Gluten Free Fluffy German Pancake

IMG_1144A great mystery to me when I was growing up, was the fluffy pancake. What made it so puffy in the oven? Recently I tried experimenting to make a gluten free version of the fluffy pancake. I love the fluffy or German pancake because it’s one of those quick and easy breakfasts I can whip up on a weekend morning that feels special but doesn’t take too much time. Pair it with my mixed berry fruit salad (See below for recipe), powdered sugar and lemon juice or maple syrup for a delectable treat. If you are feeding a crowd, double the recipe and baked in a 9×13 pan. One pancake serves 2-4 people.

While researching how to make a gluten free version, all the websites recommended against using a flour substitute that DID NOT have xanthan gum. Since all my flour bends already have xanthan gum, I used Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten free oat flour, and it turned out delicious! My husband couldn’t tell it was gluten free, which is my quality control test. Another tip, is use a pre-heated baking dish or cast iron skillet for best results.

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Gluten Free Fluffy German Pancake Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill GF Oat Flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TB melted butter

Directions for Gluten Free Fluffy German Pancake:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450. Pre-heat 10 inch cast iron skillet or baking dish in oven.
  • Beat or whisk eggs.
  • Add milk, and vanilla extract, sugar, and salt.
  • Sift or break down flour to get rid of clumps before adding gradually to the egg mixture.
  • Melt butter in cast iron pan or baking pan. Then add melted butter to egg mixture.
  • Pour batter into pre-heated cast iron skillet (or greased baking dish) and bake for 12-18 minutes until pancake has golden edges.

Serving Suggestions

  • Powdered sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Mixed Berry Fruit Salad (combine all ingredients and let marinate for 20 minutes)
    • 16oz fresh strawberries chopped
    • 6oz raspberries
    • 6oz blueberries or black raspberries
    • 1 bunch of mint leaves finely chopped
    • Powdered sugar
    • Juice from one lime or lemon (optional)

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Gluten Free Dutch Apple Crumble

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, and I absolutely love this season! Fall means apples, pumpkins, colorful leaves, sweaters, leggings and boots, and hot beverages all day long. We have been getting a plethora of apple from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, so I have been experimenting with gluten free apple desserts.  I’ve created this recipe which is loosely based off of a Dutch Apple Pie, and I gotta say, it’s really delicious! Since it only has one crust instead of two, it’s easier to make than a traditional pie and also lower in calories!

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Gluten Free Dutch Apple Crumble Recipe

Filling Ingredients

  • 6-8  medium apples, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch thick
  • Cinnamon (try Saigon cinnamon for a richer flavor)
  • Lemon juice

Crust Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened at room temp
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend ( I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to1 Baking Flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (Can grind gluten free oats in a Ninja or food processor to make oat flour)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

Directions: 

  1. Toss chopped and peeled apples with 1-2 tsp cinnamon and 1-2 tsp lemon juice. Place into 9×9  square pan or pie pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Cut butter into small pea sized pieces and work into flour mixture with hands or a pastry cutter until a crumb mixture forms. Sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.
  4. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until apples are slightly bubbly, and topping is golden. Apples should be easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Serve warm by itself or with vanilla ice cream!

 

 

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Pasta Primavera a la Zoodles

Pasta Primavera a la “Zoodles.” IMG_0345

Summer means an abundance of fresh, seasonal vegetables. Especially that iconic, multi-purpose vegetable- zucchini! I enjoy roasting zucchini, baking with zucchini, and making zucchini noodles. Zucchini noodles make a delicious gluten free, low carb and super healthy alternative to regular pasta.  Plus, this meal comes together in about 20-30 minutes! I made my zoodles with the Zoodler, but you could also try a spiralizer, or KitchenAid attachment.

