Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

The biggest downside to grain free cookies so far that I have found is they simply do.not.keep.

And before you get all smart on me no it isn’t because we inhale them. Most grain free cookies I have found are just best eaten the same day they are made. They tend to have a lot more moisture than the regular variety. I always thought I was a chewy cookie person but man now I miss a bit of crunch.

Strawberry thumbprint cookies (grain free)

Maybe it’s me? Perhaps I should just cook them longer?

Thumbprint cookies however are my absolute favorite. There is already a recipe on here for delicious thumbprint cookies. When I saw this grain free version I couldn’t resist.

Next time I make them I want to put poppyseeds in them too….

But really I made these because I had an excuse. I made these last week for a movie night with two close mama friends of mine.

Strawberry thumbprint cookies (grain free)

You know what is healing to the soul? Sitting on the couch with two women you love and admire, eating junk food, and giggling like 16 year olds at an Adam Sandler movie.

Seriously. If you love people make time and space for them. Do non sensical things like watch silly movies. Life is much less hard when you have friends nearby.

Friends and cookies and you pretty much have the perfect life. Right?

Strawberry thumbprint cookies (grain free)

 

One year ago today: Pumpkin Scones

Two years ago today: Rosemary lemon BBQ chicken

Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies (grain free) (Makes 12-15)
From Dish by Dish

2 cup of almond flour/ almond meal
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup of strawberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silpat. In a medium bowl, cream together the coconut oil, maple syrup, pure vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the almond flour/ almond meal and salt, and then gently stir until dough is well incorporated. Use a tablespoon to scoop even amounts of the dough and roll the dough with the palms of your hands to get smooth balls. Place the balls onto the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 fingers of spacing between them. Use your thumb to make a well in the middle of each of the balls. Fill the well of each cookie with around 1 teaspoon of jam. Bake for around 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Strawberry thumbprint cookies (grain free)

Garlic Crackers

Lets talk about things that are hard.

Life. Life is way way way hard.

What else?

I agree. I kinda feel like that sums it up.

And in talking with a friend just recently I realized (for the umpteenth time) that life is hard on everyone.

Garlic crackers (grain free)

We all have our own brand of tough things to deal with. Sometimes I find myself looking at others thinking wow they have it easy but that’s just because I either a) don’t know all that they are dealing or b) whatever is they might be dealing with I may have dealt with before and built up a tolerance. Other times I find myself looking at someone’s life and thinking “nope, never, no way, all the nopes.” I will take my hard over other hard any day.

But why? Why is it so flipping hard? Who knows. However I think we can make it a tad easier on ourselves sometimes. The two lessons that I have learned of late are first and foremost I own things that aren’t mine to own and secondly I am bad at forgiving myself.

Garlic crackers (grain free)

Ps. If you think I am crazy feel free to ignore me. I am just getting some things out there. It makes me feel better. Cracker recipe to follow.

So the owning things that aren’t mine thing. When other people have things or feelings or issues or whatnot I tend to take it personally. Lately I have learned it isn’t about me. Usually rather it is just that- things or feelings or issues or whatnot that are THEIRS. Sure I can have a role in helping or hindering but it is not my responsibility.

Garlic crackers (grain free)

Let me tell you how great releasing things feels. It feels amazing.

Secondly I am so hard on myself and when I screw up I like to wallow. Owning what I have done wrong and mending is tough but important. If I can be gentle with myself and forgive like I forgive others I find myself a much happier person.

So what does this have to do with crackers? Nothing. Other than that grain free crackers are not hard at all. This is the third or fourth different cracker recipe I have made and I quite like them. In fact most have turned out quite well.

