Gluten Free Mama Pumpkin Brownies

Recently I ordered some gluten free all purpose flour from Azure Standard. This was a new brand for me, Gluten Free Mama- Almond Blend. They make a coconut blend that I also intend to try later on.

To try out this flour I decided to make Pumpkin Brownies from the Gluten Free Mama web page.

These brownies are super moist and have an almost pudding like center even when totally cooked. The texture is not of a typical brownie at all so don’t don’t expect a chewy cake consistency. These were simple to make and delicious.

The Recipe

Original Recipe Yield 16 squares

Ingredients

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup butter or dairy free margarine
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
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¾ cup Mama’s Almond Blend or Coconut Blend Flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking power
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. xanthan gum
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Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-3 Tbsp. milk (dairy, rice, nut, soy)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour 8×8 inch cake pan.
Using a double boiler, slowly melt chocolate chips and butter.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and xanthan gum.

In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sugars and vanilla. Mix well. Pour melted chocolate mixture into bowl. Mix well. Slowly add flour mixture until combined. Mix well.

Spread batter into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely. Remove brownies from pan by placing a plate over the top of pan and flipping the pan upside down. Then place a serving plate on the top of the brownies and flip again to have brownies right side up.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until frosting reaches a spreadable and creamy consistency. Spread frosting generously over top of brownies. Cut into squares and serve.

To view the Gluten Free Mama web page and this amazing recipe click here!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Fresh Avocado Salsa

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Fresh Avacodo Salsa

If you are looking for a fresh alternative to a traditional salsa or guacamole to serve at an upcoming gathering, consider this recipe for Avocado Feta Salsa. This chunky salsa is fresh and bright with creamy feta and tangy lime.

This is one of my husbands favorite recipes, he actually discovered this and I adapted the original to suit his tastes. Never be afraid to change a recipe, play with your food and discover for yourself what tastes good or not so good!

Remember to buy local, fresh and organic if possible!

Ingredients:

2 large avocados
2 medium sized tomatoes
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 small lime
4-6 oz of crumbled feta cheese

Now it’s really simple roughly chop tomatoes, parsley and shallot and place into bowl. Add minced garlic and oil stir gently to combine. Cube your avocados and add them along with the feta cheese. You want to do this last to preserve the size and consistency of these ingredients. This is a chunky salsa not a creamy dip. Squeeze 1/2 a lime over the top and fold with a spoon to evenly distribute all ingredients. Taste and add the other 1/2 lime if needed. Place the avocado pits in dish to help keep fresh.

Serve with tortilla chips, pita or crackers. Enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is often a feared task because often the chicken turns out a less than appetizing pale yellowish color and dry as an old dogs bone. In reality a whole roasted chicken is actually one of the easiest and most satisfying meals you can make. It is one of my favorites for sure. Try to buy local, fresh and organic whenever possible.

My secret weapon is a digital prob thermometer. This can be purchased at any cooking store, online or most grocers. I personally own this model from sur la table click here & a deep roasting pan with elevated rack. If you do not have a rack simply elevate the chicken with large carrots and celery bunches. Air needs to be able to circulate around the chicken totally.

So here’s my recipe…

Ingredients

5-6lb whole chicken giblets removed
1 stick of butter softened
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper (black or white)
3 cloves fresh garlic minced
1 tsp thyme
2 lemons
2 bay leaves

Set prob thermometer to 160 degrees as desired food temperature. I understand that 165 is recommended but we will be letting our bird rest for 20-30 mins after cooking. So by the time we cut into our chicken it will have continued cooking and reached our desired temperature of 165. if you are not comfortable with this due to the nature of chicken please set your thermometer at 165

PRE-HEAT to 500 degrees

1. Make sure chicken is totally defrosted and wiped dry.

2. Place chicken onto rack or vegetables in roasting pan, tucking the wings under the back.

3. Insert probe from thermometer into the thickest part of breast making sure not to hit a bone or enter the empty cavity ( this is important in order to have an accurate temperature reading).

4. Zest one lemon into a med size bowl. And add the juice from said lemon after zesting.

5. Add all remaining ingredients excluding the other lemon and bay leaves. Mix well.

At this point you should have a bowl of delicious fragrant garlic lemon and thyme butter. It’s hard but try not to eat it!

6. Using your finger or back of a table spoon gently separate the delicate chicken skin from the meat working from breast to tail. And then from tail to breast being especially careful with the leg skin. If you tear it, slow down and keep working. This takes some practice so relax.

7. Push the butter mixture under the skin of the chicken until it is evenly distributed throughout leaving enough for the top of the skin as well. Rubbing the skin prior to adding butter on top will help move it into hard to reach areas such as the leg.

8. Rub the remaining butter mixture all over outside of the chicken.

9. Cut remaining lemon in half. Place one half inside the chicken cavity followed by the 2 bay leaves and then the other half of lemon.

Place chicken into 500 degree oven for about 20mins until skin is brown. This time may vary from oven to oven. Your chicken may need to be turned around also if your oven does not heat evenly. Try to watch through the glass instead of opening the oven as frequent opening will result in a longer cook time.

When skin is mostly brown on top reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking without opening oven until your thermometer reads 160 or 165 whichever you desire.

Remove chicken and let rest for approx 20-30mins without cutting or removing probe. Removing the probe or cutting without allowing a resting time will allow the juices to escape and dry out your bird!

Enjoy! And save that chicken carcass in the freezer for later! Coming soon- making your own chicken broth from left over bones.

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Eating healthy is too expensive! Fact or Fiction?

I cannot tell you how many people tell me in conversation “it’s just too expensive to eat healthy”. While there are a lot of things by comparison that are more expensive to buy organic or natural over conventional- many things are less expensive.

Here’s an example: I recently went shopping for some items at my local outdoor produce stand. They purchase and stock many local grown items and I love to support local & small business. The small local farms are usually not certified organic but they usually have less chemicals and are not irradiated. Here’s the list of goods I obtained:

1 huge long stalk of broccoli
1 whole cantaloupe
3 lbs dried navy beans
4 extra large carrots
2 avocados
5 lbs sweet potatoes
12 baby red potatoes
3 heads of garlic
2 apples

How much would you guess this would cost in a traditional grocery store? Or even Whole Foods? $25, $35, $45?

I can tell you that avocados are usually $1-1.50 ea, and that broccoli would’ve been $4, Navy beans $6-7 so that about $11-12 right for just the 3 items.

I paid $15 for all of that food. In this case buying healthy local and fresh was a lot less expensive. I encourage you to seek out a farmers market or local produce stand and see the difference for yourself!

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