Monday, December 16, 2013

Tender Tea Cookies

With cookies everywhere this time of year, I decided it was time to makeover a favorite recipe.  A few years ago I found a recipe that was very similar to the tea cookies sold at a favorite bakery in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  It used a combination of cornstarch, powdered sugar, and flour to form a tender cookie so I believed a switch to gluten free flour would work well.  Here's what I ended up with...

You'll need:

1 Cup Softened Shortening (or mix of Earth Balance and shortening--I used butter flavored Crisco)
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
3/4 Cup Sifted Corn Starch
1 Cup Gluten Free Flour Mix (I recommend King Arthur)
1/3 teaspoon Salt

Mix butter and powdered sugar until creamy, add sifted cornstarch, flour, and salt.  Mix well.  Refrigerate dough for several hours or overnight.  Roll into small bites and flatten slightly (or just dab them on your parchment paper like I did).  Bake at 370 for 10 to 15 minutes until the bottom is light brown.  Cool and top with your favorite "buttercream" frosting.


"Buttercream Frosting"
This makes more than you'll need but cookie making is hard work so just enjoy some right off the spoon... The shortening makes the icing more whippy while the Earth Balance will make it richer.

Use a mixer to combine:

1/2 cup Softened Shortening/Earth Balance
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
Unsweetened Original Almond Milk (until reach desired spreading consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring of choice

Free free to make your cookies daintier than mine--I kind of like them messy.

After eating these I'm also looking forward to adapting the dough for Mexican/Russian wedding cookies/cakes--perfect consistency!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

EBLT Salad

Tonight I did a salad take on my EAT sandwich.

I had some fresh local bibb lettuce so that took the place of the arugula this go-round.  I added sliced grape tomatoes, toasted diced Rudi's multigrain bread for croutons, and eggplant bacon.  There's a sprinkle of sesame seeds in there too.

Since I like mayo and jalapeno jelly on my sandwich, I decided to make my dressing a mix of the two with a touch of lemon juice to both thin it out and add acidity.

It was mighty tasty and I didn't have to worry about sandwich juice running down my face :D

Monday, December 2, 2013

Snacks- Hummus, Half Moon Bread, and stuff


I love snacking or making snacking an entire meal.  This week I'm going to focus on some of my favorites.  First off: hummus, gluten-free pita-style bread and stuff.  Right now I'm big fan of sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic.

I am a gigantic fan of Gluten Free Sonny Marie's products and their Half Moon Bread makes my life so much better.  I really missed pita bread after becoming gluten and dairy free and this completely fills that need for me.  I heat the pockets in the microwave, cut into triangles, and toast in my toaster oven.

Buy or make your favorite hummus and then start adding.  Any peppers-fresh or roasted, olives, pickles, hard boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes, fruits, etc. are all wonderful for this.

Prepare enough for a snack


or make a platter for a crowd!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Voting Time for the Virtual Vegan Potluck

I happily took part in the latest Virtual Vegan Potluck and was thrilled each time I went through all the participants' recipes.  I keep going back through them and pinning favorites.  If you're more of a visual person, many of the recipes are pinned on the official Pinterest board for the Virtual Vegan Potluck November 2013.

It is now time to vote for your favorites from the potluck--if you are a fan of my beet burger recipe, I would greatly appreciate your vote.  Go here to vote!  The voting is divided into categories, mine being part of both main dishes and featured ingredient (beets!).

A few (of many) favorites from each category:







Main Dishes:


Enjoy the recipes and I appreciate any support!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bourbon Pecan Pie

I love pecan pie.  I love Bourbon.  I wanted a tasty holiday pie that just happens to be gluten and dairy-free.  Do you?

First, take your favorite pecan pie recipe.  Mine is The Pioneer Woman's Pie That'll Make You Cry.  A few quick substitutions and one wonderful addition later and you'll have something that will make anyone happy.

