Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

I didn’t think I’d do this…. I’m not one to start something and not see it through whatever “it” may be, especially when I enjoy the “thing”.

If anyone is out there actually reading this, you must be thinkin'”What the heck is this chick ranting about??

In this  case, I’m writing about “blog silence”. At least I think that’s what you call it when someone starts a blog, posting at fairly regular intervals, then stops posting, without explanation. I actually feel disappointed when my favourite bloggers do this so, when I started my own blog…I didn’t think I would become guilty of becoming  silent.

It all started with a wicked cold that I came down with. It knocked the #$%@ out of me and lingered for weeks. I thought I had pneumonia.
Then, as usual, my sinuses started giving me trouble. It took several prescriptions before I started to feel myself again, although the polyps have returned. Now it looks like I may be surgery bound again to remove them.

Arghhhh!

Sometimes I wonder if the gf/df diet is worth it. I mean, it’s a lot of work  being aware of what I put in my mouth.  I do it because it’s supposed to help keep my sinus polyps from growing back . But  it doesn’t stop them, it just slows them down a bit, so start to I wonder, if it’s worth it. Then I go and do something silly like eat a cheeseburger. Then I feel guilty. Then I beat myself up for being a hypocrite because how can I for go on about  eating well if I cave and eat something as bad for me as a cheeseburger?  Then I question my ethics and on and on.

I finally came to my senses during a conversation with a friend who was trying to quit smoking. I used to smoke a pack and a half a day  before I finally quit, nine years ago. I was reminded that it took several tries before I finally quit. I was also reminded that even after “quitting” a bad habit, it’s ok to slip up occasionally.

We all make mistakes.  I’m glad to be back and I want to hear from anyone that may be reading this and has gone through a similar situation.

I also have so many ideas for recipes that I want to share. My local Farmer’s Markets have been brimming with an amazing assortment of delectables to be inspired by. Now that August has arrived, three of my favourite foods are in season: corn, blueberries and peaches.

Today’s recipe was inspired by a recipe I found at Baked By Rachel for Apple Snickerdoodle Cobbler

Snickerdoodles are one of my all time favourite cookies.  Not only is the name fun to say, but I get a bizarre satisfaction out of the fact that my spell checker really thinks I’ve spelled it wrong. : ) The idea of using them as the topping for apple cobbler is brilliant.  But it’s not quite apple season. It’s peach season and I can’t think of a better way to up the yum factor of a peach cobbler, than to borrow Rachel’s idea.
If you find yourself near a farmer’s market or a farm stand where peaches are sold, stop and pick up a bunch, this is one of the best things you can do to a peach.

Enjoy!

Dee
For the snickerdoodles, I use my go -to snickerdoodle recipe, inspired by a recipe from Cybele Pascal’s book “The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook”.

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler

For the Snickerdoodles Topping:

2 1/2 cups  gluten free all purpose mix #1
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dairy free all vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup rice milk

2 tbsp garnulated sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

For the Peach Ingredients:

6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon  bourbon
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss peaches with sugar, bourbon, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive
baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F

Whisk together flour mix, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

In separate bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the shortening, the first measure of granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Mix with a whisk or on medium speed until fluffy.

Add vanilla and egg. Mix well for approx 20 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the rice milk.

Roll the dough into 24 heaping tablespoon size balls, or use a one ounce measuring scoop.

Roll dough in cinnamon sugar and place  biscuits side by side, covering the peach mixture.

Place remaining dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets, 3 inches apart.

Bake cobbler in bottom third of oven for 25-30 minutes.

Bake extra snickerdoodles in top third of oven  for 10-13 minutes.
Allow to cool on sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to rack.

NOTE** If  you’re like me and love the flavour of real vanilla bean, you may have an empty pod kickin’ around your kitchen.  I tend to put empty vanilla pods in jars of sugar, then pull them out to add to stewed fruit.
Adding an empty vanilla bean to the peach mixture is magical.  ; )

Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler_II       Snickerdoodle Topped Bourbon Peach Cobbler     Snickerdoodles_3

