Gluten Free Chocolate-Filled Macaroons


 
Most of the time I would consider myself a planner. I usually prepare and think ahead, but every now and then I'm a "What?! It's already Valentines?" kind of person.  So here's to anyone else who's been caught off guard by this lovable holiday. These {Homemade} gluten-free, chocolate-filled, pink and simple macaroons are the perfect Valentine's Day treat for your someone special...or yourself -- who is also very special. ;) With only 5 ingredients, these macaroons can be whipped together in no time and are sure to impress way more than store bought chocolates. (hint, hint fellas) I made mine bite-sized, but you can make them bigger if you'd like. Here's how you do it...

4 egg whites, whipped

1/2 cup sifted organic coconut sugar or honey (I did half and half)

1-1/2 cups coconut flour

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Lemon Almond Muffins



 
Muffins were always a regular snack or dinner side at my house growing up. I mean, how can you not love sweet little mounds of bread. Even though my family doesn't do refined wheat, that doesn't mean I still can't share my love of muffins with my family. So here's some gluten free after school snacks, grab-and-go breakfast, dessert in the kiddos lunch box, or side to a light dinner. As a family we go through a lot of eggs. So whenever possible I like to leave out the eggs in my baked goods so I can save them for things like Bacon Broccoli Quiche  or in bread that does need them like {Homemade} Sandwich Bread. These muffins aren't missing any protein though since I used a garbanzo bean flour blend. They are sweet, light, and fluffy and you probably wouldn't even guess they were eggless, gluten free, and refined sugar free. 

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Make Your Own Gluten Free Flour Blends

Buying gluten free flour blends is not cheap! For anyone who has been restricted from eating gluten, this is something you probably already know all too well. Do you forgo eating baked goods or go over your grocery budget so you can? I had the same struggle after my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Read Our Story to understand why our whole family eats gluten free. After a lot of experimentation with different kinds of gluten free flours, research, and taste testing - lots of taste testing ;)  Here's some of my favorite blends and links for where to buy them for the best price. Because let's face it, eating gluten free isn't cheap! Don't worry, I promise you can have your bread, muffins, and cake...and eat it too, all while saving some money and staying on budget! 
I buy all my flours in bulk online. As soon as they're delivered I make my blends right in a gallon-sized bag. Shake it up to blend it, label, and stick it in the freezer. (As you can see I've been using my bean blend and need to make another blend batch). P.S. If you have Amazon prime you'll get free shipping for orders over a certain amount.

Once you have your blends prepared you can simply swap out cup for cup either the bean blend or GF flour blend with a recipe that calls for regular flour. You just may need to add an extra egg or 2 and reduce the liquid by 2 tablespoons. It's always a good idea to try the converted recipe once before you make it for a crowd.

The quinoa flour is in a bag too, because if you follow my link at the bottom for how to bake with quinoa flour you'll see that I baked it in a 215 degree oven for 2 hours before cooling and storing in the freezer. Baking quinoa flour before using it gets rid of the bitter taste, but makes it more susceptible to rancidity, so into the freezer it goes. In general, it's a good idea to keep all these flours in the fridge or freezer to allow them to keep longer. 

Light Gluten Free Flour Blend
*  This is the blend I use to make bread and waffles, but really it's a good all-purpose blend. 
2 cups Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour


1-2/3 cup Potato Starch


1-1/3 cup Tapioca Flour


1 cup toasted Quinoa Flour (Read here for how to toast it)

1 cup Gluten Free Corn Starch


3 tsp. Gum Xanthan

Combine all the ingredients for the flour blend in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Seal it and shake until it's well mixed. You'll end up with 6 cups of this blend so you could make two batches of bread or put the remaining blend in the freezer for next time.

Bean Flour Blend
* This blend is perfect for sweet breads and muffins. 
2-1/2 cups Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Flour


2-1/2 cups potato starch

1-1/2 cups tapioca starch

2 cups brown rice flour

2-1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

 
Other Gluten Free Flours 
*These flours you don't need to blend ahead of time, but are great to use in cakes, cookies, or tortillas. It's important to eat a variety of grains and proteins, especially if you need to be gluten free (gluten is a protein). By eating lots of different "flours" it will provide you with all the necessary vitamins and proteins your body needs without overdoing it with one or two kinds exclusively. These flours are great for making things like these breakfast fruit tarts or pumpkin pecan pie.
Almond Flour/ meal


Coconut Flour


quinoa flour  (Here's some great tips for how to bake with quinoa flour)
*I put links to all the flours that I purchase and use. It took some time going through the different brands, but these are the ones that I've found work good and taste great!


Happy and healthy baking!!!

-Melissa

 
 

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


We were getting ready to go to grandma's 90th birthday party when I realized that there probably wouldn't be any gluten free treats available there for my daugher. So I found a big ripe banana in the basket of fruit in my pantry, some dark chocolate chips in my freezer, and came up with these delicious gluten free, egg free, paleo, refined sugar free AMAZING cookies!

