Friday, October 04, 2013

GFCF Apple Streusel Bread

I made this last night - it is all gone already and my family is begging me to make it again.  It reminds me of my childhood in the early 1960s when my Mom would have Coffee Klatches with the neighbor ladies.  Sweet breads like this and coffee were the perfect combination while the women caught each other up on neighborhood news. 

If you are not gluten free - just substitute regular flour and omit the xanthan gum from the recipe. 


Gluten and Casein Free Apple Streusel Bread
Chop up 2 apples, set aside

Combine in a small bowl:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon. 
Mix with chopped apples and set aside.
Beat in a medium bowl:
2/3 cup sugar (use more if you want a sweeter bread)
½ cup coconut oil (or use butter or margarine)

Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.

Stir in 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
Stir in:
1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using a flour mix that contains it)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Dough will be stiff

Beat in ½ cup vanilla almond milk (or any milk or milk substitute) until smooth.

Pour half of the batter in a well-greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Add half of the apple mixture.

Top with the rest of the batter and then the rest of the apple mixture on top.  Pat top apples down into batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Pie Bars

Another use for Apples!  These are so good.  I made these using fresh apples (since I have so many right now) but they would be equally as good made using my apple pie filling.  This would be good to take to a pot luck. 

As usual this recipe is gluten and dairy free - just substitute regular flour and omit the xanthan gum and use real milk and butter if you prefer. 

This is one recipe that may have a lot of steps but it won't disappoint.

Gluten and Casein Free Apple Pie Bars
In a small bowl:
Beat 1 egg yolk (save the white – it will be used later)
Add ½ cup vanilla almond milk and mix well.

In a medium bowl:
2 ¾ cup gluten free flour mix
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using a flour mix that already contains it)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Cut in 1 cup of your preferred butter substitute – I used earth balance spread.

When mixture looks like coarse crumbs, stir in egg/milk mixture and mix until it forms a ball.  
Divide dough in half.  

For filling:
Chop up 6 cups of apples. 
In a small bowl:
Combine 1 cup sugar (you know I prefer raw organic but any sugar will work) with  6 teaspoons minute tapioca, 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. 
Pour over apples and mix.
easpoon nutmeg. 
Pour over apples and mix.up so the filling sticks up sugar (you know I prefer raw organic but any sugar will

Roll one half out between two layers of plastic wrap (wet the counter before putting down the first piece of plastic wrap so it sticks to the counter and doesn’t move while you are rolling.  Roll out to fit in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. 

Pull top layer of plastic wrap off dough and invert into pan.  Cut and trim so dough perfectly covers the bottom and doesn’t go up the sides.

Pour apple filling over bottom layer of dough.

Roll out the rest of the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to fit on the top of the apples – it will be slightly larger than the first sheet was.  Pull top layer of plastic wrap off and invert over the top.  Trim to fit perfectly on top.

In another small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar with ½ teaspoon cinnamon. 

Beat reserved egg white with a fork until foamy.  Brush over the top crust (you probably won’t use all of the egg white – just make sure you have covered the entire top crust).th a fork until foamy.  Brush over the top crust (you probably wo'im to fit perf  Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over top crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour (check after 45 minutes) or until nicely browned and you see juices bubbling. 

Note – this dough can be hard to handle – rolling it between plastic wrap makes the dough easier to handle and easier to move to the baking dish.   Using dairy substitutes may give you differenn egg/milk mixture and mix until it forms a ball.  If

Friday, September 27, 2013

Apples, apples, and even more apples!

The tree is loaded - it doesn't even look like I've picked any - but believe me, I have!

The dehydrator is full of apple slices (and diced apples and apple rings)

I have lots of apple juice waiting to be made into jelly!

I have dozens of jars full of dried apples!

I've also been baking with them - check out these great apple fritters I made last night.  They were a big hit in my household.  I'll post my recipe below - if you aren't gluten and dairy free like my family just substitute regular flour and omit the xanthan gum and use regular milk. 

