Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Cake in a Mug ( gluten free)

Are you looking for a dessert that is  really fast and easy to make? This recipe is so FAST and easy it is ridiculous. It is a perfect solution for the times when you can't pick up a gluten free or allergy free dessert. It literally takes 2 minutes of prep and 3 and minutes to bake in the microwave. The result produces an incredible extremely moist mini portion of chocolate heaven. If you are not gluten free, you can make it with regular cake flour ( not self rising).

Nothing could be faster than this little sinfully delicious chocolate cake that you microwave right in the mug. It makes one very big overly generous portion or is enough for two or three normal eaters.( This cake is very chocolaty and dense) However, you can  make a chocolate cake, banana cake, applesauce cake or carrot cake. You name it, and you can be as creative as you like right there in your mug because the recipe is adaptable.

You can add cinnamon and sugar before baking, add chocolate chips or walnuts, omit the cocoa or top with whipped cream and raspberries after baking. No matter what you decide, this recipe is just plain fun to make. And it is a great activity to do with kids.

It is hard to believe that you can  bake a delicious mini cake in only 3 minutes in the microwave. I don't usually like to use the microwave, but I figure 3 minutes.. what the heck
It can be made without eggs,  milk, or  nuts! It can be made allergy free and is absolutely delicious.

My cousin Madelyn told me about her friend who just found out that her young son is allergic to eggs. Never having baked without eggs , her friend wanted to find some easy eggless baking recipes. When I came across this one, the first person I thought of was Madelyn. So, Madelyn, this recipe is for your friend.  The second person I thought of was my friend Elise, who bakes allergy free for her girls.. so enjoy ...It can't get much easier than this.

Ingredients for microwave chocolate cake in a mug ( Scroll down for other cakes)

4 Tablespoons coconut flour ( or if you are not gluten free use regular cake flour but not self rising)
1 Tablespoon sugar ( or more if you like it sweet) or substitute 2 T maple syrup
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 banana, mashed
3 Tablespoons lite coconut milk ( or any milk or milk substitute)
1 Tablespoon olive oil ( or any oil)
2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
1 Microwave safe mug

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa in a mug
Add mashed banana and mix well
Add lite coconut milk and olive oil and mix well
Mix in chocolate chips
Put in microwave for 3 minutes on maximum power (1000watt)
Remove from microwave and set mug on plate to cool for about 5 minutes
Tip contents out of mug onto saucer and enjoy ( with whipped cream )

***Results can vary depending on the strength of your microwave. You may have to experiment with the time.It is a moist cake so it won't become real dry. .
(If you are not gluten free and  don’t have any cake flour handy, use 3 1/2 tbsp of flour and 1/2 tbsp corn starch..)

Assemble Ingredients

Mix ingredients in a mug according to directions

Microwave in mug for 3 minutes and allow to cool for a few minutes

I made a few varieties
NOT Gluten Free? : If you are not gluten free and have no allergy concerns, here is the original recipe
Original Recipe before I modified it to be gluten free and allergy free
4T cake flour ( not self rising)
2 T sugar ( or more if you like it sweet)
2 T cocoa
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T oil
splash of vanilla
3 T choc chips
Add dry ingredients to microwavable mug and  mix well with fork. Add egg and mix well. Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla and chips. Mix well and put mug in microwave for 3 minutes. Remove , allow to cool a little, and tip onto plate .
May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals
Like my recipes? I post lots more ; Follow me on Pinterest Gluten Free A-Z  and Twitter .

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wendy's Crunchy and Creamy Vegetable Balls

 These vegetable balls are roasted. I intentionally didn't put the name of the vegetable in the title because to tell the truth, if I titled this post Fresh Brussels sprouts on a stalk
Crunchy and Creamy Brussels Sprouts would you have even continued to read it?
Ninety percent of the people I talk to say, " I really don't care for Brussels Sprouts" and I understand, because I felt the same way too. BUT, Wendy's Roasted Brussels Sprouts are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I have never had a Brussels Sprout that I liked  before making them this way. They taste great! Read on.....

           Add carrots to it before baking!
Roasted brussels sprouts

roasted brussels sprouts

The USDA recommends that everyone eat at least 7-13 fruits and vegetables a day to obtain the necessary phytochemicals to be protected from certain diseases. I have always eaten my share of vegetables, but I always drew the line with Brussels Sprouts.

Truthfully, I never really liked them; ok as I kid, I loathed them. They seemed overcooked, smelly, and unappealing. Over the years, I just never bought them, and I always avoided them if they happened to be served at anyone's home. I could never imagine why anyone would buy Brussels Sprouts. That was until yesterday. 

