Gluten Free Almond Joy Brownies

Every year I try to add at least one gluten free item to my list of Christmas goodies.  I have several family members and friends that are on gluten free diets and it can be a hard time of year for them with all the “full of gluten” goodies being passed around.  These brownies are wonderfully tasty and simple to make.

Gluten Free Almond Joy Brownies

Chocolate, coconut and almonds are a few of my favorite things!!

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Gluten Free Almond Joy Brownies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup almond pieces
Instructions
  1. Mix together the softened butter, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla.
  2. Stir in the eggs one at a time, completely incorporating after each egg.
  3. Mix in the coconut flour and stir until there are no lumps.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips, coconut and almond pieces.
  5. Pour into a greased 8x8" baking dish and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Coconut flour is a very dense four so that’s why this recipe calls for 6 eggs!  With the add ins of almonds, coconut, and chocolate chips along with 6 eggs and coconut flour, these are not the most frugal brownies.  If you would like you can leave out the last 3 ingredients and they will still be yummy, gluten free brownies!! (just not almond joy brownies)  😉

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This recipe was adapted from this recipe at Heavenly Homemakers.

Here are a few more of my favorite Christmas recipes!  Peppermint Crunch Christmas CookiesHoliday Spritz Cookies Dipped PretzelsMy Favorite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesPeanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post was shared at: The Weekend Potluck

 

Baked Potato Soup

baked potato soup

We were blessed with some free organic potatoes about a month ago.  By “some” I mean about 300 pounds, and most of them are the big baker potatoes!!  We gave away about half of them and have been enjoying the rest.

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Our VERY favorite way to eat baked potatoes is in “Baked Potato Soup”!  What’s not to love about a rich creamy soup with BACON and cheese?

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This will make a BIG pot of soup so if you’re only feeding a couple of people you may want to cut the recipe in half.  Like most soups though this makes GREAT leftovers!

Wash and stab 5 large potatoes so they don’t explode in your oven.  Bake in a 350° oven for about an hour until done.  Let them cool completely.  (I usually bake the potatoes the night before I want to make this soup then just keep them in the fridge.)

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Now you need to cook a pound of bacon bits.  I used a package of ends and pieces and cut them into littler pieces and fried them up.  You could also cook the bacon in the oven and then cut them up after they cool.

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Awww! isn’t bacon beautiful?

While your beautiful bacon is cooking, peel and cube the cooled potatoes into bite size pieces.

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When the bacon is done place it on a paper towel to drain and set the bacon and potatoes aside while you start the soup.  In a big pot melt 3/4 of a cup of butter then whisk in 3/4 cup of flour, when it’s nice and smooth slowly whisk in a cup of milk.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper and mix will.  Now whisk in 4 more cups of milk and 2 cups of chicken broth or stock.  Heat until it comes to a low boil and thickens, stirring almost constantly.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of sour cream, and add the potatoes and bacon.  You can hold out some of the bacon for a garnish if you wish.

potatoes and bacon

Now you can dish it up and add shredded cheddar cheese, extra bacon and sliced green onions.

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Baked Potato Soup
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 large baker potatoes
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • ¾ cup of butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 cups of milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Toppings: grated cheddar cheese and sliced green onions
Instructions
  1. Wash and stab 5 big baker potatoes so they don't explode in your oven.
  2. Bake at 350° for an hour or so until done. Let them cool completely.
  3. Cook up a pound of bacon to make bacon bits.
  4. While the bacon is cooking, peel the cooled potatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces.
  5. Put the bacon on some paper towels to drain and set them and the potatoes aside while you get started on the soup.
  6. In a big pot melt the butter then whisk in the flour, when it's nice and smooth whisk in 1 cup of milk, add the salt and pepper and whisk in the rest of the milk and chicken broth.
  7. While stirring almost constantly bring to a low boil to thicken. Remove from the heat and add sour cream, the potatoes and bacon. You can leave some of the bacon out for a garnish if you wish.
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions, cheddar cheese and bacon.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

I needed one more excuse to use my homemade pumpkin puree and homemade pumpkin pie spice mix and this is a GREAT way to use both.  I made pumpkin dip last year and followed a recipe with powdered sugar……it was WAY to sweet.  So, this year I decided to come up with my own pumpkin dip.  I was aiming for rich, creamy and naturally sweetened.  It took me a couple tries to perfect it, and I’m excited to shared it with you just in time for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Chesecake Dip

Rich, creamy, and sweetened with 100% maple syrup……yummmmm!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¾ cups pumpkin puree or one 15 oz. can
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • liquid stevia, powdered sugar (optional)
  • Graham crackers and apples for dipping
Instructions
  1. Whip together the heavy cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  2. In a separate bowl blend together the rest of the ingredients until smooth then fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Give it a taste, if you think it needs to be sweeter you can add a little more maple syrup or stevia or a little powdered sugar. We usually add about 10 drops of liquid stevia, and that does the trick.

