A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook

 

 

 


 

 

 

Monday
Jan102011

The Icing on the Cake

WINNERS:  Congratulations Lori and Nicole, you are winners of Elana Amsterdam's The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook! Thank you all for your entries and for sharing so many great grab-and-go snack ideas! Lori said; "My favorite go-to snack is fruit like grapes, bananas or apples" and Nicole; "Lydia's Organics Kale Chips, without question. The Mega Green and the Herbs de Provence are so addictive, yet light and healthy. I never take a road trip without them." Lori and Nicole, please send me your mailing addresses using the Contact form on this site so that I can get these books out to you. :)

Kelly Brozyna (aka The Spunky Coconut) visits with one of her readers.This past Saturday I was at Red Frog Coffee in Longmont, Colorado for the opening of Kelly Brozyna's (aka The Spunky Coconut) art show and book signing. I can't express how uplifting it was to visit with Kelly, her readers and fans, and other bloggers. The "icing on the cake" was being treated to one of Kelly's super-moist triple-layer chocolate cakes topped with the most healthful and decadent chocolate frosting I've ever had. The ingredients were simple, pure and wholesome. I hope Kelly doesn't mind me sharing! 

The Spunky Coconut Chocolate Date Frosting

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cup pitted DATES
3/4 cup plain RAW CASHEW NUTS
1-1/2 cup COCONUT MILK
1/8 teaspoon SEA SALT
1 teaspoon VANILLA EXTRACT
1-1/2 tablespoons TAPIOCA FLOUR
1/3 cup COCONUT OIL, liquified
1/2 cup COCOA POWDER
Directions:
Cruise on over to Kelly's site for the how-to's and for the cake recipe(s).

 

A couple of weeks back I posted a review of Kelly's second cookbook; The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts. This cookbook is perfect for anyone interested in exploring grain-free, low-glycemic, nutritionally-dense baked goods and desserts. You can buy it here

Tuesday
Jan042011

Elana's Almond Power Bars & Giveaway

I am always on the lookout for wholesome, power-packed bites to have at the ready for when I'm running out the door and realize I've forgotten to eat! It happens a lot. This week I stumbled upon Elana's Pantry Gluten-Free Almond Power Bars. Perfect, I thought, and wasted no time in making a batch. I was in love at first bite and have found a keeper. What attracts me to Elana's recipes are their simplicity and this one is no exception. Here are the ingredients you will need for these power bars. Visit Elana for the directions [click here].

Gluten-Free Almond Power Bars

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Easily Vegan | Easily Raw

Makes: 16-20 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients:

2 cups raw ALMONDS
1/2 cup FLAX MEAL
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded COCONUT
1/2 cup unsalted creamy roasted ALMOND BUTTER
1/2 teaspoon cup COCONUT OIL
1/2 teaspoon celtic SEA SALT
4 drops liquid STEVIA
1 tablespoon AGAVE NECTAR
1 tablespoon VANILLA EXTRACT
1 cup dark CHOCOLATE CHIPS 73% cacao (optional)

For directions [click here].

The only substitution I made was 1/4 cup CHIA SEED for the 1/2 cup FLAX MEAL (I was out). The chia seed gave the bars a fun crunch and something to pick out of my teeth!

These bars are best kept refrigerated or frozen.

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook Giveaway
**This giveaway is now closed**

If you are looking for more recipes like this one, you'll want pick up a copy of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. This was the first gluten-free cookbook I added to my cookbook collection and cherish it to this day. In it, Elana uses basic ingredients to whip up some pretty amazing eats and treats. I love and use this book so much that I am giving away a copy of it this week!

**This giveaway is now closed**

To Enter: Just leave a comment and share with us what your favorite healthy grab-and-go food is. That's it!

Deadline: To qualify, leave your comment by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Monday, January 10th.

Other Power Snacks on My List to Try

ACD-Friendly, High-Protein, No-Bake Snackin’ Orbs over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Gluten-Free Homemade Granola Bars over at The Baking Beauties

Homemade Protein Bars over at Healthy Green Kitchen

Wednesday
Dec292010

Chewy Magic Peanut Butter Middle Cookies

Finally, Magic "Peanut Butter Middle" Cookies for the rest of us to enjoy. Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined sugar free and easily peanut-free!

***Folks, one reader said this recipe did not work for them too well (could have been their error), others say it turned out great. I have not had the time to re-test, just an FYI*** Thanks!

