Gluten-Free Women’s Bliss Bites by Aviva Romm

Women’s Bliss Bites, recipe by Aviva Romm.

These may be called “Women’s Bliss Bites,” but guys will enjoy them, too!

My niece (Shout out to the new mom!) wanted to try recipes from Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-Being by Aviva Romm, MD. I looked up Dr. Romm’s website and I’m a fan. Why? She says, “Being a woman is not a diagnosis.” Love it!

These gluten-free, rich, chocolatey bites are a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Guess what I’ll be making more of?

Women’s Bliss Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 2 (or so) Tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup dark cacao powder (dark unsweetened), plus 1 Tablespoon for dusting
  • 4 level Tablespoons maca powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4  cup coconut flakes, finely ground
  • optional, orange zest

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, grind walnuts until they are close to finely ground. Add dates and grind to from a thicker blend. Add in almond butter and mix until a dough forms. Tip:  A little extra almond butter may be needed to get the dough to form.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the 1/4 cup cacao powder, cardamom and cinnamon. Pour into food processor and blend.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare the remaining 1 Tablespoon of cacao powder, coconut flakes and orange zest.
  4. Remove blade from food processor, then form round balls using about 1 Tablespoon of “dough” per ball. Roll these in your hands, then roll in the extra cacao powder mixture. Tip:  If dough is still crumbly, add a small amount of warm water to the mixture. Alternately, wet hands to make rolling dough into balls easier.
  5. Place on a platter or into a glass storage container. These can be eaten right away or kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

Yield: Approximately 16.

Super Fudgey Brownies

Super Fudgey Brownies featured on my Nerikomi ceramic dishes.

Warning: This recipe produces extremely rich chocolate!

I’ve gotten a reputation. No, not that kind of reputation. I’m known for my delicious brownies. Every time I bake a batch, whether they’re for my own family or to share with others, they get rave reviews. What’s my secret? Wait for it…I add semi-sweet chocolate chips to Duncan Hines brownie mix. That’s it!

If I pinned my self confidence to baking instead of publishing Kidlit, I would walk around with my head held high instead of lamenting that the goals I’ve set for my life’s work have not yet been achieved. But, I digress.

The boxed brownies are so easy and such a hit, I never made them from scratch. Until now. When I realized my cabinet was empty and wanted to serve dessert, I turned to my mother-in-law Cecile’s own famously, delicious, homemade brownies. Yum!

Happy baking, hon!

Super Fudgey Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (or margarine to make recipe dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • approx. 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted (I used parve semi-sweet choc. chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a 9 x 11 brownie pan, either line bottom w/parchment paper or grease.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add eggs and blend.
  4. Add dry ingredients to sugar/butter mixture. Tip: Pour dry mixture a little at a time and blend.
  5. Pour batter into brownie pan. 
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges come away from pan. Tip: Take brownies out of oven closer to 25 minutes for extremely fudgey brownies and closer to 30 or a few minutes longer for more formed brownies. Either way, these are rich and chocolatey.

Yield: Depending on how they’re sliced, approximately 15-24.

Brownies are done when edges come away from pan.

Blueberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie

Hon, you know how it goes. This summer, I’ll work out more. This summer, I’ll recharge my mind. This summer, I’ll eat healthier. I’m trying! One of my favorite “this summer” changes is making protein smoothies for breakfast. This recipe by The Nutrition Twins is my favorite!

Is there something you’ve added to your diet or routine that’s made you feel good this summer?


Blueberry Protein Weight Loss Breakfast Smoothie

“Enjoy this sipster for breakfast to take the edge off hunger, prevent overeating, flush bloat and help set your mind & body on the healthy track.” The Nutrition Twins

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (I often used frozen mixed berries.)
  • 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend vanilla almond milk (I alternated between almond and coconut milk.)
  • 1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (ok, if not fresh)
  • water to blend
  • Extras: banana, drops of liquid ginger

Directions:

Blend this all together and drink! Enjoy!

Best Black Bean Burgers

Photo courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

I love good veggie burgers but, often, one bite in and they fall apart. There I am making a mess, while attempting to use a fork and knife to eat a crumbling burger.  No more with my new favorite Black Bean Burger recipe thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction. SBA advises partially drying out the black beans to cook “big, thick, hearty, and flavorful” burgers that can be grilled or baked. Whether they’re eaten on a bun, plain, or on a salad, these delicious veggie burgers are “easy, healthy, satisfying, juicy, spicy and NOT MUSHY!” They were a winner with my family and friends.

Happy cooking, hon!

