Silvana’s Gluten-free Blueberry Swirl Muffins

Happy 2015! I hope the coming year brings you all good things.

This is my second year belonging to a winter farm share. One of the items I’ve happily learned to count on each month is frozen organic blueberries. With these berries, I usually make smoothies, scones, and muffins.

blueberries | healthy green kitchen

Recently I was flipping through the new book Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed. (Silvana is a friend of mine and she was sweet enough to give me a copy of her book.) The blueberry swirl muffins caught my eye: they feature both whole and swirled cooked blueberries, along with a lemon sugar topping, and looked positively delectable. So I gave them a try, and delectable they are!

blueberry swirl muffins | healthy green kitchenblueberry swirl muffins | healthy green kitchen

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Tomato Basil Socca Pizza

A bunch of bloggers whose work I adore have come out with cookbooks lately. One such blogger is Erin Alderson of the blog Naturally Ella. Her brand new book is called The Homemade Flour Cookbook: The Home Cook’s Guide to Milling Nutritious Flours and Creating Delicious Recipes with Every Grain, Legume, Nut, and Seed from A-Z.

The Homemade Flour Cookbook | healthy green kitchen

This book is based on the very cool concept that you can easily make your own fresh and nutritious flours at home. As much as I love to cook and bake, making my own flours isn’t something I’ve delved into much before (apart from blending oats to make oat flour), mostly because I assumed you needed special equipment (like a grain mill). While Erin does recommend investing in a grain mill, it turns out that you can do quite a lot more than make oat flour with a high-powered blender (which I already own). You can also mill some flours in a coffee grinder!

In this book, Erin not only delves into all the different ways you can make your own wholesome flours from different grains (including gluten-free grains), legumes, nuts and seeds, she also shares 100 very yummy-looking recipes that utilize the various fresh flours. The photos in the book, taken by Erin, are beautiful.

The Homemade Flour Cookbook | healthy green kitchen

Because I have a big stash of dried chickpeas, I decided to try my hand at grinding chickpea flour in my blender. I was pretty skeptical about it working at first: chickpeas are so hard! After a minute or two the flour still looked like small rocks, but I played around with a few of the settings on my Blendtec and found that at #3, the chickpeas turned to a fine powder after another few minutes. Hooray!

chickpea flour in blender | healthy green kitchen

I used my chickpea flour to make Erin’s recipe for Tomato Basil Socca Pizza. Socca is a flatbread that’s a specialty of Nice, France. I’ve never had socca but I know it has a reputation for being very tasty. I was happy for the inspiration to make it (I’d been meaning to try it ever since seeing this recipe on David Lebovitz’ blog ages ago).

Socca is so simple to make: all you need is the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt. You soak these together for an hour, then you cook the batter in a hot oiled skillet under a broiler.

chickpea flour soaking | healthy green kitchen

I’ve purchased chickpea flour in the past and used it in gluten-free baking. It always had this odd, very bean-y flavor to me, which I didn’t love. I have to say that my fresh chickpea flour didn’t taste “off” at all: I really loved it in this base for an easy pizza. So while you can definitely use store-bought chickpea flour in this recipe, I recommend trying to make your own if you can because it’s fresher and really does have a different, milder flavor.

socca pizza | healthy green kitchen

Many thanks to Erin for turning me on to making my own flours. I really look forward to seeing what I can do with ancient grains, legumes, nuts, etc. I cannot wait to try out more of the recipes in this book: there are so many incredibly creative and healthy savory and sweet recipes to choose from! And I have one extra copy of the book from the publisher to give away to one of my readers…the directions for entering the giveaway are below the recipe :)

socca pizza from the homemade flour cookbook | healthy green kitchen

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Orange Date Oatmeal Scones

Scones are easy to make and they’re so, so tasty. This blueberry scone recipe is a favorite around here; my daughter loves those so much, in fact, that she was pretty skeptical when I recently made this orange date oatmeal version instead. She didn’t even want to try them at first, but she came around eventually. She still prefers the blueberry ones, but admitted these are delicious, too :)

scone

These orange date oatmeal scones are not too sweet and they have some “heft” due to the oats. They are adapted from a recipe in the lovely book Irish Pantry: Traditional Breads, Preserves, and Goodies to Feed the Ones You Love (I was sent a review copy). I made a few changes to the recipe in the book, one of which was to halve the amount of butter. I have absolutely nothing against butter (I love it, in fact!) but two sticks seemed like a lot to me.

orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen
orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen

You can use a food processor to make these if you want to speed things up (and a food processor does make incorporating the butter into the dough a snap), but I made the recipe by hand and it worked out fine. I imagine you can substitute another type of dried fruit for the dates: the recipe in Irish Pantry features currants, but raisins or dried berries would work, too…you take your pick. Lemon zest and juice can certainly be used instead of the orange zest and juice, if you like, but I do like the orange date combo, I must say.

orange date scone recipe | healthy green kitchen

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Vegan Banana Muffins

I’m participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) which means I’m blogging every day of November, 2013!

