Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake – AKA Polenta Cake (gluten free)

I have seen several ‘polenta’ cakes, but never thought about making one.

Ok, isn’t it obvious I like sweets? So the theme of this recipe is ‘You can have your cake – and eat it too!’ Normally rice flours would be used. Instead a mixture of ‘Ancient grains’ are added.  As always, I try to add nutrition to sweet treats.

Polenta translates loosely to cooked cornmeal. It’s a bit too close to grits for my taste buds. Add in a little sugar, butter and other non-nutritious ingredients and I may be willing to give it a try!

It seems that the word Polenta originated in Italy. Today, all grinds of cornmeal is being called Polenta. Someone commented that grits and polenta was the same. That fine white mushy stuff ain’t polenta. It’s called GRITS!

Hmmm, maybe my next dish should be Polenta. I have a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Polenta that is a very coarse grind. Instead of dessert, maybe I will come up with an entrée worth smacking the lips!

This was my first time making a 'cornmeal' dessert.  Actually it was quite good.  The texture is nothing like corn bread.  It is more like a heavy cake.

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake - Gluten free

Dry Ingredients
1 1/3 cups yellow stone ground cornmeal
2 tbsp millet flour
1/4 cup Quinoa Flour
1/4 cup Amaranth Flour
1 pkg. Jell-O Fat Free, Sugar Free Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Mix
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp non-aluminum Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Wet Ingredients
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Wild Flower Amber Honey (used 365 brand)
1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 tbsp milk, as needed
Add Ins
1 cup Fresh Blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 or 9 inch cake baking pan.
2. Combine the Dry Ingredients, set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the Splenda and sugar together, and then mix in the Earth Balance. Beat in the honey, vanilla and eggs. Stir in the dry ingredients only until mixed. If additional liquids are needed, stir in the milk.
4. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for approximately 30 minutes. Turn cake onto a serving plate.

Optionally serve with ice cream or whipped cream or Cool Whip, garnished with fresh blueberries.

Servings: 12
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe (2.4 ounces)
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount per Serving
Calories 187.26
Total Fat 6.74g
Saturated Fat 1.55g
Cholesterol 35.66mg
Sodium 326.09
Potassium 72.6mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.2
Fiber 2.09g
Sugar 11.77g
Protein 3.24g

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

This was my first attempt at making gluten free graham crackers.

There has never been a need for graham crackers as a snack for me, but they did come in handy for ‘no bake’ pie crusts. Over the past four years, I have improvised with oat crusts and other combinations of flours. The simplest crust could be made from   MI-DEL's ginger snaps  or MI-DEL'S cinnamon snaps.

Once I left my chocolate wafers on the cookie sheet after removing them from the oven too long. They worked just great as a black bottom pie crust for a banana pudding!

I searched and Googled for a gluten free graham cracker recipe. I finally decided to try one on I took their recipe and made my modifications as to flours I wanted to use. I also swapped out some of the brown sugar with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking.

One of the things I liked about this recipe was that it had some of the flours that I really like: sorghum, amaranth, millet, quinoa or oat flour.

First I checked to see which flours I had. I seem to use more oat, teff, tapioca and sorghum flour than the others.

Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup Chickpea Flour or garbanzo flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Starch
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1/8 cup Millet Flour
1/8 cupAmaranth Flour
1/4 cup  Fine Brown Rice Flour
3/8 cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/8 cup Oat Flour
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp GINGER, powdered
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder, non aluminum
1/2tsp Baking Soda
1/2tsp Salt
1/8 cup Splenda brown Sugar Blend for Baking
1/4 cup brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Authentic Foods vanilla powder
Wet Ingredients
7 Tbsp butter, chopped into pieces
3 Tbsp Cold Water
3 Tbsp Agave Nectar

Mix together Dry Ingredients.
Place butter into mixing bowl.

Work butter into dry ingredients with a fork or your fingers.

Stir in water, agave nectar. Add additional water if necessary, a teaspoon at a time.

Separate dough into two cellophane wrapped balls and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut four 9X13 inch pieces of parchment paper. Spread one ball out a bit on one piece. Cover with another other piece of paper and roll out evenly between the two pieces.
Carefully cut into 2 x 3-inch pieces and prick lightly all over with a fork. Remove the top paper.

Slide the paper with the crackers onto a 9X13 baking sheet.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 with remainder of dough
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. If they spread and bake together, re-cut while still warm and loosen them.

