Recipe : Dairy-Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

One word: delicious.

artdip

Dairy-Free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

gluten-free. dairy-free, nut-free

Ingredients

daiya

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 package Daiya Cream Cheese Spread, plain

1 8 oz package Daiya Mozzarella Style Cheese Shreds

1 can artichoke hearts, I used Trader Joe’s

1-3 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (or a mix)

1/2 medium onion chopped

2 med cloves garlic

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is clear.

onion

While that’s cooking, put cream cheese in a non-reactive bowl. Add lemon juice/acv, 1 tsp at a time, mix until smooth and tart to your liking. Although the Daiya Cream Cheese contains no sugar, it has a sweetness to it and the lemon juice/acv help counter balance that.

Add onion/garlic mixture.

Drain artichokes, chop. Add artichokes, spinach and cheese shreds to the cream cheese mixture. Fold in until combined well.

spinach

Scrape into pie plate. Bake in oven 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When it comes out, take a fork and gently stir to combine the melted cheese shreds.

artdip2

Serve with rice crackers, gluten-free toast, or fresh vegetables.

If there are leftovers, they are amazing in an omelet with leftover ham.

You’re welcome.

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Witch in the Kitchen

The Man is off with the boy to get the studded snow tires put on our car because Maine and because Winter.  I have a little list of things that need doing today, several of them set to occur our teeny tiny kitchen.

It’s one of those days I feel like a Kitchen Witch, manifesting, concoting, creating. I revel in the moments when I can do this without the demands of a three year old (or his father), the house is quiet, and no one is underfoot.

elderberrysyrup

~ Brewing elderberry syrup in my cauldron (aka sauce pan) – a big batch today, some for us, some for family, some for friends – infused with love and healing.

~ Tending to my microbiotic garden of water kefir and kombucha, their light tickling bubbles seem to have been been magicked into the sweet tart liquid.

Muffin

~ Banana chocolate chip muffins for Mack, upon emphatic request.

~ Next up, the miraculous wonder that is gluten free, egg/dairy free homemade bread.

The bread might get made, it might not.  Other things might get done, they might not.  I’m just going to float through this day (on my broom) and see where it takes us.  I love Saturdays like this.

Slow Cooker Love : “Chipotle” Chicken

I really hate it that my kids do extra curricular activities.  There, I said it.  I like rhythm and routine and predictability. Activites throw massive wrenches in the works. And because I cook 95% of our family meals from scratch (due to multiple food allergies/intolerances/paleo), having wrenches thrown into our routine means I have to do some serious thinking ahead.  Of the 5% of the meals we eat outside of the home, one of the places we can (pretty) safely eat is Chipotle.  We are all huge fans of their chicken burrito bowls.  Though Chipotle is fairly inexpensive, for a family of 5 it adds up quickly, so if we decided we’d try to replicate it at home.

I found this recipe a while back for Chipotle’s chicken and it was a hit with everyone.  Except it involves marinating and frying which takes time, which, as we have already discussed, I don’t always have.

Last week, when I was trying to plan for a night when I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of meal prep time, I thought “why not just pop it in the crock pot with the seasoning and see what happens”.  Cue heavens parting, angels singing, yadda yadda. We serve over rice (or lettuce for me) and add warmed canned black beans, Trader Joe’s guacamole and salsa. Sometimes the Man will have sour cream and shredded cheese if we have it on hand. Easy breezy.

Since last night was a lot of busy busy with Mack’s school conference and Hopper’s basketball (kill me now) I decided to make it again and grace these here internets with a recipe of sorts.  You are SO welcome.

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Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken (for burrito bowls)

gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free

Ingredients

3 Tbsp of Seasoning Mix* (more, or less, to taste)

~ 5 lbs of bone-in chicken thighs (skin and excess fat trimmed off)

1. Place a layer of trimmed chicken thighs in the bottom of your slow cooker.

2. Sprinkle 1.5 Tbsp of seasoning mix evenly over them.

3. Place remaining chicken thighs on top of your first layer.

4. Sprinkle remaining 1.5 Tbsp of seasoning mix on top. Do not add any liquid.

image

5. Cook on HIGH for 3 – 4 hours.

6. Remove cooked thighs carefully and place them on a plate.

7. On a seperate, heat friendly surface (I use another plate) take each thigh and remove and discard the bone and any cartilage.

8. With two forks, shred the meat.

9. Optional: return shreded meat to crock pot.  Depending on the amount of liquid, this could make your chicken very saucy.  Another option is to spoon the liquid over your finished burrito bowls for extra flavor.

10. Assemble burrito bowls by placing rice** or chopped lettuce (grain free version) in your bowl and top with chicken, and other accouterments of your choice like beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and/or salsa.

I only got that one picture of them going in the slow cooker because I was so hungry by the time it was all ready that I devoured it without even thinking about taking a picture.  Sorrynotsorry.