You'll need:
1 gluten-free pie crust--Pillsbury's Gluten Free Pie Dough is great and accessible
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted
3 eggs, beaten
At LEAST a cup of pecans
1 shot of your favorite Bourbon

First, grab the bowl you're going to mix your filling up in.  Add your pecans--I like breaking mine up but you can leave whole as well.  Cover with the shot of Bourbon and mix around.  Leave for a while until the Bourbon kind of soaks in.

Follow the instructions on the tub of pie dough and stretch it out on your pie pan.  Add your Bourbon Pecans to your crust.  Mix up the rest of your ingredients and pour on top of the pecans.  Bake in an oven preheated to 350.  The baking time can really vary, it usually takes me about 50 minutes but it can only take a half hour for some.  The Pioneer Woman addresses this in her recipe.

Let set for several hours before enjoying.  If you prefer chocolate nut pie (again, with bourbon) check out my recipe for that.

"Fake" on the left, "Real" on the right.

Cat approved.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Still thrilled at having been a part of the latest Virtual Vegan Potluck, tonight I tried my hand at one of the contributed recipes: Sprouts and Chocolate's Creamy Mushroom Soup.  The recipe uses potatoes and cauliflower to thicken the soup- it really ends up quite creamy once blended.

I used cremini instead of white button mushrooms and added a bit of cayenne to the soup.  In addition to the fried mushrooms topping, I sprinkled chives and drizzled Bordeaux (Port would be even better) on top.

I give it a big thumbs up!

Now to decide which recipe to try next...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Virtual Vegan Potluck- Beet Burgers

My contribution to this latest Virtual Vegan Potluck is my Beet Burger recipe.  They're simple to make and I love making a batch to keep in my freezer.  This burger has a great savory taste and a fabulous texture.

I'm sharing my standard recipe but after making these once or twice you'll see how easy it is to make a few or many, change the beans used, the spices, etc.  Have fun with them!


You'll need:
3 Beets
1 Can of Cannellini Beans
1/2 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
1/2 Bell Pepper
1/2 Onion (Vidalia)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
2 Chile en Adobo
2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon Sorghum
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Tamari or Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Gluten Free Oats
Big Handful of Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste



Wash and peel your beets.  All red, mixed, whatever you have.  Cut into chunks.

Throw into a food processor and chop well (but not too much, we don't want beet juice).  Put the beets into a bowl and move on to the next ingredient.  Drain and rinse the beans, rice, etc.- all but the oats and parsley.  Mix everything in a bowl and slowly incorporate the oats until your mixture has a consistency easily formed into patties.  Stir in the parsley.  Depending on the beets used your mixture will be a variety of colors!

At this point I usually stick the mixture in the fridge for a bit to make the burger making even easier.  Preheat your oven to 425 and slightly oil a sheet pan.  Place the burgers on the pan and gently drizzle a bit of olive oil on top if desired.

Bake until set, flipping occasionally.  You want the burgers browned on top and bottom, and firm to the touch, like below.

You can eat a burger now but I actually like the texture even better after the burgers are frozen and reheated.  I freeze them flat on a sheet pan and then transfer to a bag.

When I want a burger, I just remove one from the freezer and place in the oven for a few minutes.  Sometimes even the toaster setting does the trick!

This burger lends itself to a lot of different topping.  Today I went classic with a gluten free bun, vegan mayo, mustard, ketchup, arugula, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.  I sprinkled a few sesame seeds inside since I miss a nice sesame seed bun.

The beet burger holds together really well, something that is sometimes amiss in a veggie burger.

Enjoy and stay updated via The Gluten Grapple's Facebook page, Pinterest board, and @grapplegabbler on both Twitter and Instagram.

Now for more recipes!!!

or start from the beginning here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Impatience

I was having a difficult time waiting until Thanksgiving for certain foods so a nice meal of dressing, mashed potatoes, and balsamic and brown sugar glazed carrots happened yesterday evening.  Since the holiday is soon I thought I'd pass along a few hints for easily making your meal gluten and dairy-free.