Gluten and Casein Free Apple Fritters

2 large (or 3 medium or 4 small) tart apples, peeled and diced

Combine in a medium bowl:
2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using a flour blend that includes it)
¾ cup raw organic sugar (use white sugar if you must but it won’t be as healthy)
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt (again use regular salt but it won’t be as healthy)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Combine in a small bowl:
2 large eggs,  beaten
¾ cup vanilla almond milk (or use the milk or milk substitute of your choice)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil melted if solid (or use the melted butter substitute of your choice)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined – do not over mix!

Gently fold in the apples – you want tons of apples to poke out – if they don’t poke out – add more apples. 

Drop a teaspoon full into hot oil (I use a fryer but you could also heat a couple of inches of oil in a cast iron or heavy duty frying pan).  Turn it over when it browns on one side.   Drain on paper towels – cut the first one open and make sure it cooked all the way through – if you still have batter in the middle, make the rest smaller – if it is cooked through, then you are good to finish the batch with that size. 

I think these are perfect as is – but you can dust with powdered sugar when warm or pour a light glaze over them. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Homemade Granola Take Two

The first batch of granola is already gone.  My teenager ate the last of it up today.  It was so good that I made another batch right away. 

I didn't mess with the recipe though - it was perfect.  The only thing I changed was I used a mixture of dried fruit instead of just plums.  I used dried raspberries, strawberries and plums. 

The recipe is here if you don't want to go looking for it.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Home Made Granola!

Home made granola is so versatile - you can add whatever you want.  Don't like cinnamon?  Leave it out - love it - put extra in.  I have been drying diced plums like crazy the past two weeks and wanted to use some in granola. 

Here is my recipe  - feel free to change it to suit your individual tastes.

Plum Granola

Mix in large bowl:
4 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds

Mix in small saucepan and bring to a boil:
1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff from trees)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla

After mixture comes to a boil, turn it off and pour it over the oat mixture in bowl.  Mix thoroughly. 

Place on cookie sheets or baking pans lined with parchment paper. 

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how thick your layers are.  Stir every 5 to 10 minutes.  Watch it closely.  It can go from almost perfect to burned in just a few minutes.  It is done when it is lightly toasted. 

Remove from pans and mix in 1 1/2 cups dried plums.  Cool and store in an airtight jar. 

Makes about 10 cups!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Today's harvest

It is so nice to be harvesting daily from my garden.  This is just the veggies that I picked today - I also picked raspberries and plums and I'm about to go and pick enough apples for a crisp. 

Today's harvest included a few sugar snap peas - they are really done and I need to pull the plants up but since there were a few on there I picked them, pole beans - both yellow and green, tomatoes - both roma and grape, cucumbers and bell peppers.

What are you harvesting?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Fresh Salsa of the Season!

The tomatoes had a slow start this year due to the cold spring but they are doing well now!  The first batch of fresh salsa is always the best every year.

This batch won't make it until sundown - the first batch never does.  I also have lots of bell peppers and onions in the garden so I think I'll make fajitas for dinner.

Fresh salsa with fajitas - YUM!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mini Bell Peppers

This is the first year that I planted mini bell peppers.  They are so much fun!  The plants are all loaded. 

We have been enjoying them fresh sliced up in salads - I just cut the top off and then slice them so they are in circles. 

My son requested shish ka bobs for dinner the other night and I just popped the mini bell peppers on the ends of each one whole - they were so good - and so much less work than cutting up in chunks. 

A sinkful of freshly washed plums!

Oh the possibilities!

The plums are later this year - probably because of the late spring - but they are ripe now and the tree is loaded. 

So far all I have done with them besides eating them fresh is make a plum cobbler and I added some to my morning oatmeal. 

I'm not really sure what I will all do with this years haul but I'm sure some will end up as jam, I'll freeze some as both slices and as puree in ice cube trays (to use in smoothies), I'll dry some, and I'll probably make some sorbet. 

Any other ideas?  What is your favorite way to use fresh plums?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dried Raspberries

I've never dried raspberries before - always had plenty of other ways to use them up.  This year, however, I'm thinking about making some homemade granola and granola bars and I thought they might be really tasty with dried berries. 

Raspberries are super easy to dry - just place them in the dehydrator and turn it on.  Easy Peasy. 

I think I'll dry some strawberries and blueberries also - although I don't grow either of them so I'll have to buy some. 

