Saturday, March 23, 2013

grain-free scones

Crazy how some things just become routine. Back-scratches before bed, gum before church, after-dinner summer walks. In our house, Saturday mornings are some of the most predictable hours of our week…kids wake up and fend for themselves until parents appear downstairs. Then we start a whole house clean-up, followed by scones and tea. 

The next part is not quite Saturday morning cartoons, but is already ingrained as what should happen on a Saturday morning. Somehow this has become completely normal.
Blog, meet our pet python. The boys named her Sweetie-Pie. You can call her Sweetie, for short. 
{I know...crazy!!!} 
No, I don’t like snakes. I sang for years: I would do anything for love, but I won't do that. Yet, somehow they convinced me. It certainly wasn't their reasoning: Mom, pythons aren't poisonous. It's *just* a constrictor. But, I love my boys. So, we have a snake...for now :) She eats on Saturdays. After we finish our scones, the boys pick up a mouse. Sometimes neighbor kids come to watch Sweetie strike and snack. We call it our DIY nature channel.

One Saturday morning I was out of my gluten-free flour mix and stumbled on this recipe using almond flour. I hesitated, until I remembered how much we like these muffins that are simply almond meal. So, I gave it a whirl. They were gone so fast that I made them the next day. And the next day. Etc. After
making them 3 times in a week (and many more times since then), it’s time to share.

In case you haven't completely lost your appetite, 
here is my new go-to recipe for Saturday morning scones.

Grain-Free Scones
2 cups almond meal/flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup mini dark chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
Optional (but optimal): 1/2 cup powdered sugar, tiny bit of milk

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cranberries, chips and zest. In a smaller bowl, combine egg and agave. Mix wet ingredients into dry. 
Knead dough with hands if necessary to ensure proper distribution of ingredients. Form dough into a circle that is about ½-inch in thick. Cut circle like a pizza, into 8 slices. 
Using a metal baking spatula transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Optional (but optimal): Make a glaze from powdered sugar and milk to drizzle over scones. 
Recipe adapted from Elana's Pantry.
There are endless possible variations. 
1. White Chocolate-Cranberry: Omit coconut. Add ½ cup cranberries. Substitute ½ cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips for mini chocolate chips. Add a few drops of almond extract to the glaze.
2. Blueberry Crumble: Omit chocolate chips, coconut, and orange zest (although lemon or orange zest would be delish in this too). Add 1 cup fresh blueberries after mixing wet into dry ingredients. Top with mixture of: ¼ cup coarsely chopped nuts, 2 T. almond meal, 1 T. maple syrup, 1 T. melted butter, pinch of salt. 
3. Vanilla Chai: Omit chocolate chips, coconut, and orange zest. Add contents from 1 bag of chai tea and ½ cup Ghiradelli white chocolate chips. Add ½ t. vanilla extract to the glaze.
We mix it up alot...
‘Cuz we wouldn’t ever want to be too predictable.
Like this morning? We scrapped it all to cheer on this guy!
(We hardly ever get a pic of just the 2 of us, and I do bunny ears?! 
Guess I've been hanging out with kids too long. I couldn't resist :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

It will be 3 years in July that the celiac diagnosis came and I had to go completely gluten-free. I truly believe if you can do 2 weeks gluten-free, you can do it for life. I found 2 weeks-worth of GF meals our family would eat. Then, wrote a little list of items to learn how to crust, muffins, scones, doughnuts, chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookies. You know, the essentials. Taking gluten out of the American diet is not exactly cake. It has taken many recipe-fails before finding GF replacements.
Chocolate chip cookies have been the hardest for me to figure out. I have tried various recipes, and some of them were itty-gritty messes. Others were fine. But nothing like these. I'm pretty sure the Hallelujah Chorus was playing when these came out of the oven
So because I care about you, I share. Everyone needs a homemade chocolate chip cookie in their life, even if it has to be gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 
1 1/4 cup GF flour blend*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
*GF Flour Blend: I use a blend of 4 cups brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca starch

With an electric mixer, mix the softened butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Then mix in the egg, honey, vanilla, and sour cream until combined. Add the GF flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt. Beat on low until just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1" balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until cookies begin to turn a light golden brown and crisp up around the edges. Do not overbake! They will firm up a bit more. After removing from oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. I like to sprinkle the cookies with sea salt. Transfer to a plate to cool.
{Cue the Holla-lujah Chorus}

And hey, it's March!! Time flies and my husband now has a beard.
Where have we been? Well, you probably know...
I miss writing here more regularly. This last year may have been less about recording memories, but it has abounded with opportunities to make and live them. We are so very thankful for those who grace our days. For boys who still ask us to play. For this journey with my love, come what may. 
...but honestly? the only words that really matter?
are the ones I live.
Ann Voskamp 
This has been a truly precious season. Not that we have it all together. Many days I still feel so amateur. The constant tug of balance and priorities. Figuring out what and how to let go. But we're living it. Not escaping, but facing it hard and head on. As loud and messy and crazy as it may be, today is such a gift. And we can trust the Giver. Sometimes all it takes is a step outside to realize.
The heavens tell of the glory of God. 
The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship. 
Day after day they continue to speak; 
night after night they make Him known. 
Psalm 19.1-2