One of my favorite dressing recipes is for Dave Lieberman's Sourdough Bread Stuffing.  The only substitutions you need to make: use a gluten-free bread, Earth Balance butter, and vegetable broth.  It is important to use a hearty bread, Rudi's Multigrain works well- I dice and toast.

No matter the recipe, just make these simple changes in the butter, broth, and bread (BBB) and you're back to enjoying your dressing.  I love a cornbread dressing too!

For a little something different, bake the dressing in a muffin tin for some stuffin' muffins!  It gives everything a bit more crunch and makes handing out portions really easy.  It also makes transportation easy if you're taking your own side of stuffing to the family dinner.


For mashed potatoes: substitute in Earth Balance and unsweetened original almond milk.


Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Peel carrots and slice into diagonal coins.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a touch of olive oil, and add the carrots.  Sautee until tender--I added a bit of water to mine to help steam them into tenderness ever more.  Turn down the heat and add two tablespoons or so of Earth Balance, enough to coat the carrots and have a bit of extra sauce.  Add a tablespoon each of Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Sugar, adding more sugar and butter if needed.  Salt and pepper to taste if desired.  The best is when your mashed potatoes and the glaze mix together.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Buffalo Tempeh Tacos with Vegan Ranch

Buffalo Tempeh Tacos are one of my favorite quick and easy meals.  I started using tempeh after becoming gluten-free and actually prefer it to the vegan chicken substitutes (containing gluten) I used previously.  The texture is amazing for this.  I finish the tacos off with a quick vegan ranch dressing and my favorite toppings.


Buy a package of tempeh, I use Lightlife.  Slice and chop into bite size pieces.  You can make as much or as little as you want but I use about 1/4 of a package for myself.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a spritz of oil.  Toss in the pieces of tempeh and cook until they begin getting crispy, turning as needed.  Turn down the heat and add your favorite buffalo sauce.  To make the sauce vegan, use Earth Balance in place of butter or margarine.

I usually just throw my sauce together as I go, adding a tablespoon of Earth Balance, Louisiana Hot Sauce, Garlic Powder, and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to the pan.  Toss well.

Move to a tray or platter with warmed corn tortillas, ranch (instructions below), and your favorite toppings.  I like arugula and tomatoes.  Green or red onions are great as well.  I prefer serving it this way so that my tacos don't get soggy while I'm eating.

Vegan Ranch:

Spoon your favorite vegan mayo into a bowl equivalent to the amount of ranch you want.  Thin out with red wine vinegar, whisking well with a whisk or fork.  Sprinkle in some dill, parsley, garlic powder, and salt to taste.  Stir until well combined.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin is a great ravioli filling and paired with mushrooms and a sage brown butter sauce, this meal turned out quite tasty.  I've made ravioli on the blog before and so you may find referencing my mushroom ravioli post helpful.

The main difference this time is that I decided to make the ravioli vegan.  Instead of eggs, I used olive oil to form my pasta dough.  Throw your favorite gluten-free flour mix on a cutting board, form a well in the middle and slowly add in olive oil.  Slowly mix the dough with your hands, adding water until the dough forms a ball.  Roll or pat flat and cut into equal pieces.  Place in the fridge.  I made this while my pumpkin was roasting.

Now for the filling.  You'll need a sugar pumpkin to make your own pumpkin puree or buy a can.  Preheat your oven to 350.  Cut off the stem of your pumpkin and cut it in half.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray a bit of oil on the pumpkin and place cut-side down on a foil or wax-paper lined pan.  Roast until tender, up to an hour.  A butter knife will easily pierce the pumpkin.  Remove from the oven and scoop the flesh away from the skin.

Place the flesh in a blender or food processor.  Pulse and blend until smooth.  Move to bowl.

1/2 cup walnuts, ground in food processor
1 tablespoon vegan parmesan
1 teaspoon brown sugar (this can vary depending on your pumpkin)
1/4 teaspoon Sage
1/8 teaspoon Thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Mix or blend well.  Feel free to change around the spices to your own tastes- I think some rosemary, garlic, and shallots would taste great in the filling as well.

