Monday, November 24, 2014

Sweet Pecan Delights

For me, the main issue with the sweet recipes is to adapt them into dairy and legume free. These recipes are mainly used butter, heavy cream, or milk. Since I have to omit all of the cow's products from Brek's diet and legume ingredients from Camden's diet, I find that modifying sweet recipes can be a challenge. I can no longer bake with cheese cake.

I accidentally found Sweet Julia cooking show while I was flipping through channels. Her recipes were pretty easy to work with to make them dairy free. Her Graham Cracker Toffee looked delicious. I thought I might be able to make them using my own dairy free caramel recipe.

I tested it out and holy cow!!! They tasted gooey, sweet, and nutty. My kids luv pecans, so they asked for more. I asked Brek to name the bars, and he said, "how about Sweet Pecan Delights?" And that's how these bars got their name.

Sweet Pecans Delight
inspired from Sweet Julia's Graham Cracker Toffee
made small 12 bars

8 graham crackers
1/3 cup (3 oz.) coconut cream
3 Tablespoons (1.6 oz.) water
1 Tablespoon (2 oz.) maple syrup
1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (3.75 oz.) raw pecans, roughly chopped
Cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degree.
  2. Line a 8 by 6 baking pan with a parchment paper. Spray the pan with a cooking oil.
  3. Place the graham crackers to fit the base, making sure that they double up to the same thickness. Set it aside.
  4. Place coconut cream, water, maple syrup, guar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  5. Heat the mixture in a medium low heat.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil and heat until the candy thermometer reads soft cracks (240F degree).
  7. Add the chopped pecans and whisk quickly.
  8. Slowly pour the pecan caramel over the graham crackers.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  10. Let cool in the wiring rack until cool to touch.
  11. Turn the sweet pecan delights onto the cutting board and cut them into small squares.
STORING: These sweet pecan delights keep well in an air tight container at a room temperature for up a week.

Allergy Info: These sweet pecan delights are free from or can be make without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), or fish.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce

Every year, my husband reminds me that Thanksgiving turkey is not tasty if it doesn't have cranberry sauce on the side. Of course, back when, he only bought the canned cranberry sauce. It came out of a can, looking rather suspicious to me. I never ate it and definitely never will.

I found the apple orange cranberry sauce from Martha Stewart's magazine which featured all things Thanksgiving feasts. It has been my go-to cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving ever since I tested the recipe... which was... hmm... many moons ago. Boy, I'm getting old. Can't remember too far back.

Anyway, the sauce tasted like cranberries with a hint of oranges. The apples helped with thickening. I made a few short cuts to her recipe. Quick and super easy. So you will definitely have more time "happy feasting!!!"

Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine
makes 4 cups

1/2 cup (4 oz) orange juice, freshly squeezed or bottled
1 granny smith apple, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cup (12 oz) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/4 cup (9 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a heavy bottom pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Then simmer until the cranberries pop, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Let the sauce cool in the pot until thickening. Enjoy it warm or at a room temperature!!!
STORING: Keep the apple orange cranberry sauce in an air tight container in a fridge for up to a week. Freeze it for up to 3 months.

Allergy Info: This apple orange cranberry sauce is free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, nuts, wheat, legumes (soy), or fish.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn Rice Puff Treats

Rice puff treats or rice crispy treats are super duper easy to make. Of course, the rice crispy treats recipes are mostly made with prepackaged marshmallows.

With this rice puff treats recipe, I use nut butter and rice syrup. No preservatives or additives. Now I can tell my kids to eat as much as they want. These treats travel quite well too. Bonus!!!

I wanted to try an Autumn flavor with cinnamon and dried cranberries. Using my go-to rice puff treats recipe, I added the ground cinnamon and dried cranberries. Just with these two ingredients, they added a big flavor and reminded me to Autumn.

Autumn Rice Puff Treats
makes 12 bars

1/2 cup (5.5 oz.) rice syrup
1/4 cup (2.3 oz.) nut butter
4 cups (4 oz.) rice puff or rice crispy (cereal)
1/4 cup (2 oz.) dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Line a 6 by 8 rectangular baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with cooking oil. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, heat the rice syrup and nut butter in a medium low heat until bubbly.
  3. While the nut butter syrup is heating up, mix together the rice puff, dried cranberries, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the rice puff mixture to the bubbling nut butter syrup.
  5. Mix until well combine.
  6. Transfer the Autumn rice puff treats to the prepared pan, spreading out with a spatula.
  7. Let the treats sit in a room temperature until set, about an hour.
  8. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 12 equal bars or desired shapes. Enjoy!!!
STORING: Keep these Autumn rice puff treats in a container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Bring the treats to a room temperature for at least 15 minutes to soften the texture.

Allergy Info: These Autumn rice puff treats are free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, wheat, legumes (soy), and fish. For nut free, use sunflower butter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chicken Broth

Seriously, the only chicken broth I knew of was from the prepackaged carton. I didn't know how I was living without store bought chicken broth. Until... you guess it... Camden's allergy free diet. I couldn't eat anything without making it myself. Chicken broth quickly went on my to-cook list because I couldn't live without a piping hot noodle soup (Pho).

At first I wasn't sure how to go about making the chicken broth. After searching online, I realize that chicken broth was pretty much chicken bones simmer in boiling water for hours. I didn't have time to slave in the kitchen. With baby Camden to care for and homeschooling Brek, I didn't want to spend another minute in the kitchen if I didn't have to.

So I came up with a plan and put my BFF (a.k.a. my slow cooker) to work. It was a perfect solution to not having to slave in the kitchen. No need to check it. Just let my BFF did all the work. Turned it on in the morning, and chicken broth was ready by dinnertime.

The chicken broth freezes well too. I'd make them in advance, let it cool down overnight in the fridge, skim out the fats, then freeze it up. I even freeze it in ice cube tray to add it to my sauces.

I usually buy chicken thighs with bones and skins. The meat is use for another meals while the bones and skins are for the chicken broth. My BFF is a 5 quart slow cooker. This is my version of chicken broth. Feel free to add other flavors like onions and/or garlic. My kids and I prefer the broth simple with a hint of celery.

Chicken Broth
makes about 4-5 quarts

6 - 8 chicken thighs bones, fats, and skins
2-3 celery stalks
2-3 carrots
1-2 Tablespoons sea salt
1-2 teaspoons ground black peppers

optional add-in: 1 small onion, 3 garlic cloves, a handful of cilantros, 1-inch peeled ginger, or star anise (great Pho flavor)
  1. Place all of the ingredients, except water, in a 5 quarts slow cooker.
  2. Add water, leaving about an inch from the rim.
  3. Turn the slow cooker to a High setting.
  4. Let it runs until the broth is bubbling, about 4-6 hours.
  5. When ready, discard the chicken bones, fats, skins, and veggies.
  6. The chicken broth is now ready for used or strain the broth into several containers. Let the broth cool down before putting it in the fridge. The next day, skim off the fats that are floated on the top.
STORING: This chicken broth keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Transfer the broth to several freezable plastic bags or in ice cube trays. It keeps frozen for up to 3 months.

Allergy Info: This chicken broth is free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), wheat, nuts, or fish.