Yesterday, when walking down the produce isle, I saw a large beautiful prolific stalk of farm fresh Brussels Sprouts boasting 30-40 tiny bite size cabbages. It was different and intriguing and  in a whim, I thought, 
 " Why Not ? "

So, there I was making room in my cart for this over sized piece of locally grown produce. I figured I look up a recipe on the Internet and find someway to eat them. When I got home, my daughter in law came over and commented on how interesting the fresh Brussels sprouts looked on the stalk, and then she said she had a great recipe for them.

Wendy's recipe turned out to be simple, appealing, and amazingly delicious!
It is a great side dish for any entree.
Are Brussels Sprouts really healthy? You bet!
Low in calories, high in fiber, rich in vitamins and lots of protective antioxidants..

Wendy's Roasted Brussels Sprouts

15-20 fresh Brussels Sprouts
1 large baggie type plastic Ziploc bag
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Any spice or herb you might like (optional)
1/2 fresh lemon or lime to squeeze over vegetables when serving( optional)

Place Brussels Sprouts in the large baggie type plastic bag. Add enough oil to coat the vegetables. Add salt and pepper ( and other optional herbs) to taste. Shake the bag until all Brussels Sprouts are coated well.
Remove from the bag and place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until Brussels Sprouts begin to get crunchy looking. Remove from oven and serve.

Step by Step Pictures

Another picture of the stalk of sprouts or you can buy them already in a pint size container in the produce isle

After Shaking the Brussels Sprouts in the bag with the oil and seasonings,  place them on a baking sheet

Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes until they begin to look crunchy

Transfer to a serving dish and eat ( sprinkle with fresh lemon juice if desired)

That's it! Simple but Delicious

     What say you about Brussels Sprouts?? Please leave a comment

             I will be sharing this every day on the daily blog parties on  
    My blog carnival list

Monday, November 15, 2010

Announcement About The Gluten-Free Global Community


Gluten Free A-Z Blog ( my blog) has just been added to the Gluten Free Global Community

Gluten Free Global Community

I would like to thank Carol Kicinski from Simply Gluten-Free for welcoming my blog, Gluten Free A-Z Blog, to be listed with The Gluten-Free Global Community. I am honored to be listed with so many  amazing gluten free bloggers.

I originally started my blog as an educational site for gluten-free eaters who were looking for tasty healthy gluten free recipes, resources and healthy eating tips. Prior to blogging , I had no idea how many dedicated,
talented, knowledgeable individuals write gluten free blogs all across the globe on a daily basis. The ideas, recipes, and inspiration are endless..

The blogs are not just informative, they are exciting and composed with color, creative artistry,exceptional  recipes,  stories, and personal sharing .  I am honored to be added to the list gluten free bloggers at  The Gluten-Free Global Community.

Click on the Gluten Free Global Community badge above  to be able to view a versatile long list of gluten free bloggers. Enjoy what they have to share.  
I am pleased to display The Gluten-Free Global Community Badge on my blog.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Tart

Pumpkins are plentiful this time of the year, so why not make a pumpkin pie? You can bake your own pumpkin for the puree or use it from the can. The picture above is of a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Tart  that I decorated with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.

 I got the idea of a making a pumpkin tart from another blog  that I follow, Butter Yum. Patricia has incredible recipes. At Halloween, she had made an amazing pumpkin tart that she decorated  like a spider web.  I borrowed her very easy gingersnap pie crust suggestion for this recipe and used my own pumpkin pie filling. ( her blog is not gluten free)

If you don't like chocolate on your pumpkin tart, don't go away. I also have a ginger-pecan pumpkin tart  variation . Whether you choose to make the chocolate chip pumpkin tart  or the ginger pecan pumpkin tart variation that follows, you are sure to enjoy them and they are very easy to make as well.

Small sugar pumpkins; good for baking
Pumpkin is a versatile, healthy vegetable that provides immune boosting nutrition. The best variety for cooking or baking is the small round sugar pumpkin variety not the variety used for jack o lanterns. It can be cut up and steamed and added to muffins, soups, stews, or served as a side dish. It tends to be bland and needs lots of good spices to bring out its flavor. If you have a larger variety pumpkin, at least use the seeds and make roasted pumpkin seeds. ( scroll down for recipe)

Fresh pumpkin can be cooked the same as any winter squash. For best results it should be baked or steamed.

To Steam: Cut pumpkin in half then remove seeds and pulp. Cut into quarters and peel. Place in steamer over boiling water, cover and steam for about 45 minutes until soft. Mash or puree in a food processor.

To Bake: Cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and pulp. Place halves face down on baking sheet for about an hour. Scrape from shell and mash.