So don’t own whatever isn’t yours and forgive yourself. And make some grain free crackers. (Sorry… don’t mean to be bossy but I would just like to see you happy you know)

Garlic crackers (grain free)

One year ago today: Broccoli Fritters

Two years ago today: Pumpkin cookies

Garlic Crackers (makes about three dozen small crackers)
From Dish by Dish 

3/4 cup flax meal
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 egg, whisked until frothy

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Stir almond meal, flax meal, olive oil, water, salt, garlic powder, and egg in a large bowl until a thick dough forms. Using your hands, form the dough into a thick square or rectangular block. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and then cut the dough into crack shapes (squares or rectangles are the easiest) using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Transfer the dough (together with the bottom parchment paper) to a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy and fragrant. Allow to cool before separating along scored lines into crackers. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature

Garlic crackers (grain free)

Blueberry Scones

Can we talk about expectations from grain free baking?

(I am addressing baking specifically because grain free every day cooking is more familiar and easier than BAKING grain free)

When I say scones I mean scone like. My sweet husband has been drug along on this grain free cooking life unwittingly and has not always loved the grain free foods. When I handed him this scone yesterday I did preface it with “don’t expect a scone scone!” “Oh I know better than that” was his retort.

Grain free blueberry scones

Well at least he liked them.

Ok back to expectations. By in large if you use coconut flour it will taste like coconut. Also it will be spongy ish which is kinda a hard transition to make. I have learned I simply cannot do coconut flour in savory applications. Nope no way.

I have my limits with coconut flour. There are only so many coconut flour muffins I can eat before I am sick of them.

Grain free blueberry scones

Another small personal trick I have learned is I don’t love honey in baked goods. I almost always sub for maple syrup instead. Real maple syrup mind you.

What I have found so far that works best are recipes like this one what use a nut flour and then arrowroot or tapioca as a binder. The two best pizza dough recipes we have found to date have either arrowroot or tapioca in them. Coconut flour in a pizza crust is a big fat no way.

Grain free blueberry scones

I’ve been grain free baking since mid July. I never ever ever thought I would see the day. Thankfully my instincts from all the cooking and baking I have done over the years serves me well. Now that I know how all these ingredients interact I am getting to a point where I can select winning grain free recipes with the ease that I could pick a regular one.

I’m kinda loving it.

However this one threw me for a loop. I put it in the pan and was SURE it wasn’t going to work. First and foremost I thought my pan was too big. Secondly I was none too pleased with the batter. Whatever. I was at a friends house so I said a prayer and went outside.

Sure enough this sweet recipe proved me wrong. While not 100% scone like they aren’t TOO far off and are delicious in their own right. I am going to use this base to try and make other scone. Cinnamon ones are on the docket next.

Grain free blueberry scones

One year ago today: Cream of Mushroom Soup

Two years ago today: Roast pork loin with fennel

Blueberry Scones (makes 8)
From Dish by Dish 

1 1/2 cups of cashew meal (I get mine at Trader Joes)
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (or any other sort of berries you prefer)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease your cast-iron pan well. In a large bowl, whisk the ground cashew meal, tapioca flour, salt and baking powder together until combined. In another bowl, mix the honey, vanilla extract and egg together until all ingredients are well incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until you get a homogeneous batter. Gently stir in the blueberries until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the baking pan or cast iron pan, and evenly distribute the rest of the blueberries on top. Bake for around 30 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Let the scones cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing into 8 portions.

Grain free blueberry scones

Creme Brulee

Shhhhhh….. Don’t tell anyone. This recipe didn’t quite come out perfect.

No one minded though. It all got eaten.

Creme Brulee

You see I have the cutest little cups that I got when I replaced my dishes this past spring. Every since they arrived at my house I knew I wanted to put pudding in them and take pictures.

Recently I made swiss meringue buttercream frosting and lordy does that use a lot of egg whites. Not wanting to waste egg yolks I put them in bowl and popped them in the fridge. I knew I needed to used them ASAP but had no clue what to make.

Creme Brulee

Enter creme brulee. Yes please.

These cup however are not the ideal vessel to use for creme brulee. There is just no way around that. They are too deep which presents with two problems. First getting them all the way cooked through um… maybe didn’t quite happen. And secondly you simply cannot get enough topping on them.

