gf cashew hummus {recipe}

My dad loves cashews. As for me, they are ok. But, Cashew Hummus. Sign me up. Seriously, it’s so good. My lovely neighbor made some for me, and I recently attempted the recipe. Easy, delish and so healthy. Not only are cashews are full copper, magnesium, zinc and manganese, but they also contain Omega 3 fatty acids and Argenine {a non-essential amino acid good for heart health}. On top of all that, lemon juice also boasts healthy essentials such as vitamin c, calcium and phosphorus, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a win-win.

This dish would be a lovely hostess gift served with crackers and fresh veggies in a basket, it will impress the pickiest of eaters {I know because my son is picky, and he loved it}, and one of the reasons I LOVED IT SO MUCH is because it’s the perfect appetizer for your vegan and gluten-free friends coming over for dinner. I love healthy people, but sometimes it’s hard to find a yummy recipe that will please everyone, and fit into everyone’s dietary needs. Unless you or a guest is allergic to cashews, this recipe is for you!

Gluten Free Cashew Hummus
recipe adapted from Sunfood Recipes
makes 3-4 cups homemade hummus {in other words, plenty to serve at a party…and to share with a neighbor}

3 cups raw cashews
3/4 cup tahini {my neighbor just roasted sesame seeds and used in place of actual tahini}
3/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 garlic cloves
1.5 tsp fine Sea Salt
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder {my neighbor omitted this, and it was still delish}
1.5 tsp paprika

How To
Soak cashews for 3 hours.
Rinse and Drain the water several times.
Place cashews and all other ingredients in a food processor.
Puree until well blended.
It will probably be thick, so add water 1/4 cup at a time until you reach desired consistency.

{images via Tutto Bella}

zoo-chini bread

It’s that time of year {has been for a while} where the zucchini plant burst with zucchini growing under it large leaves. My friend gave me a zucchini as long as my right arm, and wider! So, with an upcoming trip to the zoo, the kids and I got to work baking zoo-chini bread. Get it? Clever huh?!

Two versions – Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Zucchini and Chia Seed Muffins. Both were delish…and made for the perfect snack as we watched the Giraffes eat leaves off the tall trees at The Denver Zoo.

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread
recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

1/8 tsp xantham gum
1 cup Bobs Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chip morsels
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 light extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups shredded raw zucchini

How To
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients including, the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
In another large bowl, use an electric blender or whisk the eggs, oil, both sugars and vanilla extract.
Fold in the grated zucchini into the wet ingredients, then fold in the ‘dry’ ingredients until well blended.
Pour batter into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan, place in oven and bake for about 55-60 minutes {stick a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean before you remove from the oven}.
Cool, then slice and serve…or pack for the zoo.

Zucchini and Chia Seed Muffins
recipe adapted from my grandma

3 eggs, beaten
1.5 cup light extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup coconut oil
2 cups sugar
2.5 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
2.5 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds

How To
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, add eggs, vanilla, sugar and oil, then fold in the zucchini.
In another medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia seeds and cinnamon, then add to the bowl with the zucchini. Blend until combined.
Place in muffin cups and bake for approximately 16-18 minutes or until it pasts the toothpick test.

{images via Tutto Bella}

we dig it

Gardens are a happy place. I really believe that. Maybe it’s because I have happy memories watching my grandpa and grandma tend to the garden with their sun hats, cherishing the sounds of birds chirping in the nearby bird bath, and taking in the smells and sounds around them…and then sharing their zucchini and garlic with us. I also know that gardening is therapeutic for people, and can be a place of solace where people connect with nature and themselves. With water and a little TLC, just a tiny seed can grow into a plant that can nourish a family. Amazing!

Having attempted a garden for two years, I’ve had successes and failures. I can grow carrots, strawberries, kale, spinach and basil. As for zucchini, well, the verdict is still out. The veggies that don’t like my garden, or my beginner gardening skills, are cucumber, beans and peas.

Now is the time of year many people are harvesting their summer garden and enjoying the fruits {and veggies} of their labor on the dinner table. So, this week is all about the garden. We’ll have recipes, inspiration and tips.