If I ever make the granola, I'll post the recipe.  I'm also thinking about making some instant oatmeal to take with when we go camping.  I usually just cook oatmeal at home but I'm thinking some instant might be a good fit for camping. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


My fennel is doing well and just about big enough to harvest. 

This is the first time I have grown fennel.  As  a matter of fact until a couple of years ago I didn't even know I liked fennel. 

My first experience with fennel was when my neighbors were growing it and gave me some.  I had no idea what to do with it.  It smelled like licorice and I really detest licorice and I couldn't get past the smell so into the compost pile it went.  Then after I joined my current CSA I started getting fennel in my box - not knowing what to do with it - it either ended up in the compost or the swap box. 

As money has gotten tighter I became determined to not waste any CSA veggie and I started experimenting with fennel and fell in love.  It got to the point that every week last year that there wasn't fennel in my box I was disappointed - so this year I decided to grow some - between the CSA and my garden I hope my desire for fennel is satiated. 

I make a mean chicken garbanzo soup with fennel.  I also like it just sauteed up with other fresh veggies (or by itself) with a little onion and garlic.  Yum. 

Fennel is a really healthy vegetable.  It is high in vitamin C and fiber as well as some wonderful antioxidants. 

Fennel is easy to grow. 

Are there any other fennel lovers out there?  Do you have any good recipes to share? 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

June 2nd and the garden is finally planted!

I think this is the latest I have ever planted my garden.  I did plant a couple of things 2 weeks ago but the bulk of the planting was done yesterday and today.  As it is, my tomatoes and peppers aren't liking the cool weather and really wish they were back inside.  I hope it warms up soon and they make it.  

 My main garden.  I have Egyptian walking onions, pole beans, fennel, snow peas, beauty heart radishes, carrots, lettuce, beets and mini bell peppers. 

 I have potatoes in my earth boxes on my patio.
 Yummy brussells sprouts! 
 Herbs - basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, marjoram, oregano
 Bell peppers in the lower part of my new raised bed garden - 6 are mixed colors regular bells and 3 are mini bells - we love peppers, can you tell?
 Tomatoes (roma) in the upper part of my new raised bed garden.  They are not happy to be outside in the cold - I hope they perk up and make it.
And back behind the fence is Andy's garden and as usual he has planted cucumbers and watermelon.  We added an A frame this year for the plants to grow up instead of having them all on the ground. 

How about you?  When did you plant your garden this year?  If you are in Minnesota, haven't you just loved this weather?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Andy is building me a new raised bed garden for Mother's Day!  Hard to believe the little guy who was a preschooler when I started this blog is now a teenager and building me things! 

It is kit from Home Depot and extremely easy to put together.  I can't wait to plant tomatoes and peppers in it! 

The weather here in Minnesota has continued to be cool - including snow in the beginning of May!  I *think* that is all behind us now.  Today should warm up to a nice 60 and by next week we should be warmer. 

I haven't planed a whole lot outside yet - just onions.  I hope to plant some cold weather plants this week. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Check In 3/31/13

 My seedlings are growing big and strong.  They are now very easily recognizable as to what kind of plant they are.  I have not adjusted the lights up higher yet because I don't want them to grow too tall and spindly reaching for the light.  I won't move the lights until they almost touch them.  They are getting tall enough to put a fan on them for short periods of time to strengthen their stems. 

The weather has warmed up a bit and you can see a lot of the snow has melted this week.  It is starting to feel like Spring might put in an appearance sometime in April.  Incredible to have this much snow on the last day of March.  
Look at these cucumber seeds - the ones on the left are very florescent in color!  Super bright green.  They have been treated.  The ones on the right are untreated. 

Treated seeds have no place in my organic garden and I am usually very careful when ordering seeds to make sure that I don't order any that have been treated or have been genetically modified (other than normal cross pollinating). 

I was very surprised to receive these treated seeds.  I went back to the catalog and also looked at the online description and the seed company did not state that they were treated.  The seed packet that they came out of did plainly state - CAUTION: TREATED SEED. 

They have been treated with Thiram - which is what most treated seeds have been treated with.  I could call the company and ask for a replacement or a refund, but now I've lost faith in this company and for the small price of a packet of seeds, I am just going to chalk it up to experience - I won't, however, be ordering from them again.