Recipe for Pasta Primavera Veggie Noodles

Veggie Noodles

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
  • 1-2 TB minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Olive oil

Primavera Sauce

  • 1-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2-4 TB cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • Italians Seasonings, pepper, salt to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Combine cornstarch with cold chicken broth and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic in 5 quart sauce pan.
  3. After 1 minute, add onions to the pan and heat them up while you are preparing the carrot and zucchini noodles.
  4. Grate carrot and zucchini using a Zoodler machine, spiralizer or Kitchen Aid attachment.
  5. When onions are translucent, add carrot to pan with onions and garlic and heat for about 5-10 minutes. Then add zucchini noodles and peas.
  6. Stir pre-made sauce into pan with cooked vegetables.
  7. Keep temperature on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
  8. Add white wine, Italian seasonings, pepper and salt if desired. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  9. Serve immediately! Leftovers reheat well in the microwave!

Side Note: For a more decadent option, toss noodles with some cooked, chopped bacon.

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Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

My favorite summer time dessert- Strawberry Shortcake!IMG_0474

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since I was a little girl, my favorite summer time dessert, other than my mom’s famous “Buster Bar” ice cream cake (more on that later), has been strawberry short cake.   Since strawberries and whipped cream are already gluten free, it’s a relatively easy dessert to adapt into a gluten free version.  Hope you enjoy!

Joelle Bella’s Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1.5 cups Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free One to One Flour Blend (divided)
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 TB butter, cold and cut into pea sized pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup milk with 2 tsp vinegar

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Combine almond flour, 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill one to one gluten free blend, cornstarch, sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into pea sized chunk and gradually cut into flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender until evenly distributed. Pour buttermilk into mixture and mix until just combined. Add the rest of Bob’s Red Mill One to One flour blend, as needed, until dough is able to be rolled out into a one inch thickness. Cut dough into circles using the edge of a glass, or biscuit cutter. Place biscuits onto pan, and arrange into two columns so that they are touching each other.  Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits begin to brown on the bottom. While biscuits are baking, make the toppings!

Toppings

  • 1 lb Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 3 TB granulated sugar
  • 8oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
  • 3 TB powdered sugar (optional)

Directions: To make toppings, toss strawberries in 2-3 TB sugar, mash slightly to release juices. Can also add blueberries for a patriotic dessert!

Chill mixing bowl and wire whisk attachment/s for whipping the cream. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar, once cream has reached desired consistency.

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Joelle Bella’s Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

 

P.S. Can be eaten for breakfast, no just dessert!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

IMG_0431Looking for a coffee cake recipe that tastes delicious, but contains no refined carbs and a fraction of the added sugars compared to traditional coffeecake? Look no further! This recipe is family tested and approved for flavor and texture (i.e., just as good as the “normal” stuff).

As a dietitian, I have three criteria for my recipes.

  1. They need to taste good.
  2. They need to be made of mostly “good for you” ingredients.
  3. They need to be easy to make and contain easily available ingredients.

This coffee cake recipe is gluten free, “good for you,” and tastes just as good as traditional coffee cake.  This recipe features whole grain oat flour, almond flour and coconut flour, a combination which is chock full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as well as vitamin E, magnesium and iron.  Unlike a lot of gluten free replacements, this coffee cake is rich in flavor, texture and nutritional value!

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Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake 

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour (not almond meal)**
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour (or grind oats* in a food processor until they turn into a fine powder)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour**
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 eggs (beat together with a fork in a small bowl)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk or non-dairy milk
  • 1 TB vanilla

Cinnamon Crumb Topping

  • 1 TB Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup oats*

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 8×8 pan or 9in round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2.  Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in mixer. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Spread coffeecake with topping, bake for 25-30 minutes until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Serve with butter if desired. Enjoy!

For Topping: Melt butter, cinnamon and sugar in the microwave. Stir well. Hand mix in nuts and oats and spread topping over the unbaked coffee cake.

Reheat leftovers the next day in the microwave for 15 seconds with a little butter or heart healthy margarine for the best results!