Now it is time to make the ravioli.  Place a small amount of filling in the middle of one piece of dough, place another on top and crimp with a bit of water if needed.  You can cook these right away or place in the fridge until later.  To cook: place in boiling water for a few minutes until the ravioli float to the top.

Sauce: To a medium heat skillet, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a few tablespoons of Earth Balance.  Let the "butter" mixture cook/brown a bit and add 1/4 teaspoon sage and black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste if desired.  Add a handful of chopped mushrooms--I used a gourmet blend.  Cook until tender.

Add your ravioli and coat well in the sauce.  Plate and sprinkle with some vegan parmesan if desired.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I am loving butternut squash this fall and this is one of my favorite recipes so far.  I make gnocchi with leftover mashed potatoes fairly often but this is my first time using squash.  I must say, these are my favorite I've ever made-the texture was perfect.


Clean off your butternut squash and stab a few holes all over it. Place in an oven preheated to 375 and bake for an hour, until soft. Remove from oven and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds. Scoop the flesh out of the skin into a bowl. One very small squash made all the gnocchi in the photo above.

Mash the flesh and add a pat or two of Earth Balance and a splash of unsweetened original almond milk to smooth out the texture. You're just smoothing, don't thin it out too much. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Begin gently mixing in flour, I use King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour, little by little. You want the dough to just come together. It is right when you can pick up a chunk of dough and roll it into a thin log. Make several logs with your dough, flouring your hands as needed. 

With the log on a surface, take the side of a fork and cut each gnocchi. I like to go back and carefully press the fork on each gnocchi to create texture. Your sauce will better attach to this.

At this point I like to put my gnocchi on a plate (sometimes I cut them on a plate) and place them in the fridge for a bit. You can also freeze them flat, on a cookie sheet, bag, and freeze for later.

Too cook: throw the gnocchi in some boiling water. When they float to the top, they're done. Only takes a couple of minutes.


This time, I enjoyed my gnocchi with mushrooms and red onions in a sage butter sauce.  In a pan over medium to medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance. Melt (if you're using actual butter, let it brown a bit, you'll thank me) and add in some sage. Half a teaspoon or so.  Throw in sliced mushrooms and onions or whatever veggies you're in the mood for and let them get soft. 

Now you can add your cooked gnocchi. Stir everything together, add some fresh chopped Italian parsley and cracked black pepper. Plate and sprinkle on some vegan Parmesan cheese. Enjoy. 

This is a very "eye it" recipe so feel free to comment with any questions.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I've moved from soup to stew. This a warm and hearty one that will remind you of a great beef stew while being both gluten free and vegan.

--To a slow cooker add--

4-5 medium sized potatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 small Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
One can of diced tomatoes
1 cup Cremini mushroom, quartered
1 cup of Red Wine
1 shot of Brandy or Sherry (optional)
1 tablespoon of Sorghum Molasses
2 Bay Leaves
Several Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce (make sure to buy a vegan brand) 
2 drops of liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Sage
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Fennel
1 teaspoon Salt (or more to taste)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper (I add A LOT, add at least 1 teaspoon)

I also add a can of young green jackfruit in brine.  Drain the can and rinse the fruit completely, remove any seeds.  If you're new to jackfruit, I recommend trying it this way first: 

Once this is in the cooker, add enough Vegetable Broth to just cover everything. Put the cover on top and cook on low for at least 8 hours, or until vegetables are tender. If cooking on high, your cooking time will decrease.  The jackfruit will break up some through the cooking process but feel free to help it along with a fork--it is amazing how reminiscent it is of pulled pork.

In the last hour of cooking, you'll want to take this from soup to stew.  In keeping this gluten free, I use a slurry of cornstarch and water.  Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to a cup and whisk in water until it is smooth.  Incorporate into the stew.

I throw in half a bag of frozen peas at this point as well.

Let the stew cook the last little bit and serve with a bit of fresh parsley on top.