Thursday, June 30, 2011

Papaya Lime Smoothies

Every time I make smoothies, I determine to make them more often. Then I get caught up in other things and I once again forget about my beloved smoothies.

They are such a great way to get some extra nutrients in for breakfast, snack, or any other meal, though, and are so delicious AND simple that I am once again determined to make smoothies a regular part of my diet, and my family's.

There's nothing quite like enjoying a cool smoothie with your breakfast on a hot summer day. A papaya lime smoothie is one of my favorite smoothies, and I easily get addicted to them when I make them several times in a row. These particular smoothies do call for a good amount of sweetener so they are a great dessert as well.

I first started making them a couple of years ago when I got some wonderful fresh papaya in my Harry and David fruit of the month club delivery (I purchase this each year as part of a Christmas present for my family with some of the earnings I make at a local trade fair booth each year). They had included a smoothie recipe with the fruit, and it was delicious.

I have adapted this recipe to make it more nutritious, but the same great flavor is there. I use frozen papaya chunks when I don't have good fresh papaya.

Projected time: 5 minutes. Serves 2
2 cups papaya chunks, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (plain is fine, you just might want to add a little more vanilla)
1/2 cup ice
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. organic cane sugar or natural sweetener of choice (use less for some sweeteners)
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. milled flax seed
1 tsp. chia seed (I use Salba)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Adjust sweetener and flavor, and possibly ice, as you desire.


Here are some other smoothies to try from a couple of other foodie friends:
Aggie's Green Smoothies
Kristen's Nutrient Packed Smoothies

What are your favorite smoothie flavors? Do you like to add vegetables to yours? That's something I'm trying to do - spinach, kale etc. with berries. Share with us!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Product Highlight: Chebe Cinnamon Rolls

Has your summer been as busy as mine has been so far? It's been one thing after another for us - and I promise I didn't think I'd planned a super-busy summer! So when our oldest got sick a few days ago, I was of course bummed that we couldn't even escape sickness during summer break, but it did force us to slow down a little.

We didn't make it to church today, and it was a time for us to fellowship as a family - and for me to make something special for breakfast (we did have eggs, too). When the breakfast dishes were being cleared, there was one lonely cinnamon roll left and I suddenly remembered that I haven't done a product highlight here in a while. I grabbed the camera and took a couple of photos without caring about light, props, etc.

I've been using Chebe products for a couple of years and know I've mentioned the pizza crust mix (it's my favorite GF pizza crust mix) in my pizza crust recipe post. Their frozen breadsticks are great dipped in garlic butter - and my gluten-eating friends love them. I'll also add that Chebe's dry mixes are some of the least expensive gluten-free products I've found.

The cinnamon roll mix, though, is hands-down my favorite. I've always used it for sticky rolls, baking in a pan with lots of gooey goodness that includes pecans. I saw the mix in the new packaging at the store the other day, however, and those rolls on the front looked really good. I thought I'd better give regular cinnamon rolls a try with the mix.

This morning I followed the recipe on the back of the box, using the muffin tin and all, with a few changes:

1. I mixed 1 tsp. of baking powder into the dry mix before adding the wet ingredients.

2. I sprinkled raisins on the inside half of the rectangle before rolling the dough up.

3. I mixed up a little bit of milk glaze using powdered sugar, milk and pure vanilla to drizzle over the top of the rolls after turning them onto a baking sheet when they were finished baking.

Delish. You'd never know they were gluten-free.

Don't worry. The lonely cinnamon roll did get eaten.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day and Beef Pot Roast

The girls and I just returned from a two-week trip covering well over 1,000 miles of driving - some of it driven with just the three of us and some of it driven with my father. It was a good trip, but I missed my husband and our daughters missed their daddy.

However, that time spent with my father and the three of us was precious and I'm glad we made the trip the way we did. It was great bonding time for all of us. I wouldn't necessarily have chosen a live tarantula in a snap-top plastic box to be a travel partner at my feet (my dad is an entomologist), but I soon forgot about it and remembered the days that I actually used to let one crawl on my hand when I was a child hanging out with my dad in the entomology lab while he was in grad school.

My children got to see a little bit of that life on this trip with him - a day doesn't pass when they are with "Papa" that they aren't pulling him in one direction or another to show him some new bug or insect and ask what it is - to be given the scientific name of the creature. They love it. I was that child once, too. (Now I'd rather not touch them, but at least I can usually tell whether it's a friend or foe.)

I love my dad. He put up with more than his fair share, I think, of the antics my brother, sister and I (and I'm the oldest so I no doubt taught many of those antics) pulled while we were growing up but loved us through them.

And I'm so thankful my husband is the father of our children. If I had written a recipe for my future husband and father of my children, I couldn't have possibly written the recipe to create this amazing man I married. God blessed me richly with the man in my life.

I love my husband. He is such a wonderful, loving, supportive, caring, strong husband and father. Yes, I missed him.

