Shortcake – dairy and gluten free – just add strawberries…

It’s strawberry season here in Maine…

Finn and I have been strawberry picking for the past five years together. We started in 2012. Finn was two.

It’s something we look  forward to every July…and this year was no exception. For the past three years we’ve been visiting a farm in Whitefield Maine – Sheepscot General – it’s the only organic u-pick strawberry field in Maine – and they are worth the drive.

We ate pints of fresh strawberries for days…

We also gave a few pints away, froze a few pounds and then I got into making stuff with all those scrumptious strawberries… strawberry sorbet (twice),  strawberry infused vodka and tequila (so tasty and dangerous), tried my hand at a GF/DF shortcake (see recipe below), and finally a strawberry/blueberry cobbler.

Sadly though, we are now out of freshly picked strawberries.

But, on the plus side, we’ve eaten our way through almost 14 pounds of amazing strawberries and are already looking forward to next years strawberry season…

One can never eat too many strawberries, right?

Here’s the recipe for dairy free/gluten free shortcake (adapted from the Minimalist Baker). It’s amazing and well worth the time.

Ingredients;

Coconut buttermilk.

Here’s how to make coconut buttermilk;

Mix:

3/4 coconut full-fat coconut milk (stirred/shaken – no clumps)

1 Tbls. lemon juice

Stir to combine.

Set aside.

 

Then gather;

1 cup gluten free flour

1 scant cup almond flour

2 Tbsp non-GMO cornstarch

3 Tbsp. organic can sugar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. baking powder

3 Tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease baking sheet.

And…then.

Combine GF flour, almond flour, cornstarch, cane sugar, sea salt, baking powder and whisk to combine. Add the coconut oil and use a whisk, fork or pastry cutter to ‘cut’ into the flour, until small bits remain…just like you would with wheat flour…

Add almost the entire batch of coconut buttermilk to the dry mix and stir with spoon to combine…you may need to add a bit more, you may not…you’re trying for a semi-sticky dough…try not to overwork it…

Transfer the dough onto a well floured (gluten free of course) surface – I used a cookie sheet. Roll (with a floured rolling pin) out until the dough is about 1″ thick.

Then flour the opening of a small drinking glass, circular cookie cutter or biscuit maker and push into dough, making small circular disks – about 1″ thick – mine were more oblong than disk-like, but it’s more about thickness anyway…

s

Place on a greased cookie sheet – side by side. Touching. No space between – not squished, just touching…

Then – brush the biscuits with either coconut milk or melted coconut oil. Coconut milk will keep the shortcake more moist, while the oil will make the tops more crispy…we tried both and liked both for their differing characteristics…

If more texture/sweetness is wanted, sprinkle raw cane sugar on top of each before baking.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven – or until the tops are beginning to brown and become crispy. Then turn up the heat to 450 F and bake another 3-6 minutes – CAREFUL – don’t burn them – that would be a bummer…

Now, while that amazing shortcake is baking – wash, hull and slice 1 lb. of (preferably, organic) strawberries.

Top them with a pinch of cane sugar.

O.M.G. – freshly picked strawberries, sliced with a pinch of sugar added…so delicious!

O.K., now let them sit until time to serve…

Once the shortcake has undergone its transformation, remove from oven and let rest about five minutes or so. Then separate each biscuit from the other and let cool…

Best served at room temp…

Now, when the time comes to serve these beauties up – slice each biscuit in half, pile on strawberries and a bit of ‘juice’, then top if off with the top!

So. Good. As is.

No. Cream. Needed.

Seriously.

Enjoy!!

What’s your favorite strawberry recipe? Share here…

Be well.

Eat well.

Enjoy.

 

In the garden…

It blows my mind. How things change…

It was only five months ago that my garden looked like this.

Yes.

Five months ago – February 2017. Snow to the tops of the fence posts – more than thigh high snow…

And while that was going on outside – I had these beauties going on inside…

and these lovelies waiting to pop up…

(garlic).

