beer + cornbread

I have never been a huge fan of beer.  There has never been a real reason for it except I thought it tasted bitter and they all tasted the same – including the pumpkin varieties.  Oh, my parents are shuddering from the thought… ;).  Don’t get me wrong, I used to drink it pre-GF days, but I would ALWAYS feel hungover the next morning, no matter if I had one bottle or multiple.  Looking back, I think it was something to do with the gluten.

Beer was my last thought when I gave up gluten, but for some reason (of course), I started craving beer when I was never even a fan.  Living in Milwaukee, there is never a dry day here, even for the gluten-less folks.  Lakefront Brewery had a gluten free beer named New Grist, and it is officially my favorite beer of all time.  I had my first one at a burger place and then proceeded to buy a six pack the next weekend, and was gifted even more for my birthday :).  Since it was the first time in quite awhile that there was an excess of beer in the household, making a recipe utilizing it was a no-brainer.

I knew exactly what the beer should be used for, and it was quite a sad day when I went to search for Edible Perspective’s beer-bread cornbread and her site was down for the weekend.  This recipe may not be as good as hers (and I will try it sometime soon to compare!), but it is delicious nonetheless.

Beer-Cornbread

  • 1 cup medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2c sorghum flour
  • 1/2c masa harina
  • 1/2t salt
  • 4t baking powder
  • 1/2c milk (unsweetened not-vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2c beer (I used New Grist, naturally!)
  • 2 egg whites or 1 large egg
  • 2T honey
  • 1/2c frozen corn
1. In a small bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, beer and honey.
3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well.
4. Stir in the frozen corn.
5. Spray a 9×13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the cornbread in, spreading to smooth out.
6. Bake in a 350′ oven for 22-24 minutes.

*The next time this is made, I will probably use a 9″ square pan to try and make a thicker loaf, increase the cooking time if you do!

Beer and cornbread cannot be a bad thing.  This made for a delicious side dish and will be made many more times.  Might even make it into a cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving?

pumpkin pie steamer

I’ve been wanting a pumpkin spice latte a lot lately.  However I just cannot bring myself to get one from Starbucks, not even wanting to think about what ingredients they put in that flavored syrup to make it such a bright and colorful shade of orange.  I thought that Sunday afternoon would be the perfect chance to try my own pumpkin spice creation, albeit without the caffeine.  I feel like I could benefit from some additional caffeine today because of a crazy intense power yoga session this morning plus a 5ish mile walk around town in the gorgeous weather, but I know I don’t really need it and this more than satisfies the pumpkin craving.  Plus the frothed milk craving ;).

The original thinking of this recipe was to make it a pumpkin chai latte.  The picture is actually of a pumpkin chai latte.  I am currently drinking a pumpkin chai latte.  However, because of my sister’s not-so-happy-with-tea tummy, I made her this concoction instead and it totally beats the flavor of the one with the chai.  So, I offer to you the better of the two recipes, and the one we will be making many more times in the future.

Pumpkin Pie Steamer
  • 1 1/2 c unsweeteened vanilla almond milk
  • 1T pumpkin
  • 1t honey
  • .5t pumpkin pie spice
1.  In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk, pumpkin, honey and pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s has it now!!) to a simmer, whisking often.
2.  You could just stop once it’s warm and drink as-is.  However, if you would like to froth the beverage, you can do the following.  Pour almond milk mixture into a magic bullet or blender, and blend away until nice and frothy.  I actually turned our magic bullet on its side to incorporate more air into the mixture and it was perfect.
3. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with a little more pumpkin pie spice.

Perfect pumpkin perfection.

granola for friends

I love granola much more than I should.  Yes, it is healthy, but not eaten by the handful like it so commonly is (in this household anyways).  After the gluten episode this past weekend we were forced to re-evaluate our oat consumption.  I was going on a nice streak there for a while where I had oats every breakfast – and I mean each and every breakfast.  Sure, there were a couple of other things thrown in their occasionally, but usually it was oats.  Regular oats, steel-cut oats, oat bran, overnight oats, dough-boy smoothies…  Because of the sheer consumption of oats and a new employee budget, gluten-free oats was not something that I even wanted to think about.  Yes, I will pay $2 for more oats and avoid paying $6 for just making sure they’re not cross-contaminated with wheat.  Well, as I now know – gluten-free oats should be the star of the show here.  Unfortunately we had over half of a big tub of good ol’ quaker oats to use up and I was not going to throw away any more food.  And there’s no better place to use up food you can no longer can eat than on your friends!  I surprised one of my good friends with a big ol’ bag of this granola.  And I will definitely be making it again for myself and sister with gluten-free oats.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Granola adapted from Coffee & Tea Warehouse 

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2c light brown sugar
  • 1/4c oat flour (or whole-wheat)
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/3c grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1t vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 300′ and get out a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Place rolled oats into a large bowl and add in the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.  Mix to distribute.

