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RA Natural Way

Sharing what I have learned about treating chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and indeterminable autoimmune disorders in the most natural way possible while maintaining a positive attitude. Hope. Faith. Love. Yoga. Travel.

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holidays

Chocolate will make it better! (gf) (*df) (org)

I’m a big believer in baking away my problems. My boyfriend has been gone for 3 weeks and I’m really beginning to miss him. He flew to Alaska after Christmas to work on a crabbing boat for a few months. I’ve been trying to stay busy and keep myself distracted but then I got the flu, and of course felt very alone. When you are sick, all you want is to be taken care of! And clearly that didn’t happen this time. So when I started to feel better physically, I decided it was time to bake. I have been wanting to try Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Cake Mix because I’ve enjoyed many of their products as well as Pamela’s Vanilla Frosting Mix. Both of these companies are amazing!

ImageThe chocolate cake mix directions were very simple. Water, eggs, butter and milk. I used a lactose-free, fat-free milk, which I usually bake with and a olive oil/butter blend to cut down on some saturated fat and calories. The frosting called for more butter and again I used the olive oil blend. Both mixes tasted yummy! Surprisingly the cake only took about 25 minutes to bake.

ImageI was very impressed with the results! I let the cakes cool for a while before taking them out of the pans and mixing up the icing mix. The icing turned out to be a little runny, so I put everything in the fridge for a few minutes to cool before applying the finishing touches. Icing a cake is not an easy task! Thankfully everything turned out delicious! The cake is very mild and not too sweet. The vanilla icing is the prefect complement! Feeling much better after a job well done!

ImageIt isn’t the most stunning cake, so I used a few of my favorite flowers to add some beauty to the picture! 🙂

*These mixes can be made completely dairy free if needed!

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Peanut Snowballs (v, df, gf)

Borrowed from Georgia Kate's Kitchen!

These look so good! I want to make these for my family! I’ll have to play with the recipe a little because these are definitely an indulgence!

Pamela’s Banana Nut Bread

I am a lover of banana nut bread and my mother makes the best! But while I’m not currently eating gluten, I need to find a substitute. Pamela’s comes close!

IMG_3531editHere is what you’ll need to get started:

  • 2 bananas (1 cup, smashed)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar, or honey
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-3/4 cups pancake mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat together butter, sugar or honey, eggs and banana. Add remaining ingredients and mix together with a spachela. Pour into a large greased loaf pan. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. *The package said to cook for an hour but mine did not take that long. Every oven is different.

I thought this banana nut bread turned out wonderful! I plan on sharing a loaf with my family. Don’t forget to serve warm! Just in time for the holidays!

Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!
Yummy! Bananas and Pecans are two of my favorite things! A truly enjoyable gluten-free version!

My Favorite Snack

Guacamole!

My most favorite dip to make and eat!  Yum yum!

IMG_3330 copy
guacamole with sweet potato chips

My recipe:

  • avocados (2 peeled, seeds removed)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced & sauteed *most people prefer raw red onion, but they disagree with me
  • salt and pepper

Prep the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Lightly mash the avocados in a bowl and squeeze in lime juice. Let sit for a few minutes in refrigerator. When everything is prepped, use a wooden spoon to fold tomatoes into avocado along with garlic and onions. Salt and pepper generously. Put back in the refrigerator to cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy with your favorite chips! Here are a few I’ve been trying:IMG_3309 copy

Spinach Dip (Vegan)

I made Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip for a football party last weekend and learned a lot!

20131202-122950.jpgI’ve never made a dip for a party without using dairy products before! I used the recipe from OhSheGlows.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece bread + 1 tbsp earth balance (processed into crumbs) OR 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 (15oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8th tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes & other spices as desired

I went back later and read the vegan recipe, from which she adapted this one, and would make a few adjustments. I would like it to be a little creamier, by adding Vegan cream cheese and only 8 oz of beans. Another mistake I made was not draining the mixed ingredients properly before adding them to the baking pan. I had to cook the dip a lot longer to compensate, which ended up being too long…

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Add 1 tbsp olive oil into a very large skillet and add in the chopped onion. Cook about 7 minutes on medium heat until onion is translucent.

2a. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the bread into crumbs with 1 tsp earth balance. Remove and set aside. Omit this step if you use pre-made bread crumbs. *or Gluten Free breadcrumbs

2b. Now process the drained and rinsed navy beans, 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp kosher salt, basil, and red pepper flakes.

*If you don’t have a food processor you can throw it in a good blender!

NOTE: If you choose to add Vegan cream cheese, I would put it in a bowl and stir in the blended bean mixture. Modify water amount if only using 8 oz of beans; may be unnecessary.

3. Add in minced garlic to skillet and cook for another few minutes on low. Add in your 4 cups of packed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts to the skillet and heat until spinach is wilted over low-medium heat.

20131202-132509.jpg

4. Add navy bean processed mixture to the skillet and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in 3/4 of the bread crumbs (or just sprinkle them on top). Pour into an oven safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex dish). Sprinkle on the remaining bread crumbs and cover with foil.

5. Cook, covered, in the oven at 400F for 20 mins. Now remove the foil cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes watching closely so as not to burn. Makes 2.5-3 cups. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve immediately with sturdy chips and crackers.

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Firsts

This was a particularly challenging Thanksgiving due to the fact that I am trying not to eat gluten, dairy or red meat. Every day is a challenge but holidays are the worst! My friends prepared a gigantic feast for 15 of us, which included two turkeys, a ham, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, rolls and many different desserts.

Knowing ahead of time that I could only eat the turkey, I prepared sweet potatoes and corn bread. I also baked a vegan, gluten free apple pie. The crust didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but I learned a lot in the process. I included the recipe in this post.

20131201-200943.jpg
What a feast!
20131201-210821.jpg
So much food!
20131201-202115.jpg
pre-baked apple pie

This is what most plates looked like!

Lots of yummy goodness!

Here is a recipe for apple pie filling:

Ingredients:

  • Granny Smith Apples (5-6)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar *I used organic cane sugar
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

We peeled and cored the apples first. Then cut them into smaller pieces. I went back later and added a few more pieces to hold up the crust. The more apples the better! They will shrink down to mush in the oven.

We put all the ingredients in a bowl, and mixed them together. This proved challenging because there wasn’t a lot of moisture. But there will be plenty once the apples are baked.

We baked our pie at 400F for 15 minutes while covered. Then lowered to 375F, removed foil and baked for 30 minutes, while watching carefully to make sure crust did not burn. Depending on the crust you choose to use, these temperatures and times may vary. Let pie cool for a few hours before eating.

Next time I will make my pie crust from scratch instead of buying a mix. The filling turned out really yummy though and I look forward to trying this again!

20131201-190254.jpg

Cornbread!

Yummmm! Just what I’m craving when the weather turns chilly!

I used this brand for Thanksgiving! Once
again, like most gluten free products, they are best served warm with real butter! 🙂 But that’s just my southern opinion!

20131201-190533.jpg They are super easy to make and only require eggs and water! I have received nothing but good reviews so far!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of yummy food!

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