Though before any of these seedlings could be put into the ground, the snow needed to melt, the earth needed to warm and the ground needed to prepped…

Here was April.

I turned the soil, added peat moss, seaweed (collected locally), wood ash and love… then covered with a landscape fabric to help prevent weed growth, while also warming the soil…

The mosquitos are INSANE here and harvesting is challenging enough once July comes around, let alone weeding – so to minimize being maddened with buzzing while working in the garden, I try to keep my weeding needs to a minimum.

I cover the majority of the garden with breathable fabric and then fill in with hay. Each  allows water and sunshine through, while keeping weeds at bay…

In the pic above you can see black instead of the earth – that’s the fabric covering warming the earth while suppressing weed growth.

I cut openings for each row of veggies/flowers. I simply cut a line for a specified length and then pin down each side with landscape pins and wooden row ‘tags’ on each end. I then cover seeds with hay (to help with heat and moisture retention), and water – then once seedlings/plants begin to grow and become larger, I place hay between each individual plant. Like with the garlic greens seen above, (behind the wheelbarrow full of seedlings waiting to go in)…

Amazing to think that only a few months later the same garden would look like this.

Tomatoes, basil, leeks, red onions, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, cucumber, beets, lettuce, green beans, peas, swiss chard, kale, potatoes, brussel sprouts and self seeded cilantro. Phew.

Most started from seed.

Months ago.

In my house.

On window sills during the day…

And at night – moved beside our woodstove…

Or sown directly into the ground as soon as the garden was ready. In the case of garlic (below), it was planted last fall…while others waited until spring or early summer.

 

Either way, much love, planning and work has gone into each plant with the hopes that each will feed us…

Planning and growing are one thing – though there’s also the watering and the harvesting…

the picking, gathering, cutting, pruning, then it’s the washing, cleaning and storing…

A lot goes into growing food – yet it’s all necessary and SO worth it!

My kitchen sink doubles as the wash station and each veggie goes into it’s own separate bag and stored in the fridge – if necessary. Some veggies, like tomatoes (which aren’t ready for a few more weeks/months) are stored best on the counter. Each vegetable has it’s own needs…

Flowers are not be forgotten in a garden either…not only are they beautiful and useful (think cutting flowers), but helpful for pollinators. (:

So plant, plant, plant, plant. And love it – even when it’s 100 degrees outside, with 100% humidity and mosquitos are swarming you! (: It’s worth it.

Hopefully you can try it someday – even if it’s simply one pot of tomatoes or cucumbers on your fire escape.

Everything tastes better with love…

Be well.

Eat well.

Enjoy.

What’s you favorite vegetable?

 

 

 

No one needs to know these are gluten and dairy free!

Brownies. Who doesn’t love them?

Since starting this blog our household has had to switch from a glutenous, dairy laden household to a gluten free, dairy free household.

Some of our old favorites have gone by the wayside (sadly), but others have found their way back into our hearts (and bellies) – one such favorite is homemade brownies!!

I came across this recipe by MakeMineCadburys and gave it a try (with a few modifications) and they came out delicious.

Chewy, rich and chocolaty goodness…you’d never know they were dairy/gluten free.

Bonus – they are super simple to prepare.

Here’s what you’ll need and the how to;

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil*

1/2 cup cocoa

1cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup gluten free flour

1/4 tsp. salt

*if you use triple filtered coconut oil, you will not taste coconut – if you use a ‘regular’ coconut oil, the brownies will have a coconut flavor – but hey, coconut and chocolate go very well together  – I tried it both ways and both were equally delicious – but see what works for your taste buds…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8 X 8 X 2 pan with parchment paper.