Slide the paper with crackers intact onto a wire rack to finish cooling

Servings: 36

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/36 of a recipe (0.7 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 69.42
Total Fat 2.43g
Saturated Fat 1.44g
Cholesterol 5.94mg
Sodium 62.06mg
Potassium 6.94mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.16g
Fiber 0.4g
Sugar 2.89g

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday Night Dinner – (Emptying the refrigerator vegetable bin)

When you are hungry and hate to cook, check the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.  Most likely there is usually enough food to feed a family of 4. My bad habit is buying vegetables and fruit and forgetting that I have them.

When I had to go to work every day, I packed lunch for the next day each night. There were no leftovers in the refrigerator. Now that I have time to cook, I tend to cook more often. One thing that I have learned is to cook smaller meals.

I decided to empty the vegetable bin and make a meal. Below are the dishes and recipes.

The menu
Brown Sugar Baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Cinnamon baked carrots
Roasted green and yellow squash
Roasted Egg Plant
Roasted red peppers
Sautéed Baby Spinach
Corn muffin

Sautéed Baby Spinach link to Original recipe
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1/4 c raisins
1 lb baby spinach, washed and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp honey or agave nectar
1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic and cook until beginning to turn golden, about a minute. Add raisins and spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with honey or agave nectar just before serving
Servings: 4

Brown Sugar Baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Printable copy
Brief Description:
A mellow and sweet blend of winter squash and sweet potatoes - sugar replaced with Splenda brown sugar blend
Servings : about 4
Prep time : 15 minutes
Cook time : about an hour
Total time : about 1 hour 30 minutes
3 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
4 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Splenda brown Sugar Blend for Baking
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. Toss sweet potatoes and squash with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread onto a large baking pan. bake for 25 minutes. Mix the Sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Sprinkle over the squash and potatoes
3. Bake until browned and tender, 35 to 40 minutes more.
----->If you prefer a soft dish, remove from oven before browning

Cinnamon baked carrots
3 1/2 cups carrots cut into chunks
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar free orange marmalade
2 tbsp Land O Lakes Buttery Spread
1 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend for baking
Combine the agave, cinnamon, marmalade and spread in a medium pot on low heat. Stir until blended.

Add in carrots and stir to coat the carrots.

Pour into a baking dish, using a spatula to scrape all of the sauce into the baking dish. Sprinkle with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking

Bake at 350 degrees F until tender. Stir and serve.
About 4 servings

Baked egg plant, squash and peppers
             ( baked on a large baking sheet at 350 degrees F.0
Eggplant - 1 medium eggplant, sliced into thick slices
Peppers - 1 large red pepper cut into 1 inch strips
Squash - 1 yellow and 2 green squash, cut into about 1 inch chunks
Place squash into a bag with 1 tsp Cajun type spices and 1 tbsp olive oil. Shake to combine. Pour onto oil sprayed or Release aluminum foil covered large baking sheet.
Place the egg plant single layer on the same baking sheet. Spray the top of the eggplant with olive oil.
Place peppers on the same baking sheet. Spray a little olive oil on the peppers.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the eggplant is tender or browned.

Corn Muffin - printable copy
Brief Description:
A really good gluten free corn muffin.
Servings : 6
Prep time : 5 minutes
Cook time : 30 minutes
Total time : 40 minutes
1/2 cup stone ground yellow corn meal
1/2 cup fine corn flour(Masa)
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds or flaxseed meal
1/4 cup fine non-fat dry milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/3 cup water

1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly with a wire whisk or hand mixer. If batter is too thick, add
water 1 tablespoon at a time. If too loose, add another tablespoon of Masa.
2. Spray a 6 cup muffin pan generously with an oil spray
3. Divide batter among the 6 cups
4. Bake at 350 F oven until browned around the edges (about 30 minutes)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread

Another loaf of gluten free bread

I really enjoy baking bread, so I keep trying to improve on the last gluten free loaf. Most gluten free bread recipes are mostly rice based. My intent is to always add more nutrition to bread as to bring it closer to my favorite bread before becoming gluten free.

Country Hearth 12 Grain Bread is the best, if you can have wheat.
 It is great toasted with PBJ or butter or used in sandwiches. I even managed to mimic it and baked it in my bread machine. Oh, how I miss that bread!

