Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Gluten free Tropical Carrot Cake - Dessert Bread and CupcakesGluten is a vital protein to wheat. But many people without knowing it are allergic to it. Those who are bothered by gluten can suffer from digestive problems, skin problems, and even depression, too name a few.

There are alternative flours that do not contain gluten, and if you make them a part of your diet, they could help to improve your health.

Watch the video to learn what these alternatives are. After the video we have provided a gluten free recipe: Tropical Carrot Cake.

 

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe:

flours used for Gluten Free Tropical Carrot CakeFirst preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

As shown in the image above, mix the potato starch and both flours in a large bowl with the following ingredients. mixed dry ingredients for Gluten free Tropical Carrot CakeThere is no need to sift the dry ingredients. When mixed together set bowl aside:

1/2 tsp powdered ginger root

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum can be a little spendy so you can substitute it for any starch, like arrow root, corn, or tapioca. The xanthan gum or any one of these starches are needed to replace the gluten. The starch or xanthan gum holds the flours together.

coating a glass baking pan with butter and sugarNext, coat a 7 x 4 inch glass baking pan with butter and sugar, set aside.

mixing wet ingredients for Gluten Free Tropical Carrot CakeNext, in a large bowl mix together eggs, sugars, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Add flour mixture slowly until just blended. With a large spatula, stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, and nuts. Pour batter into baking pan ½ inch from top. Any extra batter can be used to make cupcakes (it should make 7).

Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Bake cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Remove cake from pan.

Gluten free Tropical Carrot Cake - Dessert Bread and Cupcakes

For the frosting combine 1/3 cup cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons almond milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat together until smooth. Frost cake when completely cooled. Save aside a small amount of frosting and mix half  with food grade orange coloring and the other half with food grade green coloring. Add frosting to a cake piper and pipe onto cake to form carrots and leaves with respective colors.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake - plattedWhen ready to enjoy your gluten free dessert bread, plate and serve.

 

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Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades

chicken breast - Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades

Did you know the average American eats 55 pounds of chicken per year? That’s about 27 chickens each.

raw chicken breast- chicken breast - Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades  According to Whole Foods Market, chicken is rated as a very good source of protein, providing 67.6% of the daily value for protein in 4 ounces. Protein can be important in reducing bone loss in older people.

One scientific study on the subject showed that men and women from 70 to 90 years old who had the highest protein intake lost significantly less bone over a four-year period than those who consumed less protein.

Animal protein, as well as overall protein intake, was shown to be associated with preserving bone mass in our bodies. Chicken is also an excellent source of niacin, the cancer-protective B-vitamin, and is also a very good source of the trace mineral, selenium. Selenium helps with the function of the thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.

Protein is also needed for our bodies to build and repair muscle.

Chicken, if prepared right can ensure a healthy meal that is good for heart health and weight management.

Marinating chicken is one of those ways to prepare it. Marinating can add flavor, and makes the meat more moist and tender without adding a lot of fat.

Chicken that is marinated for a longer period of time is tenderer as the juices of the marinade have become fully absorbed into the chicken. Always remember to throw away the left over marinade that has soaked the chicken to avoid salmonella poisoning.

Use skinless chicken breasts, as these are the lowest in fat and calories. The skin increases fat by about 20%. You can cook with the skin, but, removing it before eating is recommended.

Healthy Cooking Methods for Chicken

Grilling

grilling chicken - Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades  Grilling is the best method of cooking chicken; this includes, a BBQ grill or indoors in the oven broiler. A squeeze of lemon, a sprinkling of black pepper and paprika will make your chicken a delicious meal you will enjoy.

Boiling

Most people think that boiling chicken will make it tasteless; on the contrary it will be tender and fall off the bone on your plate. The secret is in the amount of the water used to cook the chicken.

For that reason measure adequate amount of water that will cook the chicken and allow boiling until it is almost absorbed. Add chopped red onions and stir, do the same with tomatoes, bell peppers and some garlic. Sprinkle a bit of turmeric powder and a bit of salt and cover for a minute. Remove and plate with a serving of vegetables and a small portion of whole grain pasta.

Baking

Make time to marinade the chicken overnight so that you can enjoy the baked outcome.