This morning I quietly reflected on the joys and challenges that have been mine in 2010. I am thankful that through each joy and challenge God has continued His refining work. Everything can shape us for the better if we allow it to. It has been a magical year in so many ways!

If I could give each and every one of you a hug, I would! I can't thank you enough for being a part of Lexie's Kitchen, for reading my ramblings, and for sharing your thoughts and enthusiasm. You are a source of great joy!

One of the beautiful things about blogging is the virtual friendships that are made and the kinship that can be found. Take Ariana for example. A couple weeks back she posted on Facebook asking if anyone could help her modify a few cookie recipes. I jumped at the chance, and the challenge, and we began to chat. A week later, I call her a friend and we've got a new recipe to share! I love my new friends—YOU included! It thrills me to know that over 30,000 people have visited this blog in the last 8 months! Isn't that cool! What I think is so encouraging is that these are people interested in good health and good food.

I am full of confidence that 2011 will be even more magical. I look forward to serving up more eats and treats and to making more friends in the kitchen. I'd love to know what kinds of recipes you'd like to see in 2011—leave a comment or leave me a challenge!

For today, Ariana and I are serving up Magic "Peanut Butter Middle" Cookies. They are soft and chewy with a surprise peanut butter middle. They are sweet but not overly. I can't eat just one! Can you?

Chewy Magic "Peanut Butter Middle" Cookies

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Easily Peanut-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Easily Vegan

Makes: Approximately 20 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Middle
Option 1 (coconut sugar-sweetened):
1/2 cup creamy PEANUT BUTTER or SunButter® sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup POWDERED SUGAR (make your own coconut, date or cane powdered sugar)
15 drops SweetLeaf Vanilla Creme LIQUID STEVIA
2-3 tablespoons WATER (as needed if mixture is too dry)

Option 2 (date-sweetened):
1/2 cup PEANUT BUTTER or SunButter® sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup lightly packed GOLDEN DATES (soaked in hot water, drained, pits and stem debris removed)
15 drops SweetLeaf Vanilla Creme LIQUID STEVIA

Chocolate Cookie Dough
1 cup loosely packed DATES
1/2 cup unsweetened APPLESAUCE
1/4 cup extra virgin COCONUT OIL
1/4 cup runny HONEY or agave
1 tablespoon CHIA SEED, ground (see Notes)
2 teaspoons gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
2/3 cup packed ALMOND FLOUR
1/4 cup POTATO FLOUR (not starch)
1/4 cup COCOA POWDER
2 tablespoons ARROWROOT STARCH
1 teaspoon non-aluminum, corn-free BAKING POWDER (make your own)
1/2 teaspoon BAKING SODA
1/8 teaspoon SEA SALT 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Soak dates in warm water until soft. Remove pits and stems.
  3. In food processor fitted with the "S" blade, combine peanut butter middle ingredients. Process until thick, smooth paste forms.
  4. Scoop mounds of peanut butter paste by the scant tablespoonful onto a plate (a one-tablespoon cookie dough scoop is handy). Squeeze firmly and roll into uniform balls with moisten hands. Set aside.
  5. In food processor, combine until super smooth; 1 cup soaked dates, applesauce, oil, honey, ground chia seed and vanilla extract.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and process until just combined.
  7. Scoop mounds of chocolate dough by the two tablespoonsful onto a plate (a two-tablespoon cookie dough scoop comes in handy here). Dough will be sticky. With moistened hands, gingerly hollow out a hole in a mound of chocolate dough. Place a peanut butter ball in center, wrap chocolate dough completely around peanut butter ball. Moisten hands again and roll in the palm of your hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and pat to 1/2-3/4" thick disk. Repeat. Moisten hands before forming each cookie. 
  8. Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.

This cookie is filled with the coconut sugar-sweetened peanut butter filling.Notes:

1. For those allergic to peanuts, SunButter® sunflower seed butter is the brand I use to replace peanut butter.

2. Chia seed can be found at natural food stores and on Amazon. It has excellent binding qualities and is an outstanding egg replacer in baked goods (when mixed with water or applesauce). For baking I prefer white chia. Chia seed is easily ground in a coffee grinder/mill or in a high-powered blender.

