Bella’s Gluten Free

Bella’s Gluten Free.

When people are first diagnosed with an intolerance or auto immune condition that forbids gluten, there is a need for gluten free mixes. Gluten free cake mix for a birthday, baking mix for the cookies.

Having a busy life is common and when you can’t just go down to the local sandwich shop and grab something, you have to find alternatives.

Some are healthy, most are not.

Mixes often contain hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other kinds of foreign ingredients just to make a simple cookie. This shouldn’t be the case.

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Bella is here to save the day!

Bella Gluten Free was founded by Mary Capone when she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Her children also have celiac. Instead of finding a mix, she created her own.

Her All Purpose Baking Mix is very useful and gives cookies the texture you remember from your gluten days.

I decided to test it out by making an American favorite: chocolate chip cookies.

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Bella’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup Bella’s Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips
4 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar (I used coconut)
4 tbsp sugar or agave
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp milk (More if needed, I found that I needed a little bit more liquid. Maybe 1/2 cup?)

Note: I didn’t add baking soda or salt because it is already included in the mix.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Mix dry ingredients, then add wet.

3. Form cookies, bake 7-10 minutes. Enjoy!

The cookies turned out a little bit like biscuits, so the taste won’t be for everyone, but my mom and family sure liked them, trying to steal more when I wasn’t looking. 🙂

I also think this mix would be great in scones, muffins, and banana bread.

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My little brother insisted I take this picture. Not sure why.

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Now go make some of these cookies! 😉

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Raspberry Frosting

Valentines isn’t over yet, is it?

Yes?! What are you talking about?

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If Valentines was over this picture of a pink cupcake wouldn’t be staring you in the face!

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Oh well, I guess I can’t convince everyone. 😉

I created this recipe for raspberry frosting crossing my fingers that my family would like it.

Well, my mom tasted it and proceeded to tell me that this was the best frosting she had ever had!

I realize not everyone’s into raspberries, but I just had to post this.

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Look at that little raspberry…it’s taking a little bath! 🙂

Raspberry Frosting
gluten & dairy free
vegan

16 oz powdered sugar
3 oz raspberries, washed + mashed
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl with a spoon. Slather on a gluten free cupcake or store in a container in the fridge.

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Question Time!
Raspberries: yes or no? And is anyone out there allergic to raspberries?
Leave your answers in the comments below! 🙂

Theo Chocolate

I spy chocolate!

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Theo Chocolate, to be exact.

Salted Almond, Orange, 70% Dark, Fig Fennel & Almond, Vanilla Nib & Pili Pili Chili.

That’s a lot of chocolate.

So ones gotta have help, right?

My family had no trouble volunteering for this job.

They tasted a piece of every single dairy free & vegan chocolate bar you see here.

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All without complaining. They are so compliant. 😉

Well, lets get down to chocolate business, shall we?

The Taste Testing

First, we tasted Fig Fennel Almond. People who like unusual flavors would like this one. Fennel lovers, too.

Vanilla Nib was next since we had been waiting to try it. It has cacao nibs and vanilla beans. Sounds great, right? It was! The bitterness of the cacao balanced out the vanilla bean. Yum.

70% Dark had to be my sister’s favorite. She is a dark chocolate fanatic. The darker the better when it comes to her taste. She loved it!

Pili Pili Chili piqued my mom’s interest and she opened it. Pili Pili Chili is a spicy chocolate bar. For those of you who are into spicy food, this one is for you.

Salted Almond is a salty treat. It was a little too salty for my taste, but if you’re the one who likes that I would recommend giving it a try.

I saved my favorite for last. Orange chocolate. Yummy, yummy orange mixed with dark chocolate. It balances out perfectly and is a sure fire treat to please fruit nuts and chocolate lovers alike.

You can find Theo Chocolate at Whole Foods, their website, www.theochocolate.com and on www.amazon.com.

A big thank you to Theo Chocolate for letting me review their chocolate. This was seriously fun, guys! 🙂

Let’s Do Organic! Giveaway

Lets Do Organic!

I love anything coconut.

So when I found out you could make flour out of coconut, I was psyched.

I received quite a few things from the “Lets Do Organic” brand.

Canned coconut milk, coconut flakes, shredded coconut and coconut flour.

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As usual, I used the coconut flakes + shredded coconut to make coconut butter. Figures.

I needed more after yesterday I opened my coconut butter to discover that it was fuzzy.

Not good.

So I made a new batch of coconut butter and stored it in the fridge, which I found was the proper place to store coconut butter.

The coconut is very high quality and I appreciate that it’s organic. And it’s suitable for coconut butter!

Giveaway Time!

Would you like some shredded coconut + coconut flour?

I thought so. 😉

Leave a comment below on why you would like shredded coconut + coconut flour and you could win! Winner will be randomly selected.

So what are you waiting for? 🙂

Ends: February 28th, 2013

Please subscribe to my blog so you will be able to see the winner.

*GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED*

Congratulations to Kaleo, the winner of the giveaway!

Valentines Thumbprint Cookies

Nothing says I love you like cookies.

Or chocolate. Possibly peanut butter.

Who are we kidding? Any of those things are always accepted!

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Especially strawberry jam thumbprint cookies.

And you can use Valentines Day as an excuse to make them, because after all, they are red. And everyone knows Valentines stuff is red. Right?

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Valentines Thumbprints
gluten & dairy free
vegan

4 cups oat flour
2 cups earth balance (soy free. the sticks with soy have an aftertaste)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Jelly

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

1. Mix together earth balance, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Add oat flour.

2. Roll into balls and place on a cookies sheet. Place finger in the middle and smash down with pointer finger to create a crater in the dough ball. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of jelly into the crater, depending on how big it is.

3. Stick into oven for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Oh you like my mug?

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Why thank you! 😉

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Wow Baking Company

Wow Baking Company.

So yummy they even have a cookie with a bite out of it as their symbol.

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Cool, right? 😉

So I received a package in the mail bearing my name. *cue excitement*

I was so thankful to open it up and find that Wow Baking Company had sent me some of their items to review. Score! 🙂

Note: Wow Baking Company offers gluten free items, but they are not dairy free. Also, this is not a sponsored review. All opinions stated here are my opinions, not Wow Baking Company’s. I choose to review products I believe in, not because I’m being paid to do so. Thank you 🙂

The first item I tasted was their Chocolate Chip cookie. I can honestly say it was one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had! It was soft, the chocolate chips were flavorful, and though this picture does not illustrate this fact, it was quite a big cookie. Most gluten free cookies are dry or hard instead of soft and chewy.

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The next one was their Ginger Molasses cookie.

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My mom adored this one. It tastes like gingerbread to me and is chewy and has a great texture! Gluten free newbies will not be disappointed.

Then, it was on to the packaged goodies.

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Brownies, people! That’s what!

These brownies were not skimpy on the chocolate chips, I’ll tell you that. They truly had a double chocolate taste. Chocolate lovers unite! Great brownies.

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Next, it was the peanut butter cookies. After reading the package’s claim that when people taste this cookie they will say “now that’s a peanut butter cookie!” I didn’t think it would be true.

Haha, wrong.

It was delicious! And I, a true peanut butter connoisseur, would know! Just kidding, I’m not a peanut butter connoisseur. But that would sure be fun.

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Next up to the plate, Snickerdoodles! Everyone loves snickerdoodles, or so I’m told. I myself am not a big snickerdoodle fan. But I found myself becoming one when I tasted these cookies. Pillowy, not sickly sweet, with just the right amount of cinnamon sugar. Brilliant.

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If you like lemon, you’ll be a big fan of these lemon cookies. I like lemon, but I have this love-hate thing with citrus in cookies. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes…meh. But these lemony cookies convinced me that citrus in baked goods doesn’t have to be so “meh”. In fact, it can be pretty darn good! Keep up the good work.

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The final product was oregon oatmeal cookies. As true to the nature of all the previously tested goodies, this was not dry, crumbly, or tasteless…or worse, tasted like cardboard. It was flavorful, bursting with sweet raisins and chewy oats. An oatmeal cookie, just like its supposed to be!

After testing all the products, I concluded that this was a very good quality company, with good standards, such as only using real ingredients in their products. Though they aren’t vegan, I think that celiacs everywhere will rejoice when they taste Wow Baking Company’s cookies and other baked goods. That’s the tasty truth.

Coconut Butter

Coconut Butter.

So, you know the coconut butter you see in Whole Foods?

So, you know that expensive price tag they have?

That’s about to all change.

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All it takes is a food processor and shredded coconut or fresh coconut flesh.

I also did a how to on coconuts that you can view here.

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Coconut Butter

Flesh of 1 coconut or 2 cups of shredded coconut
4 tbsp of coconut oil (not melted)

1. Process the shredded coconut for awhile, until it’s natural oils begin to come out. Then add the coconut oil and blend for a few more minutes. Whala! Coconut butter.

NOTE: STORE IN THE FRIDGE. I didn’t and mine got mold on it 😦

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Coconut Love!

Coconut Love.

So, the other day I ventured into Whole Foods as I normally do.

I was minding my own business when BAM! I came face to face with a coconut.

Now, I have ALWAYS wanted to crack open a coconut (don’t we all), but only until recently did I want to cut out the flesh and make my own coconut butter.

In short, I walked out of Whole Foods that day with my friend, the coconut.

As soon as we drove into the driveway, I scrambled out of the car like a madwoman and grabbed a hammer and a screwdriver and got to work on draining the juice and cracking open my prize.

Then, I took it inside and started to cut out the flesh.

I was so excited…until my mom tasted a piece. And spat it out.

The horror! Turns out my beautiful coconut was rancid. Rancid, I tell you, rancid!