Parchment paper side note – I did not grease pan or the parchment paper before adding batter. I cut a piece slightly larger than the pan, let some ‘hang over sides’ then held in place with clothes pins. Once batter was complete, I poured it in and then spread evenly with rubber spatula, removing pins before placing in oven of course. Oh, and if you think the paper is hanging over just a bit too much, then trim it down – leaving enough to allow you to lift brownies out of pan once baked…

What to do next;

Melt coconut oil over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat. Add cocoa, then sugar, mix.

Then add eggs, one at time.

Stir in vanilla, salt, then flour.

Do not overmix.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until tester comes out clean…

Let cool slightly in pan. Lift out and turn over (gently – not to break) onto a cooling rack. Carefully remove parchment paper. Let fully cool before slicing…if you can wait that long. (:

Enjoy!

herbed wild rice & quinoa stuffing

So, while I’m not vegan, I am vegetarian and have been for nearly 34 years – this was a choice. My yeast free, dairy free, gluten free needs (more recently) – not so much…so, as a result of liking to eat and liking to eat well, I cook.

A lot.

Here’s a delicious gluten, dairy and yeast free recipe for ‘stuffing’. I finished it with mushroom gravy and served it alongside mashed potatoes and vegan pot pie. So good.

Let me know what you think!

wild-ricequinoa-stuffing

Herbed Wild Rice & Quinoa Stuffing

Ingredients;

2 tablespoons olive oil + a bit more for greasing the baking dish and drizzling…

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 medium Granny smith apple – peeled and diced

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste (I used about 3 good pinches)

1/2 cup dryish white wine – use one you’d like to enjoy while cooking…(:  Sauv blanc or chard works well. Or if you can’d do the wine – the juice of one lemon + a little more…

4 cups low salt vegetable stock

2 cups wild rice blend

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well

1 cup cranberries – chopped

1 cup raw pecans, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley + 1/4 cup more for garnish.

1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, minced

Place a large pot over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom – saute onion until slightly browned, add celery and stir occasionally until soft – about 5 minutes or so. Add the apples, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute. Stir in the wine, then add the broth. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the wild rice blend and reduce heat to a medium low and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 34-40 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir in quinoa and cover again. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 more minutes – or until water is absorbed.

Stir in the cranberries, pecans, 1/2 cup parsley and sage. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Remove from heat. Blend well, drizzle with olive oil and finish with chopped parsley and serve – unless grains need a bit more cooking…

*The next step can be omitted if grains are already fully cooked. If not, see below;  If you want to make ahead stop here and reheat using the following step.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a large (9″ X 13″ ) casserole dish with a little olive oil. Lightly scoop the rice mixture into the casserole dish, lightly mounding instead of mashing it down.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and finish with chopped parsley. Serve.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Enjoy!

It’s salsa time!

Homegrown tomatoes are amazing! They are juicy, plump, packed with vitamins and actually taste like a tomato. What a difference the sun makes!

And this summer we’ve had nothing but sun, so my garden is brimming with ripe, red, juicy tomatoes screaming to be eaten…so what to do with all those lovelies? Make salsa fresco!

tomatoes

It’s super simple and takes about 15-20 minutes.

Here’s what you’ll need;

Use the freshest of tomatoes for this recipe. I like the heirloom varieties best, though they are on the pricy side if your not growing you own, so if they are out of your price range, then try to find the tomatoes that are heavy in weight, firm to hold, yet soft to the touch – hopefully that makes sense! Whatever your preference with tomatoes, go for the best and this will make all the difference between an amazingly refreshing salsa and a ho-hum one…

So, here you go;

1.5 cups tomatoes (about 2-3 medium) – seeded and finely diced. With very fresh tomatoes, the seeds practically fall out while cutting into slices. I cut tomatoes into slices (then seed), then chop.

1 good handful of chopped cilantro +/- depending on taste

1/4 of a small white onion finely chopped +/- depending on taste

1/2 of a fresh jalepeno or serrano chili (with seeds), finely chopped – or use more for a more spicy salsa…

fresh squeezed lime juice from about 2 limes. (again, use more if you like)

1-2 good pinches of kosher salt

Mix all together in a bowl and readjust seasonings to your liking.

salsa

Eat immediately or let rest for a few hours before serving. This salsa will keep for a few days refrigerated, but best to enjoy within a day or two.