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{Homemade} Gluten Free Granola Bars

 


You know what the worst part about feeding my entire family gluten free and as organic and chemical free as possible? The COST! $6 for a box of 5 gluten free snack bars?! Really?! So yes, making my own snacks from scratch does take up some of my time, but no more time than it'd take to make a batch of cookies, plus it saves me $$$ - like $.25 for .$50 per bar and I know exactly what's in them. So I take the time, and you know what? It's worth it. This recipe makes approximately 16 bars and the variations are endless.

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{Homemade} Gluten Free Sandwich Bread


As far as the Paleo diet goes (which we have loosely followed for some time now) even the word "bread" is a big no no. However, when it comes to my gluten free 3 year old, bread is a must! She has done an amazing job of adapting to a gluten free lifestyle and is very good about asking me before she eats something to be sure it's gluten free and not eating food when she's over at friends houses. However, she's still a 3 year old! And when her cousins pull out their PB&Js for lunch and she looks at me with those big brown eyes I will experiment and test until I get the best tasting gluten free bread I can come up with so she can have her PB&J and eat it too!

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{Homemade} GF Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


Since making my kitchen 100% gluten free there are a few things that my kids (and by my kids I mean ME) have not been willing to let go of, namely yummy breads! This will be the first of several yummy and healthy breads in the Food L'amor GF Baking Series. After lots of trial and error I've found that gluten free bread can taste amazing and doesn't have to be super fattening either! What?! This delicious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread will hit the spot during the holidays or freeze and save for any day. I used a light gluten free flour blend, dark chocolate chips, cut out the refined sugar and replaced it with less than half the amount of 100% pure organic maple syrup. Don't worry it will appease that sweet tooth and you'll get a healthy dose of dark chocolate in each bite!
F.Y.I - I always double this recipe to make two loafs since my family will take down the first loaf in a matter of minutes before it even cools!

Preheat oven to 350

2 eggs + 1 egg white
1/4 cup coconut oil, warm jar under hot tap water to liquify
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic pure maple syrup
1 - 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin

Combine wet ingredients in a bowl until well blended. In another bowl combine dry ingredients. You can make your own flour blend or use a store bought prepared flour blend. I've used both and it turns out good either way.)

Gluten Free Flour Blend:
3/4 cup brown rice flour or GF oat flour
1/4 cup potato flour
5 tbsp. + 1 tsp. tapioca flour

Combine the flour blend with...

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until well incorporated along with...
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips  *I may have used a little bit more than this just cause ;)

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Garlic Herb Tapioca Rolls

 
 
Everyone has been so helpful and concerned about our little family since the whole "Celiac crisis" took place and I am so grateful for good people who really care.  Like my amazing neighbor - who just so happens to be an accomplished chef, who caters at places like the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  She came over one afternoon with a miniature tea set for my girls to play with, her youngest son for my son to play with, and ready to teach me how to make these super yummy and addictive tapioca rolls.  These gluten free, dairy free little guys go fast in this house, especially when I season them up to taste like the cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster!  The tapioca flour gives the inside a gooey cheesy effect that is so good!
 

Garlic Herb Tapioca Rolls

1 -1/4 cup milk (almond or rice milk)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
 
3 cups tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
1/2 cup amaranth flour or coconut flour
2 eggs, tempered
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
Fresh herbs, about 3-4 leafs or sprigs of each or any other combination you'd like, chopped:
thyme, parsley & basil
 
Heat milk, oil, and salt in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and immediately pour over tapioca and amaranth flour. Temper eggs in a little of the boiled milk combo before adding to the bowl.  You don't want scrambled eggs in your rolls.  The dough should form into a sticky ball and don't worry if it takes the eggs a minutes to be incorporated, just keep stirring switching to a fork if that helps.  Stir in the garlic and chopped herbs.
 
 
Put the dough into the fridge to cool. It will thicken more as it cools.  Preheat oven to 400.  After it's cooled drop by the heaping tbsp. onto a lightly greased baking sheet or into a mini muffin tin.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown and has formed a crust.  The inside will still be a little gooey, but that's okay.  They're best eaten right out of the oven.  If you won't eat them all in one sitting, then freeze the rest.
 
Enjoy!
 
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Peach Meringue


While at my local grocery store I scoped out some big, delicious looking peaches; the last of the summer crop.  I snatched them up and giddily planned for a scrumptious peach pie, Mwahahaha :) But when I got around to making it I was dismayed to discover that I was missing some ingredients that I just didn't feel I could do without.  So, like the theme of my life, I rolled with it and came up with this super healthy and amazingly easy dessert.  It's so simple yet so unique and delicious you'll hardly realize how healthy this decedent dessert is.  And just like the reoccurring theme of life, I usually discover that rolling with it turns out to be just what I needed after all! 