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*Seasoning Mix (from this recipe)

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1.5 tsp dried oregano

1.5 tsp black pepper

Mix this together.  It makes enough for TWO batches. Store the rest in an airtight container.

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** Lime-Cilantro Rice

Sometimes, if I have the time and ingredients, I’ll throw together Lime-Cilantro rice to really fancy things up.

Rice (white or brown)

Lime juice (1 Tbsp per cup dry rice)

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (1/4 cup per cup dry rice, chopped coarsely)

1. Measure water and/or rice according to package directions.

2. Add lime juice to your rice/water mixture at the start of cooking.

3. Cook rice according to package instructions.

4. Once rice is ready for fluffing, fluff with a fork and then gently fold in chopped cilantro.

5. Add more lime and/or cilantro to taste.

Done!

conquered

I have done it.  I feel like I won the (health food junk food) lottery.  Behold…

chocolate chip  macadamia nut cookies in all their gluten, dairy, corn, egg and peanut free splendor.

And a view under the hood…

Yes, they taste exactly as good as they look. I made them for a small dinner party we’re having tonight and it has taken me a great deal of will power to keep myself from gobbling them all up.

This is the recipe I mentioned the other day. I made the following further changes which have been obviously successful (see above).

  • used palm shortening instead of the coconut spread – I am very very pleased this worked
  • used a total of 1.5 tsp of ground chia seed and 4 Tbsp (a quarter cup) of water in place of the egg
  • cut the molasses in half and used the full tsp of vanilla – perfect flavor
  • used the Tierra Farm chocolate chips which are responsible for that level of gooey, ooey, corn free chocolaty goodness you see trying to escape from that cookie (Note: these are found in the bulk section of my local HFS – I usually do not ever get things in the bulk section because of cross contamination concerns, but the items around it were benign enough and I haven’t reacted to them so FOR US, I’m considering them safe. If you choose this path, proceed with caution)
  • after increasing the flour mix by 2 ounces, I’ve cut it back by an ounce, yet I haven’t decided if this was a good decision or not – the last batch seemed a titch dry, but the batter for this batch seemed a little wet when I was rolling them into balls so I’m not sure, more experimenting I guess (insert sarcastically sad face)

I have honestly been trying for a long time to make the perfect (mostly) allergen free cookies.  Figuring out how to get the texture without the egg was critical – I succeeded in making a lot of flat, spread out, greasy, but great tasting, cookies.  Horray for chia (which I much prefer over flax as an egg replacer, for the record).

Now I have to go make pizza dough and tidy up the house.  Have a happy weekend!  If you need me, I’ll be the one in the sugar coma.

I found a unicorn

You see that right there? That my friends is a chocolate chip cookie. But not just ANY chocolate chip cookie. That cookie up there has no gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts or eggs in it. Nada. And they are straight up delicious. Reminds me of a Chips Ahoy Cookie, but soft. There’s something still just a titch off, something lost in translation likely. I don’t love the flavor, personally, but the texture is fabulous. It’s based off of this recipe here, which is based off this recipe here.

Here’s what I did differently:

  • used my flour mix and used 8 oz instead of 6 oz called for in the recipe
  • replaced the egg with 1 tsp chia and 3 Tbsp of water
  • cut the vanilla to 1/2 tsp
  • used the new Earth Balance Coconut Spread instead of butter
  • used Enjoy Life chocolate chips (never again, I broke out almost immediately, there’s corn in them there chips…)

What I did that I think helped (as opposed to my previous, very failed, attempts at allergen free cookies):

  • beat my oil and sugar mixture until it got fluffy (patience grasshopper…)
  • weighed out the sugar, flour mix and Coconut Spread
  • refrigerated the dough for at least 8 hours

What I want to try next time:

  • cut the molasses in half – I think it was too much for my taste
  • use a full tsp of vanilla
  • try palm shortening instead of the spread (which has natural flavors and canola oil, two things I’m not keen on)
  • use Tierra Farms chocolate chips (they have non-GMO soy lecithin, but I don’t seem to react)

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I have a batch in the fridge with NO molasses that I’m going to try to swing as snickerdoodles tomorrow. Hopper told me today she loves everything I cook. Best. Compliment. Ever.

*Flour Mix

2.5 cups brown rice flour (I’ve used buckwheat and amaranth in the past)

1.5 cups millet flour

1.5 cups tapioca starch OR potato starch

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp guar gum

snack

I wasn’t sure my banana muffin recipe would transition well to bread, so I used some mini-loaf pans I had.  They came out perfectly.  I ate one (yes, all by myself!), one for a friend and her gluten-free family and I managed to save one for the man who should be rolling in in the next couple of hours (I had to make another cookie pie to keep myself from eating his loaf – hush, the cookie pie is healthy, remember?).

After leaving later than expected today and his car breaking down in the Bronx (!) he will come home to freshly made lentil soup to fill his belly and after capping that off with a slice of this yummy bread he’ll snuggle in with me and the baby.  Hopefully Mack will let us sleep in just at titch in the morning.