Happy Gluten & Dairy Free Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

To start today’s post off I’d like to apologize for the unexpected hiatus last week. I mentioned in my earlier post “In The Beginning Part 2” that I suffer from sinus polyps. Often I am treated with Prednisone, which is a  (a type of anti inflammatory medication), to shrink the polyps. I can’t take over the counter anti-inflammatory meds (like Aspirin) because they cause my asthma to go into overdrive, so to speak. I also take a regular asthma medication, which contains some corticosteroid too, to prevent attacks. In addition to that, I take a nasal spray to keep my sinus passages open and (you guessed it) that contains a corticosteroid also. Who knew that taking three different medications all containing corticosteroids, at the same time, could cause an adverse reaction?? If you or someone you know requires this type of medication to feel better, please send them to this link at MedlinePlus . The list of medications that contain corticosteroids is long and by no means complete….you may have to read the teeny tiny fine print on the medication to find it, but it’s worth it because the list of symptoms of over use range from simple dry skin to convulsions to psychosis. The last thing my family wants is for me to suffer from that last symptom….I’ve seen waaaay to many episodes of C.S.I, Criminal Minds and Hannibal for their liking. >; )

Of course, now that I know this…I can take greater care of myself. : )

Ok now, let’s move on to more Dee’Lectable topics.

Now that I feel more or less myself, I am all about the baking, the gluten and dairy free baking, that is.
I’ve been playing with recipes like Lemon Tart Cookies (with a lime variation too!), lots of muffins, and I’ve even decided to resume my search for a good GF/DF bread.

Today I want to share a recipe that I’ve been playing with for more than a year. I was inspired by a recipe in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetite Magazine for Cranberry Quinoa Cookies.  These are meant to be cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable.

Cranberry Quinoa Cookies
yield: Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fancy molasses
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup gluten free oats, old-fashioned style
1 cup dried cranberries
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and molasses in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1″ apart. Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Gluten and dairy free cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable!

Gluten and dairy free cakey breakfast style cookies, reminiscent of hot bowl of cereal but portable!

Fun, Nutritious, Portable Breakfast Style Cookies!

Fun, Nutritious, Portable Breakfast Style Cookies!

Asian Inspired Tilapia

I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself to write from inspiration I find outside my own kitchen.  However, for today’s post all I had to do to get inspired was to walk by my back door.

I feel I should preface.

A couple of weeks ago I posted here , about how I had started taking another , stronger,  prescription for Prednisone in the hope of shrinking my chronic nasal polyps that hinder  my sense of smell (among other things).

Well, so far, so good an knock on wood,  I’m off the pills, and will a little help from a prescription nasal spray, I’ve had my sense of smell back for a few weeks now. ( insert quiet , reserved Yippie here)Anyway, past experience has taught me that I should enjoy being able to smell while I can, because I could go back to being all stubbed up any minude.

So, last weekend, while enjoying the fantabulous spring weather and my ability to smell, my Sweetie and I went to the local Big Orange Box Store to get a few supplies to begin an herb & salad garden.  I now have a variety of  pots on my back deck full of the promise of tomatoes, peppers and lettuces as well as parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary.

Makin' Salad On The Deck_2

My inspiration for today’s post came from the smell of cilantro and basil in the air after it rained this morning.

All I could think about all day was mixing those two flavours with a little lime and ginger and tamari.

The result? Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia with Peppers and Snap Peas

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia

This was perfect portion for one, but could easily have been multiplied for more.

4 oz Tilapia fillet,
3 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk lemongrass
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 medium size leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp fresh cilantro
1 lime
kosher salt
2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce
1 tsp Siracha or other hot sauce, optional
12  sugar snap peas
1/4- 1/2 of red pepper, thinly sliced

Peel off any dried leaves from the lemongrass. Bash the stalk with the back edge of your knife to release the flavours, then cut into 3 or 4 pieces, set aside.
Preheat a large pan over med high heat. Add oil to pan and saute peppers and snap peas together for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally,  to soften them up.  Add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the pan, continuing to toss the contents of the pan about, so nothing burns. Using a spatula, push the veggie mix off to one side of the pan.  If needed, add a little more oil to the pan then lay in the fish. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the flesh becomes opaque a bit more than half the way up the fillet. Turn the fish and cook for another minute. Roll the lime on the counter and cut in half. Squeeze lime juice over the fish and the veg, then drizzle with the tamari sauce.

I served this over a little Basmati rice infused with star anise and a piece of cinnamon stick, a drizzle each of tamari and siracha and sweet chili sauces.

Asian Inspired Pan Fried Tilapia_2

It’s a Big Ol’ Smelly World : )

One of my main motives for starting this blog was to share info about living a gluten and dairy lifestyle. My secondary hope was to connect with more people who, like me, suffer from chronic nasal polyps. I am still looking for that piece of my personal puzzle that will allow me to breathe and taste and smell without relying on meds to keep my polyps at bay. Removing gluten and dairy from my diet has been a huge step in the right direction for me. However, my doctor recently put me back on Prednisone to shrink the polyps…again. L

It’s been a while since my introduction to Prednisone. When it was first prescribed for me, it helped a lot and I got my sense of smell back almost immediately… but I think I’ve developed a tolerance for it. The last few times I’ve taken it, it didn’t work as well. The polyps shrank, but not as much and I didn’t get my sense of smell back. I have been worried that the surgeries may have left me with scar tissue or something that might prevent my sense of smell from ever coming back.