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Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

*To make sure this coffee cake is Celiac-Safe, be sure to use Certified Gluten Free Oats, as most commercial oats are contaminated by gluten.

**  Store high fat flours, like coconut and almond flour in the freezer or refrigerator to keep them from going rancid.

The Most Important Half of Your Plate

Dietitians often use the “Healthy Plate,”  combined with portion control, to help people plan healthy meals in order to help control their blood sugar, lower cholesterol and to lose weight.  The healthy plate is similar to the USDA’s “My Plate,” except that half of the plate is just vegetables, instead of fruits and vegetables.  The other half of the plate is divided evenly between lean proteins and high carb (and hopefully high fiber!) foods. Also, corn, potatoes, and peas  count as a starch, not a vegetable.  Beans and legumes count as a protein and a starch.  There you have it- the healthy plate in a nutshell!

How does the healthy plate method help with weight loss and blood sugar control? Vegetables are high in fiber, water, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and very low in calories. As you eat more vegetables, you will naturally start eating less of the high calorie, high carb, high fat foods that contribute to chronic disease and weight gain when consumed in excess.

The main problem of the typical American diet, is that it is full of high fat proteins and highly refined carbs, with very little room for vegetables.   If you are like most Americans, as far as your diet goes, Incorporating more vegetables into your diet is the #1 most important thing you could do to improve your health and your family’s health. 

Since veggies are so important, I decided to share what eating the healthy plate way would look like throughout the day and give you some tips to get started.

Breakfast:

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Breakfast Burritos
  • Toss a handful of spinach into the pan while frying your eggs.
  • Toss in a handful of spinach or kale to your favorite Smoothie Recipe.
  • Make a Veggie Quiche with a potato crust instead of a normal crust.
  • Try Breakfast Succotash
  • Make a Breakfast Burrito: Saute onions, green and red peppers, and a diced sweet potato in olive oil. Heat until soft. Add black beans. Combine until heated through. Serve with avocado, salsa and cheese on corn tortillas.
  • Eating out? Get a veggie omelet!

Lunch: IMG_0303

  • Make a meal out of your salad. Salads are a great way to fill up on vegetables, but they don’t always fill me up. To make a salad a complete meal, add some lean proteins like baked or grilled chicken, a hard boiled egg or roasted chickpeas. Then add a high fiber carb, like cooked quinoa, corn or more beans.  For more filling power, add a sprinkling of sunflower seeds, almonds or avocado.
  • Add leftover steamed or roasted veggies from the night before to your lunch sandwich or wrap
  • Take vegetable soup or stew to work with you.

Snacks: Try Veggies and Hummus or veggies and dip

Dinner:  Veggie should be the main event at dinner time!

  • Start Dinner with a simple side salad
  • Sauté or Roast Fresh Vegetables to go with your dinner.
  • Steam frozen vegetables in the microwave, sprinkle with some cheese or your favorite dressing.
  •  Stir extra frozen veggies into pasta, rice or casseroles before cooking.
  • Scroll down for more inspiration!
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    Salmon, “fried” rice and roasted peppers, onions and zucchini

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    Salmon with steamed broccoli and carrots, and asparagus mixed with rice
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Vegetarian version of the healthy plate featuring roasted potatoes, zucchini and onions and chickpea, spinach and rice stir fry
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Baked chicken with roasted asparagus and carrots

What’s your favorite way to eat vegetables? Please post a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Gluten Free Peach Crisp

Summer time means an abundance of locally grown fresh fruit! Lately, we have been getting lots of peaches from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. Since I’m allergic to raw peaches (who knew that was a thing?!), I’ve been making a gluten free version of peach cobbler with oats and nuts. This is one of my favorite summer time breakfasts or desserts! Hope you enjoy!