And because we just got back and I want to hang out with him as much as possible tomorrow, I'm making a no-fail, simple slow cooker meal that we all love, so that I can put it together tonight, turn it on tomorrow, and forget about it. (The recipe is adapted from one of the Rival owner's guides that came with one of my several crock pots.) This recipe makes the most tender, fall apart roast with a great flavor. (This is also one of my favorite no-fuss meals for Easter!)

And I'm thankful to my father-in-law for being the great dad that he is to my husband, and a wonderful "Grandpa" to our children.

I wish all of you out there a wonderful Father's Day with the fathers in your life. And if your father is no longer on earth, I wish you a day filled with wonderful memories of him.

Beef Pot Roast
Projected prep time: 10 minutes; Projected cook time: 10-12 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high)
A few handfuls of baby carrots
1 large onion, roughly sliced
1 beef roast (size varies, I always use between 2-3 pounds but you can use 4 pounds)
Several sprinkles kosher salt
Few shakes black pepper
1/2 cup gluten-free beef broth (I use 1 tsp. Watkins beef soup base in 1/2 cup of water)
(Optional: 1 1/2 tsp. Watkins Meat Magic added to broth)
Several glugs of balsamic vinegar
(Sometimes I quarter up some red potatoes to throw in with the vegetables, so do that if you'd like. I prefer, however, to serve rosemary oven-roasted red potatoes with it.)

Put carrots and most of the onion (and quartered potatoes if you are cooking them with the roast) in the bottom of crock. Season meat with salt and pepper then put in crock on top of carrots and onions. Add the rest of the onions on top of the meat. Pour broth over meat and potatoes. Pour balsamic vinegar around and on top of the meat and vegetables going around two or three times (several glugs). Cover and cook 10-12 hours on low and 4-6 hours on high. If you are able, turn the meat over once or twice while cooking.

You can prepare the night before and stick in the refrigerator if you prefer to make the meal later the next day.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Key Lime Cream Puffs

Most people who meet me for the first time ask me about my name. "Caneel" is an unusual name, no doubt about it. My parents went to Caneel Bay in the Virgin Islands for their honeymoon. I wasn't a honeymoon baby, but they liked the name. I do, too.

One day I plan to go to Caneel Bay. I've only seen pictures, and it's one of the most beautiful places I can imagine from the photos I see. I keep hoping that one day when I do manage to go, I'll announce my name and we'll get special treatment and perks because I was named after their place.

Key lime pie has a special place in my heart because I've always heard about the delicious key lime pie they ate there at Caneel Bay. I don't eat it often, and fix it even less often, but I love key lime pie.

When I learned that our challenge for this month's Gluten-Free Ratio Rally was pâte à choux, I started thinking about what I wanted to make. Cream puffs haven't been in this house since we've been gluten-free. I hadn't attempted to make them, but I've always loved them. Cream puffs with a key lime cream filling was what came to mind. I'm glad it did - they were refreshing and amazingly delicious!

If you're wondering what the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally is, basically it's a group of bloggers who are taking a different baking challenge each month and showing that by baking according to ratio and weight, gluten-free baking is even simpler - and gives you much more freedom. You can visit this peach poppy seed bread post where I explain my reasons for getting involved and what it is, along with a link to the original rally posts and more information. I'm listing all of my rally posts under "Gluten-Free Ratio Rally" in the recipe index, as well. I'm having fun with it, and it's challenging me to a level of baking that I'm loving.

Logo designed by Anile Prakash
This month's rally is being hosted by Erin over at The Sensitive Epicure. (Thank you, Erin!) Be sure to check out her delicious gougeres, as well as all of the other amazing recipes by rally participants this month. You can find links to the other posts on Erin's page.

The ratio I used this month is based on Michael Ruhlman's pâte à choux ratio of 2:1:1:2, that is: 2 parts water, 1 part butter, 1 part flour, 2 parts egg. A large egg is equal to 2 ounces, so that is 4 ounces water, 2 ounces butter, 2 ounces flour, 4 ounces egg (2 large eggs). This cream puffs recipe doubles the ratio.

I was amazed at how well these cream puffs turned out. The dough for cream puffs should be more of a paste consistency. Mine was like a paste, but it was also a little runnier than I expected it to be after adding all of the eggs. I held my breath while they baked, but they turned out beautifully. That being said, however, the next time I make it I may stop at three eggs and see how it works.

Projected prep time (including filling): 45 minutes; Projected bake time: 20-30 minutes
*Have ingredients at room temperature

Key Lime Cream Filling:
1/2 cup key lime juice (about 15 key limes)
Zest of 9 of the key limes, separated
1 egg
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup whipping cream
4-9 tbsp. powdered sugar (this is up to you)

Cream puffs:
8 oz. water
4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5/8 oz. (19 g) tapioca starch
1 oz. (27 g) potato starch
1 3/8 oz. (38 g) brown rice flour
1 oz. (29 g) sweet rice flour
4 large eggs
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
(Optional: 1 egg mixed with a little water for an egg wash)

Make your filling first. Wash key limes and zest nine of them.

Separate the zest equally into two parts and set aside, then juice the limes to make 1/2 cup juice.