Today’s garden-inspired recipe is from a favorite family friend, Sandy Lessig. She made so many meals for our family when I gave birth to all 3 kids {and those of you with kids know how fantastic a cooked meal by someone else is post labor}, and recently had us over for dinner. I inhaled her delicious food, and she was kind enough to share her healthy appetizer recipe with me to share with you.

This makes for a wonderful party appetizer…and for all you wonderful gluten-free folk, this one works for you too!

Eggplant, Pepper and Onion Dip
recipe adapted from Sandy Lessig

1 red pepper
1 eggplant
1/2-1 Vidalia onion {if you like a stronger onion flavor, use 1 whole onion. And when Vidalia onions are out of season, use yellow onions}
4-8 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Food Should Taste Good, Olive Chips

How To
Cut red pepper, eggplant and 1/2 onion into large pieces. Keep the skin on the eggplant.
Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. I covered the veggies in about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Roast veggies at 350 degrees until tender, about 30 min.
Use a food processor {or blender} to blend the veggies together. I added another 2 tablespoons Olive Oil to the food processor as I was blending it to make it smoother, but the amount of Olive Oil you add if your preference. You can add salt, pepper and even garlic salt to taste too.
Serve in a bowl or fancy individual cup with Gluten Free, Food Should Taste Good Olive Crackers. You can serve this warm or cold {it’s similar to hummus}, so you can make the day before a party and not worry about re-heating.

{images via Tutto Bella}

gluten free quinoa cakes

All three of us are gluten free {most of the time} so we are always looking for yummy recipes the whole family will enjoy as well. My family is obsessed with Quinoa. We eat it with stir-fry, chicken and veggies, chili and even as a complete meal with a dish like this.

When I told my husband I was attempting this recipe for breakfast this weekend, he had a skeptical look on his face, like “where’s the bacon?” But, after one bite, he quickly changed his mind and enjoyed several of them. This recipe is so easy, healthy and gluten free. Enjoy!

Quinoa Cakes
recipe adapted from a friend
yields 8-9 cakes

2 cups Quinoa, cooked and cooled
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs {if you are not gf, you can use regular bread crumbs, or even parmesan Panko bread crumbs}
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
splash of milk or cream
1/4 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp pressed garlic

Pour all ingredients into a medium size bowl and mix together
Form into small cakes, about 2 inches diameter

Saute on the stove in olive oil until golden and crispy on each side, about 4-5 minutes {if they are not golden, they will fall apart easily}

Top with an over-easy egg with cheese melted on top and slices of avocado

{images via Tutto Bella}

fall’s favorite flavor

This is a very exciting time in my husband’s life. I’d like to think this is true because we are newlyweds {which it absolutely IS the reason he is so happy :-) }, but it’s the time of year that he likes to call “pumpkin season”, which is the most delicious time of year.

Some of his favorites are the Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks and Pumpkin Pie in the Sky ice cream at Cold Stone {yumm!}. Pumpkin is in the crisp air, and we are definitely loving it!

For the next few months, my husband will be requesting any kind of food with pumpkin in it. Lucky for me, I came across these delicious pumpkin recipes. Happy baking!

{Pumpkin Pie Bites, Bakerella}

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. Roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.

Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.

For more adorable pumpkin inspiration from Bakerella, click here

{Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bars, recipe via Gluten-Free Goddess}

{just for all you gluten-free gals out there}

2 large free-range organic eggs

1/3 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned is fine)

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

1 and 3/4 cups Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix or a dairy-free gluten-free flour mix with 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum added

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice- or a blend of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan or line the pan with greased parchment.

Beat the eggs till blended; add the oil and beat to combine. Add the brown sugar and beat until smooth. Add the pumpkin, beat till smooth; add the vanilla, beat to combine. Add the baking mix and spices; and beat just until the batter is smooth. Add in the nuts and stir by hand to combine.

Dump the batter into the baking pan and spread the evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the bars are firm, and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.

Cool on a wire rack. Frost when cool.

{For the yummy gluten-free frosting finishing touch recipe, click here}