Disappointed, I dumped out the juice and flesh into the trash can. And dreamed of coconuts…

A few days later, I went to Whole Foods again (are we seeing a pattern here?) and talked to a cashier about my coconut mishap. She told me to simply grab another coconut and I could have it…free of charge! I happily skipped out of the store holding yet another coconut.

I went home and cracked it open, drained the juice…then the moment of truth.

My mom tasted a piece. And she didn’t spit it out! My coconut was perfect, no disgustingness here.

Dissembling a coconut is a lot easier than you think. You’ll be a pro in no time! 😉

How to Disassemble a Coconut

You will need:
Hammer
Screwdriver
2 bowls
1 plate
1 plastic bag
Cutting board
Knife
Jar

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Note: I advise you to do this outside unless you want

1. This picture is of the three “eyes” on a coconut. To drain the juice, you put the screwdriver through the softest “eye”. Tip the coconut upside down and drain the juice into a bowl. Transfer to jar.

2. Next, place the coconut in the plastic bag. Take the hammer and hit the coconut several times until it cracks open.

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3. Now, take all your supplies inside to begin cutting up the coconut. Place one half of the coconut on a cutting board.

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4. Designate one plate/ bowl for the coconut skin and one for the flesh.

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5. Cut the flesh off of the skin and place in bowl. Wash all the pieces off before transferring to a clean bowl. Coconut flesh should be white. Save for use in a jar or container.

I apologize for the informal dishware, we’re renovating and we don’t have many things out…

Peanut Butter & Co

Peanut Butter & Co.

I have been sitting here, trying to think of a way to describe this peanut butter.

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Rather, these peanut butters.

I received them from Peanut Butter & Co.

Before I talk about the butters themselves, I’ll give you a little backstory.

Peanut Butter & Co is a little sandwich shop in New York City that serves PB&Js and other PB-themed desserts.

Peanut butter swirl brownie, anyone? 😉

They also have an creative line of nut butters & spreads which you can view here.

As you all know, I love peanut butter. So basically reviewing peanut butter is a dream come true for me!

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Today, I will review 2 different kinds of peanut butter, both by Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Maple and The Bee’s Knees.

First, The Bee’s Knees.

In order to not have a biased opinion, I enlisted my family to help me taste test. They described this peanut butter as tasting like a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I gave them each one spoonful and they came back for more! The Bee’s Knees is a very creamy peanut butter and the honey balances out the saltiness of the peanuts perfectly. I loved it. It would taste great in Mama’s Peanut Butter Shake or my PB Cookie Dough No-Bakes.

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The next one is Mighty Maple, a very nice maple peanut butter. Again, I asked my family to taste test along with me. They described it as crunchy (because of the maple sugar crystals) and sweet. To me, it was perhaps my favorite. The crystals gave it a slight crunch and the creaminess of the peanut butter contrasted with that crunchiness and made it taste so perfect. This would go great on top of pancakes, waffles, french toast, crepes, ect. You could even mix it in with oatmeal. It’s great for breakfast.

After everyone had finished licking the peanut butter off of their fingers and secretly trying to dip their spoons back in without me seeing, everyone voted which one was their favorite. It turned out to be Mighty Maple, which prompted me to create a recipe with the winning peanut butter.

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I figured that in order for the maple flavor to truly shine, I couldn’t use it in a baked good. All the other flours and ingredients might dull the flavor.

So, I settled on a raw dessert.

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Using my recently purchased measuring cups and spoons, I created a peanut butter treat.

“Might Maple” Peanut Butter Balls
4 tbsp Might Maple peanut butter
4 tbsp gluten free oats
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/8 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1. Combine peanut butter, oats and maple syrup in a small bowl. Roll the dough into balls.
2. Pour the chocolate chips into a separate bowl. Roll the balls of dough into the chocolate chips until they are covered. Enjoy!

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The finished product…

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Tada!

Where to Buy

Peanut Butter & Co can be found at most Whole Foods, Walmart, on Amazon (visit their amazon page here.), and on their website www.ilovepeanutbutter.com.

Note: I was not sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co to write this review. I only encourage people to buy products I myself have tried and believe in. Peanut Butter & Co represents quality, something that I try to present on this blog. Thank you! 🙂

Banana Bread Muffins

Banana Bread Muffins.

During these past few weeks, due to a kitchen renovation, we’ve been scrapping together breakfast.

We have no oven, no stovetop…just a crockpot and some mixing bowls.

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Thankfully, one of our friends has been letting us use their kitchen to bake and cook some of our meals. Without them, I’m pretty sure we would be living off my mom’s granola!

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That’s why these muffins are so great. They are a quick and easy breakfast.

It doesn’t hurt that everyone loves them either.

Banana Bread Breakfast Muffins
gluten & dairy free

1-1/4 cups GF flour blend (oat flour would work wonderfully)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup gf oats
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, spoon batter into muffin tin, and stick them in the oven for 18-20 minutes (this depends on how hot your oven runs).

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It’s so nice to know that my sister is here to eat protect the muffins for me! 😉

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