I am really particular about my bananas. I love snacking on ones that are just on the verge of ripeness, but once they hit that ripe to slightly overripe phase? Blech: they kind of gross me out. So most of the bananas I buy end up being frozen to put into smoothies, or I let them blacken. Then I make banana bread or muffins.

Vegan Banana Muffins | Healthy Green Kitchen

I have been eyeing a recipe for Coconut Cocoa Banana Muffins over on the lovely blog Food Loves Writing for a while now. Yesterday I was going to make those muffins but then I realized I was out of eggs (yes, even those of us with chickens find ourselves without eggs sometimes!). So I decided to change up the muffins a bit and make them vegan, and to leave out the cocoa and coconut since my family really prefers simple to embellished when it comes to baked goods.

Vegan Banana Muffins | Healthy Green Kitchen

These vegan banana muffins really are exceedingly simple to make, and they are delicious! They have wonderful banana flavor and a dense texture I really like. I used Florida Crystals Demerara Cane Sugar to sweeten them, but you can use any type of granulated sugar, including organic cane sugar or coconut sugar, in yours. I tossed bittersweet, fair-trade chocolate chips into 1/3 of the batter, but accept my apologies for not measuring exactly how much I used (I am a terrible food blogger sometimes!) If you prefer to make these with an egg and butter, they won’t be vegan (but they will be yummy). We’ve been enjoying them with a smear of organic peanut butter on top.

Vegan Banana Muffins | Healthy Green Kitchen

Be sure to check out all of Shanna’s recipes. I frequently drool over her food and her writing! Speaking of her writing, she wrote one of the most beautiful ebooks I have read: it’s called Written Together: A Story of Beginnings, in the Kitchen and Beyond. I read it a few months ago and absolutely loved it…you will love it, too!

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Honey Wheat Toast with Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg

Poached Egg, Asparagus, Toast from Healthy Green Kitchen

It does not take all that much to make me happy in the food department these days: a thick slice of homemade honey-sweetened bread topped with fat spears of oil-doused, roasted asparagus and a perfectly-poached egg definitely does it.

Poached Egg, Asparagus, Toast  from Healthy Green Kitchen

I recently wrote about wanting more cake in my life. Same goes for bread.

You are probably wondering what’s going on. Am I on a carb binge or something? No… not at all, but I AM eating more carbs (and more food in general) these days. Since I started doing a lot of weight training a few months ago, I have found that I simply need to eat more that I was eating previously (plus I really do believe there is room for both bread AND cake in a healthy, balanced diet).

Good bread is tasty, and it’s a damn convenient food to have in the house. When I have time, I bake my own. It’s something I have always loved to do, but I will be honest with you: for years, I felt like I was doing something “wrong” when I baked bread since I’d convinced myself bread was “bad” for me based on everything I’ve read that demonizes wheat and gluten. Well, I am done with that way of thinking. I am done with categorizing foods as “bad” or “good”. It’s all just food after all: I choose to eat more of some things and less of others, and that’s that (no one in my family has problems with wheat or gluten so there is simply no reason for us to completely avoid them).

If you want to read a little more about where I am at with all of this right now, here you go: My Open Letter To Everyone Who Eats.

The recipe for the honey wheat bread and this dish both come from a new book called Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun by Daphne Oz. I don’t spend much time in front of the tv (unless you count the re-runs of The Nanny and Full House that I watch with my daughter), so I had honestly never heard of the author before this book landed in my mailbox (thanks to the publisher, who sent me a review copy). That said, Daphne is apparently the cohost of a show called The Chew; she is also Dr Mehmet Oz’s daughter.

I’ve only perused the book so far and really can’t speak to much of the content, but I will say that the recipes are pretty lovely, and the photography is really stunning. Also, the book just has a happy “vibe” to it so I do plan to sit down and actually read it soon.

I had this dish for lunch yesterday, but I think it would make the perfect Mother’s Day meal if you are looking for something to that effect. Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Poached Egg and Asparagus on Toast from Healthy Green Kitchen

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