Enjoy!!

Who screams for ice cream?

Everyone right?

Though, what’s a mom to do if her child needs to be dairy free?

Make dairy free ice cream! That’s right, ice cream – without the cream…

A friend from work shared her recipe with me and it is amazing! It’s easy, doesn’t require any special equipment and has a great consistency.

If you can’t do soy milk, try coconut milk.

Sean’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Recipe by Kristynwho needs a spoon

Ingredients;

ingredients

2 1/3 cup soymilk (or coconut milk)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

How to;

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, soy milk, and peanut butter.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently – once to a full boil, continue whisking for one minute…remove from heat.

Whisk several large spoonfuls of hot milk mixture into egg, then whisk egg back into saucepan of hot milk.

Return saucepan to heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture returns to a boil. The liquid will start to gain in volume and rise – keep whisking. It will also thicken slightly. Continue whisking for a few more minutes then remove from heat and add kosher salt. Mix well.

Place saucepan in cooling bath – I just use a big bowl half filled with very cold water. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Occasionally stirring.

Then pour mixture into a shallow dish and place in freezer for another 10-15 minutes – mixing occasionally as well.

Finally scoop mixture into a small freezer safe container with lid and allow to fully freeze. Can take up to 12 hrs.

Once the ice cream has frozen fully (usually takes 12 hrs. or so) – remove from freezer and let rest at room temp. a few minutes prior to serving.

Top with dairy free chocolate chips – chocolate sauce – coconut whipped cream…or simply enjoy as is.

Peanut butter ice cream

Yum!

How do you like your ice cream?

end of summer bbq

Fall is here and the leaves are changing, but we had one last hurrah before the cooler temps settled in…

Ahhhh, summer barbecuing, bonfires and good friends…a great way to end an absolutely beautiful Maine summer.

grape kabobs

Let the kids help! Grape kabobs are a great first ‘skewering’ job…

Then, let them move onto the veggies.

veggie kabobs

Even though it was a casual BBQ, I decided it was a great time to utilize a few of my ‘free finds’ – fun dishes, glassware and mason jars I used for holding all the silverware. Paper can be easier, but I prefer real plates, real silverware and cloth napkins – plus, it’s less wasteful.

setting-up

I made a few salads (in addition to the kabobs) as well as cupcakes for dessert.

cupcakes

The beets were picked from my garden and roasted, then topped with goat cheese, fresh basil and an olive oil drizzle. White bean provencal salad utilized dry beans (less than canned) which I prepared a few days in advance. Potato salad was assembled on the day of the party, though the dressing, potatoes and green beans (from my garden) were prepared two days in advance. Parties are fun if you prepare as much as possible in advance…and keep it ‘outdoors.’

salads

setting up

We thought the barn would be the perfect spot to eat. The table was set with a linen tablecloth that I picked up at Brimfield a few years ago for only $12.  The white tablecloths (under the floral one), candle stick holders, vase and a few  of the chairs were all found for free from my favorite shopping stop – the dump. The fun wooden folding chairs were picked up for $2 each, the other ‘t-back’ chairs were picked up for $5 each at a local yard sale. I love a bargain!

around the table

I also served a skillet cornbread and a fabulous cocktail – again, utilizing what I had on hand…

cucumber cape codder

Entertaining doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Invite good people. Ask everyone to bring something to share. Provide inexpensive (but lovely) salads, prepare as much as possible without buying a lot of pre-made foods, utilize what you have on hand and don’t forget the flowers. It’s the little things that make a difference…

And if you can, why not end the night with a bonfire under the stars…complete with blankets, pillows and marshmallows…

around the fire

Enjoy.