  • Place rosemary, juice of half a lime, a tablespoonful of honey, a tablespoonful of olive oil and a dash of vinegar into a bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Add into your chicken in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate
  • Spray your baking pan with Pam cooking spray and arrange the chicken
  • Bake at minimum of 375F

Add some baby potatoes around the chicken so that they absorb the juices for a complete meal and serve with a salad of steamed vegetables.

Stir Frying

Only a minimum amount of oil is needed in a wok or a cast iron skillet on the pan to prevent the chicken from sticking.

It is necessary to slice it into small pieces so that it cooks through faster.

Diced carrots, bell peppers, garlic, cabbage, sprouts, zucchini, broccoli and many other nutritious vegetables can be added to the stir fry.

steaming chicken - Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades  Sprinkle some powdered red pepper on the chicken if you like it hot.

Steaming

Steaming food allows it to retain all its nutrients; therefore steaming your chicken with your veggies will provide a nourishing meal.

When choosing chicken for steaming, make sure that it is young so that it is not tough and rubbery when done.

Great Marinade Ideas

  • Ground mustard, minced garlic, ½ lemon juice, pinch of salt, a sprinkle of black pepper, fresh coriander, a tablespoonful of olive oil and ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • Diced red onions, rosemary, cinnamon, turmeric, one teaspoonful of sunflower oil, 2 teaspoons of honey and juice of one small lime
  • Natural Greek yogurt, low sodium soy sauce, cayenne pepper and fresh thyme
  • Low sodium soy sauce, fresh garlic and onion powder

chicken-breast-meal -Healthy Ways To Cook Chicken with Marinades  Don’t hesitate to experiment with some ideas of your own. There are many great flavorful combinations that can yield a delicious and healthy chicken dish.

Also, there are many fine bottled marinades, or dry packaged seasonings that you add oil, juice, vinegar, or water that are available in stores. Just be sure to buy all natural and no preservatives add. These can be great time saving methods to cook chicken.

But we personally feel it’s a lot more fun to make your own.

 

 

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Enjoying Flourless Baking

Enjoying Flourless Baking

At the end of our featured article there is a recipe: Simple Almond Cookies (baked without flour)

Many people have gone flourless for specific health reasons. Some do so because they the gluten in flour aggravates other medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. Others believe avoiding flour can help them feel better.

Celiac disease is one of the main reasons for going flourless. It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. In fact, in the last 50 years, one in 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Another reason for eliminating flour in your baking is to reduce carbohydrates. White flour is high in carbs, though 100% whole wheat flour has less.

Removing flour from your diet can improve your health. Going with an all-natural diet like the Paleo Diet, can help free the body from chronic diseases such as:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type II diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acne
  • Myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma
  • Varicose veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulosis, gastric reflux
  • Gout

Other reasons to go flourless could be due to an allergy to wheat or gluten. You may want a more natural diet that reduces many diseases and health problems. Maybe you just want to reduce the amount of carbs you take in every day. Going flourless may be very beneficial and just what the doctor ordered.

Tips for Flourless Baking

Flourless baking can be a real trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, texture and flavor to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, attaching ingredients together. When you remove the flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.

Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flourless.

  1. To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).
  1.  To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture.
  1. Substitute brown sugar for white for more moisture.
  1. To enhance the flavor of flourless foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices called for.
  1. For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.
  1. Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.
  1. Don’t overbeat since the kneading time is shorter with no gluten to develop.
  1. You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you need ingredients like banana or eggs to bind the ingredients together.
  1. Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding enhancing texture setting the structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts.

The key to flourless baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.

 

simple almond cookies

Image Credit: Recipe.com

Simple Almond Cookies

Makes 32 cookies

 

Nonstick cooking spray, optional

2 1/4 cups whole almonds

3/4 cup sugar

2 egg whites (video included, showing a simple way to separate whites from yolks)

1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

32 almond slices (2 tablespoons)

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (best choice). Set aside.

Finely grind whole almonds and sugar in food processor.

Add egg whites and almond extract and process until mixed well.

Shape a large measuring teaspoonful of mixture into crescent shapes or balls. Arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Top with an almond slice.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just brown on the top

Cool on wire racks.

When cool, drizzle tops of cookies with melted chocolate.