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Gluten Free Peach Crisp Recipe

Fruit Filling (For 9×9 pan)

  • 6-8 peaches, 1 cup berries (cherries, blueberries, strawberries etc)
  • 1 TB Cornstarch
  • Cinnamon

Crust

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill One to One gluten free flour blend
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter

IMG_0918Directions for Gluten Free Peach Crisp

  1. Peel and chop peaches, and combine with berries.
  2. Toss peaches and berries with cornstarch and cinnamon.
  3. Melt butter in microwave.
  4. Combine oats through brown sugar and pour melted butter over mixture. Stir until evenly combined.
  5. Pour oat mixture over fruit mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until fruit is bubbly  and can be pierced gently with a fork.
  6. Eat as is for breakfast or serve with vanilla yogurt or whipped cream for dessert.

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I can’t wait to try this recipe in the fall with apples! Yum!

I gave Away Most of My Books and Now I Read More than Ever

IMG_0430I have relocated every year for the past 4 years. And once a year, for the past 4 years, I have packed all my books into boxes, and dragged, tugged, and heaved them along with me.  Classics, modern novels, textbooks, self help books, reference books, cookbooks, biographies, political books, relationship books and more- all of them have been packed, unpacked, and repacked four times!  I kept some books because I wanted to read them or thought I might need to read them someday, I kept some because I thought I should read them someday,  and I kept some because I had already read them, and used to love them.   Curiously, the one thing I rarely did is actually read any of my books! Can anyone relate to this?!

When I got married, my husband’s books were added to the mix as well, but thankfully he has a fraction of the books I own. All combined, we owned enough books to fill two tacky “Room Essentials” bookshelves from Target with a few extra  books shoved in random places around the house.

This past move, I decided I was sick and tired of moving all those books! They had become a drag, literally and metaphorically. Each time I thought I might like to read a book, I would get overwhelmed by looking at all the options, or feel a sense of obligation to read books I wasn’t interested in anymore.   I felt like I should read the books I had, before buying or borrowing any new books. Silly, I know, but that’s the way my brain worked.

I had gone through our books before and thinned them out, but this time I was ruthless. I don’t remember using any “criteria” to determine which books to keep and which to get rid of, but generally, if a book could easily be found at the library, it was donated. If a book had been sitting on my shelf for the past 5 years without me actually reading it, I got rid of it. If I wasn’t interested in the topic anymore, I got rid of it. I realized that there’s no reason to keep books that don’t fit into my interests or life stage.

All told, my husband and I donated over half of our books to the Good Will, which also allowed us to get rid of one of our bookcases. I expected to enjoy the extra space we gained by getting rid of the books, but I didn’t expect that I would start reading so much more as well!

Letting go of all those books freed me to start pursuing current interests by reading new books. If I hear of a book I want to read, I look for it at the library, or in our library’s e-book collection.  I’ve also bought some e-books on amazon and some hard copies from thrift stores. The wonderful thing about borrowing books from the library, is that you have a reason to start reading because you have “deadline” for finishing the book.  Also, if you start reading something and then realize you don’t like it, it’s not a big deal to stop reading it. I also keep a journal with a running list of all the books I’ve read since 2000. So if I really want to re-read a book, I can always look it up on my list and borrow it from the library, rather than owning it.

So how did getting rid of all those books impact my reading level? Well, last year, I read 7 books. (Pathetic, I know!) This year, I’ve read 12 books, and it’s only April! If I keep up the pace, I’ll have read 36 books by the end of the year, that’s 5 times more books than I read last year!

One thing I have learned from this experiment, is that books don’t have to stay in your life forever in order for you to enjoy them or get value from them. You don’t even have to read a book all the way through to get something out of it. Read it, take what you want, and then let it go. If you really need that book again in the future, it will come back to you. The true value of a book comes from what you take from it, not from what you put back on the shelf.

What about you? Do you have shelves full of books that aren’t being read? Are you in a reading rut? Maybe it’s time to let your books have a chance to inspire others, and make room in your life for new books!