Land O Lakes has quite a few gluten free recipes on their site at, so I snared their MULTI GRAIN BREAD (Gluten-Free) recipe and made a minor change to it. It comes out very good and TASTY!

Gluten Free Whole-Grain Bread
Modified from Land O Lakes

Flour Mix
1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 cups potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
6 Tbsp bean flour
1 Tbsp teff flour
5 Tbsp brown rice flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp teff flour
1 (1/4-ounce) package - (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk, warmed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Eggs, large, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp millet
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp ground flax

1. Grease 8x4-inch loaf pan. Cover bottom and sides with parchment paper extended up so that bread can be lifted with it after it finishes baking
2. Combine all Flour Mix ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to completely mix.
3. Combine all Liquids ingredients and mix well, and then pour the liquids into a large stand mixer bowl. Add flour mixture gradually to mixture, beating until just mixed. Add millet, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax; mix about a minute. Once everything has been added to bowl, mixing should not exceed 1 minute
4. Spread dough into prepared pan. Smooth top of dough with a wet spatula (shake all loose water off) or greased fingers. Very lightly grease the top of the bread with your fingers or spatula. Let rise in warm place out of air draft until bread reaches top of pan (about 30 minutes). The bread will continue to rise in the oven, but allow the initial rising outside the oven.
5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until bread is brown and sounds hollow. If bread is browning too much at 30 minutes, cover with aluminum foil and allow continuing to cook additional 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, place bread with parchment paper still attached onto oven rack; bake for additional 5 minutes. If using a aluminum foil cover, keep it covered. Remove from oven; cool on wire rack. Remove parchment paper. Place on wire rack to allow cooling completely before slicing

Servings: 16
Yield: (1 loaf)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/16 of a recipe.
Amount per Serving
Calories 163.03
Total Fat 6.1g
Saturated Fat 2.54g
Cholesterol 35.59mg
Sodium 179.48mg
Potassium 110.19mg
Total Carbohydrates 23.56g
Fiber 2.38g
Sugar 3.49g
Protein 4.15g

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sautéed Kale Salad Topped with Toasted Pine Nuts and Romano Cheese

It is always an exciting stop at the St Paul Whole Foods Store to see what new produce is available. Of course, I always buy more produce than I intended to or could eat in a week. On my last trip, I intended to buy kale, but arrived home without it. So I stopped by the neighborhood Cub and bought a couple of bunches. I washed and dried it and of course, it found its resting place in the vegetable bin. I had no clue what do to with it. I have always wanted to cook kale without even knowing what it tasted like!

I really like to sauté greens in a little olive oil and garlic, but I wanted to do more with these greens. After looking at different ways of sautéing collards, spinach and kale, decided to just go for it. I did my usual method of deciding what the main ingredient was, then deciding what type of dish to make, then deciding on the seasonings.

Three spices or condiments that I like are garlic, pine nuts and Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing. With all ingredients on countertop, I started preparing the dish. This is quite a simple dish, yet delicious and loaded with nutrients.

So, here's to a "Let' eat the vegetables"!

Sautéed Kale Salad Topped with Toasted Pine Nuts and Romano Cheese

2 bunches kale, washed, stripped from stems and torn into pieces
1 tbsp olive oil for sautéing
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Mix
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp bottled Kraft Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons shredded Romano Cheese
Roast the pine nuts in an iron skillet until they become fragrant.  If you use them often, make a batch and refrigerate them for later use.
Heat the oil in a large iron skillet on medium. Sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes, do not brown or burn. Add the kale and turn the heat to high. Stir and move the kale from top to bottom of the skillet as it cooks. Cook until the kale is tender, about 8 minutes. If you have the tougher leaves, cook until just tender, not soggy.
Stir in the Italian Dressing and continue to cook on medium for about 2 minutes.
Plate it for 2 entrees or 4 sides.
Evenly divide the toasted pine nuts and shredded Romano Cheese over the top of the plates.

Nutrients per serving for 2 servings
Calories 284.84
Total Fat 16.17g
Saturated Fat 2.61g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 381.86mg
Potassium 1266.46mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.54g
Fiber 5.9g
Sugar 0.49g
Protein 12.28g
Amount Per Serving for 4 servings
Calories 142.42
Total Fat 8.09g
Saturated Fat 1.3g
Cholesterol 2.5mg
Sodium 190.93mg
Potassium 633.23mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.77g
Fiber 2.95g
Sugar 0.25g
Protein 6.14g