BLACK-BEAN BURGERS

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or oat flour
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, optional
  • corn kernels cut off 2 ears cooked corn-on-the-cob, optional (left over from the previous night’s dinner)
  • 2 large eggs (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (to make vegan & vegetarian, see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup, mayo, or BBQ sauce
  • pinch salt + pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out.
  2. In olive oil, sauté chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. (My veggies weren’t too liquidy, so I skipped this.)
  3. Place sautéed mixture in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and pepper). Add beans. In a food processor, pulse everything together. (Tip: you may need to process mixture in small batches.) Alternately, the bean/veggie/spice mixture can be mashed with a fork. Either way, don’t completely mash the beans. Leave some larger chunks of beans to create a “bulky and satisfying texture.”
  4. Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each. Shape the black bean burgers however large or small desired, keeping in mind the larger they are, the more unevenly they’ll cook. To bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (191°C) for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total. To grill: Place patties on greased aluminum foil and grill 8 minutes on each side. “Generally, black bean burgers should grill on medium-high heat about 350°F (177°C) – 400°F (204°C).”
  5. Serve with favorite toppings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Yield: 6 to 7 burgers

Notes:

  1. Freezing Instructions: Stack cooked or uncooked patties between parchment paper in a freezer container or zipped-top bag. Thaw in refrigerator and reheat or, if uncooked, cook according to instructions above. Thawing can be skipped; just cook from frozen for an extra couple minutes.
  2. Vegan & Vegetarian: Since Worcestershire sauce is not vegan or vegetarian, leave out or replace with a condiment such as BBQ sauce. To make burgers vegan burgers, (1) leave out the Worcestershire sauce or replace with favorite vegan condiment, (2) leave out the cheese, and (3) replace the eggs with 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato.
  3. Creative Toppings:  For a light lunch, skip the bun and eat on a salad. Creative toppings ideas are mashed avocado + caramelized onion, pepper jack cheese + spicy mustard + sweet pickles, herbed goat cheese + roasted red peppers, sriracha + sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella + pesto, corn salsa + cheddar cheese, or even chunky mango guacamole, BBQ sauce + Swiss cheese + grilled pineapple

Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Shout out to my daughter Morgan and her new cookbook Eating Out Loud, Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day by Eden Grinshpan. I love it when Morgan cooks dinner!

Of the cauliflower– ‘Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.”Of the cauliflower– “Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon* and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.’

Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan

Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Medjool dates (about 5)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • approx. 1/2 lemon juice, squeezed from fresh lemon (*The recipe calls for preserved lemon, but Morgan used freshly squeezed lemon juice.)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet (or two-you want to make sure the florets have room to breathe so that they get cartelized and crispy instead of steamed) and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.
  3. Make the gremolata: In a large bowl, mix together the dates, sparsely, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. If making this ahead, leave out the vinegar until just before you serve.
  4. Scatter the gremolata over the roasted cauliflower and serve.
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts & Recipes: Gluten-Free Mandarin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not Cardboard!

I’ve found a gluten-free cookie recipe which yields cookies that don’t taste like cardboard. Hallelujah! I’m not a fan of several recipes from Gluten Free Baking by  Michael McCamley,  but I liked this one. The cookies have an all-over chocolate taste with a hint of citrus that complements the chocolate chips.

Happy baking, hon! 

Gluten-Free Mandarin & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces gluten-free semisweet dark chocolate (or gluten-free chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing (I used margarine.)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cups gluten-free, wheat-free all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten-free unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
  • juice of 1/2 mandarin orange
  • zest of 2 mandarin oranges

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Break or chop chocolate into small chunks and set aside one-quarter of the chunks to top the cookies. (I used chocolate chips so I didn’t break anything up.)
  3. Cream together the sugars and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg. Add flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chunks, and the orange juice and zest.
  4. Bring the mixture together by hand, forming a ball, and invert onto a floured surface. Divide into 8-10 circles, using about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough per ball. Tip: The mixture is dry and messy, so I add small amounts of warm water until the batter is mixable. Then, grease hands with vegetable oil, combine ingredients, and pinch out batter to make individual cookies.
  5. Place circles on baking sheet, allowing space in between for each cookie to spread. Flatten each cookie slightly and sprinkle with reserved chocolate chunks or chips.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until just firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool o a wire rack.

Yield:  10 cookies

Easy DIY Kids Activities: Birthday Cake and Icing

Happy Birthday!

Quarantine “Kids” and Hubby

Hubby knew I was making him a birthday cake, but he didn’t know his extended family was invited to sing him “Happy Birthday” via Zoom.  Surprise! Even though I love to bake, I usually rely on boxed cake mixes. Guess what I didn’t have on hand? During quarantine, it’s not so easy to run out and pick up ingredients. Luckily, I had everything I needed to make this cake and icing from scratch.

Just like baking cookies was one of my kids favorite activities, baking and icing cakes comes in a close second. Everyone enjoyed having a job to do, measuring and mixing, assembling the cake and, of course, sampling the icing. I have a drawer full of tube icing and tips, so decorating was, umm, the icing on the cake!

Was the cake yummy? It only took two days for the six of us to polish it off! Next time I make this cake, I might add something to the batter–semi-sweet chocolate chips melted in a double boiler. I’ll let you know how it comes out!

Happy baking, hon!

