Tag Archives: nut-free

Oatmeal Spice Muffins.

Gluten-free | Soy-free | Dairy-free option | Nut-free option

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These muffins remind me a lot of my husband’s favorite “Freedom Puffs,” but are JUST different enough to not feel like a flimsy gluten-free counterfeit. The hearty oat flour creates a firmer bite and the little hint of orange in the batter just adds so much to the flavor! I’ve been having a hard time getting textures right in gluten-free muffins, but these do a great job without requiring extra steps and ingredients. They will definitely be a staple in this house!

Makes about 16 regular sized muffins, or a dozen regular plus a half dozen mini muffins.

Gluten-free Oatmeal Spice Muffins

Original recipe here

  • 3 1/2 cups quick oats (gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 drops orange essential oil or 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 4 Tbsp butter (or soy-free vegan buttery stick), melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar mixed with 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease the wells of your muffin tin(s) with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Put oats in a blender and blend to a flourlike consistency. Put oat flour in a large mixing bowl and add baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and pecans; stir to combine well.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together applesauce, sugar, eggs, orange, vanilla, and milk.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix with a spatula until just combined.
  5. Ladle batter into the wells of your muffin tin and bake 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
  6. Let cool until they can be handled, then dip the tops in the butter and then cinnamon-sugar mixture.

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My most favorite cookie: Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.

Gluten-free option | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Nut-free

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Oh, Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

I love you before you ever get into the oven. I love you straight out of the oven. I love you 3 days later–though you rarely last that long.

I have loved you dairy-free.

I have loved you with a bit of flaxseed added to the dough when my milk supply was suffering.

I loved you in Switzerland with chopped-up Swiss chocolate bars when we were desperately homesick for something that tasted familiar.

And now, I love you gluten-free.

Suffice it to say, friends, these cookies are favorites around here. And I have made them SO many different ways during SO many different phases of our lives, and they’re always delicious. One of the many things I love about the recipe is how easy and straightforward  it is–almost everything is whole cups or teaspoons, so it dirties fewer utensils and I now have the recipe memorized–so I don’t want to make it too unnecessarily complex with lots of different measurements. I’ve been trying to think of how to best post this recipe with all of the variations we’ve done to accommodate various changes in diet over the years, and I hope that this is the best solution. Bear with me!

Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original recipe here

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (if you live in a humid climate, like I do, where cookies are prone to spreading, I’ve found that 2 cups old-fashioned plus 3/4 cup quick oats help the cookies maintain their shape and thickness best)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (we use half milk, half semisweet)

Nursing variation (has helped me and several friends boost breastmilk supply):
Substitute 1/4 cup flaxseed meal for 1/4 cup of the oats (quick oats, if using).

Dairy-free variation:
Substitute Earth Balance soy-free buttery stick for butter. Decrease salt by 1/4 tsp. Substitute 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup Enjoy Life semisweet mini chips for the chocolate chips.

Whole-grain variations:
Substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for all of the all-purpose flour, or use 1 cup white whole-wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour.

Gluten-free variation:
For the flour, substitute 2 1/4 cups (note the extra 1/4 cup) gluten-free baking blend and ensure that all remaining ingredients are gluten-free. Because we’re always trying to get more fiber into this new gluten-free diet, we use 1 1/2 cups Cup 4 Cup brand all-purpose flour (the blue bag) plus 3/4 cup Cup 4 Cup brand Wholesome Flour (the green bag) because it contains brown rice flour and flaxseed for more fiber.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon 2-Tbsp-sized balls of dough (I use a dough scoop) onto cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden around the edges and set in the middle. Cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

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Colorful Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry

Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Egg-free | Nut-free | Clean eating option | Soy-free option

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This is a great, easy, adaptable weeknight option for getting lots of protein and colorful veggies with minimal effort! Just include whatever veggies your family likes (or at least will tolerate) and watch them scarf it down!