 

See our article: Healthy White Flour Substitutes 

 

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Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

I found this recipe in the April 2014 magazine –  “Better Homes and Gardens“. The recipe is called Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins. But I changed the recipe a little, and I liked the Toasted better then the Toasty.

To me toasty is when you are around a camp fire on a cool night in the mountains and you want to get your hands and feet toasty warm. Or when you pull back the stick with a marshmallow on it, and someone says, “Isn’t that a bit toasty?’

The grains the recipe called for, I toasted them in the oven. So that’s why I used Toasted in place of Toasty.

We did use cooked Quinoa. This recipe is great to prepare, when you have had some quiona with your dinner, and there is some left over, quiona that is.

Quinoa  is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It also has nine times more fiber than any other whole grain.

This muffin would be great for breakfast for the reasons just mentioned, protein, and fiber. Fiber slows digestion, giving you longer sustained energy, as well as the protein.

Here is what you well need.

ingredients for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

1 cup regular rolled oats

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

 

toasting grains for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

In a large bowl toss oats, cooled cooked quinoa, and almonds, add oil and toss some more to coat.  Place mixture onto a nonstick cookie sheet or baking pan. Spread out into an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Remove; place pan on a wire rack and cool.

Grease a cup cake pan with twelve wells that are 2 1/2-inches round; set aside.

In a large bowl stir together all but 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture, the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

whisking wet ingredients

Here is what you will need for the wet ingredients:

2 teaspoons zest of orange

1 ½ teaspoons of orange oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

 

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, butter, orange oil, and orange zest. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened, the batter should be lumpy.

close up of muffin pan filled with wet muffen mixture

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each well, ¾ full. Sprinkle with remaining quinoa mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

Serve warm. If desired, serve with orange marmalade.

 

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Baked Spinach Stuffed Tilapia

Baked Spinach Stuffed Tilapia

Tilapia are mainly freshwater fish found in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Tilapia were one of the three main types of fish caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee.

Tilapia have very low levels of mercury,as they are fast-growing, lean and short-lived, with a primarily vegetarian diet, so do not accumulate mercury found in prey. Tilapia are low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates and sodium, and are a good protein source. They also contain vitamin B-12 and trace minerals such as phosphorus, niacin, selenium, and potassium.

Black pepper adds more than just flavor, it is also good for digestion. Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable, and 4 servings a week of this class of vegetable helps ward off cancer causing cells.

As a side note, this recipe is great nutritional support for those who suffer with Schizophrenia (Read More Here: Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients).

Here is what you will need for our featured recipe:

8 oz. spinach leaves, trimmed

4 oz. Feta cheese

1 ½ lbs.Tilapia fillets, cut 6 ways

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

6 tbsp. butter, melted

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Cook spinach in large saucepan on low heat until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach; chop finely. Combine spinach and feta in medium bowl.

Cut lengthwise pocket down 1 side of each cut Tilapia, being careful not to cut through. Pack 1/3 cup spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Baked Spinach Stuffed TilapiaBake in heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Plate and serve with your favorite side dish, such as we have here with a Bacon Cornbread or Baked Parmesan Potato.

Source of information about Tilapia: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

 

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Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Preparation for the muffins:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat bran

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

2/3 cup mashed pumpkin

1 cup whole milk

2 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

Preparation for the topping:

8 pecan halves, finely chopped

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar and baking powder, mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the pecan halves, butter, and remaining brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Mash with fork until crumbly.

Grease muffin pan or line with 12 paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle topping evenly on muffins. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also bake this as a coffee cake, by lining 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

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Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

This cheesecake is touch and go. As we noted in our article “Cheesecake Tips” you cannot open and close the door during the baking process as it lowers the temperature and the oven has to spend time to reheat and this affects the cake or actually the cooking and setting of the eggs. So make sure the cake has baked at least 45 minutes before removing from the oven to add the blueberry sour cream topping. If the water-bath container you are using has handles, remove gently from oven place on stove top and quickly top with the sour cream mixture and return to oven.

 Crust

1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats, processed
½ cup walnuts, processed
½ cup packed brown sugar
8 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Mix together the processed oats and nuts. Stir in brown sugar and butter until well combined. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan prepared with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling
2 – 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 eggs

 In a food processor cream the sugar and cream cheese. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, and lemon juice until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Do not over mix. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare blueberry sour cream topping.

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