Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: Gluten-Free Gigi

Naked Berry Spread on Pancakes

Have you met Gigi, yet?  We met through Brittany Angell (mastermind of Real Sustenance) several months ago and the food wavelength we share is amazing.  It’s really funny how I’ll be thinking about making something and then she goes and posts something similar.  Well, that means I really have to make what I was thinking, right?  Right.  My Lemony Slaw was one such dish.  We both love simple and she really masters simplicity.  As I declared on Twitter, Gigi is a genius.  Just call her Genius Gigi.

I think this adoption is the most I ever made from one blogger.  It was everything I kept telling myself I have to try and just never got around to it.

Last week Saturday Chaz was in Illinois for his Japanese Tea Ceremony class and I happened to open at work that day instead of close.  I came home and washed berries I bought earlier that week for my Berry Beet-O-Full Juice and still had plenty left.  I left them to dry while I soaked in a bubble bath.   I made Gigi’s Naked Berry Bread Spreadwith those berries – blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  Her recipe states it’s best if the berries have never been refrigerated, but these were and I was just trying to use them up before they went bad.  The beauty of the spread is that it

Kale Chips with Rosemary & Sea Salt

is just the berries.  Nothing else.  No added sugar or sweetener.   I had to try it right after making and wound up toasting an Udi’s hot dog bun.  Yes, a hot dog bun.  Chaz ate all the hot dogs without the buns so I was just trying to use up the buns.  The spread was incredible.  I immediately decided the spread needed pancakes.  So, the next morning I made pancakes from Elana’s Pantry and topped them with the spread.  I sat outside on the lanai with my book and a cup of coffee.  Best lazy breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

I’ve been wanting to make kale chips for a while.  Especially after seeing a small amount on sale at Whole Foods for $7 and some change.  Ridiculous!  My best friend, Stick, makes them and we discussed her method along with getting a dehydrator.  I would love a dehydrator, but another small kitchen appliance is not in the cards for me right now after having to replace my crock pot.  Lo and behold, Gigi made Kale Chips with Rosemary and Sea Salt that were savory and easy.  Meaning, I didn’t really have to think about it.  I made about double the recipe and it was hard not to eat them all in one sitting.  Yay for healthy snacks!

If you follow Gigi, you know she’s been playing with avocados and using them in baked goods and raw foods.  I decided to

Choco-AVO-late Brownie with Raw Nut-Free Fudge as frosting

pair her Choc-AVO-late Brownies with her Raw Nut-Free Fudge.  I fixed the fudge while the brownies were cooling and then used the fudge as a “frosting” on the brownies.  I also did a sub in the brownies.  I used coconut crystals instead of sugar.  Coconut crystals made things less sweet for me, which I love.  As a whole, the brownies and fudge came out bittersweet, which is how I prefer my chocolate these days.  Chaz saw the recipe for the fudge a few days before I made it and said something like, “Avocados in fudge?”  Then he joked about what is traditionally in fudge.  To his credit, he did try the brownies and fudge, but I was at work when he did.  He didn’t care for it.  But he’s still hooked on sugar so I knew it wouldn’t be sweet enough for him.

Last but not least I made Gigi’s Tarta Marathoriza with her Basic Press-In-The-Pan Pastry.  I was in heaven while pressing in the pastry.  One of my favorite things to make before going gluten-free was quiche and pies.  I loved making the pastry crust, rolling it out and setting it in the pan.  I got that same pastry smell while pressing in Gigi’s pastry crust as I would get when rolling out gluten-full pastry.  The same.  The taste wasn’t the same, but I think that’s more due to the tapioca flour I have than the fact that it is gluten-free.  The aroma was the same though and that is what mattered.  If you’ve ever seen a conversation between me and Gigi, you know how much we love coconut creamer.  I use it for everything that calls for heavy cream.  Everything.  The Tarta Marathoriza was like having real quiche again.  I’ve had crustless quiche,

Tarta Marathoriza

but to me, crustless quiche is just a frittata.  Quiche is all about a flaky crust for me.  No offense to anyone out there who makes crustless quiche!  I know several of you do and I’ve made them, they are wonderful, but just not quiche to me.  This was quiche.  In fact, I want to make her pastry crust again and change up the ingredients for more quiche!

Yes, Gigi is a GENIUS!

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: Tasty Eats At Home


Gluten-free Lemon Earl Grey Cookies


By the time I saw this month’s round of Adopt-a-gluten-free-blogger I had a difficult time choosing.  Almost everyone was taken!  Then Alta posted her Lemon Earl Grey Cookies.  I love lemon cookies.  I’m also a fan of using tea leaves in dishes.  If I remember correctly from one of Ming Tsai’s shows several years ago, using tea leaves helps aid in the digestion of your meal.  Or something like that.  Whatever it was, I just remember that it’s good for you.  Who can argue with added antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in a dish?  I also decided that I needed to bake something.  I rarely bake anymore and I kinda miss it.

I first went to Alta’s blog, Tasty Eats At Home, after reading another blogger’s adoption post last year.   Since then, Alta is my go-to blog when I want something different and vegetarian.  She tempted me last Fall with many different truffle recipes, like her Chocolate Cherry Nut Truffles.  I haven’t given in to that temptation yet.  I just might when I have more time to spend in the kitchen.

When you check out Alta’s pictures of her cookies, you’ll notice a big difference.  I used coconut crystals instead of regular sugar.  Coconut crystals are not refined and are a dark brown, much like brown sugar and raw sugar.  I also didn’t think to flatten them a little before putting them in the oven.  Hey, I’m still getting the hang of the gluten-free baking thing.  Cooking I have down pat.  Baking, is another story.  I also flubbed and added too much baking powder, but I couldn’t tell in the end when I tasted the cookies.  Even though they didn’t bake flat, they did bake through and through.  The center was a bit soft and chewy.   Just the way I love my cookies.  I plan on making a cup of Earl Grey later (decaf, of course) and enjoying some more cookies.


Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice


I wanted to share this dish of Alta’s that I made a few months ago.  It’s her Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice.  Three things drew me to this recipe.  1) Chaz was going through a 21-day vegan starter while we were still commuting to see each other.  2) Anything with garam masala intrigues me.  3) I love adzuki beans.  Typically, I’ve always had adzuki beans in Japanese treats that I can no longer have, or with ice cream and/or shave ice.  If you haven’t tried adzuki beans with ice cream or shave ice, you should.

Something happened the weekend I planned to make this when Chaz was home and I wound up making it just for myself.  It makes for great comfort food.  In fact, I need to make this again.  I had plenty of leftovers that got turned into easy breakfasts.  Just add a runny egg!


Leftover Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Pears and a Runny Egg


Alta is also into the Daring Cooks Challenge and reading her posts has helped me to step outside my comfort zone of doing what is easy for me in the kitchen.  Her post on Vegan Cassoulet inspired me to make an attempt using the recipe she posted.  I have never had Cassoulet so this was a big step in making something I knew nothing about.

Not only did I enjoy the Vegan Cassoulet, I fell in love with the bread crumbs I made for it using the recipe.  Chaz even enjoyed the bread crumbs.  I made quite a bit extra and wound up using them for my last meatloaf.

Thank you, Alta, for helping me expand my limits in the kitchen!

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free Blogger: Real Sustenance

Easy Ginger and Garlic Beef Stir-Fry

It’s my one year blogoversary.  Or is it blogiversary?  Does it really matter since it’s a made-up word?  Probably not…

I’m digressing.

I was trying to figure out a nice little celebration post.  You know, something to say, “Hey, a year ago I started this blogging journey to share my story and share information with whoever thought I was interesting enough to pay attention to.”  Yeah.

Then I realized, why not celebrate by sharing about another blogger and new friend?  That’s it!

I don’t even remember how Brittany (Real Sustenance) and I became friends.  Either she saw a comment I made on someone else’s blog or Facebook page and sent me a friend request or one of our wonderful mutual friends sent me a friend suggestion.  However it happened, I’m glad that it did.  Brittany is like a force of nature to me.  I picture this bubbly personality, vibrant, on-the-go.  At least that’s what I see in my mind when I see her Facebook statuses and read her blogs.  She wasn’t even going to let a pesky little thing like having a gall bladder keep her from the kitchen.  This woman has serious GIRL POWER.  I wish had had just a fraction of that GIRL POWER when I had my gall bladder removed.

I had high hopes to make 4 of her recipes this month.  Yes, 4.  I gave Shirley that much time and love.  So I figured the following adoptee deserved that much time and love, too.  It didn’t happen.  I did make 2 and I still have plans to make the other 2 later on.  I’ve tried to catch up on life.  Meaning, finally getting around to make order of this chaos in the wake of our move…3 1/2 months ago.  Yes, I still have chaos.  On the bright side, I made enough progress yesterday in the dining room that my husband said, “Who stole all our shit?” when he finally noticed.  Not even a, “Looks wonderful, Babe.”  Just, “Who stole all our shit?”

I’m digressing again.

First up was the Easy Ginger and Garlic Beef Stir-fry pictured above.  The “Easy” lives up to its name.  I prepped everything before my daily bubble bath and let the meat marinade while I marinated.  It was pretty tasty.  I took easy to a new level though.  I bought pre-cut beef for stew.  I should have trimmed it more so it would absorb more marinade and cook faster.  Not that it didn’t cook fast.  I just think the larger pieces didn’t have the flavor they could have.  Or maybe I’m just a ginger snob and felt like I should have had more ginger in it.  Blame my Filipino genes.  I certainly do.

Chicken Tamale Soup

Next up was Brittany’s Chicken Tamale Soup.  All I have to say is, pure genius!  It’s a great deconstruction of a tamale.  Even smells like it while it simmers.  The avocado slices, fresh cilantro, and tortilla chips were great toppers/accompaniments to the soup.  I meant to add cheese on top, as well, but I think the excitement of the avocado distracted me and I forgot all about the cheese until after we were done eating.  It tasted just fine without cheese.

Will I make these again?  Hell yeah!  I already have them in my gluten-free recipe binder for future use/reference.  Especially that soup.  I have a feeling it shall appear on the dinner table again before the Winter is over.

1 of the recipes I keep putting off making because life is getting in the way is her Chocolate Pear Coffee Cake with Hazelnut Streusel.  She had me at chocolate.  And pear.  And coffee cake.  Ah hell, and hazelnut streusel.  I did grind up the hazelnuts yesterday for the streusel.  I was going to make yesterday, but I was working on the dining room (and dinner) for 2 straight hours.  No break.  I realized I had to stop and give my body a huge break since the last 2 days at work were rough.  I don’t need to be dead on my feet tomorrow, too, or I’ll be calling in dead.

I also want to try her Coconut Quick Bread.  My husband loves coconut.  I guess I really just want to make a gluten-free baked item that he can’t stop eating.

I hope everyone checks out Brittany’s blog and gets to know her.  She’s a really wonderful friend to have.  I’m not just saying that either.  Her spunk and charisma make me smile on those days when I come home from work utterly exhausted.  Oh, and definitely check out Seasonal Sundays on her blog.  Lots of link ups to check out great seasonal dishes!