Colorful Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry

Original recipe here

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari sauce (or soy sauce)*
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar works great too)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • up to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other high-heat oil like canola), divided
  • up to 6 cups assorted veggies (I used halved baby carrots, diced red pepper, frozen broccoli florets, frozen peas, and frozen corn–just use what you have on hand. Other suggestions: zucchini, squash, red onion, edamame, etc.)
  • cooked rice, for serving (use brown rice for clean eating)

*For soy-free, try coconut aminos

  1. Combine tamari sauce, vinegar, sesame oil (if using), garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl, then add chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Marinate 10 minutes in the refrigerator, then drain, reserving marinade in a measuring cup. Add chicken broth, then whisk in corn starch until smooth.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Stir-fry until cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Increase heat to high and add remaining 2 tsp oil to wok. Add veggies in order of how long they take to cook: carrots obviously are first, then broccoli, then smaller veggies. Remember frozen veggies take less time to cook. Stir-fry until crisp-tender; do not overcook, as they’ll continue to soften when you add the sauce.
  5. Add chicken and sauce, then stir-fry until sauce has begun to thicken, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve over cooked rice.

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Going Gluten-Free: Super-Easy One-Skillet Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Rice.

Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Egg-free

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My middle daughter (the strawberry gelato aficionado from my last post) was recently diagnosed celiac just before her 5th birthday. Over the past couple of months, I’d noticed some changes in her that worried me: she was sleeping later than either of her sisters, but was still tired all the time, wearing out much more quickly than usual. She complained often of belly pain and growing pains, she had circles under her eyes, would often get unexplained low-grade fevers, and she was much more easily irritated. So I called our pediatrician’s nurse line and expressed my concerns, asking if we could get some blood work done before her 5-year checkup. The doctor wanted to see her right away after hearing the symptoms I was describing, and ran a full panel for everything from mono to anemia, diabetes to liver dysfunction, cancer to celiac. Her celiac numbers were astounding, and we were referred to a GI specialist right away. At that visit, she weighed in at 34 pounds. 5 days before her 5th birthday. Being in the 90th percentile for height. Her dot was 2 full inches BELOW the BMI curve. I knew something wasn’t right, but I wasn’t prepared for that shock.

As you know from my MSPI posts, we’re no strangers to accommodating dietary changes, but as hard as it was do avoid dairy and soy, I knew that it was temporary; I only had to cut them out for 6 months until my baby’s stomach was strong enough to get it through my milk, and my now-almost-3-year-old grew out of it at 18 months. Being told that celiac was a change for life–and an autoimmune disease, no less–and that she was so malnourished as a result of the malabsorption that we were one step away from a feeding tube, was a LOT to take in. (Keep in mind we’re also expecting baby #4 in 2 months, are getting a house ready to sell, and are building a house.)

But my pity party is over (for the time being) and now I’m setting to work researching recipes and finding gluten-free snacks that my pickiest eater (of course it WOULD be my pickiest eater) will eat so that she can catch up to her growth curve.

I’ve had some success adapting some of her favorites of my old standbys (I’ll do a separate post about those), but while I have the time before Baby comes, I’m trying to expand my repertoire of naturally gluten-free meals that are easy and don’t require the separate pots and pans needed to prevent cross-contamination (I told you it’s a lot to take in).

If you’ve been around for awhile, you already know what big fans we are of the many variations of chicken-and-rice dishes, but one of the challenges of gluten-free eating is finding ways to keep the fiber content up when we’re so used to eating whole-wheat almost everything. So I love that this easy one-skillet meal mixes the beans right in with no effort!

One-Skillet Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Rice

Adapted from here

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or use skin-on thighs like in the original recipe)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (make sure it says “gluten-free”)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1-2 Tbsp (I used 1 1/2) fresh-squeezed lime juice (can be bottled; I add a drop of Lime essential oil to mask the bottled taste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried cilantro (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Heat a wide, deep skillet with lid on medium-high and add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, then lay them face down in the pan and brown 4 minutes–careful not to burn.
  2. Turn chicken breasts and brown on medium heat 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate (they won’t be done through yet).
  3. To the same skillet, add chicken broth, water, salt, cumin, garlic, and rice. Stir to incorporate and bring to a boil. Place chicken on top, making wells in the rice for each chicken breast, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes or until rice is tender, moisture is absorbed, and chicken is done through.
  4. Remove chicken to a plate and add lime juice (start with 1 Tbsp), cilantro, and black beans. Taste and adjust amount of lime juice. Then place chicken breasts on top to serve.

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Clean Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating

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Fresh, light, kid-approved, and ready straight from the Crock Pot at dinner time–my kind of recipe for a busy ballet evening! This recipe uses components of a couple different ones: a friend’s and one that I found online that used fire-roasted tomatoes, which I’ve fallen in love with since discovering the Beef Curry recipe that inspired mine on here.

One of my favorite things about this is that I can just throw frozen chicken breasts in here if I’m short on time! They don’t turn out quite as fall-apart tender as fresh ones, but no one else has been able to tell the difference, and the time saver is worth it to me!