3. In a small sauce pan, heat up the oil and honey until they just come to a simmer.  Take off heat and add vanilla.

4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

5. Put on the baking sheet and bake for around 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.

This recipe is incredibly versatile.  You can add nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cacao nibs… anything your heart fancies.  This was always my go-to granola recipe a few years back and I am not quite sure why I ever gave up using it!  I always added 1c of sunflower seeds in with the oats and it was awesome.

I highly recommend making this and having a bowl full of granola with the milk of your choice.  Just doesn’t get much better than that.

Want a more natural and gluten-free version?  Here’s what changes I will make next time for us!

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2T sucanat
  • 1/4c oat flour
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/3c grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1t vanilla

I would consider decreasing the oil a bit as well… but it is just so darn good I don’t think I want to mess with it too much!  But I think decreasing the amount of sweetness and using sucanat instead of brown sugar will be the perfect alteration for our taste buds.

Now where are those gluten-free oats…

my water obsession

My favorite Camelbak water bottle!

I’m not sure about you, but I have a little bit of a water addiction.  I know the word out there is to “drink more water!”, but seriously, sometimes I have to tell myself to stop drinking so much water.  In fact, there were a couple of weeks lately where I kept feeling slightly off with nothing to attribute it to until I realized how many ounces of water I was taking in versus my naturally low sodium intake.  I was definitely lacking in electrolytes, bordering on hyponatremia.  It’s a really good thing I figured that out before anything bad actually happened to me.

It’s a difficult balance between dehydration and hydration on hot summer days, especially when exercising.  How much is enough water?  How much is too much?  Is drinking while running going to cause a cramp?  Is not drinking enough while running going to cause a cramp?  Yikes.

I am still trying to get used to running with a water bottle.  On shorter runs, I might not bother bringing one along because I know I’ll be home soon and I hydrated earlier in the day, but on longer runs I have to remember to bring something and to continue to drink it steadily throughout the run to stay in balance.  One other tricky thing is that water alone is not enough, it needs to be balanced with some sort of electrolyte to make it effective.

On my journey to clean eating, I gave up so many processed, convenience foods that naturally my sodium intake level dropped significantly, without even trying.  I now have to consciously salt foods throughout the day to keep up with my water intake and how much I exercised that day.  After my 10k, I even just ate a packet of salt to replace what I had lost.  I know you may be thinking, just drink gatorade or any other sports beverage and you’ll be fine, but I am not a fan of some of the ingredients they use and would rather get my electrolytes in a more natural form.  A good measurement to go by is 1/4t of salt for every 16oz of water you drink.

Awhile back, Kinley found a recipe by Daily Garnish for a Homemade Sports Drink which I now like to take out with me as my mileage is getting higher and the sun is getting hotter.  Instead of sticking right to that recipe, we typically just use salt, a squirt of lime or lemon juice and some agave nectar to make it even more natural but just as effective.  I have to admit however that I have not been successful at making it Kinley’s way (she is much more the eyeball measurements type of mixer and her guesses on the amounts have not turned out for me – so I ask her to put it together for me!).  But as long as there is some salt and sugar/agave in the mix, your body will thank you and be able to recover faster than just drinking water.  Make it as sweet or salty as you like by tweaking the ingredients.

Naturally Clean Sports Drink

  • Salt (1/4t for 16oz water)
  • Lime or Lemon Juice
  • Agave or Honey
  • Water

Moral of the story, drink water, but not too much.  However, I am not a nutritionist by any means so if you have serious concerns with your electrolyte balance during long runs, please seek out a professional for advice.  Happy Summer Running!

it’s fall… somewhere?

I was looking for something to bake.  I was in the mood for some type of coffee cake, but came up short in the recipe department.  I was also in the mood for something made with pumpkin… yes, it’s currently June but pumpkin is not a seasonal ingredient for me :).  I found this recipe for gluten free pumpkin muffins, and thinned out the base to make it in a 9×13 pan and topped with some cinnamon oat pecan topping – yum!

*I used the measurement for honey listed below as I prefer my baked goods less sweet.  If you are looking for something a bit sweeter and more dessert like, you can add up to 1/3 cup honey in the base recipe and adjust the amount of honey (or possibly add some brown sugar) in the topping as you desire as well.  Even with the 1T listed below, these bars got a lot sweeter the next day and really turned out delicious!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Base

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2c millet flour
  • 1/2 cup (2T garbanzo bean flour + the rest sorghum flour)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T honey
  • ~3/4c water

Topping

  • 1/2c oats
  • 1/2c crushed pecans
  • ~1 1/2 T honey
  • ~1T water

cinnamon to taste (lots for me!)