So, this time my doctor and I agreed to increase the dose. Now, I’m very careful to listen to my body when I take this drug. I find that there are a number of side effects that surface while I’m on it.

Have you ever looked through a telescope or a pair of binoculars before they were fully in focus? That’s kind of what life feels like to me most days.

When my sinuses are inflamed and full of polyps my sense of smell is gone and my sense of taste is diminished. My ability to hear is affected.  When I sing, I loose half my range because there’s nowhere for the sound to resonate. I put away those songs, just like I  put away a favourite sweater when the weather turns warm.  I compensate for these things by turning up the volume, only singing in my low register and eating intensely flavourful foods.

But when my sinuses clear, it’s like everything comes back into focus. I hear how loud the birds are out side my window at 4:30 in the morning. (Crazy birds!)

When I sing, I get to go back to songs that are like old friends I’ve been missing and I’m able to hit the high notes and hear the harmonies again. I can smell my morning coffee. Very strong =)

But most of all, it’s being able to smell and taste delicate flavours again that bring me tears of absolute joy.

The smell of bananas; the delicate flavour of artichokes that have been slow roasted, the sweetness in a fresh, perfectly hard boiled egg; how amazingly green a sugar snap pea tastes,  the intoxicating aroma of the whole vanilla beans I keep for special recipes and  chocolate, OMG, chocolate!

These are the things I crave and want to be able to enjoy all the time. These smells and flavours are like my drug. When I can smell, I’ll walk around just breathing deeply, trying to enjoy as many smells as I can because I’ve learned that this probably won’t last.

My dinner last night was a plate of simple, delicately flavoured bites;

Artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and lemon slices, tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, roasted together until the tomatoes became soft and the lemons started to caramelize combined with  torn red leaf lettuce, wedges of hard boiled egg, some blanched sugar snap peas, some finely diced sundried tomato and a little dressing of mayonnaise seasoned with saffron and garlic.

Heaven

The Beginning, Part 3

This is the last of my 3 part story of how I got here. If you have read the previous two chapters, thanks for coming back.

Breathing is even better when you don’t have strange blobs growing in your nose.
Gross eh? Yep, but it’s true.

So…why am I still on a quest? My polyps came back! Three months after my first surgery, I was back on prednisone. I’ve been through several prescriptions to reduce the size of the polyps. Sometimes, it helps but mostly it just slows them down. In May of 2011 I had a second surgery to remove more polyps. Six weeks later, they were back again.  Something had to change.

Now by the time I had my second surgery, I was in a relationship with a wonderful man, who introduced me to a friend who is a nutritionist, specializing in people dealing with food allergies and intolerances. She suggested my sinus issues may be food related. After some education and some convincing, I went gluten and dairy free. I figured I had nothing to loose except my sanity.  Although, some say I never had any to begin with. ; )

At first I thought, this won’t be so bad…I’ll just switch over to gluten free bread and use margarine and I’ll be good…..Man was I wrong! Did you know that gluten and dairy are in practically everything? Well, maybe not everything. If it’s a processed, pre-packaged, ready made food, chances are it’s full of gluten or dairy, or both.

I had already been in consultation with a friend who is also a nutritionist and I did get some advice on what not to eat as well as a few brand names to look for in the grocery store.  However, I’d always loved flipping though my collection of cookbooks and cooking magazines for inspiration, so off I went to Chapters.

The first book that gave me hope of being a happy eater once again was “Cooking for Isaiah”, by Silvana Nardone.  All the recipes in the book looked everyday easy, made my mouth water and best of all each recipe was completely gluten and dairy free. I thought, well if this is what I have to eat, I can do this!

Since then, I’ve been testing and converting of my own recipes along with the several books, blogs, and other resources, full of gluten and dairy free recipes I’ve found to inspire me in the kitchen.

My nose is still a little stuffy, but much, much better these days. I’m still battling polyps and searching for the piece in my puzzle that will keep them from returning. But my asthma is more manageable and I’m much less congested. : )

Now it’s my turn to help….If any of this sounds familiar to you, I’d love to hear from you.

In the up coming posts I’ll be sharing info about my attempts at living a  balanced, healthy, gluten and dairy free lifestyle.