Pumpkin's health benefits
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A and even contains some iron.
In addition, pumpkin contains a significant amount of fiber, which is essential for a healthy diet.
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin has 5 grams of fiber. A slice of whole wheat bread may only provide 2 grams of fiber.
Just like carrots, pumpkin is good for the eyes and provides the health protecting antioxidants, lutein and beta crptoxanthin known to be helpful for age related cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pumpkin is also a good source of potassium which is essential for healthy nerves and muscles and helps keep blood pressure stable.
So, with all the nutritional benefits, its worth giving pumpkin a try. Use small variety types of pumpkin for a sweetest flavor.

 Make this tart in a 10 inch spring form pan
Choose from Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Tart or Ginger Pecan Pumpkin Tart

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Tart

Ingredients for tart crust
2 cups of gluten free ginger snaps made into cookie crumbs in food processor ( Midel brand at health food store and many supermarkets in the gluten free section)
1/2-3/4 cup melted butter ( or use coconut oil )
Directions for tart crust
Mix melted butter and cookie crumbs together until all crumbs are wet.
Pat into a pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes remove and allow to cool on wire rack for at least 1/2 hr.
Pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust and bake at 350 for for 45 minutes
Cool on a rack .

Ingredients for pie filling
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups steamed mashed pumpkin, pureed in blender ( or 2 cups canned no sugar added pumpkin puree)
1/4 cup maple syrup ( Grade B is richest in vitamins and minerals)
1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk ( or vanilla rice milk or any milk)
1/3 cup organic low fat half and half
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp  allspice
(Or just use 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, ginger, allspice)

First make the very simple gluten free gingersnap tart crust recipe, Bake for 8-10 minutes and set aside to cool.
Mix together dry ingredients and in a separate bowl mix together wet ingredients. Slowly beat wet ingredients into dry until well blended. Pour into cooled pie crust.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool on rack.
Mix 1/4  cup chopped crystallized ginger and 1/4  cup chopped pecans. Sprinkle over top of pie and add a dollop of whipped cream when serving.

Step by Step Picture Directions

Assemble ingredients and make cookie crumbs in the food processor


Put Ginger Snaps In Processor and Pulsate Until It turn to crumbs and stop

Cookie Crumbs- Mix cookie crumbs with melted butter it will look wetter than this

Pat Cookie Crumb and Butter Mixture Into A 10 inch Spring Form Pan  and Bake for 8- 10 minutes and set aside
Mix Ingredients for Pie Filling

Variation:  Ginger Pecan Pumpkin Tart
You can make two very slight changes and create an entirely different pumpkin tart.
Follow exactly the same directions as for the chocolate chip pumpkin tart except; take out the chocolate chips and
Make make a mixture of 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/4 cup candied ginger
After tart is cooled Sprinkle with ginger and pecan mixture
The ginger and pecan give this pumpkin tart an interesting taste

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Endive & Cucumber Salad

endive and cucumber salad
I love endive; it's so pretty and such a delicacy, especially the red tipped endive. Mixed with cruncy mini Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and just the right spices ( see recipe below) it makes a beautiful presentation for part of a very healthy meal. I get my endive at Trader Joe's, and it's fairly reasonable.

Recently, my husband eliminated salt, sugar, and white flour from his diet under doctor's orders and needs to limit protein as well. Yikes! what a crazy diet.. It is amazing how many foods have a lot of salt. Being vegetarians, I always thought we ate relatively healthy, but I never realized how much  salt we consume.

I cleaned my pantry and said goodbye to some canned soups ( 900 mg/cup), some canned garbanzo beans and black beans ( you don't want to know the high salt content) and some jars of opened pickles and olives. ( I didn't throw them out, I had some interested customers). I would have purged even more, but my husband protested, and said he hopes he won't be eating like this forever. Me too, it is difficult to say the least. I never realized how much we depend on even healthy-ish convenience foods.

We did a run to Trader Joe's and came up with a whole wheat sodium free bread for him, some no salt and no sugar spiced  applesauce, 21 Salute seasoning without salt,  some frozen brown rice packages for popping in the microwave in a pinch,  some salt free organic butter, some almond butter and some goat milk yogurt ( which turned out to be amazing) .

In an effort to find some interesting food, I turned to the produce isle. I bought a package of mini Persian cucumbers that were labeled as seedless, sweet, and crunchy. I also bought something I had never purchased before. There was a little package of mini red and white Belgian endives. I eyed them over and decided that they would make a healthy and exotic substitute for crackers.

My dinner tonight was to say the least fresh, colorful and creative, but perhaps not so filling. Lots crispy raw veggies.

The crudites of red endive and other vegetables looked and tasted spectacular! The colors, the crispness, and the appeal screamed that I have to take a picture and blog about it.

