Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

IMG_1258 (640x500)

I am continuing to experiment with coconut flour. These gluten-free and grain-free brownies using coconut flour were a big hit in our family. They are pretty terrific. I bet most people would not be able to tell these were gluten-free. Quite impressive.

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

1/3 cup butter (or non-dairy alternative)
6 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
1 cup coconut sugar (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 8 X 8 baking pan (or spray with cooking spray) and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with a whisk. Whisk in the cocoa powder and then add the melted butter. Stir in the coconut flour and mix until the batter is no longer lumpy. Add the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Allow brownies to cool before cutting into squares.

Adapted from the recipe on the package of Let’s Do Organics Organic Coconut Flour

Kimchi Stew

IMG_0479 (640x480)

I made a batch of kimchi a few weeks ago. Kimchi continues to ferment and gets more sour with age.  I don’t like my kimchi overly sour, so I wanted to use what was left before it got too funky. Stews are very traditional Korean dishes and Kimchi Stew is very common. This Korean stew is super quick and a great way to use up left-over or older (more sour) batches of kimchi. It’s spicy, flavorful, and a great way to get your Korean food fix. Serve it with hot rice, if you wish.

This version of Kimchi Stew does not have the traditional pork belly in it. It is not vegetarian, though, because it does contains fish sauce. Of course, you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. Just be aware that some kimchi is made with fish sauce, so if you want a truly vegetarian dish, you will have to buy a vegan version of kimchi or make your own.

You can buy kimchi at grocery stores, natural food markets, or Asian markets. It is usually in the produce section. It’s easy to make and you can find a recipe to make you own here.

Kimchi Stew

1 small onion, slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled, minced
1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped into bite-sized pieces (include kimchi juices)
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chile pepper powder)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
6 ounces firm tofu, cubed (about 3/4 a package)
salt and pepper to taste
hot rice, to serve (optional)

Heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add sliced onion and saute until they just start to get tender. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to saute for a minute. Add the kimchi, gochujan, gochugaru, fish sauce, and Chinese cooking wine. Bring to a slight boil and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cubed tofu and heat through. Serve with hot rice, if desired.

IMG_0468 (640x480)

Guinness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

IMG_0449 (640x480)

Here is a stew for St. Patrick’s Day. The Guiness gives the stew such a rich flavor. I think this would also be good if the potatoes were left out and then the stew was served over mashed potatoes.

Guiness Beef Stew in the Crockpot

1 pound stew beef, cut into large bite-size chunks
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 onions, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled, cut into large chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (11.2 ounces) bottle Guinness stout
1 cup beef broth
4 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with enough water to make a thin slurry
salt and pepper, to taste

Place all the ingredients in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 hours or until the beef is tender and falling apart. The potatoes should also be tender. Serve the stew warm.

IMG_0447 (640x480)

Gluten-Free Coconut Blueberry Muffins

IMG_0423 (640x480)

I am working on eliminating wheat and ultimately, gluten from my diet. I have had thyroid disease for 10 years now. I take medicine every day, but my thyroid issues persist (despite blood test results in the “normal” range) and continue to get worse. I’ve been reading lately that a gluten-free diet can be beneficial for those with thyroid disease. I’m willing to try it. This isn’t my first dance with a gluten-free diet. In my 20’s I went on a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet for a year. I never felt better in my life. I think it will be much easier this go round since  there are so many more gluten-free convenience products available.

The kids and I went to Whole Foods the other night to pick up a few gluten-free things. I got some coconut flour and coconut palm sugar. Came home and got busy pinning coconut flour recipes. After reading through half a dozen coconut muffin recipes, I came up with this one. I think they turned out well. My family wasn’t too impressed. They are not coconut fans. I liked the texture. Not bad for gluten (and grain) free.

Gluten-Free Coconut Blueberry Muffins

3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (Rumford and Clabber Girl brands are both gluten free)
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (melted)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a blender, combine the eggs, coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, melted coconut oil, and salt until smooth. Pour batter into a bowl and stir in the blueberries.

IMG_0414 (640x480)

Line 6 regular-sized muffin tins with baking cups and divide the batter equally between them.

Bake the muffins at 400 degrees F for 17 minutes or until done.

Serve muffins warm with butter.

Strawberry Muffins

IMG_1151 (640x480)

The strawberries are starting to ripen here in South Carolina and in a couple of weeks the kids and I will be heading to Cottle Strawberry Farms in the Columbia area for our annual tradition of strawberry picking. Until then, we are getting a pretty good deal on  fresh strawberries from Florida at the Publix. My kids love strawberries and are always open to new ways to consume them. They never turn down muffins.

My 3-year-old helped me mix up this batch of Strawberry Muffins. His help is not always helpful. He tried to add a tablespoon of kosher salt to the muffin batter. Luckily, I was able to grab the bowl before he tipped the measuring spoon. The salt went on the floor, but the muffins were spared. He did manage to add a bit of cinnamon to the batter. At least that addition had delicious results. I added chopped pecans to half of the batter. I think strawberries and pecans compliment each other quite well. This recipe yielded 12 regular sized muffins and 7 mini muffins.

Strawberry Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and set aside.

Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in the strawberries and pecans (if using).

Divide the batter between muffin tins. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. For me, the mini muffins were slightly overdone at 15 minutes and the regular sized muffins were perfect at 17 minutes. Ovens vary, so use your best judgement. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool.

Strawberry Muffins - dm