Clean Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Adapted from here and a friend’s recipe

  • 28 oz. canned diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 chicken breasts (frozen if needed)
  • 1 yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, large dice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • up to 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 oz (6 Tbsp or half of a 6-oz. can) tomato paste, in approx. Tbsp-sized dollops
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • up to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  1. Spread 1/2 cup of the canned tomatoes in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Layer remaining ingredients on top, in order listed.
  3. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours.
  4. Before serving, prepare pasta of choice (we use whole-wheat short pasta) according to package directions.
  5. Just before serving, gently stir cacciatore, then spoon on top of pasta. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Last-minute dinner solutions.

You guys, this pregnancy has been kicking my butt: something to do with it being my first time being pregnant in my 30s, combined with having to keep 3 kids alive–including a 2-year-old part-tornado, part-monkey, part-evil genius. At 23 weeks–the usually FUN! trimester–I’m already acutely feeling every single third-trimester ache and pain, and I’m spending most afternoons on the couch. Definitely not the speed I’m used to.

So dinner time has been interesting!

Most of the time, eating out actually makes me feel worse, so what’s a mom who’s solo for dinner time going to do? Simplify. Which, honestly, means a lot of pasta. My girls are kind of sick of pasta. But it’s easy, it’s versatile, and aside from the overuse it generally doesn’t elicit complaints from the under-5′ set. (I still can’t believe that my 7-year-old is already over 4 feet tall.) And I’m really not operating on enough cylinders to think far enough ahead to do the Crock Pot thing.

Rather than blog each recipe individually (I’m tired, remember? And my back is already hurting just sitting typing this… How many weeks do I have left?), I’m just going to make a roundup of the last-minute dinner saviors I’ve been using lately. Some are from my blog, and some are from others; all photos are property of their original publishers.

Peas and Pasta, from Weelicious

Meatless | Clean eating | Soy-free | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

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This has been a last-minute staple in our family for years. It is SO easy, SO fast, and uses ingredients I always have on hand, so when it’s 4:40 and I haven’t even thought of dinner, this is it. I use whole-wheat pasta to keep it clean and up the protein and fiber to make it more filling; you can use gluten-free pasta if needed. Also, because this is a very mild dish, easy on the seasonings and spices, it’s usually one of the first recipes I attempt when I’m coming out of morningsickness, and it’s a good one when a bout of nausea blindsides me again.

Creamy Garlic Alfredo, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:

Meatless | Mostly Clean eating | Soy-free | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

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Again, super easy, super fast, and uses things I already have in my fridge. The only forethought required is softening the cream cheese a bit, though in a pinch I’ve just thrown it in cold. Again, I use whole-wheat pasta, but gluten-free would work.

Southwest Chicken Wraps:

Nut-free| Gluten-free option | Soy-free option | Clean-eating option

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For a break from pasta, here’s what we had tonight. These are great because I can cobble together leftover bits from other nights when I’m feeling well enough to make more of an effort for dinner (read: weekends, when my husband’s able to be home to wrangle girls) to make a hearty meal with very little effort. I always cook up extra rice and extra chicken to keep in the fridge, and the rest comes together quick. The best part is that I can stretch the filling recipe over two meals, and freeze half, so that on nights like tonight, all I had to do was pull it out in the afternoon to thaw on the counter, then grab the cheese, sour cream, and tortillas, and in less than 15 minutes dinner’s on.

Vegan Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta:

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Clean eating | Vegan | Gluten-free option

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(I really need to update that photo now that I have a Vitamix that actually makes the cashew sauce legitimately creamy.)

Anyway, here’s another really easy pasta option. As long as you’ve got the ingredients on hand, it comes together quick. The sauce literally cooks for maybe 5 minutes. So your dinner is done in the time that it takes to boil some water and cook some pasta. And my girls consistently down this one. I used to dial down the garlic and basil, but I don’t need to anymore.

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Alfredo:

Clean eating | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option | Meatless option

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This one is really versatile. Lately I rarely add the step of turning the sauce green; I just leave it white. Sometimes I make it without chicken if I don’t have any cooked chicken on hand. Again, I make a habit of keeping all of the essential ingredients in my kitchen, so that I can make some variation of this protein-filled dish any time. The roux sounds intimidating, but even though there are a few steps to it, the sauce comes together really fast–again, just in the time it takes me to boil a pot of water and cook my pasta.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos:

Soy-free option | Clean eating option | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

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Another non-pasta option! This week I dusted this one off from a long time ago–when I was still firmly in my semi-homemade days. I think this is from when I was pregnant with my second kid. It’s been awhile. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the Costco that just opened a couple miles away (yay!!!!!), chopped it up, and whipped these up. They’re easy to freeze for later, so now I have another dinner waiting for me to just throw in the oven!