This is why I prefer to start my own plants and not even buy plants from a nursery - you just don't know what the plants or their seeds have been subjected to before you get them. 

Others will argue that there is nothing wrong with treated seeds and that the chemicals will wear off long before they get to your table - that may be true - but where do they go?  Do they end up in the soil affecting other plants or in the water?  And those small amounts of chemicals add up over time.  For more information on Thiram - CLICK HERE.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Check In - Spring has Sprung!

At least that is what the calendar says.  We are still waiting here in Minnesota for actual spring.  As you can see, my garden is still under quite a bit of snow! Andy is on spring break this week - he was joking around yesterday saying that he hopes the snow is gone by the first day of summer vacation!

Meanwhile, my seedlings are all doing great.  They have all sprouted now - even the peppers.  They are still pretty small, but they have lots of time to grow big and strong.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Check In - St. Patty's Day

It has been one week since I planted my seeds and most of them are now seedlings.  The peppers are the only ones that haven't sprouted yet.  I only have a heating mat under half of them so I've been rotating them as they sprout.  The peppers haven't been on the heat mat that long yet.  Since they are heat lovers I should have had them on the heat mat first. 

Last year on St. Patty's Day it was 80 degrees and Spring had come early to Minnesota.  Today it is in the 30s, we have lots of snow and are expecting more snow tonight.  March is so unpredictable here.

I am trying to use up the last of last year's veggies.  I have beef stew in the slow cooker for tonight because it is the only way I can get my family to eat parsnips and they are starting to grow a lot of tiny little roots and are looking quite hairy.  I like parsnips but I don't like them enough to eat them all up myself.  I can get the husband to eat them roasted with other root veggies but the kid will pick them out.  Everyone eats them mixed in with beef stew though - of course that is because kiddo doesn't know they are in there.

I also cooked up a few squashes and made some puree that I turned into delightful mini bundt cakes that are disappearing fast.  Kiddo saw me cooking up the squashes (which he thought were pumpkins) and reminded me that he doesn't like pumpkin.  I reminded him that he does when they are made into muffins. 

Mini Squash and Pineapple Bundt Cakes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour - but you can use any flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup squash puree
1/2 cup coconut oil (or any shortening or butter or margarine)
2 eggs, beaten
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves

Heat oven to 350.  Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into greased mini bundt pans (or muffin cups).  Bake 20 minutes or until they test done with a toothpick.  Remove from pan.  Cool. 

Icing is optional.  I used a cream cheese icing (made with Tofutti brand fake cream cheese since we are dairy free). 


Please leave a comment and let me know how your garden it growing.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The 2013 Growing Season has Begun!

I'm so jealous of my friends down south who have already started their gardens!  I am so over this winter and ready to start gardening.  The weather outside is still very wintery and not spring like at all - although it did rain most of the day today.  Even with the rain melting some of the snow, there is still plenty left.  

So I did what every good northerner will do when they can't get outside and garden yet - I started my seedlings inside!  It doesn't look like it will be an early spring, but I will be ready when spring decides to come.  Last year we had an early spring and things just got away from me and I didn't start my own seeds - I didn't want to repeat that this year so I'm starting a little earlier than I normally do. 

I planted tomatoes, bell peppers (mixed colors), mini bell peppers (first time growing these I hope they do well), brussels sprouts, watermelon (this is actually for Andy - he always grows these and this year he picked out a seedless personal size variety), fennel (another first for me - I never knew I liked fennel until a couple of years ago and now I can't get enough of it), and cucumbers (also for Andy - can you believe the little boy that was a preschooler when I started this blog is now a TEENAGER!).

I will probably start more seeds next week or the week after.  I'm happy for now to be started growing!

I even nicely labeled them.  I have the specific variety on the back of the stakes. 

In previous years I have used yogurt cups, egg cartons and such to start my plants.  I think that was part of my problem in getting behind last year was gathering together planting cups and cutting drainage holes in the bottom.  It was a great idea to use them one more time before recycling but honestly, buying square pots is easier - and I got nice plastic covers that fit on top so nicely so I don't have to mess with sheets of plastic on top. 

Have you started your garden yet?  What are you growing?