Creme Brulee

The hard carmely burnt sugar topping has got to be my favorite part. I love taking the back of my spoon and giving it a good whack. The crunch is SO satisfying.

But I liked it just the same. It wasn’t as set up as it should have been but the flavor and texture were perfect. Until I met with the most unanticipated problem- it seems I can’t eat very much sugar anymore. I made it through about 1/2 of one before I just couldn’t take another bite.

Creme Brulee

SO good. I couldn’t stop myself. And I sorrily regretted that later.

Next time I have extra egg yolks you can bet I will be making it again though….

Creme Brulee

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Stroganoff

Two years ago today: Homemade buttermilk ranch

Creme Brulee (makes 8 servings)
From Martha Stewart

4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
7 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Extra sugar for topping

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil. Place eight 5-ounce baking dishes in a large roasting pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine cream and half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then add pod. Heat over medium just until mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, 7 to 8 minutes (do not let boil). Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining sugar and the salt.

Use ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add two more ladles of cream mixture, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Gradually whisk in remaining cream mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup (to remove the vanilla pod and any cooked bits of egg).

Divide custard evenly among baking dishes. Place pan in oven. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake until custards are just set (they should tremble slightly in center when shaken), 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Use tongs to carefully remove dishes from hot-water bath and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days) before serving. The custard will finish setting in the refrigerator. If you like, transfer the custards to the freezer 15 minutes before serving to ensure they stay cold after being bruleed (this is especially important if using the broiler).

Caramelize tops and serve: Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar over each custard. Working with one at a time, pass the flame of the torch in a circular motion 1 to 2 inches above the surface of each custard until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a smooth surface. Serve immediately.

Creme Brulee

Waffles (go grain free) and Happy Birthday Little

Today was kinda a big day. Two celebrations happened. First my Little turned three. Second I marked three years as a mama.

You might recall that being a mama has never been easy on me. I have to say from 18 months on it has been getting easier each and every day. While 2.5 heading to three has not been without it’s own struggles it has certain been more than fun than I could have ever imagined.

Grain Free Waffles

He’s hilarious. He’s cheeky. He’s incredibly kind.

Sure there are the typical age appropriate jerk like things that he does but he has a heart made of gold. He’s inquisitive, curious, smart, articulate, and refuses to eat 99% of vegetables.

He loves to run and be outside. He tackles our poor Wyatt cat at least once a day. Every day I see him do something new.

Grain Free Waffles

And me as a mama? I am learning to be compassionate to myself. To release the guilt that I unnecessarily place on myself. I’ve learned not everyone does things my way and that is cool. We all love our kids. And I have learned to be a little lax from time to time.

Case in point today. Little got pretty much what he wanted all day long. For example chocolate milk and ice cream for lunch. Dinner was waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. He even got to eat them in the living room watching a movie. That has NEVER happened before.

Grain Free Waffles

I love him more than he will ever know. I am not sure being a mama is for me but being HIS mama clearly is. Does that even make sense?

Anyways. Waffles. Because that’s why you are here. These are super easy. They are a bit of a pain at first because they require a “mix” but whatever. I went ahead and made it and I don’t mind having it on hand. They don’t crisp up like regular waffles but they are delicious and nutty.

Grain Free Waffles

One year ago today: Happy Birthday 2.0

Two years ago today: A collection of party recipes and a very happy birthday 

Waffles (makes 11-12)
From Against All Grain Meals Made Simple

6 large eggs
1 cup full fat milk
2 cup mix (see recipe below)
1/4 melted coconut oil
1/4 maple syrup

Heat up the waffle iron. Put all your ingredients in a bowl or in a blender. Blend (either in in the blender of with an immersion blender) till smooth. Let rest for 4-5 minutes. Spoon batter into your well greased waffle iron (I have to grease my nonstick for this batter). Close the lid and cook till done. Remove from the waffle iron and repeat with the rest of the waffles. Eat as soon as you can!