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk (I used almond milk.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 round baking pans.
  2. With a hand mixer, cream sugar and butter until they are smooth and light in color. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well. Add half the milk and blend. Add another one-third of dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well. Add remaining milk and blend. Add the final third of the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the pans, making sure batter is evenly spread throughout.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until done.
Yield: Makes two 8″ round cakes, one 9″ x 13″ cake, two 9″ square cakes, or 24 cupcakes.

Vanilla or Chocolate Icing Ingredients:

For vanilla icing,

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

OR, For chocolate icing,

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder

For both icings, also needed are

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Measure confectioner’s sugar into a bowl. If making chocolate icing, add cocoa powder.
  2. Add milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  3. If icing is too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar. If icing is too thick, add a little more milk.

Tinting Tips: To tint vanilla icing, keep in mind butter will show color better than margarine, which has is yellow-ish. Add food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is created.

Flavoring Tips:  Vanilla and chocolate icing may be flavored with extracts or flavorings. Add a few drops at a time until desired flavor is created.

Storing:  Icing will keep in a covered container stored in a fridge for about two weeks. Mix well before using and add a small amount of milk or water to re-thin icing if it’s too thick.

Icing Yield:  approximately 2 cups

Icing the Cake Tip: When icing a two-layer cake, it’s helpful to trim the bottom cake to make it level. That way the top layer sits more evenly. Click here to watch a video of how to level the bottom layer. What to do with the cut off cake? Eat it as a The pre-dessert snack, of course!

Another Tip:  After frosting the cake, I refrigerated it for a couple of hours, allowing the icing to firm up. Before dinner, I took it out and let it come to room temperature. The icing had set by then.

Easy DIY Kids Activities: Gluten Free Vegan Coffee Cake Muffins

Gluten Free Vegan Coffee Cake Muffins

Rainy day? Low on staples? Running out of recipe ideas? No problem!

Hubby and Son ventured to the grocery store over the weekend and found out that a) no one in New Jersey is allowed to enter a grocery store without a face mask and gloves and b) eggs are being rationed (think Easter and Passover). That means they returned with two dozen eggs for six of us…and it’s Passover. Want to bake during Passover? You need eggs. Don’t know what to eat? You need eggs. Love Matzoh Brei? You need eggs. You get my drift! A little searching turned up a recipe for Gluten Free Vegan Coffee Cake Muffins on Sarah Bakes Gluten Free that doesn’t use eggs and are surprisingly moist and delicious. My daughter tried one and said, “Is it okay if I have a second?” Yes!

Sarah says, The fluffiest vanilla muffins are topped with a layer of crisp, cinnamon crumb topping. Every bite is sweet, scrumptious and so satisfying. Have one for breakfast and another one for dessert.

Happy baking, hon!

Gluten Free Vegan Coffee Cake Muffins
Ingredients:
Crumb Topping
  • 1/2 cup Sarah’s gluten free flour blend  (I used rice flour.)
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar (I used regular sugar.)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons dairy free butter, cold (I used butter since I didn’t need the recipe to be dairy-free.)
Vanilla Muffins
  • 1 3/4 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend (same as above, used rice flour)
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla or plain almond milk*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup grape seed or sunflower seed oil (I happened to have sunflower seed oil in the house, but vegetable oil would work, too.)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Additional ingredient: Since I didn’t need the muffins to be dairy-free, I added 2 Tablespoons of vanilla yogurt.)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make crumb topping, stir together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Add dairy free butter and mix with fork until topping comes together. Set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add almond milk, water, oil and vanilla. Whisk batter until smooth.
  4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin. Top with even layer of crumb topping. Bake 21-23 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Remove muffins from muffin tin and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

FYI: My first batch are yummy, but crumbly. Plate and napkin needed!

Yield: 12 muffins

Passover Recipe, Charosets

Charosets, photo credit The Jewish Kitchen.

Zoom will be getting a workout tonight as families all over the world connect over the internet to celebrate the first night of Passover. Shout out to my niece Gavi who asked if I could mail charosets from New Jersey to California (lol!), but made her own and FaceTimed to show me the results. This is a favorite dish at our seders and for the remainder of the holiday.

Hag Semach or Happy Holidays, hon!

Don’t know what charosets is? The Jewish Kitchen’s Jodi Luber says,

Each Pesach, we embark on a journey through Egypt with stories, songs and food. Charoset is the part of the Seder plate that represents the mortar used by the slaves in Egypt when building under the Pharaoh’s rule. We enjoy this sweet fruit and nut mixture, along with the intense flavor of the horseradish, in a sandwich of matzah, which symbolizes the end of the Passover ceremony and the start of the much-anticipated feast.

Our sweet, crunchy mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, and spices…is so good, you’ll eat it by the spoonful. YUM.

Charosets
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 3 large apples
  • 4 Tablespoons sweet red wine or to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon or to taste
Directions:
  1. In a food processor, process walnuts until they are finely ground. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Peel and core apples. Cut into quarters. Process until finely chopped. Add apples to ground walnuts.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well, adjusting spices to taste.

Yield: If allowing for 2 Tablespoons per person, about 20 servings. If eating by the spoonful, less.