3. Skipping the stevia? Here is a handy stevia to sugar conversion chart.

Cookies On My List to Try:

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies over at She Let Them Eat Cake

Maple Flax Cookies over at Diets Dessert and Dogs

Penny's Lemon Rosemary Cashew Cookies over at Yum Universe

Tuesday
Dec282010

Unrefined Powdered Sugar

Homemade Confectioners Sugar | Clockwise; Powdered Date Sugar, Powdered Coconut Sugar, Powdered Evaporated Cane Sugar (front)On occasion I have the need for powdered sugar, and when I do I usually don't need more than a cup. Yesterday was such an occasion. Instead of running to the store I did some mad science with my Blendtec blender and some of the sugars I had in the pantry. The result? Powdery, soft, unrefined confectioners sugars.

Later in the day I used the coconut powdered sugar to make these egg-free, gluten-free Magic Peanut Butter Middle cookies and they turned out beautifully. I think one of the reasons they did was because I "powdered" the sugar first. Alternative sugars like coconut, date and even Sucanat can be pretty chunky and hard to dissolve completely in liquid. By powdering these sugars, they become finer and lighter and less apt to "weigh down" a baked good. But then, I am not a trained pastry chef ... I just go by observation. Oh and if you do not have a high-powered blender, a coffee grinder does the job nicely.

The cute heart-shaped measuring spoons were a bridal shower gift 10 years ago from my sweet friend Linda! They are treasured.

How to Make Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

1 cup unrefined SUGAR of choice; coconut (my favorite), date, sucanat or evaporated cane juice
1-2 tablespoons ARROWROOT STARCH or tapioca starch or cornstarch

Directions:

Blend on high in a high-powered blender until powdery and light. A coffee grinder works just as well, you just may have to work in batches.

Saturday
Dec252010

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

WINNER:  Congratulations Jill (Jillbean216), you are the winner of Elana's Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook! Thank you all for your entries and for sharing the Lexie's Kitchen recipes you have tried or look forward to trying.

I hope this post finds you surrounded by family and friends! Today I will keep it short and sweet so that you can get back to those who are near and dear. Or, wait, maybe you've hopped on the computer because you're needing a break from them, in which case, may I suggest moving on to the kitchen and caramelizing a bag of onions! There's nothing like onion vapors to keep others at bay and with caramelized onions made, you'll have the key ingredient for this lovely split pea soup! This is a meal in and of itself—a hit-the-spot bowl of warmth. Perfect after an afternoon of sledding.

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Easily Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan. Lexie has made her best effort to identify possible allergens. With that said, please always read labels.

Serves:  8-10
Active Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  2-1/2 hours

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cup CARAMELIZED ONIONS (see how-to and video at end of post)
2 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon smashed GARLIC
1 tablespoon roughly chopped FRESH SAGE
1/2 teaspoon TURMERIC
1/2 teaspoon CUMIN
1/2 teaspoon CELERY SALT
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
2 cups WATER
7 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE BROTH
1 pound dried green SPLIT PEAS, picked over and rinsed (soaking optional, see Notes)
2 BAY LEAVES
2 cups 1/2" cubed peeled RUSSETT POTATOES
1 cup diced CARROTS
2-3 cups cooked and cubed HAM (some of that leftover Christmas ham will work great!)

Directions:

1. In large soup pot, swirl olive oil and saute garlic and sage for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, celery salt, cumin and pepper. Saute another minute.

2. Remove pot from heat and transfer garlic/spice mixture to blender along with 1 cup caramelized onions (reserve remaining 1/2 cup onions for garnish) and 2 cups water. Puree.

3. Return puree to pot along with broth, split peas and bay leaves. Simmer on low 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until peas are tender.

4. Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.

5. Using an immersion blender, puree to your liking. This may also be done in a blender by transferring some of the soup to a blender, pureeing and returning to the pot.

6. Add ham and heat through.

7. Season, if needed, with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves.

8. Garnish with or mix in reserved 1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped. Kick up the heat and garnish with drops of hot sauce (like Cholulas).

Notes:

For ease of digestion, I recommend soaking split peas at room temperature for 6-8 hours in a generous amount of water and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse prior to adding to soup pot.

How to Caramelize Onions

I adore caramelized onions on just about anything. Pizza, burgers, green beans, you name it. So I liked the idea of incorporating them in split pea soup. When onions are caramelized, surface sugars are released and browned. The flavor is deep, rich and slightly sweet.

For this soup recipe you will need to caramelize about 4-5 medium onions—red, white, yellow or a mixture. Throw a few shallots into the mix if you wish. Simply peel and slice onions into thin strips. Toss into a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Here is a video to show you how easy it really is.