1. Sift together the flours and add the flax, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

2. Whisk together the almond milk, pumpkin, applesauce and honey.

3. Create a hole in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add in the wet mixture and mix until combined.  You can add the water at this point to get your desired consistency.  (Since I was baking it as a coffee cake, I wanted it thinner than the original recipe made).  Pour into a 9×13 pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Mix together the oats and pecans for the topping.  Add in the honey and water to create a crumbly topping.  Sprinkle on top of the base batter.

4.  Bake in at 350* for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with butta!  (aka Earth Balance)

fruit with flair

Fruit salsa is surprisingly easy to make, and yet it seems like we never get around to making any!  This recipe is a variation of one that we have had at a few Pampered Chef parties – usually featured because the Pampered Chef Food Chopper makes this recipe a snap.  Don’t have a food chopper?  I’m sure it’ll work just fine to chop your fruit up into small pieces, it just might take a little bit longer.

Simple Fruit Salsa

  • 2 apples
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • zest & juice of one orange
  • 1T any fruit preserves (we used cherry)
  • a splash of lime juice
  • honey to taste (depending on sweetness of your fruit – add last if needed)

1. Wash your fruit

2. Chunk your fruit up to fit in the food chopper.

3. Chop everything in small batches and combine it all together in a bowl.

4. Add in the orange zest & juice, preserves and lime juice.  Mix well and add honey if necessary.

This also made a wonderful topper on my morning bowl of oats.  I also had some as an afternoon snack with some rice crackers – it’s so good!

just a touch of sweetness

I think I have said it in just about every post the past few days but weather this week has been AWFUL!  Fog, rain, more fog, thunderstorm, power outage, another thunderstorm, power outage…  Luckily the sun has finally made an appearance today (although not without a few scattered rain showers).  I did find one thing that makes even the darkest and stormiest days a little sweeter.  Although I would not attempt making this if you’re without power… I would imagine it would be quite time consuming ;).

We had some almonds sitting around and are currently out of almond butter, so of course I knew what I had to do.  It took me a few minutes to decide what flavor I wanted to add along with the almonds… I considered the Vanilla Maple + Cinnamon Almond Butter that was oh-so-tasty, but wanted to try something new.  This combination is just the perfect amount of sweetness to add to any day.  Or any AB&J sandwich.

Honey Almond Butter

  • 8 oz raw almonds
  • 1T honey
  • large pinch of salt
  • 2-3T grapeseed oil

1.  Bake the almonds at 325* for 15-18 minutes, stirring about 3-4 times throughout.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Put almonds in a food processer and blend for 6-10 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary until the almonds start to butterize.

3.  Add in the honey and salt, mix well.  It will most likely turn thick at this point, so add as much oil as necessary (I used 2T).

It really was just that easy!  The flavor is amazing and I am making myself hungry just writing about it!

mexican mash-up

I much prefer baking to cooking.  It has everything to do with the measurements.  I love following directions and measuring and scooping according to the recipe.  Most good cooks, well, inventive cooks, do not typically rely on recipes to make their dishes and have delicious outcomes.

I’m trying to better myself.  I made a dish last night that did not have a recipe.  I admit, I was kind of freaking out because what if it turns out horribly?!  Well, it didn’t.  And it’s very simple, so no freak outs required for you.  I’ll list ingredients and measurements, but if you choose to find your inner chef, please, be my guest and make any substitutions or changes you see fit.

Mexican Lime Millet Succotash

  • 2 cups cooked (or canned) beans.  I used adzuki beans for the first time (we got them dried and I cooked them in the rice cooker, I’m pretty sure I cooked them way too long so mine were somewhat a mix between whole beans and refried beans)
  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 1/2 cup baby lima beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s fire-roasted bell peppers and onions (If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can either use a bag of frozen green peppers or cut up and cook your own with onions if desired.

Sauce

  • 1T honey
  • 1.5T rice vinegar
  • 1T grapeseed oil
  • 1T lime juice

In a saute pan, heat up the millet on medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to pop.  Remove from heat and cook the millet (1 cup to 2 1/2 cups water) in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.  My rice cooker took 30 minutes, but use your own specifications for this part.  Once done cooking, let sit with the top open for 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

In the same saute pan used for the millet, heat the frozen lima beans, corn and green pepper mixture.  Cook until everything is well combined and no longer frozen.  Remove from heat.

To the rice cooker (still on the warm setting), add the beans (drained if you’re using canned) as well as the vegetable mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce with a whisk and toss in the rice cooker with the other ingredients.  Keep on warm until you and your family members are ready to eat!