Bring juice to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, whisk room-temperature egg and 1/3 cup sugar together.

Add a very small amount of the juice to the egg mixture while quickly whisking, then very slowly pour the remaining juice into the egg mixture a little at a time, whisking continuously. Return to pan and heat again over low-medium heat, whisking nonstop several minutes until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. I'm a little obsessive and paranoid about food poisoning, so I cook it a little longer once it reaches this phase. Sometimes I even pull out a thermometer to see if it's a temperature that meets my satisfaction.

Transfer this "custard" mixture to a bowl, fold in half of the key lime zest and place plastic wrap directly on top, then let it cool.

Forget the whipping cream for now and move on to the cream puffs.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place water, butter, salt and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat,

then reduce to medium and (make sure butter is melted) quickly add flour, stirring constantly, vigorously and quickly (using a wooden spoon is best) until a dough forms and gets sticky. Continue to cook this way for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool just a little bit. You still want it the dough hot wen you add the eggs, you just don't want it to be quite hot enough to cook them.

I transferred the dough to my mixing bowl for the next step, but if you have a good arm, continue to use a wooden spoon if you'd like.

With mixer going on low speed, add eggs one at a time, bringing up the speed after the egg starts to incorporate, just until the eggs are completely mixed in. You should have a paste. Like I said, mine was a little runnier than I wanted and I may try stopping after three eggs next time, but it worked great anyway.

Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a larger piping tip or a large ziploc bag with a bit of a corner cut off, or you can just drop the dough directly onto the sheets with a spoon. Pipe or drop dough onto the sheets (golf ball size is what Ruhlman suggests) about an inch and a half apart. You'll notice in the photo below that the paste spread more than I wanted it to when I first piped it out, so I went back and added a small amount on to to give it more shape:

I forgot this step in my distraction, but if you want them to get a really nice golden color, lightly brush the egg wash on top before baking.

Bake (top rack if gas oven) 6-10 minutes at 425 degrees (I had to turn it down at about 6 minutes) and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes longer. I baked at 425 for 6 minutes and then 350 for about 14 minutes, but that's just my oven. If they are browning and puffed, open one up and make sure there's not a lot of unbaked dough inside. If it looks good, remove them from oven and transfer to wire rack.

A tip I learned from Erin: Make a little pinprick hole in the bottom and let them cool upside down so the steam can escape.

While your cream puffs are baking, start working on the filling again and whip up the cream with about 4 tbsp. of sugar then taste it to see if it's sweet enough for your liking. You want it pretty sweet because the key lime "custard" is pretty tart.

Fold remaining zest into sweetened whipped cream.

Then fold custard into whipped cream.

Taste again to see if it's sweet enough. You may add more powdered sugar if necessary. I ended up using a total of about 9 tbsp. total between what I had sweetened the whipped cream with and needing more after adding the custard. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the puffs are completely cool, transfer filling to a pastry bag with a pastry filling tip and fill puffs from the bottom.

These are best eaten fresh, but can be refrigerated for a day or two.

I hope you enjoy them - we sure did!

Again, thank you to Erin for hosting us this month and for her helpful tips on pâte à choux. Be sure to check out her post and the recipes everyone else has come up with. My mouth is past watering - I can almost smell and taste all of the deliciousness posted today!

Check out what the rest of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally did with their on patê á choux. I hope I have everyone listed, and with working links!
Amanda of Gluten-Free Maui made Earl Grey Cream Puffs
Amie of The Healthy Apple made Pâte à Choux with Creamy Macadamia Icing
Britt of GF in the City made Cream Puffs & Profiteroles 
Caleigh of Gluten Free(k) made Savoury Paris-Brest
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten Free made Key Lime Cream Puffs
Charissa of Zest Bakery made Choux Shine: Koshi-an Filled Cream Puffs
Claire of Gluten Freedom made Chocolate Eclairs
Erin of The Sensitive Epicure made Gougères Filled with Herbed Goat Cheese  Churros
Gretchen of Kumquat made Cheddar Gougères with Date & Pine Nuts
Irvin of Eat the Love made White Cheddar Fennel Gougères stuffed withPorcini & Shallot Goat Cheese
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine made Gruyere & Herbed Gougères
Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen made Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères
Lisa of With Style and Grace made Cherry Garcia Filled Cream Puffs
Mary Fran of Frannycakes made Marillenknodel with Ginger & Cardamom Sugar Chai Cream Puffs
Meaghan of The Wicked Good Vegan made Vegan GF Cardamom & Rose Water Cream Puffs
Meg of GF Boulangerie made Chouquettes
Meredith of Gluten Free Betty made Gluten Free Churros 
Pete & Kelli of No Gluten, No Problem made Almond Choux Florentines
Rachel of The Crispy Cook made Cream Puffs with Coffee Cream
Robyn of Chocswirl made Gruyere & Parmesan Gougères with Sage & Thyme
Sea: Book of Yum made Rose Vanilla Cream Puffs & Eclairs
Silvana of Silvana’s Kitchen made GF Spinach Gnocchi Parm
T.R.of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Beignets


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