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Mug Muffins

Busy. Despite the more laid back schedules that seem to accompany summer...or winter, spring, or fall for that matter...it's still so busy! Whatever makes your life busy here's a quick, simple and healthy muffin for breakfast or snack with no need to even turn on the oven.

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Almond Coconut Dream Cake

It's kind of a funny story how this cake came to be...it all began with a lemon and an idea to make healthy lemon squares.  After some experimentation, major failure (twice), contemplation and adaptation out of the oven came this beauty. The end result...moist almond cake with lemony hints topped with sweet coconut cream...you might forget its good for you ;)

P.S. I was in too big of a hurry to let my coconut milk cool in the fridge so it was a little runny, but don't worry it was still super yummy!

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{Homemade} Pumpkin Surprise Muffins

Today my kids were asking for something "yummy" to snack on after school.  Sound familiar?  The after school snack rush is always eventful with my 7 year old frantically scavenging through the pantry and fridge.  He's convinced that if he doesn't eat in the next five seconds he will literally "starve to death".  So while they helped themselves to some "ants on a log" (only the best healthy kid snack ever: celery stick topped with peanut butter and raisins or "ants") I whipped up these pumpkin surprise muffins for when the peanut butter ran out.

Wondering what the surprise is?  Don't tell the kids, but these muffins have no refined sugar like most muffins, ground flax, and....(pause for effect)....pureed black beans in place of oil.  Yep, amazingly you don't taste the beans, but you get all the fiber, protein and vitamins anyway. These muffins are moist and filling.  Perfect for those starving growing 7 year-old's snack attack.  Just tell you're kids that the dark chocolate chips and crunchy walnuts are the surprise, they'll never know :)

P.S.  Don't you just love the tin foil instead of muffin liners.  Guess I better put that on my grocery list for next time :)

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{Homemade} Zucchini Muffins

This was a staple food item in our home growing up.  My mom, an avid gardener, always had more fresh zucchini than she needed and that meant lots of zucchini muffins.  So for me, late summer means zucchini muffins.  Since I'm prone to nostalgia, I don't venture too far from mom's classic zucchini muffin recipe, except that it's gluten free and no refined sugar.

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{Homemade} Gluten free Banana Nut Bread

 


You know whenever you see the bananas on your counter start to go brown and get a little mushy that it's time to make banana bread! I may be biased, but my mom makes the best banana nut bread.  I was hesitant to mess with the perfection of her recipe. Obviously it needs to be gluten free so I'm going to have to make some changes anyway, but aside from that I've made a commitment to myself to significantly cut out refined sugars and over-processed foods from my family's diet. I was pleasantly surprised that by switching out a couple ingredients with healthier alternatives, the bread still tasted as good as mom's!

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Almond Orange Confetti Cupcakes

 
For all those birthdays or parties when you just need to throw some confetti. 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (original, not sweetened)
  • 1 tsp. orange extract + 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 6 tbsp. ground flaxseed

    Mix all wet ingredients together then combine the dry and mix all together.  Preheat oven to 350. Pour mix into 12 cupcake cups 3/4 of the way full then bake for 30-35 minutes. While they're baking make the confetti top.

    Almond orange glaze
  • 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. almond milk
    2-3 tsp. orange juice
  • Whisk together (adjust almond milk and sugar until its a thick creamy consistency)

    Almond chocolate Confetti
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
    1/4 tsp (just a drizzle) agave nectar
    1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
    In a small pan place chopped almonds and agave nectar and toast for a minute.

    When cupcakes are done remove from cupcake pan to cool for a few minutes.  Drizzle a little glaze on tops of cupcakes so the almonds and chocolate chips have something to stick to.  Top with your confetti concoction, then drizzle a little more glaze over top the almonds and chocolate chips.  (If you eat them while they're still warm the chocolate chips are soft and slightly melted)  So, so yummy!

    *Flaxseed is not only the highest plant derived source of omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of fiber, but can be substituted in place of butter, margarine, oil, and eggs.

    * Almonds are "very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)." It is also a mild anti-inflammatoryRead More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2#ixzz1NJIXI05h
 
Here's a fun tip if you look at the shape of nuts like walnuts, what do they look like? A brain.  Now look at an almond.  It shares a vague resemblance to reproductive organs, like woman's ovaries.  So guess what.  Walnuts are great for your brain and almonds are great for...yep your reproductive organs.  Kind of cool right?   
 
"Products which balance hormones [are] primrose oil, flaxseed oil, soya products...and nuts like walnuts, almonds...."

Read more: http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/tips-for-women-to-fight-hormonal-imbalance-6563154#ixzz1NJKo87iG

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Melissa Moore has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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