Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lemon bars with Almond-Cardamom crusts (Gluten-free delights)

In preparation for a monthly dinner with some girlfriends, one of whom doesn't do well with gluten, I investigated options for dessert. This course of the meal I have read, many gluten-free folks unfortunately have to pass up. 

With many lemons on hand, I decided to do a lemon bar using a version of an almond meal crust that I have done before. This time, however, I felt that something was needed to carefully pull together the flavor of the almonds with lemons. I added some cardamom and it did the trick. Hopefully, you enjoy it as much as I did. I almost couldn't stop licking the mixing spoon....I know, TMI.

Almond-Cardamom crust


1 cup ground almond meal (processed almonds)
14 packets of Splenda + 1 packet of PureVia (or 3/4 cup cane sugar)
1/4 cup egg white
1/4 tsp cardamom, ground
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Spray oil (Vegetable or Canola...avoid Olive oil due to the flavor)


(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch square Pyrex dish with Pam or canola oil.

(2) In a mixing bowl, mix together the ground almonds, sugar, salt, cardamom & nutmeg. After thoroughly mixing, add the egg white. Mix to combine and spread the mixture into the baking dish and press lightly (with moist spatula) to form a crust.

(3) Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Cool completely before filling, allowing the crust to crisp more.

Lemon filling


2 large eggs + 1/2 cup egg whites
14 packets of Splenda with 3 packets of PureVia or 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour (best if freshly ground) or another gluten-free flour
zest of two small lemons (about 2 tbsp)
1-2 tsp powdered sugar (optional, for garnish)


(1) In a spice grinder, grind dry tapioca pearls, enough for 1/4 cup.

(2) Grate lemon zest and juice 2 lemons (1/4 cup lemon juice). 

(3) In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg whites, sweeteners, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon zest, greek yogurt, and tapioca flour.

(4) Pour filling on top of pre-baked almond-cardamom crust.

(5) Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and serve. 

This is a very fast recipe and great if you have other things going on in the background (during those cooling times)... I find it is best to stay out of the kitchen during these times so there is actually dessert left for guests. Hope you enjoy it. Next time, I will totally add finely chopped basil to the filling mix for an surprising and delicious twist.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet-n-spicy black bean salad

In preparation for a friend's party, I made a dish that reminded me of one of the lovely Sunday dinners that I had with the girls. I think it was Emma who made a delicious black bean salad. 

For this recipe, I decided to kick up the heat with some cayenne, emphasize my island flavors with some lime juice and some sweet-n-tangy combo of sweetener with apple cider vinegar. You will love this quick and easy, sweet-n-spicy recipe for a party with some chips, or alone, as a salad.  

Sweet-n-spicy black bean salad


1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, no salt added, drained
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 tsp cilantro, chopped
1/8-1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp baking soda (to calm acidity)
2 1/2 tsp Splenda or another sweetener equivalent
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne 
1/2 tbsp Adobo light seasoning or garlic-onion powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
garlic salt, to taste
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lime, peeled and mashed

(1) Mince garlic in food processor
(2) After draining and rinsing the black beans and corn (preferrably low or no salt added), toss together the black beans, corn, garlic, diced onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
(3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and seasonings, with the exception of the Adobo light and garlic salt. 
(4) To taste, add the Adobo light seasoning and additional garlic salt depending on your salt preference or dietary restrictions.

Note: To keep this completely low-carb, omit the corn kernels altogether and increase the onion and bell pepper ratio. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3-Grain Apple Cinnamon Granola

Have I mentioned before, how much I love Costco. While some of the item sizes are ridiculous for a household of 1 or 2, the variety that they offer is fantastic. I love that they have FAGE 0% fat greek yogurt. This yogurt is delicious. I also love that they have the Old-fashioned Quaker oatmeal. The pairing is perfect. 

This morning, I decided to make granola (for the first time). I don't know why I haven't made it before because it was fantastic, like OMG fantastic, delicious....I couldn't stop snacking on it. Made with three grains, oatmeal, flax meal, and sunflower seeds and sweetened with agave nectar, barley malt, and a touch of Splenda, I didn't have to ;)

3-Grain Apple Cinnamon Granola


1/8 cup barley malt 
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tsp agave nectar 
1 1/2 tsp Splenda or another sweetener
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup oatmeal
3 tsp flax meal (ground)
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup apple (chopped into small cubes) * I used Golden Delicious (Granny Smith would work well, also)
1/4 cup almonds (chopped)


(1) Preheat oven to 300oF. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
(2) In a small saucepan on medium heat, mix the olive oil, barley malt, agave nectar, and Splenda. 
(3) To this heated mixture, add the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until thoroughly combined.
(4) Lower the heat, add the chopped apple and toss until combined.
(5) Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients: oatmeal, sunflower seeds, and flax meal.
(6) Add the heated mixture to the dry ingredients. Toss until combined.
(7) Bake the granola for 25-30 minutes until browned. For crispier apples, lower heat to 275oF and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool or eat immediately (like I did).

Enjoy alone, with milk (cool or warm), or with, my favorite, greek yogurt! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Taste test - Arnold's Sandwich Thins and Moroccan Chicken Sandwiches

I recently had a serious craving for the sweet and savory combination like that of Moroccan-influenced food. Recently, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received some whole wheat Arnold Sandwich Thins. In order to satisfy my craving and taste-test these buns, I decided to make Moroccan chicken sandwiches. 

Moroccan Chicken Sandwich


1 cup chicken breast, sliced
1 pimento pepper, diced
1 onion
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
1/2 cup onions, chopped
olive oil spray

For sandwiches:

1/4 cup cucumber sliced
tomato (optional)
sandwich buns


(1) Marinate chicken with all of the listed spices: pimento, onion, oregano, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, garlic salt, paprika, and black pepper
(2) Spray a medium saucepan with olive oil. On medium heat, saute chopped onions and garlic until slightly browned. Remove and set aside.
(3) In the same pan, add the marinated chicken. Saute until cooked thoroughly.
(4) Meanwhile, toast the sandwich buns. 
(5) Assemble sandwiches with all of the condiments, to your liking.

These were delicious. I served them open-faced to keep it low-carb but a closed sandwich, maybe even with smoked gouda would be fantastic. Enjoy!