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

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Gluten and Dairy Free Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Happy Muffins_CloseUp

I have a real love hate relationship with bananas.

I love the taste and the port-a-blility of bananas. For as long as I can remember, bananas have been a staple in my diet. Back in the days before so many kids were diagnosed with peanut allergies, you could guarantee I’d have a banana in my school lunchbox 2-3 times a week. Usually it was in the form of a peanut butter and banana sandwich but just as often I’d find the fruit (which is actually a berry) as is.

As I entered by teen years and my love for cooking, especially baking, grew, the more I came to love bananas. I mean, who doesn’t love Banana Bread, Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies or Warm Campfire Banana Sundaes? Ever since I bought my first cookbook (D.C.I. Music Department’s Favourite Recipes) I have been on the hunt for the very best banana bread recipe. If you were to look though my cookbook collection, you would definitely find that the pages that have banana flavoured bakery recipes are the most splattered, smudged and well used. I thought I had finally found “The One”. Then I went gluten and dairy free and the search has since resumed.

I think of myself as someone who tries to stay active and I take a lot of pride in eating healthy so I love that bananas are an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron, potassium, B6 and Vitamin C.

Bananas promote good digestion and mood balancing. Good for me as I am recovering from intestinal issues and also good because I often take the drug Prednisone which can cause depression as a side effect.

I know, so far this post sounds like a love fest for bananas. So where’s the hate part???

I hate that when the warmer weather finally comes to southern Ontario, my bananas get ripe faster than I can eat them…. I know, it’s not a big reason…but  it made for an interesting opening line.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and realized that I had three bananas that had got to the point of no return and just had to be baked into something. So, my plan for showcasing the fresh Ontario strawberries, now available in my area will have to wait.

I give you Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Oatmeal Banana Chip Muffins Mis En Plas

Oatmeal Banana Chip Muffins Mis En Plas

1 ¼ cup all purpose gluten free flour (my blend or your favourite)
¼ cup high protein gluten free flour blend (my blend or more of your favourite)
½  cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½  tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp double acting baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup rice milk
1/3 cup melted coconut or canola oil
1 egg
¾ cup gluten free oats
¾ cup dairy free chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Grease or line 18 regular size muffin cups

In small bowl, combine oats and chocolate chips, set aside.
In large bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.  Add all wet ingredients to dry. Mix well.
Fold in the oat/chocolate mixture.
Fill muffin cups to within one third of the top. Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Store in airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month

Fresh Out Of the Oven

Smilin' Mmuffins

Smilin’ Mmuffins

Help! I Just Went Gluten & Dairy Free!

My thoughts are with the people of Boston, including the thousands of Canadians who were expected to run the marathon. It it a terrible thing to have happen, anywhere, anytime.

Recently, two of my Facebook pals told me they were going to go gluten and dairy free.
The family of one pal was already dairy-free and this new issue was proving to be a challenge. She mentioned she had been eating quinoa. But just as my family has gotten sick of the ham leftovers from Easter, I got the impression she was getting a bit tired of it. “What else can I eat?” seemed to be the question. The other pal was jumping in with both feet based on the advice of her doctor.

So here’s some basic advice for anyone thinking about or newly transitioning to a gluten and dairy free lifestyle.

  1. Take a deep breath. You can do this.
  2. There are many cultures that don’t use a lot of gluten and dairy. For example, Chinese, Japanese and Thai foods don’t use dairy. In Indian food, swap a bit of coconut milk mixed with lemon or lime for  the yoghurt to marinate chicken. Find a place that sells corn tortillas and go Mexican. Try avocados! There is nothing like homemade guacamole and I use it when I’m craving something savory and creamy instead of cheese. This is a great opportunity to explore food from other cultures. Mix it up!
  3. Go simple. Buy more ingredients and fewer ready-made products. There will be fewer labels to read! Not every dinner needs a starch. Lunch boxes don’t have to have sandwiches, just think of all the amazing things you would find on a fruit and veggie tray or put in a wrap…then skip the wrap!

It’s really easy to focus on all the things one can’t have when one makes a drastic change to their eating habits. I remember getting caught up in “replacing” all the bread and cheeses and butter etc, etc.
I won’t tell you it’s an easy thing to do but it really isn’t the end of the world.

I’m an ex-smoker and when I quit cigarettes (nine years ago!), I used a patch until I was ready to go without. Going gluten and dairy free is much, much easier and even though I’ve never heard of a gluten or dairy “patch” there are  many great products out there to help you along.