I guess it was basically a soup and salad meal , but the colors were amazing..Carrot Ginger soup

Red Belgian Endive Salad and Goat Cheese Yogurt Dip

 Individual Salad Ingredients
2 crisp mini cucumbers, sliced with peel
1 red or white Belgian endive , separated
1/4 purple ( red)  onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes ( or any tomato) wedged
1 Tsp. cumin
21 Salute salt less seasoning from Trader Joe's
1/2 lemon squeezed over crudites
2 TBSP olive oil

Assemble vegetables on plate and decorate endive around the edges standing up .
Sprinkle tomatoes with cumin ( unless you don't like it)
Sprinkle entire salad with 1 tsp of salute.
Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice
Goat milk yogurt mixed with fresh herbs and Trader Joe's 21 herb saltue ( salt free spice mix) ( vegans could use coconut or soy yogurt)
The salad vegetables were large enough to pick up and use as crudite so you could drizzle the dip over the salad or dip the veggies in the dip.
Here's the soup I ate with the salad :  Carrot Ginger soup

I shared this recipe on the following fabulous blogs:
Tuesday Twister, It's a blog party,  Vegetarian Foody Fridays, Gluten Free Wednesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Meatless Mondays, The w.h.o.l.e. Gang, Family Food Fridays
Friday Potluck, Seasonal Saturday, , Simply Gluten-Free   Katherine Martinelli cucumber blog hop
Summer Salad Sunday

Every Sunday Easy Natural Food sponsors a salad blog carnival for all kinds of summer salads during the summer

Monday, November 1, 2010

Carrot Ginger Soup ( Vegan Chicken like soup)

Vegans like to have a plant based broth to serve as their chicken wanna be soup. This carrot ginger soup is perfect.  It is a light broth with a rich soothing taste- with many of the vegetables that are in a traditional chicken soup ( but without the chicken of course) 

I've made this soup at family gatherings where most of the guests are meat eaters. Actually, they were surprised to find out that it was not regular chicken soup! The flavor is so good, it can food even my 93 year old mother in law who still can't quite get the " vegetarian way of eating." 

I serve this soup two ways

The first way to serve it is to leave it as a clear broth that I serve with rice noodles or my fabulous  homemade gluten free matzo balls.  

The second version is a thick delicious creamy puree. The basic recipe is so fast and easy, you can have homemade healthy soup in just 30 minutes!

 Clear Warming Broth Topped With Scallions

Thick Carrot Ginger Puree With Fresh Rosemary

Make this soup 2 Ways

As a broth- it is perfect for when its cold outside, or when you are feeling a little under the weather. It is soothing, light, and nutritious. The concentration of carrots and parsnips give it a slightly sweet taste that is kind of like a -chicken soup and feels healing like chicken soup.

Creamy Puree -It can also be made into a creamy thick puree by just processing the broth in the blender or using an immersion blender. Personally, I like it best this way. I like to top it off with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a little handful of fresh thyme from my herb garden. Yum!

Is it healthy? 
You bet ! Carrots are full of beta carotene which converts to Vitamin A, the fresh ginger is bursting with health protecting antioxidants,  the onion has quercetin which boosts immunity, and parsnips provide minerals and potassium. This is an easy, yet healthy soup that the whole family will love.

Pin it Now: This is a soup you will want to pin so you don't forget about it.

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


5 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion, diced
8 organic carrots, sliced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 large parsnip, cut into 6 large pieces ( cut down the middle and then cut in threes)
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1 ball of Asian style rice noodles
3 scallions, chopped for garnish
Himalayan Salt to taste


Clear Broth Soup
Bring 5 cups water to a boil, turn off heat and set aside. Saute the carrots, onions and ginger in a dutch oven in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir frequently. Add boiling water, parsley, parsnip and bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer cooking slowly until carrots are tender about 15-20 minutes. Soup can be eaten plain or add a ball of Asian rice noodles and cook until noodle is separated and soft ( about 3-4 minutes). Add salt and pepper if desired and garnish with sliced scallions.

My notes: 
For a real treat leave out the noodles and make my fabulous gluten free matzo balls
Use a wide pot to make the soup instead of a tall narrow soup pot .

Pureed Soup
Follow the directions and at the end puree with an immersion blender ( or in the blender)

Saute Vegetables

Add Water and Cook Until Carrots Are Soft

Add Asian Rice Noodles During Last 5 Minutes
Version 1:  Vegetable Soup with rice noodles; add a dash  of cinnamon or allspice for a sweet taste or add salt for a more savory taste.

Version 2:  Add a little salt and puree soup in blender! Yum...

Either way, this recipe makes a great soup!