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Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) Stew aka “Leftover Stew”

This is comfort food at its best!  It’s always a hit at our house and perfect for crisp, fall days.  If I had a favorite stew, this just might be it, and what better way to use up all that leftover turkey after Thanksgiving!!!

Creamy Chicken Stew

I usually make this soup a day or two after we’ve had roasted chicken for dinner.  I put whatever is left of the roasted chicken (bones and all) in a big pot, cover it with water and let it simmer away for a few hours.  When I pull the meat off the bone I always have more than enough chicken and chicken stock to use in this stew.  You could also use a rotisserie chicken and store bought stock.

This recipe is very versatile, you can use any combination of veggies you have on hand as long as they are cooked first.  I used leftover baked potato, green beans and peas this time.  Some other veggies I have used in this stew are: corn, carrots, halved brussels sprouts, pieces of asparagus, mushrooms and celery.  I like to go through the fridge and throw in whatever I have!  Hence the name – “Leftover Stew”. 🙂

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Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) Stew
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 3 cups cooked chicken or turkey pieces
  • 3½ cups cooked veggies of your choice(there are some ideas above)
Instructions
  1. Start by sautéing the onion, basil, thyme, celery salt, garlic powder and pepper in the butter.
  2. When the onions are translucent whisk in the flour and salt.
  3. When the flour is completely incorporated, slowly whisk in the milk and chicken stock.
  4. Bring them to a low boil to thicken.(stirring often)
  5. Add the chicken and all the veggies and stir well.
  6. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

 

Here is my recipe for chicken soup with homemade noodles….I love soup season!

chicken soup with homemade noodles

 

 

 

 

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We grew LOTS of sugar pumpkins this year.  I gave away several and we still have about a dozen left for us to enjoy.

Sugar pumpkins growing in the garden

Making your own pumpkin puree for all those fall recipes is great, and you can put left- overs in the freezer for later.  With this easy method of baking the pumpkin you don’t need to worry about loosing any body parts when you cut the pumpkin up because you put the whole darn thing in the oven (pre-heated to 375°) and bake it whole…..

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I put the pumpkins on a cookie sheet just in case of any drips.  It will take 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to get done.  It all depends on how big your pumpkins are.  You can use the big pumpkins to make pumpkin puree, but the small sugar pumpkins have a sweeter more pumpkiney flavor.  My spell check is telling me that pumpkiney is not a word, but you get my point, right? (pumpkinie, pumpkiny, pumkiney, pumpkinish…..one of these should totally be a word!)  These two took about 45 minutes to get done.  When you can poke a sharp knife into the pumpkin easily, it’s done.

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Let them cool down enough to handle, then peel them.

Homemade Pumpkin PureeEasy Pumpkin Puree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut your peeled pumpkin in half, spoon out the “guts” and separate the seeds.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Take the “meat” of your pumpkin and puree it in a food processor or blender.

Homemade Pumpkin PureeHomemade Pumpkin Puree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can use it in any recipe calling for pumpkin puree and put any leftovers in the freezer.

homemade pumpkin puree

Now, take the pumpkin seeds, rinse them off and dry them.  These two little pumpkins gave me a little more than a cup of seeds, so I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt.  I stirred it all together coating all the seeds and poured them on a cookie sheet, then sprinkled some pepper on them.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 325° and bake the seeds for 5 to 20 minutes.  Check them every 5 minutes and give them a little stir.  These took about 17 minutes.

roasted pumpkin seeds

This is just a basic recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds so feel free to add any seasonings you like!

A few tips: One 15oz can is equal to 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree – If you have chickens, feed them the guts and skin from your pumpkin and you will have wasted NONE of your pumpkin!  If you don’t have chickens the compost pile is a great place for the “extras”.