Here’s a short list of safe products I try to keep on hand at all times.
Where there is no “brand” name, please read labels carefully!

San-J Brand Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce http://www.san-j.com
Mayonnaise
I use Helman’s
Diana’s Brand Marinades (several are dairy and gluten free)
Selection Brand Worcestershire sauce (found at Metro Grocery Stores)
Kozlick’s Brand MustardCheck them out at http://http://www.mustardmaker.com or take a trip to Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market in person, to sample all the flavours. They are blow-your-mind amazing and all but two are gluten and dairy free!
Tinkyada Brand Pastas, check them out here http://www.tinkyada.com
King Soba Products, they make yummy noodles and stuff! Check them out at http://www.kingsoba.com
Chex Brand Cerealscheck them out at http://www.chex.com  I mix ‘em up with stuff like nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruit. I snack on them like trail mix.
Rice Noodlesthink wide Pad Thai style noodles and skinny vermicelli noodles to make for an awesome stir fry!
Basmati and brown riceCook it and keep it on hand in the fridge, cold rice is the best for making fried rice!
Canned Coconut Milk– Marinate with it. Cook with it. I even mix it with rice milk and froth it for my morning cappuccino!
Fortified/Enriched Rice Milk-I like other kinds of “mylk” too but I find rice to have a neutral flavour, especially for baking. Buying fortified brands ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.
Corn Tortilla Chips-check the labels to be sure they’re all corn!
Soft (Fresh) Corn Tortillas
These can sometimes be hard to find  , but they are sooooo good!
Salsa
Humus
Quinoa
(of course) – Treat it like rice and keep it ready in the fridge. I mix a scoop with coconut milk, brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts for a yummy hot cereal.
Ready Made Chicken BrothI like Kirkland Brand, in tetra packs from Costco.

And if you live in the Oshawa/Whitby area of Southern Ontario, Halenda’s Meats, see http://halendas.com has an impressive list of products that are gluten free.

With all these items in my kitchen, I can whip up a snack or full blown meal in no time and never miss what I can’t have.

Hmmm, I’m getting hungry.

Let Them Eat….Waffles!

I’ve always had more of a savory tooth. My favourite quick meal was a sandwich. I would throw just about anything between a couple slices of bread to munch while on the go. It wasn’t long after going gluten & dairy free before I’d already been disappointed by several big brand, store bought GF breads. I found them dense and dry. They were hard to make into a sandwich and, in my opinion too expensive. I was even let down by some small batch GF bakery and café loaves. They were definitely better tasting, but again, very dense, hard to make into sandwich and very expensive. I’d buy this big loaf, use a couple slices to make a ( rather disappointing) PB&J, toast a few more slices and then the rest of the loaf would either fall apart  or go moldy within 2-3 days. Not a great value for something three times the price of good, gluten full artisanal bread!

The inspiration for using waffles in place of sliced bread was a revelation! The idea came from my newly purchased copy of “Cooking for Isaiah”, by Silvana Nardone.

One of the first recipes I made from the book was a batch of Sun-Dried Tomato Waffle Bread. They sounded delicious to me and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Silvana’s recipe starts with her own recipe for gluten free flour, which she mixes in large batches and is then made into a large batch of pancake mix and is the basis for her waffle recipe. I’ve made a few changes since my first batch and now I use my own basic flour mix, which is a combo of fine grind brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. I usually whip up a big batch and store it in a huge jar, ready to make into waffles, cookies or muffins. I’ve also made the following recipe with store bought all purpose gluten free flour mix and it turns out well, so feel free to use your favourite (just remember to add in the correct amount of xanthan or guar gum- usually ½ tsp per cup of flour for quick breads, cookies and cakes).

Here’s my version of these tasty waffles.

Sun-Dried Tomato Waffles

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 cup rice milk
1 large egg
½ cup oil packed, sundried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved
2 tablespoons sundried tomato oil
Italian seasoning mix, optional
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
vv

Pre-heat the waffle iron to med-high heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.
Gently fold in the sundried tomatoes until incorporated throughout the batter.
Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each grid and spread it out to the edges.
Sprinkle with seasoning blend, if using.

Close and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove, let cool on wire rack
or keep warm in an oven set at 200°F. Repeat with remaining batter.

The first time I made these, I didn’t even get to turn them into sandwiches. They were sooo good!
I’ve since enjoyed these babies with rare roast beef, avocado and mayo; rotisserie chicken, roasted red peppers and tomato; and my favourite, open faced Italian sausage and grilled veggies.

The possibilities are endless! I’d love to read how you like them.