If dinner time has become a chore or a panic-inducing time at your house, I hope that some of these ideas help you a little. Even as tired, gross, unmotivated, or sore as I might feel, I’m so grateful that I have so many options in my back pocket to pull out to keep my family–and myself and my growing baby–fed and healthy. Now, I’m not going to lie: the other night we had oatmeal. And we do hit the Chick-fil-A drive-through or order pizza or Thai takeout not infrequently. But I’ve noticed, more acutely this pregnancy than ever, that even though it takes effort I just feel better after a home-cooked meal. Even if it is just pasta with some kind of sauce on it.

I do have a few new recipes to post, hopefully soon. In the meantime, I’m going to spend some more quality gestating time on my couch.

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Clean(er) flourless brownies with fudge frosting.

Gluten-free | Mostly clean eating | Soy-free | Nut-free | Egg-free | Dairy-free option | Vegan option

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If you’re looking for a healthier treat (maybe for Valentine’s Day?) that still tastes just as rich as sinful, these might just be it. They’re moist and fudgy (especially with the fudge frosting!), without all the butter, flour and (most of the) refined sugar (depending on which brand of yogurt you use; more on that later).

Now, I will say that these are not something I would make when I’m having a spur-of-the-moment chocolate craving because they require a lot more planning and time than my one-bowl delicious brownies, but when you’ve got a chocolate craving AND you’re trying to work around dietary restrictions, the little bit of extra work makes it worth it. Plus I don’t feel like a total blob after eating a couple of these–and it’s much easier to stop at one or two with these than with my usual go-to recipe because they’re so much richer. So wins all around!

As for the brand of yogurt, this is important: You need to find a vanilla Greek yogurt that’s pretty thick. I like Oikos Triple Zero, but wound up using an organic variety that happened to have refined sugar in it instead of the stevia because I wanted a truer flavor; either way, you usually need two of the small cups to make this recipe. If you’re going dairy-free, you can try a coconut yogurt, but your ordinarily-very-thick batter will be thinner, which may affect baking time, so keep an eye on it. Borderline underdone is better than the alternative. If you do try the coconut yogurt, please let me know how it goes! I just couldn’t do coconut yogurt when I was dairy-free: not enough protein to warrant the expense and all the sugars. But when that’s what you’ve got to work with, I totally get it, and I would love nothing more than for these to work for you!

Cleaner Flourless Brownies

Adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips, or similar, divided
  • 3 fl oz (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) melted virgin coconut oil (measure after melting)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt (see note above about brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups oat flour (blend or process regular oats in a blender or food processor until fine)
  • Fudge Frosting (below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a square baking dish–8×8 or 9×9–with parchment, then lightly spray with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Place melted coconut oil and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chips are melted. (Should take only 2 or 3 rounds in the microwave.)
  3. Pour melted chocolate into a medium mixing bowl and add yogurt; mix well. Stir in vanilla, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Stir in oat flour until incorporated, then fold in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture (it will be quite thick) evenly in prepared pan, then bake 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan, then frost with Fudge Frosting (below).
  7. Frosted brownies will keep on the counter in a sealed container up to a week.

Fudge Frosting

Adapted from the more time-intensive version I made here

  • 1/2 bag Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2-4 Tbsp coconut cream,* or similar amount of yogurt used above, or combination

*Coconut cream: refrigerate a can of coconut milk several hours, until it separates. Remove the can very carefully, without shaking it, and open it without disturbing the cream. Carefully spoon the cream from the top of the can, reserving the coconut water at the bottom for later use in a smoothie or something.

  1. Place chips and coconut cream or yogurt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat while stirring constantly, until melted and incorporated.
  2. Add more cream or yogurt until the mixture reaches a smooth, medium consistency. You want it to be not too thin but still spreadable. I started with a couple tablespoons of coconut cream because that’s all I had, then added yogurt a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator a few minutes until just set, then remove, stir, and spread evenly over the cooled brownies.
  4. Allow to set–may take up to an hour–and then cut brownies into 16 squares and enjoy!

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