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For Pumpkin Puree:
  • 1 or 2 pumpkins
  • _____________________________________________________________________________
  • For Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
  • 1 cup of washed and dried pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. For the pumpkin puree: Put your whole pumpkin(s) in the oven at 375°. Depending on the size of your pumpkin it will take from 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook. When you can easily poke a sharp knife in the pumpkin it's done. Let your pumpkin(s) cool until you can easily handle them. The skin will peal off easily, then cut the pumpkin in half and spoon out the guts and seeds. Place the "meat" of your pumpkin in a food processor or blender and puree.
  2. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  3. For the roasted pumpkin seeds: Pre-heat the oven to 325° Separate the seeds from the guts then rinse and dry the pumpkins seeds. Take your dried pumpkin seeds and stir in the olive oil, seasoning salt and garlic salt. Spread the seasoned seeds out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle a little black pepper on them. Bake the seeds for 5 to 20 minutes. They will burn easily so check on them and give them a little stir every 5 minutes.

Here are a couple recipes that call for pumpkin puree:

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

 

 

 

and Pumpkin Chip Bread/Muffins

Pumpkin Chip Bread

 

 

How To Roast Garlic

roasted garlic

Once upon a time I was at Costco and bought some garlic……..

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3 pounds of garlic…….then I made 2 batches of my homemade bug spray and used 2 heads of garlic.  Leaving me with 2 pounds 13 ounces.  Soooo I thought and thought about what to do with the ridiculous amount of garlic hanging out in my kitchen (other than moving the awkward bag around every time I cleaned).  I eventually remembered my mom talking about roasting garlic in the oven.  I decided to give it a try.  Soooo glad I did!

This is how I did it:

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I cut the top off of each head of garlic (just enough to expose each clove).  Then placed it on a piece of tin foil and poured a little olive oil over the top (about 2 teaspoons on each) to fill in the cracks around each clove.  I sprinkled some salt and pepper on each one and wrapped the foil around them.  Then placed them in a muffin tin:

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I put them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, (my home smelled like garlic heaven) and that’s it!  If you want them to brown a bit more you can pull the foil back and stick them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes.

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It was so simple and extremely delicious!  At this point I have used roasted garlic in salads, mashed potatoes, spaghetti sauce, a veggie and pasta dish and today I’m putting it in some crusty bread I’m making.  That big bag of garlic didn’t last long, now I need to grow my own garlic next year. 🙂

The End

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes – Plus 5 Other Fall Recipes!

Happy October, the month of everything pumpkin!

Pumpkin Pancakes

This morning, Mary came out of her room with a big fluffy blanket wrapped around her shoulders, and announced: “It finally feels like fall, it’s cloudy and wet outside and I smell pumpkin pancakes!”  I had to smile because she is TOTALLY right.  There is a definite feel of fall around here and I’m so ready for it!

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

These hearty pancakes are a wonderful fall morning treat.  If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix on hand here is a link to my easy homemade mix.

Fluffy Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 & ¾ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup plus more for pouring on top
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
Instructions
  1. Put the first five ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients in another bowl and mix.
  3. Then pour the dry ingredients in with the buttermilk mixture and stir gently just until mixed. Let the batter sit (for bout 10 min) while your skillet heats to medium low.
  4. Put a little butter into the skillet when it's hot and then WITHOUT stirring your batter scoop about one third of a cup out and fry it in the butter.
  5. Let them cook for a couple minutes on both sides until golden brown and not doughy in the middle.
  6. This recipe will make about 10 pancakes and they are wonderful served with butter and warm maple syrup!

Here are a few more fall recipes you might like to try out.

Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce

Easy slow cooker applesauce.

Fall Smoothies

Tasty fall smoothies.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Homemade pumpkin pie spice mix that I use in most of these recipes!

Pumpkin Chip Bread

Pumpkin chip bread.

Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced pear butter.

I’m going to go grab a hoodie and go for a walk.  Have a super day!

This recipe was shared at: The Weekend Potluck

Fresh Tomato and Sausage Pasta

This has been my VERY best year for growing tomatoes!!  We are still getting an insane amount every day and it’s the end of September.  I love how this recipe helps to use some of our abundance of grape tomatoes.

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They are so fresh, sweet and absolutely delicious and they make this dish soooo very yummy.  I may have even eaten the left overs for breakfast the next morning.

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It doesn’t take much time at all to whip up this super tasty dinner.  Start by halving 4 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes and putting them in a greased 8″x8″ baking dish.  Drizzle a little olive oil on with some salt and pepper, stir that up then poor 1/2 a cup of Italian bread crumbs over the top.

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Place the tomatoes in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  While that is in the oven, brown 1 pound of Italian sausage (I used my Italian sausage seasoning recipe) and cook the pasta.  Drain the sausage and pasta then put everything into a big serving bowl with 1&1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese.  Give it a good stir and taste it to see if it needs more salt or pepper.

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I know this isn’t the most eye appealing dish you’ve ever seen, but it makes up for it in taste…..I promise!!

