)

1 T. non-dairy milk (cashew milk)

 

Directions:
Wash sweet potato and pierce it with a fork all over.  Microwave on one side for 3 minutes.  Turn over and microwave for another 3 minutes or until you can easily pierce all the way through the potato with a fork.  Carefully peel with a fork or knife, scraping excess potato off of the skin and onto your plate.  Mash with a fork.  Add in 3-4 T. butter to hot potato and mash in.  Add 1 T. cashew milk to make it fluffier (you may need more or less depending on the size of your potato).

This works well as a quick side for one or two people or as a snack.