My husband will probably roll his eyes when he reads this post. He thinks I’m in love with Shirley Braden, author of gfe – gluten-free easily. I made some Irish Stew the other night and we had the following conversation:
Him: Is this your recipe?
Him: Who’s recipe is it?
Me: Theresa Hernandez’s
Him: If you said it was Shirley’s I was going to ask if you were going to run off and marry her.
He says the same thing about Iris, too.
He’ll catch me laughing at a comment Shirley makes on Facebook or her blog. I talk a bit about her, too. Especially when she and I comment back and forth on things with each other. We have quite a few things in common and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her better over the last few months. I can’t even remember how I found her blog, but I loved that her concept was focusing on foods that are naturally gluten-free. It was exactly what I was doing. As the weeks went on as I followed her and some other bloggers that she followed as well, I noticed how encouraging she is with everyone. So, if I fell in love with Shirley, that is why. When you are making life changes, it’s important to have people who will encourage you in order to succeed. Shirley definitely is someone you want to hear from when need a little poke to remind you that it’s not that bad. I picture Shirley as a force of nature. Her compassion for those she encourages knows no bounds. She is a staunch advocate and leader for the gluten-free community. She’s an inspiration to all.
That said, I should share with you some of the things I made.
This year was my first gluten-free holiday. I am used to my mother-in-law making broccoli and/or green bean casserole for our veggie dishes. She makes a good casserole. Since it was just hubby and I for Thanksgiving, I was able to break away from the casseroles and make wholesome veggie dishes. When Shirley posted her recipe for Candy Carrot Coins, I was intrigued. First, I still had no idea what veggies I was going to make for Thanksgiving. Second, cooked carrots were never my favorite. I love them raw. I like them in stews and soups. I think it’s because everyone that cooked them for me growing up made them mushy. I didn’t like it. It was a huge risk making them as a side for Thanksgiving, but I trust Shirley and her recipes never let me down. I. LOVED. IT. The honey gave it just a hint of sweet to the carrots. Not like those syrupy yams and marshmallows I see during the holidays (and don’t touch).
I also made her Super-Charged Garlic Lemon Broccoli. I struggled over whether or not to add this one in the post because I had mixed emotions about it. I topped the broccoli with sautéed mushrooms and shredded hard romano cheese. Shirley suggested nuts and dried cranberries, which I no doubt would have loved, but my husband doesn’t care for nuts in his food and he really dislikes cranberries. I enjoyed the broccoli, but I kept thinking that it was missing something or that the romano was overpowering the dish. I looked at the recipe again last week and realized I flubbed it. I forgot the garlic. DUH! I have no doubt if I hadn’t forgotten the garlic I would be sitting here raving about the broccoli.
I had many intentions for dessert on Thanksgiving. First off, I wanted to make pie using Shirley’s No Fail Press-in Pie Crust recipe. I knew if I couldn’t make the pie, I wanted to make some of her cookies. Sadly, no dessert was made. My hours at work had me exhausted that week and with Thanksgiving being the first full day we had together since his sister’s wedding at the beginning of November, I wanted to enjoy it. So, we went to see Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows before dinner.
Last week, I knew I needed to get a move on this post and I really wanted to make Shirley’s cookies. I told her a while back that I really wanted to make the Flourless Almond Peanut Butter Cookies after she shared the recipe. It was right before we moved to Cincinnati so baking anything was nigh on impossible. Everything was packed. I had two days off in a row last week and I decided it was time. I made the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies instead. Call me crazy, but she shared the older post on Facebook and I saw chocolate and peanut butter. Instant love.
So, last Tuesday I pulled everything out and set to work. I have to tell you, they were so easy to make that the only thing easier would have been to buy pre-made dough. Simple ingredients. No flours or butters to measure out. No sugar and butter to cream together. Throw everything in a bowl. Stir. Voilà. Naturally gluten-free cookie dough. I didn’t use chocolate chips. Instead, I used a bar of Lindt 85% Chocolate. I like Lindt bars because there are not a lot of additives or sugar. I knew since I’d be using brown sugar (a rarity for me to use refined sugar) that I didn’t want more sugar making it too sweet for me. The 85% chocolate bars are what I’ll eat when I want a little chocolate…with a little peanut butter smeared on it.
The cookies were barely on the rack cooling when I decided I had to have one. I bit in to soft, chewy goodness. It was just like gluten-filled cookies, but I knew it was healthier. The dark chocolate chunks were a great balance to the sweetness of the brown sugar in the cookies. Not to mention all the gooey chocolate I got to lick off my fingers.
Today, I whipped up a batch of the Flourless Almond Cookies. I wasn’t paying attention when I bought the almond butter and realized I had chunky almond butter. I had the same reaction as before. These flourless cookies are heaven. Especially for those who have done without cookies for so long. The chunks of almonds just gave the cookies another texture and were wonderful.
I made both batches of cookies with all natural nut butters. I like the nuts to be the only ingredient listed in my nut butter. If there is a second ingredient, it is salt. That’s it. If you do make these cookies, make sure to read Shirley’s notes at the end and press them down just slightly if you use an all natural nut butter. And I mean just slightly. I did a light press on the cookies with the back of my spoon and they filled out nicely.
Yes, I’m in love with Shirley Braden’s recipes. 🙂