Fresh Tomato and Sausage Pasta
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes - halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 pound of pasta (any kind you like)
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ cups parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Stir together halved tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a greased 8x8" glass baking dish.
  3. Pour Italian bread crumbs over the top.
  4. Place in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. While that is in the oven boil the pasta in salted water until done, and drain.
  6. Brown the sausage and drain any fat.
  7. In a large bowl combine the pasta, sausage, tomatoes and cheese.
  8. Give it a taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
  9. Dinners ready!

You can find a meat free version of this recipe here.

This post was shared at: Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Mary’s Super Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread (With NO Vegetable Oil)

It’s that time of year again, the zucchini is pouring out of the garden.  I love the abundance of this versatile veggie, and have many recipes to use them up.  Zucchini bread has always been a good way to use it up, but this one is a super duper amazing way to use it!  I’m going to freeze lots and lots of zucchini just so I can make this bread all year long. ;D

marys bread

It’s so moist and smooth and sweet and wonderful and it all came about by accident.  Mary is the one that first made this, hence the name: “Mary’s Super Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread”.  She had a recipe to follow, but we hadn’t been shopping for a while and didn’t have some of the ingredients, so she “improvised”.  We were all pleasantly surprised with the results. 🙂

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This is not only very tasty but healthier than most quick breads too!

Mary's Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread (With NO Vegetable Oil)
 
This will make 2 loaves.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups of sugar (I use a bit less)
  • 1 stick melted butter (half a cup)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 and ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Grease two loaf pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the first 5 ingredients until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  4. Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min then lower the temp to 300 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the loaf pans and cool completely before cutting.

Another great thing about this bread is you have options!  I love options. 🙂

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You can add a 3/4 of a cup of chocolate chips and have “Mary’s Super Moist Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread” (this is my girls favorite).

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Or you could leave out the cocoa powder and have “Mary’s Super Moist Zucchini Bread” and it’s still, oh so good!!

Wait, there’s more!….We made three batches of this last week (6 loaves).  Six loaves for four people is a bit much, so I froze 2 loaves and took them out yesterday for breakfast and took some to our Bible study.  They froze VERY well and I think they might have even tasted better from the freezer!?!? WHAT?

I have noticed that while this bread is delicious still warm from the oven, it’s very crumbly if you don’t let it cool completely first.  Its even easier to cut after being in a zip lock bag over night.  But, it tastes great ANY time. 🙂

Homemade Beer Battered Onion Rings

beer battered onion rings

This post contains affiliate links.

Here is the onion ring recipe I promised over a month ago!!

I don’t think I need to say much about these lovely golden treats, the pictures say it all!

beer battered onion rings

You will need one large yellow onion sliced into rings.  How big or little they are depends on your preference.

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For the beer batter, start with one cup of beer.  What kind?  Well, that’s a matter of opinion too… I used the cheap stuff cause that’s what we had. 🙂

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Add one cup of all purpose flour to the beer and stir until nice and smooth.  Then add in 2 teaspoons of seasoning salt and mix well.  Here’s a link to my Homemade Seasoning Salt.

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I heat about 2 inches of oil (look at the bottom of this post to see what oil I use and why) in a cast iron pan to 375 degrees on medium high heat.  If you don’t have a cast iron pan I think any pan big enough will work, or better yet you can use a deep fat fryer if you have one.  Dip the onions into the batter and fry them until golden brown on each side.  Drain on a paper towel until cool.

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They are best eaten as soon as they are cool enough to stuff in your mouth.  If they sit too long they get kinda soggy.  Around here that is not a problem!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Beer Battered Onion Rings
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 cup of beer
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Peel the onion and cut it into rings.(set aside)
  2. Batter: Stir the beer and flour together until it's nice and smooth then stir in the seasoning salt until well combined.
  3. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a frying pan on medium high heat to 375 degrees.
  4. Dip each onion ring into the batter then fry in the hot oil until golden brown on each side.
  5. Drain on paper towels until cool enough to eat.

Organic Palm Shortening is my favorite oil for frying foods.  It is colorless and odorless so it doesn’t effect the flavor of your food.  It is also NOT hydrogenated and contains no trans fats!  I don’t fry food very often, but when I do I LOVE this healthier choice of oils.  I also use this shortening for biscuits and pie crusts, and have been nothing but overjoyed with the results!!  If you want to read more about this healthy oil click here.

Does anyone have any other good recipes that use lots of onions?  I planted two raised beds FULL of onions.  Soon I will have more onions than I know what to do with!

This post was shared at: Weekend Pot Luck Simple Saturdays Blog HopOur Simple Homestead Blog Hop

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