Mix
3 cups almond meal
1 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Use in the above recipe. Save leftover in a sealed container and make more waffles at a later date.

Grain Free Waffles

(Waffle and TV comma. You understand right?)

Chocolate Layer Cake

Lets talk about adjusting expectations.

Just because you have managed to do something to the highest degree of awesome once (or even twice!) doesn’t mean you should or have to do it that way again.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Just because someone does something super awesome in the coolest way doesn’t mean that you need to be that way either.

So much easier said than done.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

While Little isn’t three yet (this birthday is Wednesday) we celebrated his birthday this weekend. The party was not what past parties have been. There was no three layer beautifully decorated cake. The food was simple and easy. The decorations largely commercialized store bought stuff. I felt like the worst mom ever.

And you know what? He loved his party. He woke up the next morning asking if he could have another birthday party.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

I am harder on myself than I should be. Letting go and adjusting my expectations I know would make me a happier person. I’ll get there. It’s just going to be one tiny shift at a time.

One place where I refuse to compromise and adjust expectations is with grain free cooking. I want the grain free food so be as good as the with grain varieties. This cake fits that bill perfectly.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Beyond impressed.

So while the cake was frosted rather simply and topped with Pixar rather than homemade coolness it WAS absolutely delicious. Even most of the grain eaters who came to the party agreed that it was delicious.

Little clearly loved it.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto

Two years ago today: Buttermilk cake with blackberries

Chocolate Layer Cake (makes 1 two layer 6 in cake)
From Against All Grain

6 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 almond meal
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place the eggs, honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in the bowl of your food processor. Process till fully combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and process till smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes (for the coconut flour to absorb some of the liquid). Meanwhile grease two 6 inch pans and line the bottom with a parchment round. Once the batter has rested divide it between the two pans. Bake for 28-32 minutes rotating halfway through. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and frosting. Can be made up to three days ahead.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

This has been a motto for me for quite some time. A little secret about me: I struggle with self image.

We all do right? Right? Thanks for being there with me.

I’ve always been taught to think of others and to put them first. I do this to a fault often neglecting myself.

I know better. I really do. What I need to embrace is to that thinking of others does not mean that I am not wickedly awesome in my own right.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

I’ve been trying on good self talk lately. Some confidence. It’s kinda awesome. However I usually make it through about 3-4 hours of it before my reflex kicks in and I feel guilty for thinking I rock.

Can you join me in working on this? Talking good about yourself and NOT feeling bad about it?

Because we are all badasses in our own right. And that should be celebrated and loved and put on a pedestal. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t rocking too.

And the one aspect of who I am that I have chosen to embrace and own is what this little blog is all about: cooking.

I have decided it is my superpower. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t good at it or that I am better than anyone because I work voodoo magic in the kitchen. It means that I rock. And I am awesome. And that things that work for me in the kitchen that shouldn’t work ALWAYS turn out.

A super power.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

Phrasing it like that, being proud of myself and not apologizing for it, is hard. I think I like it though. Feeling confident about yourself can be scary. What happens if I fail? What if someone feels intimidated by me? What if I am wrong about myself?

In this small aspect of my life (kitchen superpowerness) I am releasing the what ifs, the anxiety, the feeling of resposibility for other people’s feelings and instead choosing to be proud of myself.

It isn’t easy but I think it will be worth it in the long.

So, my loves, can you please tell me what your superpower is? We all have one. Lets make today about us and how cool we are. Because the cooler we all are the cooler the village is and the more powerful we are together.

Oh… right. And cookies. Here are some delicious grain free cookies that are every bit as good as any variety you have ever had that has grain. I promise.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

Two years ago today: Homemade Granola

Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 16)
From Against All Grain 

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, cream the butter, coconut sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla for about 15 seconds until smooth and fluffy. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed in order to incorporate all of the flour. Pulse once or twice more.
Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Using another sheet of parchment on top of the dough, flatten them slightly with the palm or your hand or a spatula. The cookies don’t spread much so create the size and thickness you want prior to baking them. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)